The one thing about mainstream superhero comics- basically, Marvel and DC Comics- is that there is ALWAYS a status quo to stick to. Nobody wants to change this status quo because it means developing the characters and moving them away from what Stan Lee and numerous other creators originally envisioned them as. This is a scary thing to do for mainstream comics- these characters have become so entrenched in their original visions that creators will do anything to keep them where they are. Well, that is, almost all of them. Bendis is an exception in this regard- his only goal, as it appears from an extra afterword at the back of this collection- was to shatter the current status quo and develop Matt Murdock, a.k.a. Daredevil, the man without fear, into a fully realized character. Whilst I have yet to read the rest of his run, this collection shows that Bendis is doing that beautifully. We begin with what is frankly a beautiful opening four-parter, with David Mack, called "Wake Up", in which Ben Urich investigates a broken family and the possible reasons for the family's son's comatose condition. I can't say enough on how beautiful this story is, but not particularly for Bendis' writing- it's actually David Mack's art that is the standout feature. However, when we move onto the first shocking issue of Bendis' main run, with gritty and grimy artwork by Alex Maleev, the story really kicks in and Bendis' flair for writing becomes apparent. This guy has the most brilliant dialogue in comics- he's the form's Tarantino for sure. Reading his words are brilliant and the dialogue is simply astonishing. However, it's Bendis' willingness to destroy the status quo that is most engaging- from the first page, in which we see the apparent death of the Kingpin, to the huge reveal of issue #31 (the single story that has the most impact of Bendis' run), this volume really bites. It bites hard. The characters are amazingly well-written and I don't think Matt Murdock has ever been this fully realized- not even under Frank Miller's classic run. This collection is a reminder as to why I personally read comics. And the amazing thing? Daredevil's not in it that much. Only for a scene here and there. The rest is Matt Murdock. This is by no means a superhero book- instead, it's a tight, hard-boiled, pulp fiction thriller. Reading it, I thought someone like Dashiell Hammett would have loved this run. Maleev's art, whilst taking some getting used to, is perfect for Bendis' story and his writing style, and it becomes particularly obvious that Maleev is the perfect artist for the job when the less-stellar but still good fill-ins by Terry Dodson and Manuel Gutierrez occur. This is a great comic for any new-comer, and I imagine viewers of the Wire would love this comic. We've also got some neat extras, including scripts, Maleev's notes, an introduction by Mark Steven Johnson, a reprint of an article that appeared on Newsarama, and an afterword by Bendis that provide interesting context to the work. This is definitely one of the best Daredevil comics I've read, and I recommend it to all. Roll on volume 2!