Collects: Daredevil: Yellow #1-6
Writer: Jeph Loeb
Artist: Tim Sale
By Doran Murphy
Daredevil, by his nature, is a tragic character. I mean, he's given his powers because of his blindness. He can never truly see the world around him. He has his radar-like "sight" sure, but it's not the same. Then, you consider that the death of his father spurned him into action (his father died because he stood up for himself, and did the right thing to set an example for his son), the character takes on yet another dimension of tragedy. It's tough not to sympathize with Daredevil; much like Batman, he fights to make sure people never suffer the same fate he did.
Daredevil, on the other hand, is distinctly more human and less virtuous than Spider-Man or Batman. No, he doesn't kill his enemies like The Punisher or Rorschach, but he does sometimes use them to impress the ladies. In Daredevil: Yellow (by the Eisner award-winning team Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale) the first woman Daredevil impresses is a Ms. Karen Page. Indeed, he manages to impress her as both Matt Murdock, the lawyer who she is a secretary to; and as Daredevil, the man without fear who saves her life on numerous occasions.
There's only one problem with a lot of Daredevil's love interests: they die. Really, falling in love with Daredevil may as well be signing your own death warrant at this point. Karen Page is no exception. She died a long, long time ago. Yellow is Daredevil telling the story about how he fell in love with Karen Page, and the lengths he went to protect her. This is a story to Karen, to be even more specific. By telling the story of how and why he fell in love with her, he hopes to find some measure of resolution and inner peace. In this regard, it's very much like Spider-Man: Blue.
While Daredevil works on bringing his father's killer to justice, he faces off against Electro, The Owl, and Purple Man. (Who is, subsequently, among the worst villains ever.) Along the way, he meets the Fantastic Four; balances a legal career; participates in a screwy love triangle with himself (under both aliases), his partner in his legal firm, and Karen Page; takes down the three aforementioned villains; and is always searching for the man who killed his father.
Much like Spider-Man: Blue, (which was made around the same time by Loeb and Sale) the story is a way for our hero to vent. It's a way to receive some modicum of forgiveness. However, unlike Blue, the tone of this book is more of a "relief" than a truly sad feeling. He's been trying to put these sad thoughts into words for a long time, and that comes through in the story, but it's done somewhat more selfishly than Spider-Man vents his sadness in Blue. Yellow is still a really sad book, no questions about that, but it doesn't mirror the pure, unadulterated sorrow that is so prevalent in Blue.
The writing of the book is still pretty good, and it does put a new spin on an old story. However, the story just isn't as emotional as Blue. Maybe it's because Daredevil, as a character is not as emotional as Spider-Man, maybe Spider-Man's story is more sad; I don't know. Additionally, the magic that made Blue so brilliantly moving doesn't turn up here. Though it's a very well written book, lightning only struck once for Loeb.
Artistically, this follows a color scheme. If you can't guess what that is, you're going to make me cry. That's right kids, it's all about the color yellow. You see, Daredevil, at first, wore a pretty cool yellow costume before he donned the red duds. The colors throughout the book are pale, which match the drawings very well. It's done in a "Silver Age" style, to reflect the fact that yes, it is a Silver Age story. It's done differently from Blue, though, as it has a more "realist" approach — possibly a Jim Steranko influence, as he influenced seemingly everyone.
All told, the story is still quite good. No, it's not as good as its predecessor. It's hard to fault it for that, though, as it's got some very tough competition to go up against. This book is a worthwhile read, if you get the opportunity to do so. However, I wouldn't go out of my way to look for it. For those looking to get into Daredevil, it's as good a place as any to start, but other than that, it's a rehash that doesn't bring a whole lot to the table. I mean, you're retelling the stories written by some of the best writers in comicdom in their prime — it's a rather unenviable task, but Loeb and Sale gave it the old college try, but the results are just not there.
The Measure of a man is not in how he gets knocked to the mat, it is in how he gets up. — Kid Murdock.