The son of a washed-up ex-prizefighter, Matt Murdock was blinded in an accident involving radioactive waste. Said accident, however, also heightened his remaining senses, allowing him to develop superhuman agility and combat skills based upon them. Initially wary of using his abilities publicly, Matt became a crimefighter after his father was killed for refusing to throw a fight, becoming the vigilante Daredevil.
Beware the Nice Ones: He's a very nice, noble guy most of the time but when he loses his temper, its best not to be a bad guy anywhere near NYC. Bullseye and Kingpin learned this the very hard way after trying to kill Milla.
Butt Monkey: Matt could seriously challenge Spider-Man's place as the "Most Unlucky Hero". If something good happens, You can bet it won't last and will be swiftly followed by an unexpected punch to the gut, spiritually speaking. "Born Again" is the most famous example but there are many, many others. So much so He's practically a deconstruction as many issues have shown him as being so emotionally damaged that he is almost incapable of feeling happiness and he feels like he can do little more than brace himself for the next trauma or humiliation.
The Chessmaster: When pitting all of the criminal organizations against one another.
Clark Kenting: While his costume covers his body, most people figure out he is Daredevil anyway. Lampshaded by Spider-man who calls it "The worst kept secret identity since Hannah Montana".
In this case, its because- in one of the most groundbreaking story arcs in superhero fiction- his identity was discovered by a mid-level gangster and publicly exposed to the entire world. He eventually "proved" in court that he wasn't Daredevil, but the damage had been done and by the end of the ordeal nearly all of his allies and enemies knew who he really was, and still do. The trope itself is an aversion since his Secret Identity and costume in and of themselves are both very efficient.
Cool Shades: Almost always wears his sunglasses when not fighting crime.
Crusading Lawyer: And he puts the rest to shame. Lots of fictional hero attorneys will bend the law or risk their lives for the sake of their innocent clients, but how many will kick the ass of crime lords, ninja zombies or superhuman assassins in the process?
Deadpan Snarker: He's usually very stoic and serious but when he wants to, Matt can easily outsnark the likes of his good friend Spider-man. He was always like this but it was seen more in his early years and showed up more in Mark Waid's run.
Matt: "You must be real proud of yourselves, gents... With a little luck, you may actually defeat a blind man... if you work together!"
Determinator: Doesn't even begin to describe him. Its practically a superpower.
Honor Before Reason: Matt often faces against enemies who are a lot more powerful and capable of incredible damage, physically and personally. He even refuses to defend guilty clients, which is why his law firm is usually broke.
Hypocritical Humor: He once told Moon Knight that his secret identity as Marc Specter is the worst kept secret in the hero community.
Kick the Son of a Bitch: His exceptionally violent and brutal murder of Bullseye was supposed to show he had gone off the deep end, but considering who Bullseye is, there isn't a person alive who can fault Matt for doing what he did.
Knight in Sour Armor: You could probably count the number of times Matt's been happy on one hand. He could be written as a villain and you'd still be sympathetic to him. Despite this, he keeps on going. This trope could probably be renamed "Knight in sour red leather".
Starting with Mark Waid's run he starts subverting this because he felt like his attitude was a self-fulfilling prophecy, outright telling Foggy "I didn't want to be that guy anymore."
Knight Templar: Became one briefly when he overthrew Fisk and took over Hell's Kitchen, brutally beating up anyone in his way and chastising other heroes who criticized him.
Really Gets Around: It really wouldn't be surprising to learn Matt has slept with every attractive woman in the Marvel Universe. Or at least, New York City. Really, general concensus places Matt second only to Tony Stark for Marvel's biggest playboy.
Thou Shalt Not Kill: While it was a Silver Age rule, it fits very well with Matt's Catholic side and his father's moral advice. It's still abided by even as his stories get darker.
Upbringing Makes the Hero: His father Jack raised him on his own and taught Matt not to use violence and that he could be someone great one day. Fittingly Jack's murder is what convinced Matt to become Daredevil.
Your Cheating Heart: Cheated on Milla Davis with Dakota North when Milla was confined to a mental institution. This is what gives her parents the ammunition they need to have Milla transferred to their custody.
Franklin "Foggy" Nelson
Badass Bookworm: OK, he's not really a great physical fighter, but when it comes to standing up for Matt, nobody does it better than good old Foggy.
