Matt Murdock was 12 years old when he pushed an older man out of the way of an oncoming chemical truck. The truck skidded out of control, and it spilled its cargo. The chemicals doused Matt and got into his eyes. He was blinded, but the chemicals also enhanced his other senses and gave him something of a “radar” sense. His father and only caretaker, the boxer “Battlin’” Jack Murdock, was later killed for not being willing to throw a fight. This left Matt without a guardian until he was contacted by a man known only as Stick. Stick was also blind, but he was a martial arts master. He trained Matt intensely, and, one day, Matt returned to Hell’s Kitchen to become its protector. He became known as Daredevil, the Man Without Fear!

Matt Murdock also fought for the law in other ways. Between his leaving the hard-nosed Stick and becoming Daredevil, he studied law at Columbia University and found a legal partner in Franklin “Foggy” Nelson. This is also where he met and had a brief romantic flame with the Greek debutante, Elektra Natchios.

Alongside Foggy Nelson, Matt opened the law firm Nelson and Murdock to protect the rights of citizens. They hired a secretary named Karen Page, and she and Matt kindled a romantic relationship. He would later reveal to her his dual identity as Daredevil.

As the vigilante Daredevil, Matt quickly gained enemies. He faced such foes as the Owl, the Gladiator, Stilt-Man, the Jester, and the Circus of Crime. He also made far more deadly enemies, such as the Kingpin, the Purple Man, Bullseye, and the ancient clan of assassins known as the Hand.

He became fast friends and allies with fellow New York super hero, the Amazing Spider-Man. The two have faced down many villains together. He also gained allies in Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Moon Knight, the Daughters of the Dragon, and Shang Chi. He would later become rivals with the vigilante Punisher aka Frank Castle.

He also did this weird thing for a while where he pretended to be his own twin brother to help throw people off from suspecting that he might be Daredevil. This twin was named Mike. He was cocky like how Matt behaved as Daredevil. This was a far cry from Matt Murdock, who was known to be more calm, collected, and suffered from clinical depression.

After Foggy was elected district attorney and Matt’s relationship with Karen ended, Daredevil moved to San Francisco. Here, he met Natasha Romanova aka the Black Widow. The two became crime fighting partners, and they also entered a brief romantic relationship. He found a job with a law firm here and found a more sustained love in the woman named Heather Glenn, but he couldn’t stay away from New York for long.

When he returned, he opened a new law firm with Foggy Nelson, whom was unable to be reelected as district attorney. Matt was also reunited with Elektra. However, she had become an assassin trained by the Hand. She had since left the Hand, but she was still an entirely different person. She and Daredevil battled, but they came to an understanding and worked together. However, she was killed by Bullseye soon after.

She would later be resurrected through the use of magic, and she left New York.

Matt proposed to Heather Glenn, but the relationship went sour. After she left a drunken message for Matt to come save her from a fabricated threat, Matt ended things with Heather. She later killed herself. This only fed his depressive tendencies.

Karen returned to leave another impact on Matt’s life, but it was not a positive one. She had attempted to pursue an acting career in Los Angeles, but she failed. She turned to pornography, and she became addicted to heroin. In her darkest hour, she sold out Matt’s secret identity. This information found its way to the Kingpin, whom used it to start a campaign to destroy Daredevil’s life.

Despite her betrayal, Matt and Karen managed to reunite and entered a serious relationship once more. However, this was destroyed by a new foe, Typhoid Mary. Mary is a bipolar mutant with telekinetic and pyrokinetic powers. She was hired by Kingpin to torment Matt Murdock, and he cheated on Karen with her after Mary made sexual advances towards Matt.

As his life continued to spin out of control, a New York tabloid was onto his double identity. To escape this, he faked his own death, a ploy in which he left Foggy and Karen in the dark. He took on the identity of Jack Batlin (a play on his father’s boxer title).

After some time, he was able to return to the identity of Matt Murdock. His happiness was soon crushed when Karen Page was murdered by Bullseye. She left him money in her will, which she instructed Matt to use on something for himself. With this money, he rebuilt Nelson and Murdock with Foggy.

He found romance again in a deaf woman named Maya Lopez, though she was being manipulated by Kingpin. She also had special abilities (she could mimic any physical motion she sees) and skills, and she became the hero Echo. She fought Daredevil, but she was made wise to Kingpin’s game. She turned on Fisk and temporarily blinded him.

