The Daredevil universes are in flux at Marvel.
With anticipation building for the streaming series reboot from Netflix to Disney+—Daredevil: Born Again—Marvel has announced the end to Daredevil v7 and the launch of Daredevil v8 over the summer of 2023.
In the midst of the industry and narrative turbulence around one of Marvel’s iconic and foundational characters comes what feels like a semi-classic re-centering of the Daredevil myth, Daredevil & Echo, reaching back to Daredevil v2 and the introduction of Echo:
Some of the semi-classic re-centering is grounded in the creative team, notably the artwork of Phil Noto:
Daredevil & Echo 1 is a powerful Hell’s Kitchen story that includes the standard focus on justice but weaves a dual narrative about past and present in the visually distinct way Noto portrays Daredevil:
This limited 4-issue series opens with parallel stories and characters, switching between 1835 and present day Hell’s Kitchen. Daredevil and Echo in present day are juxtaposed with Tommy Murdock and Creeping Death (Soena’hane’e).
The tension of the narratives dramatize a truism about history:
Then, with the pairing of Daredevil and Echo, writers Taboo and B. Earl introduce a motif of ableism between the characters’ acknowledgement of blindness and deafness:
Another motif in this issue is innocence as Daredevil and Echo must confront a powerful child, depicted with Noto’s flair for spreads and use of color:
The elements of ableism and innocence are then merged as the child is deaf:
Further, the narratives also begin to overlap with the central evil force being the Blind One
The narrative pacing and interchanging panels for past and present build tension as the reality of the evil force emerges even as Daredevil and Echo find nothing as well: “See no evil.l Hear no evil”:
The many ways in which Marvel ends and restarts characters is often maddening, but with characters such as Daredevil, there are enduring reasons to remain loyal to what will happen next.
The Daredevil & Echo interlude during one of the most turbulent seasons for Daredevil is off to a very promising start that feels like meeting Daredevil and Hell’s Kitchen again for the first time.