In honor of the recent release of Daredevil on Netflix, we’ve decided to look back at some of the modern comic installments of the Man Without Fear. Back at the beginning of the 2000s, when Marvel was building its run of Ultimate Comics, Daredevil and Elektra were introduced into this new universe in the four-issue miniseries known as Ultimate Daredevil and Elektra. At the time, Daredevil wasn’t exactly my favorite character and I only had so much money to spend on comics so I decided to skip it. But after being amazed by the fantastic Daredevil on Netflix, I decided to go back and give it a shot.
The first thing I have to say about this miniseries is that it should be renamed to Ultimate Elektra. Understandably, I figured the story would revolve around Daredevil due to his name being at the forefront of the title. However, I’d say that 90% of the series actually focuses on Elektra. I’m not complaining about Elektra being the protagonist, but I wish they changed the title to make it known that this is her comic.
I will give this story major credit for being a benchmark in feminist comics due to Elektra’s portrayal as a strong, independent, and ultimately bad-ass female character. There is even a discussion between Elektra and her roommate regarding feminism early on in the first issue. I thought this was a clever little way of going slightly meta about the comic’s themes while still keeping itself grounded in its own realm. Daredevil has his time to shine here and there, but Elektra steals the spotlight as the hero of this story, which further proves my point that this comic should’ve been renamed.
The story is a loose origin that explores Elektra’s first stint in vigilantism as well as her first encounter with Daredevil. After Elektra’s college roommate is sexually assaulted by a wealthy student who slithers his way out of being arrested, she decides to take matters into her own hands and seek her own brand of justice. The problem is that her vigilante ways come back to haunt her when the assaulter pays some thugs to torch her father’s business. With some minor help from Daredevil, and with a little romanticism developing between the superhero couple, Elektra eventually exacts revenge on the assaulter and lives somewhat happily-ever-after.
I don’t know what it is, but the story felt very rushed. It’s supposed to take place over the span of 1-2 college semesters. In theory, it should work out, but I found myself facing the very last page in only ten minutes. I think they could’ve taken the story and turned it into a longer series with two or three more issues. The biggest thing that caught me off-guard was how fast Elektra fell in love with Matt Murdock. I shook my head and said “really?” to myself when I saw them first express their love so early. In all honesty, the love story between Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner in 2003’s Daredevil felt more believable and less rushed. That’s saying something.
One thing I liked was how Daredevil was using his black ninja-like costume throughout the story. I’ve seen other reviews about this comic (as well as the Netflix series) where people complained about the lack of the more familiar red suit. Little do they know that in many iterations, Matt Murdock started out wearing a jet-black costume before transitioning to the red outfit we’re more familiar with today (and then there’s the yellow version…). The only tiny gripe I have is the fact that Daredevil is wearing his red outfit on the comic covers. This may have been a marketing move to appease fans who loved the red outfit more, so I’ll let it slide.
Also, Daredevil doesn’t use his trademark billy club in this run; another departure from the iconic figure many fans have come to grow and love. I still didn’t mind it. Again, this was an Elektra story and we at least see her using her twin sais toward the end of the comic.
Aside from the story, there isn’t anything else too outstanding about Ultimate Daredevil and Elektra. The artwork is average and nothing to out of the ordinary. I’ll applaud one scene where Daredevil is prowling the night and he gets overwhelmed by the sheer amount of noises flooding his sensitive hearing. A barrage of word bubbles clutter the entire page, all filled with small snippets of conversation, some of which are trivial while others are more disturbing. It gives you a sense of what Daredevil must be feeling on a daily basis. All of these voices converging on you at one time can be overwhelming, and it takes someone with tremendous strength and willpower, such as Daredevil, to hone in on a particular conversation and then track it down. Very cool.
Ultimate Daredevil and Elektra is an average comic overall. I’m not entirely disappointed that I skipped it the first time around, but I’m pretty happy I read it. As I’ve stated, my biggest complaint is the misleading title. I can see people getting mad that it’s more of an Elektra story than a Daredevil story, and I don’t blame them. The follow-up series is entitled Ultimate Elektra. Does that mean that Daredevil is the main character with Elektra providing support? I’m not rushing to the comic book shop to pick it up, so I’ll leave that question unanswered for now.
What do you think about Ultimate Daredevil and Elektra? Do you think it’s a worthy addition to the Ultimate Marvel series? Let us know what you think in the comments or on Twitter!