A recent running gag in Waid's run is Matt putting Foggy on a diet and exercise regimen, and Foggy's attempts to get out of it. He does it in part because Foggy is an EXTREMELY loud chewer and it disrupts Matt's senses.
Badass Normal: Not for his fighting skills (he doesn't have any) so much as his guts; be you Wilson Fisk or Norman Osborn, even if you put the fear of God into him, sooner or later this man will stand up to and expose you knowing he risks he takes with his life.
Magic Knight: Has some minor Ki Attacks and magical abilities, most of which are used to enhance her battle prowess, as well as some low-level Psychic Powers. Most of these come from training with the mystical evil ninja sect The Hand.
The daughter of the Kingpin's one-time partner, Maya Lopez was raised as Fisk's daughter following his murder of her father. Deaf, she possesses the ability to memorise actions by sight alone, making her a formidable fighter.
Anti-Villain: Briefly. She was pitted against Daredevil by the Kingpin, but had no idea that she was working for a criminal (or at least, how bad a criminal he was) and mistakenly believed that Daredevil killed her father. A solid Type 4.
Dating Catwoman: Like Typhoid Mary, she dates Matt Murdock while trying to kill Daredevil. Unlike her, she only does so because she was tricked.
Pay Evil unto Evil / Laser-Guided Karma: Once she finds out what really happened to her father, she responds by putting a bullet between Kingpin's eyes. He survives, but was blinded, just like Matt, except without the super-senses.
Revenge by Proxy: On the receiving end of this after Matt Murdock was accused of being Daredevil, most notably when Bullseye broke into her room and nearly racked his list of "number of Daredevils girlfriends I've killed" up to 3.
Trauma Conga Line: Marrying a guy with a long list of crazy ex-girlfriends and psychopathic enemies right around the time his Secret Identity is exposed to the world was not the smartest move in the world.
Growing up poor and bullied, Wilson Fisk drove himself to become stronger, more powerful, and more ruthless than everyone around him, eventually becoming deeply involved in organised crime. Starting out as a bodyguard for Don Rigalotto, Fisk murdered his boss and seized control of the don's empire for himself, expanding his reach until he controlled almost the entirety of New York's underside. He has known who is under Daredevil's mask for a long time, and regularly uses that information to try and ruin Matt Murdock's life.
Acrofatic: Remarkably agile for a man of his bulk.
Arch-Enemy: One of two with Bullseye, though between the two the war between Fisk and Murdock is a closer example of this trope. He'd also rank around fourth on Spider-Man's enemies list.
Badass: A master of jujitsu, hapkido, and unsurprisngly, sumo wrestling, Fisk is one of the most capable fighters in the Marvelverse, capable of fighting Daredevil, entire teams of Hand ninjas, and actual superhumans.
Badass Normal: Can hold his own against actual superhumans, though how well is Depending on the Writer. Once outsmarted Iron Man, despite the latter being far more intelligent, by tricking him into taking out some of his rivals. While in prison.
Bear Hug: A crushing bear hug is his signature move.
The Big Bad: Of numerous arcs in the comics, including most famously "Born Again". He's also The Big Bad of the series as a whole. Most bad things that happen in-series are because of him, he can never truly be removed, and it is on him that Daredevil's attentions are most focussed.
Bodyguard Betrayal: How he became The Kingpin of Crime in the first place—by betraying the don he was supposed to be bodyguarding and usurping his position.
Cane Fu: Has regularly used his walking stick as a weapon, which given his mastery of hapkido, a Korean martial art that features cane fighting as one of its techniques, shouldn't be surprising.
The Chessmaster: He's always this, but in his prime in particular he controlled nearly all organized crime on the East Coast, and even had a general in his pocket.
Classic Villain: As Spider-Man's nemesis. Who better to counteract a short, skinny teenager than a towering, middle-aged body builder? This still works in many ways with Matt, as a blind athletic lawyer who isn't really that handicapped is opposed by a sighted but grotesquely fat gangster who isn't near as out of shape as he looks.
Deuteragonist: After Matt himself, nobody is more important to Daredevil and its ongoing story arcs than Wilson Fisk. We've seen him build, run, lose, and rebuild his empire, have witnessed the messy details of his personal life, and have experienced his triumphs and failures with him. When he's not a part of the story, it frequently feels as though something is missing.
