Review by Frank Plowright
It could have been considered redundant re-constituting Daredevil as a 1930s pulp crimefighter since, date apart, the mileu has pretty well determined his operating parameters since the mid-1970s. Indeed, Tomm Coker’s art is very much in the gloomy, shadow-led style that has defined Daredevil since the millennium, and we have blind lawyer Matt Murdoch with his red costumed alter-ego both setting the world to rights. We have the Kingpin and we have the Bulls Eye killer unseen, yet making their mark. It’s only the period setting that’s different, with this Daredevil swinging around prohibition era Manhattan, well defined by Coker.
Alexander Irvine provides the plot, scattering the clipped dialogue of classic gangster fiction through the story, with Coker supplying the mood in teeming rain throughout. One Orville Halloran bootlegger has only recently been released from jail, yet has built up a criminal empire to the level of suggesting the Kingpin take a holiday. It’s surely all too convenient when his glamorous girlfriend turns up in the offices of Murdock and Nelson to hire them to protect her as she’s afraid. Matt falls and falls heavy.
All things considered this is a pretty decent Daredevil story, as he’s dragged around town and manipulated by hints about who killed his father. There is a secret that most astute readers will figure out before it’s revealed, but Irvine doesn’t drag the revelation long past that point, and he conceives a decent method of levelling the playing field when the foreshadowed meeting with the Bulls Eye killer comes around. The only real problem is that there’s very little to distinguish the story from the present day iteration, and one might have thought that was the point.
As with the other Noir titles, this is more pocket size to closer ape the pulp magazines it aims to emulate. If you’d prefer standard size, it’s collected along with Iron Man and Luke Cage’s Noir outing as Marvel Noir: Daredevil Cage Iron Man.