I'd read Matt Fraction's post about Daredevil #230 (part of the classic Born Again storyline and also called "Born Again") earlier, so when I was sitting around right before bed, I decided I'd download the first issue of the storyline on Comixology. Just to check it out, of course — if I liked it, I'd still stop there, then continue reading after work the next day.
A few hours later, I was swiping through the final issue, knowing that I'd be exhausted in the morning, but eager to see how it all ended.
At the risk of hyperbole, I think Born Again is one of the best superhero comics I've ever read. Maybe not quite a match for Miller and Mazzucchelli's's subsequent collaboration, Year One, but pretty damn close. For starters, it has a great high concept — Daredevil's ex-girlfriend Karen Page has become a drug addict (yeah, some of Miller's weird attitudes towards women come through), and in exchange for her next fix, she sells his secret identity. Eventually, that secret makes it up to to the Kingpin, who decides to destroy Matt Murdock's life, methodically and completely.
The whole story is perfectly constructed (except, perhaps, for the final issue, which is a bit overlong and over-the-top). It's full of memorable moments brought to life by Mazzucchelli's art, which manages be both more naturalistic and more dynamic than most other comic artists'.
Fraction's post highlights what's probably the most impressive sequence, cutting between the Kingpin; Matt Murcock lying feverish in bed, nursed by a mysterious nun; reporter Ben Urich struggling to meet a deadline at the Daily Bugle; and one of Urich's sources, who's murdered while Urich listens on the phone. (Just look at Urich's expression and how it's contrasted with the bustle of the Bugle's newsroom.) I'm also partial to the Kingpin's internal monologue at the end of issue 229:
"There is no corpse.
"For six hours this thought has been ringing through his skull. The man he thought he's murdered ... so exquisitely, so painstakingly, relishing every previous step ...
" ... From Murdock's ruin to his emotional dismemberment --
" -- To that moment of savage ecstasy, when the Kingpin's fists tore through him, cracking bone ...
" ... The man he'd thought he'd murdered is alive.
"Six hours. Spent sweating and straining, seeking the limits of his own inhuman strength. Seeking the place past the thought.
"There is no corpse.
"What is it about Murdock? He was was a minor concern -- a promising talent to be observed and catalogued and even occasionally flattered --
" -- And perhaps, one day, to be turned to the Kingpin's way --
" -- But he is more than this. Now he is much more than this.
"He always was.
"And I -- I have shown him ...
" ... That a man without hope ...
"... Is a man without fear."
After something like that, there's really no way to put the story down.