Enemy Mine: He and Daredevil have allied several times, against other organisations like The Hand, against gangsters like The Owl, and in order to escape prison. These alliances almost inevitably end in a betrayal by one or both parties.
Even Evil Has Loved Ones: His wife and son, even after both tried to kill him. Also Marta and her children, who were killed by Lady Bullseye.
Evil Gloating: His love of this is almost always what undoes him in the end.
Greed: Matt puts it best: "He won't stop. He'll never stop. He'll just keep murdering. And hurting. And taking. And taking and taking and taking. He thinks he's entitled. He thinks he deserves everything he takes. And he will never stop."
Honorary Uncle: To Marta's children, who dub him "Uncle Willie" during the prologue of "Return of the King".
Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Kingpin is one of the largest non-superhumans in the Marvelverse. His wife Vanessa, and his eventual girlfriend, Marta, are both tiny women.
It's Personal: Both Fisk and Murdock can go to pretty extreme lengths to get at each other. Both have went out of their way to ruin each other's businesses, several times. Fisk has set Matt up with girlfriends who were secretly assassins after Daredevil; Matt made Fisk miss his own wifes funeral; Fisk has Matt's friends beaten up; Matt beats up Fisk...it goes on. On at least two occasions Kingpin was on the verge of getting his old empire back, and Matt stopped him by taking it for himself. Both were What the Hell, Hero? moments- he did it mainly just to screw Fisk over.
Near Villain Victory: Often, but most notably at the end of Brubaker's run when the only way Matt can stop him from becoming leader of The Hand is by taking the job himself.
Necessarily Evil: He was once forced into retirement by his wife after she found out about his life of crime; he was then forced back out of retirement because of threats against him and his family, made by an underling who thought he was doing Fisk a favour. Which was a textbook case of Too Dumb to Live.
His status has also made him this by default and is the reason why no one has made any attempt to dethrone him for good: if anyone actually did, the power struggles caused by the inevitable rush of people trying to take his place would cause far more damage than Fisk himself ever could.
No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Gave one to Daredevil in "Born Again" and was on the recieving end of one from him in Brian Michael Bendis' run (though that was after putting up a very good fight for most of the battle).
Pride: Easily his greatest flaw, outstripping even his greed. Fisk needs to be in control and to dominate those around him, and he can't take being slighted or thwarted in any way.
Revenge Before Reason: In Born Again his underlings kept calling him out on it- this was a mistake, but they were right and his revenge scheme blows his plans to move into legitimate business out of the water as they result in him being publicly exposed as a crime lord. In Civil War he has Spidermans' Aunt May shot, to goad Spidey into a fight so he could show all the goons in prison he was still in charge- Spiderman beats the hell out of him, and warns the crowd if he or anyone tries something that again he'll come back and kill them.
Revenge by Proxy: The Aunt May example, but he's went after Matt by attacking Foggy Nelson before, and through his girlfriends and other associates.
Rogues-Gallery Transplant: Perhaps the most successful example of this trope. Started out as an A-list Spiderman villain, then was promoted to Daredevil's Arch-Enemy. Even Stan Lee noted that in retrospect he makes much more sense as a Daredevil villain. His rationale was that a villain whose facade is a businessman works better with a superhero who, as a day job, is a lawyer instead of a journalist.
Tragic Villain: Has been played this way at times, with his attempts at getting out of the criminal life inevitably failing, and seeing him hauled back in.
Tranquil Fury: During Brubaker's run Daredevil notes that Fisk is a master at a variant of this—no matter how enraged he might appear on the surface, his his pulse always remains steady and his adrenaline at a minimum.
Villainous Valor: Can be generally counted on to keep his word; genuinelly cares for his own family; sees his enemies in Worthy Opponent terms (sometimes) and will treat his underlings with respect so long as they don't fail or betray him. There's also no denying his bravery or his willingness to confront heroes like Daredevil head on.
The best assassin in the Marvel Universe, Bullseye is a contract killer who has, at various points, been retained by most of Daredevil's biggest adversaries, most notably The Kingpin. After killing both Elektra and Karen Page, and making numerous attempts on the lives of Matt Murdock's other loved ones, Bullseye has ensured he is the one person that Dardevil hates more than Wilson Fisk.
