It sometimes feels impossible to move forward. Life can be pain and pain can just be so all consuming, that’s why it’s important to, at times, look back at your past for guidance. This is the case in the emotional and nostalgic book, Daredevil: Yellow, written by Jeph Loeb with illustrations by Tim Sale. Yellow is the first book in the “color classic” series that goes back to the root of the character in question and retells key moments with a modern story telling flair. In the case for this book, we follow Matthew Murdock as he reminisces in a letter to his deceased loved, Karen Page, about times of yore. In particular, we start on the final days of law school where Matt and his best friend/future law partner Foggy Nelson spend a night with Battling Jack Murdock, Matt’s father, before he is killed for not throwing a boxing match. Desiring justice, Matthew takes up the mantel of Daredevil with a suit made out of his father’s old yellow robe. After getting his father’s killer behind bars, however, Matthew decides to continue his time as a masked crime fighter. Making matters interesting in his civilian identity, a new secretary is hired by the name of Karen Page that unknowingly creates a divide between the two newly minted law partners.
Let me get the bad out right off the bat: I think the writer should have tried to explain a bit more about Matt’s backstory in order to make it work better as a stand-a-lone tale. I know the character and world he inhabits, but people that have no idea how Matt got blind or how he can sense everything may be confused, double so if they are reading this after ingesting the Netflix series with no knowledge about Karen’s death in the comics (granted this was written 13 years before the series). Other than that, I have no complaints as this book is a beautiful tale of simpler times when the world seemed full of possibilities. The opening narration shows us a Daredevil that has been wore down by the sands of time and just wants to find some semblance of peace. On top of mourning over his lost love, we also see Matt talk about his father as a larger than life figure that he feels he is letting down despite being a spectacular lawyer, good friend and great superhero. One moment that sticks out his how after he goes to the execution of the man who killed Jack Murdock, Matt heads to his childhood home and admits how seeing the death of this man means nothing. All he can do is sit in his father’s colossal chair and study a photo of the man who sacrificed everything to ensure that he would never become a cruel individual.
The art for this book is astounding. Tim Sale knows how to draw action, emotions and backgrounds in a way that no one will ever be able to emulate. Each character feels unique and not just the same person but with different haircuts. If you want to see more of his spectacular art style, try Batman: The Long Halloween, which is a classic Batman story to many people. I should also note the use of colors, in this case Sale’s use of them throughout the book to contrast the more serious moments in the book. In the past, the backgrounds are bright, especially in the office scenes where Matt and Karen “subtly” flirt. Forget about rose tinted glasses, study this scene and tell me that this isn’t looking at the past through a freaking rainbow. There are, however, key moments where everything is black and white save Matt Murdock/Daredevil. In fact, the only thing that has any color in the present day scenes is Daredevil’s red costume. Goes to show how all the nasty things have the potential and explode into a depressing future.
Despite being called out for being endlessly mopey, I think the world and characters of Daredevil: Yellow provide an overall positive lesson: when those we love leave us,they are never truly gone as long as you remember the good that they inspired you. What about you? Did you like this short series? Do you have any thing to recommend yourself? Comment below and get a conversation going. I’ve been Superguy, and you’ve been awesome. Don’t worry about the future, because the past proves that you are strong enough to take it on.