Reading Mark Waid’s Daredevil brings the same feeling as watching the summer blockbuster you were certain was going to suck, that ended up being glorious. Not good, glorious. Is it campy? Yes. Is it over the top? Hell yeah. Does it have some of the characters I most care about in comics today? Absolutely. Most of all, this is all done in an intensely original fashion, pulling villains from far back in the Marvel mythology, and bringing fresh new interpretations to classic characters. Instead of coasting on the unnerving and dark interpretation Brian Michael Bendis and Frank Miller brought, Waid establishes lighter tone without sacrificing interesting character development. Somehow despite the radical mood alteration, the wide array of villains and locales, the book has always first and foremost centered on Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson’s partnership (or lack there of). It is quite powerful how in each action sequence, Foggy’s presence is felt, simultaneously cheering Murdock on while wishing he would stop.
In the hands of any other writer, Saga would most likely be awful. It centers around a clichéd Montagues vs. Capulets – esque war, with tons of nudity, in a universe with bizarre creatures and items (an entire group of people have televisions for heads), and it is all narrated by an infant. Through the combined writing of Brian K. Vaughn and artist Fiona Staples (the two of whom are so well connected in vision) an enchanting universe with tons of personality comes to life, despite the lofty ambitions. Every interesting quirk is presented in such a way the reader never feels confused nor lead by the hand. The series smartly does not take itself too seriously and ends up blending humor with very serious issues. Perhaps best of all is Vaughn’s fearlessness in changing everything else to never let the reader get comfortable, complete with main characters dying at the drop of a hat and new problems being presented organically as well as suddenly. Saga is the kind of book you do not realize you have just sailed through, and it’s satisfying every time.