Badass Normal—>Empowered Badass Normal: He is at the absolute peak of human physicality and possesses astonishing skill with weapons but had no real powers, until part of his skeleton was laced with adamantium.
Back from the Dead: Lady Bullseye resurrected him and he returned to seek revenge on Daredevil. He failed, miserably. Again, see And I Must Scream.
Cut Lex Luthor a Check: He had tremendous potential as an athlete and baseball player due to his expert marksmanship but his psycopathic nature came out and he killed a player. He actually does make a lot of money as an assassin but he never spends any of it (He believes he may have more money than Norman Osborn from his jobs).
The Dragon: To Kingpin. note Bit of Popcultural Osmosis, though, as he had the post only (very) briefly during Miller's run (crippled in a fight with Daredevil, he's put out of commission and gets super pissed on finding out that Elektra has taken over—this ends not well for her).
Enemy Mine: Forced to team with Matt when the two of them and Kingpin stage a breakout from Rykers in Brubaker's run. Neither he nor Matt is happy about it.
Evil Cripple: Since coming back, he has been confined to an iron lung.
He has now lost his sight, too.
Faux Affably Evil: He loves acting friendly and humorous to taunt Matt, whom he knows won't kill him.
For the Evulz: Bullseye is a paid mercenary and earns a sizable fee for his murders.... But he recently revealed he barely ever spends it since he'd rather spend his time killing even more people. He even states that he's gotten so much cash over the years for his various jobs he's probably richer than Norman Osborn.
Freudian Excuse: His parents were abusive drunks. When Matt finds out, he uses it to taunt him in a fight and throw him off.
Genius Bruiser: He's fiendishly intelligent and an excellent planner. For example, he once fired on Daredevil with a revolver which he then discarded after one shot. When Karen Page thinks she has an advantage and tries to shoot him, he reveals that it intentionally only contained one round.
Improvised Weapon: Things that Bullseye has used as weapons include, but are by no means limited to, playing cards, paperclips, toothpicks, paper airplanes, golf balls, peanuts, and several of his own teeth.
Kick the Dog: Where to even begin? In the interest of saving time, We'll only mention his murder of a church full of nuns and Karen Page in Kevin Smith's run.
Know When to Fold 'Em: Bullseye may be crazy, but he's not stupid. He knows when it's time to retreat. He was also was the one to tell Osborn that his plan to invade Asgard was insane.
Knife Nut: He's an expert marksman and uses firearms on occasion but prefers to use blades and improvised weapons instead.
Multiple Choice Past: Ask him for his backstory and he'll give a different story each time. The only thing that ever remains consistent any time he talks about his past is that he had Abusive Parents, that he kills his parents and that he was a baseball player before becoming a Killer for Hire.
No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: He's been on the receiving ends of some absolutely devastating ones from Matt. Taken up to eleven in Bendis' run when he not only beats him nearly to death but carves a bullseye symbol into his head and gives him a vicious Reason You Suck Speech. This was when Bullseye tried to kill Milla and caught Matt at the end of his tether.
He does respond to "Lester," but its unknown if this his name or a frequent alias.
Not Wearing Tights: He originally wore the blue spandex costume pictured above. In more recent years, however, he has donned a costume based on his appearance in the film, consisting of motorcycle clothes, a trenchcoat, and a bullseye symbol on his forehead.
Self-Made Orphan: Details about where and when vary, but he does often state how he murdered his parents.
Psychologist: And you say your father beat you? Bullseye: Yes, until I was fourteen. Psychologist: Hmmm. I see. And what happened then. Bullseye: (kills psychologist with a voice recorder) I killed him.
The Sociopath: The most obvous example among Daredevil's rogues, with his short temper, need to hurt people, and malignantly antisocial behaviour.
Stuffed into the Fridge: He's done some stuffing in his time. Running tally of hero's girlfriends gruesomely murdered: Daredevil - 2 (Elektra and Karen Page) The Sentry - 1 (Lindy Reynolds). He also attempted to do this to Milla Donovan.
An ancient organisation of Japanese nationalist ninja, The Hand were corrupted by the inside out by the Snakeroot, a clan of demon worshippers who aimed to bring their master, The Beast, into the world. They have opposed Daredevil on many occasions, aiming always to increase their own power and free The Beast from its imprisonment.
