‘Daredevil: Road Warrior’ takes hero west (and digital) with Mark Waid

Oct. 31, 2013 | 5:10 p.m.
The digital "Daredevil: Road Warrior" will follow the end of the print "Daredevil" in February. (Chris Samnee / Marvel)

The digital “Daredevil: Road Warrior” will follow the end of the print “Daredevil” in February. (Chris Samnee / Marvel)

Marvel is showing no fear in where it’s taking the Man Without Fear in his 50th anniversary year, moving Daredevil to the West Coast and digital frontier.

The publisher announced Thursday that the print “Daredevil,” ending with No. 36 in February, will be succeeded by the digital exclusive “Daredevil: Road Warrior,” to be part of Marvel’s Infinite Comics line.

Writer Mark Waid, who has scripted the entirety of ol’ hornhead’s most recent run, will continue with the character into the new format — fitting, given the Eisner winner’s innovative work in digital comics with his Thrillbent initiative. He will be joined by artist Peter Krause (“Power of Shazam”), whom he’s worked with on “Irredeemable.”

“Daredevil: Road Warrior” finds blind attorney / costumed vigilante Matt Murdock packing his “I Am Not Daredevil” T-shirt (at least, we hope he’s taking it) and heading to California in what Waid calls a “coast-to-coast adventure,” spurred by the events of No. 36. The cross-country relocation is a radical change for a character who has been identified not only with New York — as are so many Marvel characters — but with the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood in particular during his first 50 years.

“Up until now, every time we’ve taken Matt out of New York, it’s been in service of awful, awful things,” Waid said in an interview at Marvel.com alongside Krause. “This feels more like the beginning of a grand journey. Which does not discount the eventuality of awful, awful things, of course; no one wants to read a Daredevil story where everything goes smoothly for him.”

Murdock debuted in comics with the April 1964 cover-dated “Daredevil” No. 1, by Stan Lee and Bill Everett. As a youngster, Matt is blinded in an accident by a radioactive substance that heightens his other senses to superhuman levels. After his father, boxer Battlin’ Jack Murdock, is killed for refusing to throw a fight, the son takes up the fight for justice on two fronts: in the courtroom as an attorney, and on the streets as a vigilante.

The character has enjoyed vibrant creative periods under teams including Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli, Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev, and recently Waid and Chris Samnee (and previously Paolo Rivera).

During its current 36-issue run, “Daredevil” has racked up four Eisner Awards, counting individual wins for Waid, artist Samnee and colorist Dave Stewart. “Daredevil” No. 7 won for best single issue or one-shot in 2012. Earlier creators’ work on the character has also seen awards success.

Infinite Comics are designed specifically for mobile devices and are sold through the Marvel Comics app, available on various Apple and Android devices. Previous titles in the line include “Wolverine: Japan’s Most Wanted” and “Iron Man: Final Frontier.”

– Blake Hennon | @BlakeHennon | @LATHeroComplex

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