Marvel Knights #1 (Marvel Comics)
Twenty years ago, Marvel launched the Marvel Knights imprint, and changed the publisher forever. Naturally with a big anniversary coming up, Marvel wants to capitalize on that nostalgia, and hiring Donny Cates and Travel Foreman to create the new Marvel Knights #1 is certainly a good way to celebrate. Focusing on an intriguing mystery that revolves around our favorite street-level heroes forgetting their true selves, this opening issue is really interesting, even if it doesn’t quite match up with what is happening in the other characters’ solo books.
Matt Murdock doesn’t remember who he is. He’s in a graveyard, at the gravestone of a woman named Karen Page. He knows she means something to him, but he can’t remember who she is. When a policeman named Frank Castle comes to him and tells him he’s Daredevil, he doesn’t believe him at first. But that would explain why he can still “see” despite being blind, and the strange costume underneath his clothing. But he can’t be Daredevil, can he?
That mystery is thankfully solved fairly early in this opening issue, but the larger mystery of what has happened to these characters is still very much intact by the time you hit the last page. Donny Cates, no stranger to big ideas, is really swinging for the fences with this series, so much so that I wonder if this is even going to be considered canon or not. It can all certainly work within the Daredevil, Punisher, and other solo series that feature these characters, but the change is so drastic that I wonder if it will actually count or not.
Travel Foreman’s art is surprisingly well suited for this issue, which I wasn’t expecting. While Foreman is a great artist, I initially didn’t think his style would work well with this series, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that his art is really fluid and able to convey all the different elements of Cates’ script really well. From the emotional moments earlier in the issue to the quick action beats of Matt Murdock frantically running through the streets of NYC, Foreman’s art is really fantastic and able to convey the action extremely well.
Marvel Knights is definitely building to something really cool, but I can’t tell if it will have a big impact on the Marvel Universe or not. It’s not billed as a big event, but it’s clearly an important series that Marvel wants people to check out. Either way, it’s an intriguing series that only adds to Donny Cates’ stellar work for the publisher.