You know how I said The Mighty Thor #1-6 was the best comic story Marvel put out this year? Ready for 2nd Place?

This year’s Daredevil #1-3 by Mark Waid and Paolo Rivera (with some additional art by Marcos Martin) is post-modern super hero comics with a retro feel. Make sense? I didn’t think so.

Since the 80s, Matt Murdock’s life has been hell. A string of murderous enemies and dead or as-good-as-dead girlfriends was the status quo and that could drive anyone nuts. Those stories by Frank Miller and Daredevil’s later adventures by Bendis and Brubaker are great, but Matt’s train ride of despair came to a head a couple of years ago with the crossover Shadowland and that left Daredevil in an excellent place for a rebirth. And it’s great.

Mark Waid is the #1 guy you want if you’re looking to reinvigorate a classic franchise while still making it feel brand new. His Fantastic Four with Mike Wieringo is still the best run of the series beyond the original Stan Lee/Jack Kirby. (And his Ka-Zar and Captain America are nothing to sneeze at either.) The first few pages of Daredevil #1 gives us a Matt Murdock we haven’t seen in a long time, the devil-may-care swashbuckler he was before Frank Miller. These pages will forever be proof of Mark Waid’s genius.

Obviously I liked the writing. But that’s not even why this is my 2nd favorite comic Marvel produced this year. Let me tell you about Paolo Rivera’s work in this book. There are a lot of very talented comic artists out there. Whether you like some cartoony flare or the nearly photographic, the style choices and thought processes of most artists is pretty straight forward. But there’s a growing group of illustrators turning in work that aren’t content with the usual designs and storytelling we’ve gotten used to in super hero comics. Paolo Rivera is one such artist. The way he showed Daredevil’s unique view of the world as it interacts with the constantly in flux teleporter (and classic Spider-Man punching bag) The Spot is revolutionary. The way Rivera (and Marcos Martin) have depicted Daredevil, his athleticism and powers will be a watershed moment for the character. No one will ever get away with being lazy about “radar sense” ever again. Not to mention that his style is fun, energetic and feels like he was born to do this book. He’s worth the price of entry alone. When Captain America shows up? Paolo Rivera will be your new favorite artist, if only for the next 10 pages.

Now Marcos Martin must be mentioned even though he only does a back up story in issue 1. Fresh off a series of fan-favorite Amazing Spider-Man story arcs, Marcos Martin is a natural fit for rotating artist with Mr. Rivera. Their art is in the same “school” of John Romita Sr. classic style with a modern storytelling sensibility. Both these artists capture such energy and movement, you find your brain animating the panels. And I think that’s exactly what they wanted to happen.

Maybe it’s because the approach to the character is so new that makes it feels so fresh, maybe it’s the art. But I think it’s both and it makes for a perfect package, the kind of comics that no one can tell you isn’t art.