He found another romance in the blind woman named Milla Donovan. They even married. As Matt’s sanity was going downhill, she learned that it may be, in part, due to their marriage. She left him after learning this.

His identity was threatened once more when a newspaper outed him as Daredevil, which he denied. He deposed the Kingpin and aided in the containment of the Raft breakout that led to the formation of the New Avengers.

The FBI, having enough evidence to pursue Murdock, arrested him for being Daredevil. The incident left Foggy to believe that Matt had died. He was able to break out of federal prison alongside Frank Castle.

He escaped to Europe to wait for the storm to blow over, and he left the Iron Fist to play the role of Daredevil in his absence. Vanessa Fisk, the wife of the Kingpin, laid out an elaborate plan to have Matt absolved of his crimes. She was dying, and she wanted to corrupt Daredevil by having him defend her husband in court. She expected him to agree, so she enacted this scheme. He refused and turned on both Fisks. She later died, and Matt was able to return to the U.S with his identity safe once more.

He returned and reunited with Foggy and the firm. He also found Milla Donovan had been institutionalized by an old foe called Mister Fear. This further damaged Matt’s psyche. He also faced a new foe calling herself Lady Bullseye. She worked for the Hand, whom were making a resurgence in New York.

To combat this, Matt was forced to align himself with Kingpin. This shattered his friendship with Foggy, and he was fired from Franklin and Murdock. When Kingpin attempted to take control of the Hand, Daredevil stopped him. Matt Murdock then chose to become the new leader of the Hand to prevent it from causing further chaos in Hell’s Kitchen.

His leadership went as smoothly as it could at first, but Norman Osborn, then the director of the national security organization H.A.M.M.E.R, challenged his authority. He sent Bullseye, then masquerading as the Avenger Hawkeye, to antagonize Daredevil. He detonated a fully inhabited apartment building. This sent Daredevil over the edge. He reunited the five lords of the Hand, and he sent his ninja foot soldiers to take back the streets. He then built a massive castle in the middle of Hell’s Kitchen called Shadowland, equipped with its own prison.

After H.A.M.M.E.R fell and Osborn’s Dark Avengers were arrested, Bullseye managed to escape from S.H.I.E.L.D custody right in the middle of New York. Daredevil was the first to track him down. He battled the assassin briefly, but, when Daredevil acquired one of Bullseye’s own weapons, he impaled the villain for the world to see.

The Avengers decided that this was the final straw, and they charged Luke Cage and Iron Fist with ending Daredevil’s reign in Hell’s Kitchen. Meanwhile, the Hand’s activities in New York were steadily escalating. The Hand managed to seal the demon upon which their organization was founded, simply called “the Beast,” within Matt Murdock to solidify his place within the organization. The Beast corrupted Murdock’s soul and pushed his actions to further extremes.

White Tiger and Black Tarantula, two other vigilante heroes, were asked by Matt himself to keep Daredevil in check. However, White Tiger was corrupted by the Hand, and she dispatched Black Tarantula at the first opportunity. Black Tarantula barely survived the experience.

Elektra attempted to talk sense into Matt personally, but she was quickly turned to his side as well. Matt even hired longtime foe Typhoid Mary to work as his personal guard.

Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Spider-Man all attempted to talk Daredevil into dismantling Shadowland. He refused, and he and the Hand brutally beat the heroes and sent them out of the castle. In a last ditch assault, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Spider-Man, the Daughters of the Dragon, Moon Knight, Shang Chi, the Punisher, Ghost Rider, and Wolverine united to bring down Daredevil and the Hand. Iron Fist was able to use his mystical powers to expel the Beast from Matt, and they were able to dismantle the Hand from there.

Questioning his very identity, Matthew Murdock knew he couldn’t go on with the way he had been doing things. He asked T’Challa aka the Black Panther, in exile from his own kingdom, to watch over Hell’s Kitchen in his absence, and Matt Murdock went soul-searching in the American Southwest.

In a small New Mexico town, Matt still came across corruption. He brought down a drug lord by the name of Cavalera. This experience reinvigorated Matt’s will to fight for justice and the innocents. He returned to Hell’s Kitchen and relieved Black Panther of his position.