Archenemy: Of the organistion known as The Chaste, of whom Matt's mentor, Stick, was one. The group as a whole is third on Daredevil's hit parade after Wilson Fisk and Bullseye. They've fought him many times, a number of his enemies (Elektra, Lady Bullseye, Kingpin) have been members of the group or have tried to take control of it, they're linked to his mentor, and they want Matt to be their leader.
Bigger Bad: The Beast, their evil master. He has only appeared in two stories, and most of the time he uses Demonic Possession rather than his true form (a large, green, ogre-like monster with a bit of a hunchback).
Nebulous Criminal Conspiracy: They have a long, complex history with HYDRA and the latter is more or less a breakaway group of the more politically minded members, though they still co-operate from time to time. They often ally with other evil groups, and a branch are controlled by the Kingpin.
Religion of Evil: They worship an ancient demon known only as The Beast. In the Wolverine story arc Enemy of the State, their Jounin, their highest ninja masters, are clearly not human and implied to be demons as well.
Rogues-Gallery Transplant: They've fought pretty much everyone at this point, from Matt and Elektra to Wolverine, the Avengers, and beyond.
A loser in civilian life, Wilbur Day turned to crime, only to become a loser there as well. Donning a mechanical exoskeleton equipped with telescopic legs, he tried to become a professional criminal, only to be thwarted by Daredevil again and again. A joke in-universe and out, he was eventually killed by the Punisher.
Shrink Ray: Made several attempts at stealing one from his former partner, Carl Klaxon.
Size Shifter: Downplayed. Day's legs could extend, but the rest of his body could not.
Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Somehow managed to marry Princess Python, who while a similarly ineffective villain, was a knockout in the looks department.
Villain Team-Up: Regularly recruited into team-ups by more competent villains.
AKA: Mary Walker
Mary, Mary, quite contrary...
A mentally ill woman with a badly factured identity, Mary Walker is a threat to everyone around her. Boasting low-level psyonic powers, excellent combat skills, and three separate identities (the timid Mary Walker, the violent Typhoid Mary, and the sadistic Bloody Mary), Mary has worked for Kingpin and others as an assassin, and has a long and ugly love/hate relationship with both Daredevil and Matt Murdock.
Anti-Villain: Is sympathetic when you consider she really is criminally insane and her Mary Walker persona is actually a good person who has to deal with two evil personas.
Daredevil's Silver Age archnemesis, Leland Owlsley was a Wall Street financier turned would-be crime lord, who ingested a special serum that gave him the power to glide. After years of experimenting on himself, and a great deal of Sanity Slippage, Owlsley has become a mutant birdman, with talons, natural flying ability, and a hunger for live mice.
Archenemy: Stan Lee created him to fill this role, though he's fallen by the wayside since thanks to the presence of better known and more thematically appropriate candidates like Kingpin, Bullseye, and the Hand. That said, of the long-running Daredevil villains he's still consistenly portrayed as the most dangerous, with even Kingpin treading lightly about him, and has the best claim to the title of any of them.
Axe Crazy: One thing that Daredevil and Kingpin both agree on is that The Owl is a homicidal maniac, rendered crazier by his abuse of himself.
A college mate of Matt Murdock's, Larry Cranston overheard Starr Saxon (Mister Fear II) murdering Zoltan Dragon (Mister Fear I). After learning of Saxon's death, Cranston stole his gear and became the third Mister Fear, using fear inducing chemicals to scare the competition into submission. He eventually internalised the effects of these chemicals, and can now instill fear in anybody he meets.
A master manipulator with purple skin and the power to force others to do his bidding, Zebediah Killgrave is a professional criminal with a long list of nasty habits. He's clashed with Daredevil repeatedly and has always been frustrated by the fact that his commands do not effect the vigilante to the same degree that they do the general populace.
Oh Crap: In the first New Avengers arc, Purple Man appears and intends to use his powers to make Luke Cage attack the other assembled heroes. He also makes obvious threats toward Jessica Jones and her and Cage's unborn child. Cage then informs the unaware villain that his food contained special drugs designed to negate his powers. Purple Man has a look of sheer terror before Cage moves in on him.
