Marvel Season One: Fantastic Four and Daredevil

I haven’t touched a lot of the old school comics before when it comes to Marvel and DC (and those I’ve read are because of SuperMOOC). So when the opportunity came via the library system to check out the Marvel Season One books – the updated origin graphic novels retelling the origin stories of some of the better known heroes I was game.
I really picked up the titles in order of interested and was able to touch the first few pretty quickly so the reviews are in that order as opposed to some kind of chronological one. This time I checked out Fantastic Four and Daredevil.

Fantastic Four Season One by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and David Marquez

My opinion on Fantastic Four and what they are has been pretty heavily shaped by Jonathan Hickman, the brief animated series with the graffiti’d Ben Grimm and Ultimate Fantastic Four all of which were pretty solid (though the animated series may have been assisted by booze.) So how does Fantastic Four in the Season One line stack up? Pretty well.

Roberto Aquirre-Sacasa does a really good job pacing out the story, hitting a lot of the expected notes and getting the scenes that the book needed (minus a full on Dr. Doom attack) in the book while also including Alyssa Moy who really was there as a smart but shallow counterbalance to Sue Storm’s normal intelligence but caring side. The biggest issue with the writing is some of the stilted dialogue. Some lines stick out or just mentally wrap around the brain pausing scenes, especially when people in the background are making random comments. Nobody is going to scream “don’t eat me monster baby” as far as I know.

Screen shot 2013-09-16 at 9.25.55 AM

Meanwhile on the art David Marquez does a solid job setting up scenes and creating mostly realistic humans. Some background anatomy bits are awkward but he puts a solid amount of detail in the pieces so that when they are accompanied with the colors from Guru E-FX is is infinitely clean and readable.

The story focuses more on the characters and their relationships than the massive Marvel universe that Hickman had been doing and you can see Aquirre-Sacasa’s theatrical background in the scenes which is important.

Despite some occasionally sticky dialogue, Fantastic Four Season One is an excellent introduction to the First Family of Marvel and is well worth checking out.

Daredevil Season One by Antony Johnston and Wellinton Alves

My sole experience with Daredevil has been Mark Waid’s still excellent continuing run (I wish I wasn’t trade waiting on it) and that one Reborn series where it looked like Conan O’Brien fighting people in the backroads of America. One was excellent and the other way just bleh and unfortunately Daredevil Season One has more in common with Reborn in terms of quality.

Johnston bases most of the story around a single case – the city is trying to evict a priest and the church, Daredevil is trying to figure out why and here is the main problem because instead of focusing on making the entire story one big mystery that ties together, you have a lot of other villains peppered in to seemingly take up time for the plot. There wasn’t even real symbolic meanings behind them and they offer no depth to Purple Man almost raping Karen Page (since he can mind control people). In fact Karen exists more as a damsel in distress and a romantic interest than an actual character which is a shame. It feels more like a highlight real when it really shouldn’t. While X-men did the same dissociated scenes in their title, everything built on to a larger narrative while the battles definitely felt like filler.

At the same time Wellinton Alves work is problematic. Some panels are full of detail and definition while the next is incredibly shaky with additional issues coming from the inking and coloring jobs.

"It's a red haired Jimmy Carter! Kill it!"
“It’s a red haired Jimmy Carter! Kill it!”

Daredevil gets so much wrong and binds the book in a vastly uninteresting way that if not for the first issue of Waid’s Daredevil being in the back, I could see readers never picking up a Daredevil book again.

Avoid the title, just generally speaking because Daredevil is a mess.

Luke Herr

Luke is a writer and an aspiring professional comic writer who is also the editor in chief of Nerdcenaries. He currently is working on a graphic novel called Prison Spaceship.