MAN WITHOUT FEAR #1
Written by Jed MacKay
Art by Danilo S. Beyruth, Andres Mossa, Clayton Cowles
Edited by Devin Lewis and Lauren Amaro
Released by Marvel Comics
Release Date: January 2, 2019
Man Without Fear beings new and literal meaning to the old saying of facing your demons. After attempting to save a distracted teen from walking into the path of a truck Daredevil finds himself broken and in a coma fighting two of our most primal instincts and feelings, fear and pain. Packed full of some of Daredevil’s greatest moments and most iconic costumes writer Jed MacKay does a fantastic job of peeling back the layers of what makes Daredevil Daredevil and making him confront the very title of The Man Without Fear.
The issue centers on a comatose Matt Murdock battling his inner demons with appearances from some of his most iconic costumes, villains, and lovers. It’s a very introspective issue that attempts to pick apart Matts relationship to fear, pain, and the need for survival. While Matt is in his mind going through the different layers and stages of being Daredevil his oldest friend Foggy Nelson is seated next to his bed keeping him company and longing for his friend to wake up. The issue allows us to not only take a look into the mind of Matt Murdock and Daredevil but also into his relationship with Foggy and the way Foggy feels about him as Daredevil. The way MacKay tackles the struggle between Murdock and his relationship to pain and fear is actually quite interesting as he makes both of them aspects of Matt that he seems to be running from. Its not till towards the end of the issue where we learn that his fear, which he keeps buried, is a way of surviving and keeping him safe. His fear manifests as a skeletal figure draped in his iconic yellow and red costume. The figure at multiple times tries to get Matt to not run from it and to acknowledge it saying that it will keep him safe and protect him from the mantle of Daredevil. However his pain manifests itself as Matt wearing a Daredevil costume made of human muscles which is actually quite brilliant. Matt gives his body, his mind, and his health to the service of New York and Hells Kitchen as Daredevil and to see his pain manifest as a raging Daredevil wearing a suit made of human muscle is a very fitting manifestation.
The interesting part of the issue is when we see Matt’s pain holding back his fear and keeping it from taking control of him. The sheer symbolism and real internal struggle that MacKay is able to write into this issue is astounding and it actually makes me really excited for future issues and to see what he does with the character. I’m a sucker for symbolism and for a really internal and personal struggle for characters and Daredevil seems like the perfect type of character for the type of story that MacKay is crafting.
The issue wouldn’t be what it is though without artist Danilo S. Beyruth’s gritty and almost surreal art. Beyruth does a pretty fantastic job of breathing even more life into MacKay’s writing. Beyruth’s art style truly fits the internal and grisly struggle that Matt is going through while in his coma. The artwork is vey gritty and dreamlike and lends itself to sequences meant to be taking place within Murdock’s mind. My favorite part of Beyruth’s art is the way that he draws the manifestation of Murdock’s pain, the Daredevil suit made of muscle, and how he illustrates these raw uncovered muscles. Dont let the gritt fool you though because Beyruth’s art is full of motion and life and he does a fantastic job of crafting characters that are full of expression and emotion.
Overall, Man Without Fear #1 does a really good job of grabbing your attention and making you pay attention to the internal struggle of Matt Murdock while helping you understand just how he’d mad it as the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen all these years. MacKay’s writing coupled with Beyruth’s art is a beautiful sight to behold and I’m honestly excited for future issues.
The Verdict: 9.5/10