Psychic-Assisted Suicide: Many times, most horrifically when he ordered thirty-odd innocent bystanders at a Denny's to stop breathing so he could enjoy his eggs in peace.
Well, overt villainy anyway. He has never stopped commiting crimes or being evil; he just stopped picking fights with superheroes or trying to Take Over the World. Temporarily. He still conned, brainwashed, robbed and murdered his merry way through life.
Rogues-Gallery Transplant: He's faced off against S.H.E.I.L.D, The Avengers and other Marvel folks several times. And to say nothing for Jessica Jones and Luke Cage.
Took a Level in Badass: The year-long Daredevil storyline where he manipulated the father of Daredevil's girlfriend (who was the CEO of a Fortune 500 corporation) into letting him take over the company and bankrolling his anti-Daredevil efforts. The story ended with the father being Driven to Suicide, the girlfriend breaking up with Daredevil, and the Horned One being whaled on by four of his toughest foes at the same time.
A chemically unbalanced man who suffers from the delusion that he is an ancient Roman gladiator (or at least one as viewed through the lens of modern pop culture), Melvin Potter has been an ally and enemy of Daredevil depending on the state of his sanity, and whether he is taking his medication. Normally a non-violent individual, Melvin is easily manipulated by those who can persuade him that they serve the same "emperor" that he does.
Anti-Villain: Not so much evil, so much as a normally gentle man who forced to do evil things either due to mental illness or the manipulations of others.
Redemption Failure: The ultimate result of Alexander Bont's and Mr. Fear's manipulations, Melvin's original Heel-Face Turn is undone after Melvin is forced back into a life crime by Bont threatening his family and Mr. Fear driving him insane with his fear chemicals.
Unwitting Pawn: Of Mister Fear. Melvin doesn't even realise he's working for him.
AKA: Maki Matsumoto
Evil's biggest fangirl
A Japanese assassin and member of The Hand, Maki Matsumoto was inspired to take her current path when, as a child, she witnessed Bullseye's massacre of the slave traders who had kidnapped her. A lawyer in her civilian identity, she has manipulated both Daredevil and Kingpin in order to move up the ranks of The Hand.
Big Bad Wannabe: In "Return of the King" when she lures Fisk back to New York in order to play he and Matt against each other. In the end, she's outmanouvered by both Kingpin and Daredevil, and forced out of The Hand.
Fragile Speedster: Comparitively. Matt notes that while she's faster than the likes of Bullseye or Kingpin, she can't take a hit the way they can, and her own blows aren't nearly as hard.
Freudian Excuse: Captured by slavers as a child and saved (accidentally) by Bullseye.
Guns vs. Swords: Like Elektra, she is proficient in both. She prefers swords and shuriken but will pull out firearms if the situation calls for it, such as when she shot Pepper Potts with a sniper rifle.
Legacy Character: An odd case; she is inspired by Bullseye (when he accidentally saved her from Yakuza sex slavers), but unlike other examples Bullseye was still very much active and didn't train her or anything.
Classically-Trained Extra: Jester thinks of himself as this, having got a role in Cyrano de Bergerac which was panned by critics, after which he couldn't get any roles besides being a side kick on a kid's show. However its a bit of a Subversion in that Jester has no real talent as an actor and refused to take acting lessons.
Cut Lex Luthor a Check: It seems like he may have been successful as an actor if he had just taken acting lessons in the first place, which would have negated his reason for becoming a super villain in the first place.
Killed Off for Real" And notable for being one of the very few Marvel super villains to actually stay dead!
Revenge Before Reason: Became obsessed with killing Daredevil after an accident left him "out of phase" with our dimension, giving him his powers, but cutting him off the rest from the rest of the world.
Rich Boredom: Originally became a super villain because he was rich and bored.
Abusive Parent: Lange is a very abusive towards his son Timmy, though Vincent Patilio is a actually a good father and kind towards his son Eugene.
Bungling Inventor: Patilio thought he was a Gadgeteer Genius, most of his inventions did not work well, which is why he turned to crime in the first place, even his Leap-Frog suit was not very impressive.
Butt Monkey: Patilio was so lame, even Silt-Man looked down on him.
Heel-Face Turn: Patilio eventually retired from crime and his son is a D-list super hero.