Comic Book Review - Daredevil by Chip Zdarsky TPB Vol. 1: Know Fear (Zdarsky/Checchetto)

Daredevil by Chip Zdarsky TPB Vol. 1: Know Fear - Collecting Daredevil (2019) #1-5.

With his run on Daredevil, Chip Zdarsky has said that he wanted to lean into the dark and gritty tendencies of the character as opposed to a more lighthearted tone, which he has come to be known for from his work on titles such as Sex Criminals (which he drew), Howard the Duck, and Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man.  He has certainly achieved that goal in Know Fear, his first arc on everyone's favorite Hell's Kitchen resident.

This arc kicks off the latest volume of Daredevil (the sixth overall), and is a great place to jump on the book if you haven't paid attention to the character in recent years.  It picks up after the events of both Charles Soule's run that preceded it and the Man Without Fear: The Death of Daredevil mini-series by Jed MacKay (obviously Daredevil is not actually dead, but the mini does act as a nice bridge between the Soule and Zdarsky runs).  Zdarsky does a great job of introducing his story in a way that stands on its own just fine, making reference to the prior work and bringing the reader up to speed with recent occurrences in the life of Daredevil.

Daredevil (2019) #1 (Checchetto/Gho)

Matt Murdock is out of the hospital after the events of the Soule run/MacKay mini,  and is trying to get back to life as usual as Daredevil.  While out on patrol, Matt comes to the realization that he has not fully recovered and isn't as sharp as he should be physically or mentally.  He pushes on anyway, wanting the people of Hell's Kitchen to see that he has returned in hopes that it will act as a deterrent to the rise in criminal activity in his absence.  An altercation with three robbers goes south, culminating in the death of one of the criminals.  Now Daredevil finds himself wanted for murder and has big shot, by-the-book, transfer from Chicago, Detective Cole North after him.

Daredevil (2019) #1 (Checchetto/Gho)

There's a lot of great character work done by Zdarsky in these five issues.  We get some scenes from Matt's childhood that help inform how he became the man he did.  This may sound old hat to any longtime Daredevil readers, but the brilliant thing about it is that Zdarsky presents it with a fresh perspective so it works for both new readers and old.  Later in the arc, Matt comes to some startling realizations about himself and a number of his friends in the superhero community that causes him to question whether or not they are actually doing good.

Daredevil (2019) #2 (Checchetto/Gho)

The art team on these issues is top notch, with pencils and inks by Marco Checchetto (long a personal favorite) and colors by Sunny Gho.  Checchetto may be familiar to Daredevil fans has he's had two short stints on the title previously.  One during the Shadowland era and another during Mark Waid's run when he penciled the The Omega Effect crossover with the Avenging Spider-Man and Punisher titles at the time.  Checchetto's style is perfect for street level characters as he can illustrate action scenes and facial expressions/emotion equally well.  He draws the fiercest Owl that I've ever seen (although he doesn't appear much in this arc).  Gho's colors for Know Fear do a great job of helping to set the tone visually.  The topographical-map-like depiction of Matt's radar sense (made popular by Paolo Rivera at the beginning of Waid's run) makes a return with this arc, and the way that Gho colors it really pops.  Covers for this run have been illustrated by Julian Totino Tedesco and have been both beautiful and relevant to the contents of each issue, which we all know doesn't always happen in the world of comics.  I also feel the need to mention that Clayton Cowles continues his long run lettering Daredevil (which has now passed fifty five issues).

*EDIT - having just listened to Ryan Stegman's interview of Chip Zdarsky, it turns out that Marco Checchetto has been coloring small details such as Matt's radar sense and eyes himself.  Cool little factoid, but Gho's coloring of the rest of the issues has still been great.

Daredevil (2019) #4 (Checchetto/Gho)

This collection is your typical Marvel trade paperback so there's very little in the way of extras.  It does included two pages at the end that collects thumbnail images of the variant covers for the issues included.  There's also a four page short story at the end of the first issue that was illustrated by Zdarsky that is a really cool breakdown of how a scene looks to the rest of the world versus how it appears to Matt due to his blindness and heightened senses.

Daredevil (2019) #5 (Checchetto/Gho)

Daredevil's modern history has been full of great runs.  Five issues is a bit early to anoint this run, but Chip has said that he has about three years worth of story outlined for Daredevil.  If what he has planned is even half as good as this first arc, we'll be in for a treat.  I for one cannot wait to see where things go from here.

Daredevil (2019) #1 (Zdarsky)


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