Without a doubt, like a searing bolt of lightning cutting jagged, surreal lines into a pale sky, bringing to life a whirlpool that flips the status quo off its axis, this book thundered, rumbled and altered my state of consciousness. Frank Miller, to me, is a hallowed name from now on, and the Daredevil comic series is a masterpiece.
Daredevil is a superhero comic book series that has spawned tons of issues across the years, and has established itself as an authentic surge of a creative powerhouse. The issue I read was called The Man Without Fear, and indeed I met a superhero, Matthew Murdock, who stood alone, and fought without any fear. What has shaped him to be so hardcore, and brave? Pain, death, suffering, loneliness, discipline, years and years of frightening practice - precisely everything antithetical to a mainstream way of life - has forged a superhero out of a green-eyed, orange haired, mischievous punk of a eight year old kid. This got me thinking: turning away from the blinding limelight of a conventional life and the mind-numbing herd is the only way to live an authentic life in tune with your destiny.
The comic book is a set in a dilapidated neighborhood in New York, and it opens up with the hint of a noble destiny awaiting Matt, an eight year old who is a mischief wizard. The boys's father is a heavyweight boxer, a hulk of a towering man with a gentle spirit, trying to keep his son in school and give him a good life by doing the only thing he knew - slugging it out in a ring. The first turning point in Matt's life is when his father slaps him hard for beating up another kid in a pointless show of bravado. Teary-eyed, and sad, Matt resolves to live by a set of rules. And, true to his word, he never breaks his rules, despite being beaten by the school bullies, and catcalled as daredevil. He studies hard, and keeps to himself. He stays sane by punching a boxing bag in a gym, a relentless, furious act; the journey towards his destiny had begun.
At sixteen, he jumps in front of a staggering truck to save a man, and goes blind when the radioactive contents of the truck spill into his eyes. He lies on the hospital bed, blind and drowning in a powerful current of smells and sounds. Back home, he goes to the gym, and is stymied in his tracks by his vision-less eyes. As he curls up in anger and frustration, a mysterious stranger becomes a powerful teacher to Matt. He teaches Matt to sense the movement of air, to hear a breathing heart, to jump from rooftops, to engage in combat, and to hit the bull's eye in archery. He shows him how to see the world through his mind's eye.
Matt is sixteen when his father is killed in a brutal, vicious attack by an underworld thug. He avenges his father's death by killing them off one by one, but by a cruel twist, someone else is killed, and the guilt ricochets in his heart forever. His teacher disappears, disappointed and concluding that Matt lacks the discipline to serve a noble calling.
Matt goes off to college, falls in love with Elektra, is left behind when she has to leave and becomes a lawyer, working in Boston. When he returns to NY for an assignment, he meets a 14 year old runaway girl called Maggie at his childhood gym, and befriends and trains her. Around this time, a new kind of evil wraps its tentacles around the NY city, threatening to drown it under a cesspool of gut-wrenching crimes. Drugs, child prostitution, kidnapping looms large, and Maggie becomes just another victim, about to be swallowed whole. Needless to say, Matt pursues a trail of scents and sounds, and slashes and kills countless before rescuing Maggie.
He finally wakes up to the call of his destiny. He calls himself Daredevil, he wears a costume, he tears through the rooftops, and he hunts crime with a hunger for justice.
I recommend reading this comic book. Why? Because it takes you out of the ordinary, and propels you onto the wings of the extraordinary. It made me think and wonder: is it possible for the human consciousness to surpass the loss of an eyesight? Has anyone tried moving beyond what can be seen only by the eyes as opposed to what can be seen by a trained, disciplined mind’s eye? It has inspired me, and revived me. Amid the blood, gashes, flying kicks, and heartbreaking story-line, there were a couple of scenes that made me laugh out loud.
A quick read, and does wonders for the mind, and spirit.
The love for books & a hunger for stories was programmed into my DNA. And, sooner than later, life experiences sealed the deal. Books have saved me, transformed my life, enlightened me and have shown me the path I must walk. In a way, far too many books have played the role of kindred spirits and guides, leading the seeker in me to answers and paving a way for a new way of life. Books have helped me keep my wits, my sense of wonder, my sense of mystery and curiosity & my sanity in a life that has been anything but predictable and normal.