In an effort to keep himself from going down a dark road yet again, Matthew Murdock forced himself to be more optimistic and outgoing, both as Matt Murdock and as Daredevil. He was quickly approached by Steve Rogers aka Captain America, whom was concerned after the events of Shadowland. He managed to persuade the Captain to allow him to continue his work, but Rogers assured him that, if he suspected anything like Shadowland happening again, he would bring Daredevil down personally.

He reestablished his friendship with Foggy Nelson, and the two opened up Nelson and Murdock once more. He even found a new lover and coworker in a woman named Kirstin McDuffie.

Matt Murdock, at last, publicly outed himself as Daredevil in a legal struggle with the white supremacist group, the Sons of the Serpent. This complicated his life, but it also simplified how the public perceived him and his struggles for justice.

Daredevil, the Punisher, and Spider-Man cooperated once again in an effort to capture an immensely powerful piece of hardware called the Omegadrive. It was a disk containing catastrophic information on many of Earth’s heroes. The three were able to acquire it from the criminal organization called Black Spectre.

Daredevil even officially joined the New Avengers during the events of Fear Itself. He aided in their fight against the Phoenix Five during the Avengers’ war with the X-Men.

He faced many more struggles in his career as Daredevil. He battled the Klaw. He recovered his father’s remains when his cemetery was rooted out by the Mole Man. He was briefly captured by Latverian forces and experimented upon. He fought a new and deadly foe called Ikiri.

He also discovered that his closest friend, Foggy Nelson, had developed cancer. He faced many struggles in helping his friend fight this, and this was worsened by many of his old foes now targeting Foggy for his association with Daredevil. He helped Foggy fake his own death in a battle with a technologically enhanced Leap Frog, and this took the target off Foggy’s back.

After and intense battle with the Jester and the Sons of the Serpent and another battle with a revived but paralyzed Bullseye, Daredevil returned to San Francisco with Kirsten and Foggy. There, he continued his fight for justice.

He aided the children of the Purple Man to come to terms with their powers and parenthood, and this experience convinced Matt to become more open about his depression. He agreed to allow Kirsten’s father to write a biography on him. He aided the Owl, whom was being used as a human computer tower. He attempted to cooperate with the intensely unstable Shroud.

He came to another confrontation with the Kingpin, whom was connected to the scheme involving the Owl and meddling with the Shroud. Fisk hired Ikiri to bring down Daredevil, but the Shroud killed Ikiri. Daredevil was furious with the Shroud and cut off all association with the vigilante. Despite this, Daredevil was able to defeat the Kingpin once more.

In the events after Secret Wars, Daredevil has returned to New York with Foggy. He has taken on a new black costume, and he has even acquired an apprentice named Blindpost with a suit that can allow him to become invisible. Matt has also done something to remove the knowledge of his identity from the minds of the world with the exception of Foggy Nelson. The specifics of this procedure are yet to be revealed, and it is apparently a part of a plan to bring down many of the world’s most dangerous criminal organizations.

Since then, he has battled the Hand yet again as well as a mysterious cult leader called Ten Fingers. He has also gotten a job in the district attorney’s office.

Matthew Murdock is a hero who has faced the very worst in life. He has loved many women, and he has lost almost all of them in very gruesome and scarring manners. He is a hero who is dedicated, above all else, to protecting his home turf of Hell’s Kitchen and has only left when felt forced.

He, like many heroes, has the credo of non-lethal force. However, he has faced some of the vilest humans like Bullseye and the Purple Man. He has a deep festering rage inside of himself that he knows he can’t allow to be free. This is complicated by his depressive tendencies. Despite this, he has still struggled to be the best guardian of his home of Hell’s Kitchen that he is capable of being. He abstains from taking a life despite these challenges (with the one exception).

This combination of qualities is what makes him such an intriguing foe for the Punisher. As Frank says in the Daredevil Netflix series, “You’re one bad day from becoming me.”

Daredevil is the troubled, committed, and endlessly engaging and relatable defender of Hell’s Kitchen, and this is what has placed him at Number 4 of my Top 10 Favorite Marvel Heroes!


Further Adventures of Daredevil:

Daredevil #9


One thought on “#4: Matt Murdock, Daredevil: The Man Without Fear

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