Sitting down, putting pen to paper, and reviewing nearly 500 pages worth of comic books that have been collected into a single book is far from easy. Hell, for some, sitting down and just reading an almost 500 page collection of comics isn’t easy. But, with that being said, when the material housed in said collection is as good as the material found in Daredevil Epic Collection: Heart of Darkness, well, the job–whether it be just reading or reviewing–becomes a lot easier.
What’s Daredevil Epic Collection: Heart of Darkness about? From the publisher:
All hell breaks loose! Things really get heated as Daredevil is caught between the diabolical Mephisto and his monstrous son Blackheart! The Man Without Fear and his friends will be forced to face their demons like never before! Are they fated to burn for eternity in the fiery underworld, or can they find their way back home? And what role will the Silver Surfer play? As Atlantis Attacks, Daredevil must face…Spider-Man! And DD, the Surfer, Punisher and the Hulk will be stalked by Lifeform! Meanwhile, Acts of Vengeance puts Daredevil well out of his weight class in a battle against Ultron! Good thing Karnak and Gorgon of the Inhumans are around to lend a hand (and cloven hoof)!
Daredevil Epic Collection: Heart of Darkness collects Daredevil (1964) #271-282, Annual #5-6 and material from Punisher Annual #3, Incredible Hulk Annual #16, Silver Surfer Annual #3.
Although there are more than a dozen comics contained within the pages of this collection, as far as I am concerned, Heart of Darkness can be broken down into three sections: Before Daredevil and the Inhumans go to “Hell,” Daredevil and the Inhumans go to “Hell,” and after Daredevil and the Inhumans go to “Hell.” Again, reviewing a collection this large is difficult, so rather than try to cover everything that I want to say I am going to focus in on the main “Heart of Darkness” arc and then speak generally about the entire collection.
Written by Ann Nocenti and illustrated by John Romita Jr. Heart of Darkness is completely and utterly brilliant–a masterpiece. From beginning to end, it keeps readers on the edges of their seats, and time and time again, Nocenti and Romita deliver. At one point, Daredevil and the Inhumans find themselves trapped in individual hells; Daredevil has to wander aimlessly through a terminal winter–through a barren landscape void of any sounds or scents. Sounds terrible, right?
The re-readability score of this arc is off the charts. Nocenti comments on the nature of man and humanity’s flaws, good and evil, and so much more. At first glance, Heart of Darkness is just a kick-ass story, but looking a bit closer reveals a horrifying glance into some of the darkest corners of the human psyche.
John Romita’s artwork is, as one would guess, amazing. Romita’s illustrations exude intensity, and in a story as intense as Heart of Darkness, that’s a must. Panels flow from one to the next effortlessly, and scenes that otherwise would be bland and uninspiring explode with emotion.
As the title suggests, this collection is most certainly epic, and thus, is a must-have for Daredevil fans. As well as the highlight of this book, the Heart of Darkness arc is a favorite of mine. Both the writing and the artwork found in this collection are great. Pick up this collection; trust me, you won’t be disappointed.