Marvel Graphic Novel #24: Daredevil: Love and War (1986)

This is one of the best Daredevil stories of all time.

In an artistic tour de force, Frank Miller and Bill Sienkiewicz tell a story about Vanessa Fisk, who has been in a coma for many years.

Kingpin tries to revive her with the aid of a kidnapped shrink, Dr. Mondat, who then turns things around in a classic “hostage becomes the aggressor” move by manipulating Vanessa into rejecting her criminal husband.  Daredevil does eventually arrive and save the doctor, but this is a book about psychology and character, not superheroics.

The art is abstract watercolor, similar to what Sienkiewicz would use in the upcoming Elektra: Assassin miniseries (also with Miller, and even more abstract and challenging), and the writing is some of Miller’s most novelistic.  It makes for a hard read at times—you have to work with the material—but it’s well worth the effort.  This is exactly what graphic novels should be.

We’ve come to a place in comics where we call anthologies of the most recent 5 issues of a book a “graphic novel.”  It isn’t.  It’s a trade paperback.

This is a graphic novel.

It ends with Vanessa leaving him.  This will be “retconned” into Marvel continuity in Amazing Spider-Man’s Gang War arc, where we see that after Vanessa left Kingpin, he recaptured her and keeps her sedated in his home.  Which is really, really creepy.

P.S.: Turk makes an appearance.

This is one of the best single-issue stories of all time, according to this objectively accurate list.

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