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Phil Hester talks “Daredevil/Magdalena”

by  in Comic News Comment
Phil Hester talks “Daredevil/Magdalena”
“Daredevil/Magdalena” on sale in February 2008

Writer/artist Phil Hester is taking Top Cow by a storm: On top of penning the highly anticipated new “The Darkness” ongoing series, Hester is writing and penciling the latest Top Cow/Marvel Comics crossover, “Daredevil/Magdalena.” CBR News sat down with Hester to talk about the book, which ships in February 2008.

Most of you are probably already familiar with Matt Murdock: blind lawyer by day, sonar-guided champion of Hell’s Kitchen by night. But you may not be as familiar with the Top Cow half of the crossover. The Magdalena possesses the power to see into men’s souls and redeem them for their sins. This power has been passed down from mother to daughter for generations, dating back to the conception of Mary Magdalene’s daughter Sarah. Each new Magdalena is raised and trained by the Roman Catholic Church, and dispatched by a council called the Inquisition on missions to advance the Church’s agenda. The current Magadelana is a woman known only as Patience, who doesn’t exactly see eye to eye with the Inquisition. Patience declared independence from the Church, although she is not unwilling to work with them on a case-by-case basis.

In “Daredevil/Magdalena,” Patience finds herself hunting a rogue demon that had until recently been a prisoner of a cabal of apostate monks. The demon endured centuries-long torture at the hands of the monks, and now, writer Phil Hester told CBR News, “The thing is free and it seeks revenge on the monks’ descendants – many monks and priests had families on the down-low. Normally, Mags would have no trouble with such an assignment, but this demon is a shape shifter and nearly impossible to track.”

Meanwhile, Daredevil is spending his Christmas Eve combing Hell’s Kitchen for a missing child. “His search intersects with Magdalena’s when they both realize the missing girl is one of the evil monk’s descendants,” Hester explained. “Of course, they have a cool, if brief, tussle. DD’s powers become integral in tracking the demon and rescuing the children who’ve been kidnapped for some nefarious ritual.”

Matt Murdock’s own Irish Catholic upbringing made him the logical choice for a Magdalena team-up. “Of course, Matt has nun/mother issues, so that’s a ‘gimme,'” Hester said. “But on another level, we find Matt pushed to explore the connection between his powers and a deeper relationship with the universe that he hasn’t really revisited since his days training with Stick. For Magdalena, issues of faith and magic are everyday facts, like gravity, but for Matt it’s a complicated path and he finds both his faith and logic tested in ways he couldn’t imagine.”

When Top Cow editor Rob Levin approached Hester about writing the crossover, it was an offer the writer-artist couldn’t refuse. “I think I said yes before he finished asking,” Hester confessed. “Frank Miller’s ‘Daredevil’ is one of the comics from my youth that I can pinpoint as one of my direct inspirations to make comics, so getting to follow in his footsteps, even in such a miniscule way, is a big deal to me.”

When asked whether or not the crossover would be in continuity, Hester invoked Alan Moore. “Like Alan Moore said, they’re all imaginary stories,” Hester remarked. “But I’m building this thing so it will fit into both character’s histories. Crossovers usually don’t become canon, but if you don’t treat them that way as a writer they ring hollow.”

Hester has a full plate of other comics projects on the docket. He’ll be lending his artistic talents to many DC Comics projects including three issues of “Superman Confidential” with Ande Parks on inks and B. Clay Moore writing; a short Gail Simone “The Spirit” story; and a six-issue “El Diablo” miniseries with Jai Nitz at the helm and Ande Parkson on inks.

At Image, Hester’s creating a new “Firebreather” monthly with original artist Andy Kuhn, and a new horror/comedy series called “Golly” featuring art by Brook Turner.

“At Desperado, I’m continuing the comic formerly known as ‘The Atheist’ as ‘Antoine Sharpe’ with Will Volley on art,” Hester said. “And, of course, I have my main gig, which is ‘The Darkness’ at Top Cow, which has been a blast so far.”

The “Daredevil/Magdalena” one-shot hits stands in February, 2008.

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