Shiny Shelf


Daredevil: The Target #1

By Jim Smith on 17 November 2002

As someone who has never really liked Glenn Fabry’s vein-bulging, skin-popping cover painting style it’s something of a surprise to me to discover that his pencilling on this book is really rather fine.

The sales concept behind this mini-series is both obvious and understandable. Kevin Smith has done excellent work on DD in the past, and with a film (starring one of Smith’s mates) due in the none-to-distant it makes sense to have as many easily accessible, self-contained TPs of ‘Daredevil’ stories on the shelves of K-Mart when the movie does roll around. If said TP can feature the movie’s principal villain, some introductory pages that enable you to meet the characters afresh and be written by someone likely to get the star of the movie to write an introduction then so much the better. All very laudable, really. Pushing comics onto a mass market who really do (despite what Warren Ellis tries very hard to convince us of) dig spandex clad heroes just as much as those of us with a weekly funny-book habit is a very good idea.

‘The Target’ starts well. As I said the Fabry art (pencils and inks) is excellent and Smith takes his time over the exposition, letting the newbie grasp who Karen Page was and what her importance to Matt Murdock is. It’s a bit of a shame that her gravestone seems to be in the shape of a giant cell-phone that has been forced into the ground at an odd angle but, hey, I’m a big guy and I can deal with such things. (Hey, I dealt with Igor Korday on ‘New’ I can handle anything, except maybe Ben Raab on ‘Green Lantern’). A bit late there’s a nice scene where DD looks down over the ruins of the WTC and asks a simple, effective but understandable question which’ll resonate with any inhabitant of any major metropolitan conurbation.

This is where, however, ‘The Target’ has the potential to go quite seriously wrong. It’s only potential though, and I’m very much looking forward to eating my words, but… The villains of ‘The Target’ are some ’sinister Arabs’. In a world where ever the GOP is publicly coming down hard on the kind of Islamaphobia currently snaking its way through American pop culture, this strikes me as a not particularly smart thing to do. When issues and ideas are this big, caricature isn’t the right medium to work in. Kevin Smith is a smart, liberal guy that’s obvious from his other work, and betting he knows that this is neither the time nor the place. I’m currently anxiously anticipating some sort of twist, some kind of subversion, something other than a combination of zeitgeist and cliche. I hope I get one.

This sort of thing is, frankly, of far more concern to me than Bullseye’s abandonment of his costume, and it really should be for you as well.

All in all, though a well-done, nicely drawn book, miles away from Smith’s wonderful, overtly comic ‘Spider-Man and the Black Cat’ mini. I await issue two with interest and no little trepidation.

EDIT: This review is just loaded with irony all these years on, isn’t it? JIM 26/09/2010


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