Here’s a comic chosen at random from my collection.
Daredevil: Underboss by Brian Michael Bendis (story), Alex Maleev (art), Matt Hollingsworth (colors), RS & Wes Abbott (letters), Stuart Moore (editor), and Maleev (cover)
Ahh, the early 2000s. I was just starting to ramp up my comic buying after years of buying just a handful of books (I was in grad school and money was tight), and one of the new ones was the Daredevil collections because I’d been hearing that this Bendis guy was writing the hell out of our favorite blind superhero. I had bought Bendis’s first story arc, “Wake Up”, and loved it. This was a Daredevil that I’d never read before, and one that rang truer than anything up to this point, even compared with Miller’s run. And next was “Underboss”.
You know how Daredvil now is outed as a superhero, and Matt Murdock deals with this new status quo every day in the Waid/Samnee issues? Well, it all started with this collection, 14 years ago! A new guy, Silke, arrives to make his mark in the underworld, finds out that Kingpin knows who DD really is, and decides to make a play for power by trying to kill Matt. Kingpin finds out and uninvites Silke, but it’s too late–Silke has already convinced some of Fisk’s inside men to reenact the murder scene from Julius Caesar (which is quoted by Silke). Kingpin, of course, isn’t dead, but while he recuperates, his wife Vanessa, essentially takes over the operation, and proceeds to have the murderers wiped out, including her own son. Silke, in typical sleezoid fashion, barely escapes, and in an effort to save his own skin, runs to the Feds. They’re about to boot him into jail when Silke offers them who Daredevil really is.
Bam! Just like that, we get 14 years of great DD stories. Alex Maleev’s and Matt Hollingsworth’s art didn’t hurt the experience either. The dark inks and subdued color palette only accentuates the grittiness of Hell’s Kitchen and the people who inhabit the area. Overall, it’s great crime fiction dressed up in red spandex and brandishing a cane.