Daredevil: Know Fear – Chip Zdarsky, Marco Checchetto, Sunny Gho & Clayton Cowles (Marvel)

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Matt Murdoch and death have never seen eye to eye. He’s tried being dead more than a few times and it’s never stuck, and following his latest brush with the Grim Reaper, the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen returns to doing what he does best in Know Fear; bringing law to the lawless with bone shattering brutality. This time though, something’s different. Something’s not quite right. His timing, his purpose, his abilities, they’re not what they were and he’s not the man or the devil that he used to be.

A lifetime of injuries have taken their toll on Daredevil and as valiantly as he tries to return to the fray and to be everything that he once was, he can’t escape the truth that he refuses to acknowledge or admit. That time catches up with everyone. No amount of will or desire can keep a hero in the game forever and sooner or later, they all have to stop. They have to stop wearing their masks before their masks begin to wear them and following a mistake that weighs heavily on his conscience, one that he ultimately he has to face up to and try to forgive himself for, in Know Fear Matt Murdoch finally reaches the point of no return and is forced to make the most difficult of his life. Does he cast the Devil out or does he continue his mission regardless of the cost?

You have to love Chip Zdarsky. He’s a guy who doesn’t believe in half measures. If he’s going to do something, he’s going to give it his all and fully commit to it. And that’s exactly what he does in Know Fear, cramming what should be a twenty odd issue arc into six bruising, heartbreaking chapters that find Matt Murdoch questioning everything that he thought he knew about himself and his alter-ego. Like the boxer who believes that he’s got one last shot at glory left in his tank, Matt refuses to believe that he can no longer be who he always was and Know Fear is the story of how he’s eventually pushed to confront the questions that he’s always ignored. Where does Matt Murdoch begin and Daredevil end? And, ultimately, is being Matt Murdoch enough for him or does he need the Devil to define who he is and give him purpose? Zdarsky’s genuinely moving, adrenaline charged rollercoaster of a story in which Daredevil courts darkness and becomes New York’s most wanted is given an extra sense of depth and power by the frankly staggering art of Marco Checchetto and Sunny Gho, that makes each and every panel and page explode in a miasma of action and raw unfettered emotion. Welcome home Matt. Incredible… Tim Cundle

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