By Dave Whiteman
In 1998, after Marvel Comics had just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, writer and artist Joe Quesada, then part of the independent Event Comics, formerly editor-in-chief and now Chief Creative Officer of Marvel Entertainment, began work on a line of comic books that featured some of Marvel’s more low-profile characters, such as Daredevil, the Punisher and Black Panther, in some more mature, darker and grittier stories. 20 years later,those stories would go on to influence a number of other Marvel titles and revitalized many characters that have now become even more popular than ever,even appearing in their own blockbuster movies and TV/Netflix shows.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of the “Marvel Knights” imprint, Marvel Comics has published a six-issue mini-series that allows a new group of talented writers and artists to tell their stories. The first issue, of course begins with “the Man Without Fear,”Daredevil, aka Matt Murdock, who we find disheveled in a graveyard on a stormy night in front of his former lover Karen Page’s grave, but with no memory of how he got there or who he is. Suddenly a police officer appears and introduces himself as Detective Frank Castle (you see where this is going?) who apparently has a similar problem and who also has Bruce Banner in the back of his cruiser.Needless to say, things don’t go the way Castle expected and of course Daredevil gets away. Soon we learn that Castle is looking for a few people with a list that has some very familiar names on it. The plot gets even“foggier” as Daredevil goes to find his friend Foggy Nelson, who also doesn’t appear to recognize him. The he learns an even bigger surprise when he sees that he no longer has a law firm with him either. As his search for answers just gets him more questions, a confused Matt soon meets someone he never expected to see again.
This new mini-series starts off with some pretty big twists as we learn that some of our favorite heroes are not who they think they are and others are very different then what we expect. Also, with a pretty impressive surprise ending, which only Marvel can deliver, we are treated to another surprise as the plot thickens. The first issue is written by Donny Cates, with penciler Travel Foreman, inker Derek Fridolfs and color artist MattMila. With several variant covers featuring art by Mike Deodato Jr. & Dean White, Jae Lee & June Chung, Kaare Andrews, David Mack (my pick!), Joe Quesada and Richard Isanove. This first issue is an exciting beginning to a new era of edgy tales by some up-and-coming talent which leaves us eagerly anticipating the next issue.