Character pages for Daredevil.
This page refers to characters from Daredevil comic book series.
Remember, this page is for characters and examples from the Prime Marvel Universe Daredevil series only. Please do not list characters, or examples from other shows, movies or alternate universes here. If you have thought of a trope that fits a Daredevil from another universe please take that example to its respective page.
WARNING: There are unmarked spoilers on these pages for all but the most recent comics.
Prime Marvel Universe note
Alter Ego: Matthew Michael "Matt" Murdock
Editorial Names: Daredevil: The Man Without Fear
Notable Aliases: Man Without Fear, Jack Batlin, Mike Murdock, Scarlet Swashbuckler, God Without Fear
First Appearance: Daredevil #1 (February, 1964)
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.
- 10-Minute Retirement: Matt had been contemplating retiring the Daredevil persona (assumed killed in a battle with Death-Stalker), as Foggy Nelson's running for district attorney provided a more conventional means to fight crime. One of Nelson's political rivals hired Jester to assassinate him (or at least harass him until he dropped out of the race), prompting Matt to suit up as Daredevil again to take him down.
- Accidental Murder: A man who fights like Hell against overwhelming odds sometimes sends people there by accident, which hobbles his vigilante career in Frank Miller's Daredevil: The Man without Fear when he unintentionally kicks an attacker out of a window, and a similar mortal outcome is the inciting incident to Chip Zdarsky's run.
- All Guys Want Bad Girls: He made a life out of having affairs with bad girls such as the Black Widow, Elektra, or Typhoid Mary.
- Alliterative Name: Matt Murdock.
- Amoral Attorney: Averted. Matt refuses to represent anyone who is guilty and he can always tell.
- Anti-Hero: Doing what's right despite the crap he's put through. He starts to Pay Evil unto Evil to borderline Nominal Hero levels during the Shadowland event.
- Badass Bookworm: Works as a lawyer by day.
- Being Good Sucks: His life as both a crime-fighter and lawyer have caused tragedy in his life. Being good sucks but it really, really sucks when you fight crime with both identities in "Hell's Kitchen".
- Beneath Suspicion: In many ways, Matt Murdock has the best time of any Marvel hero keeping his identity secret. Who would ever suspect a blind man of being a costumed crimefighter?
- Berserk Button: Matt does not like the idea that the only way you can be a driven hero is to have suffered from some form of tragedy.
- Beware the Nice Ones: He's a very nice, noble guy most of the time, but when he loses his temper, it's best not to be a bad guy anywhere near NYC. Bullseye and Kingpin learned this the very hard way after trying to kill Milla.
- Blessed with Suck: Well, would you trade in your eyesight for improved touch (everything HURTS more!), taste, smell, hearing, and a nebulously-defined "radar sense"? While Stick taught Murdock to control his senses enough to function normally, The Movie has his senses seem to cause chronic pain, so he chomps painkillers like candy and he can only get to sleep in a sensory deprivation tank. Or next to a smoking hot babe. Guess natural dopamine still trumps artificial.
- Blind People Wear Sunglasses: Daredevil is blind and wears sunglasses as the civilian lawyer Matt Murdock. Most of the time, Matt's sunglasses are rendered as a pretty cool pair that happens to be red.
- Boxing Battler: His fighting style is described by Danny Rand as "old-school jujutsu- - with a little New York Irish Boxer thrown in for good measure." Makes sense, considering his father was a professional boxer.
- Brooklyn Rage
- Cane Fu: He sometimes does this with his cane when trouble arises in his civilian identity as Matt Murdoch. Before he got his fancy combat staff, he fought with a cane as the Daredevil as well. And of course his billy clubs are his cane in his civilian life.
- Byronic Hero: An intelligent, bookish young boy is blinded by a truck carrying illegal chemicals. He becomes a valedictorian at an Ivy Leaguenote school. He eventually becomes a respectable lawyer in his own right. But due to his father's murder after refusing to throw a fight in order to gain his son's respect. He chooses to don the guise of a Devil and offers retribution to those who have wronged others inside and outside the law. Even though it causes him borderline depressive episodes, and the work he does in the dark, brings harm (and in worst cases, death) to his loved ones.
- Cartwright Curse: Four of his major love interests have died, and a fair number have gone insane. In the fourth volume of Daredevil, it's revealed that Matt Murdock wasn't ready to take the next step with his now-girlfriend Kristen Mcduffie because he was aware of his bad luck with love interests, or to be more accurate, his love interests' bad luck.
- Characterization Marches On: In his original 60s run, Matt was very much an Expy of Spider-Man in terms of powers and wisecracking. His name and costume also had no tie to his religion until Frank Miller revamped ol' horn head into the darker man of faith we know today.
- Charles Atlas Superpower: Matt's only true superpowers are his heightened senses of smell, hearing, taste and touch. He's also been shown lifting and turning over a limo, tossing a 400lbs bar across a room, kicking off car doors and defeating actual superhumans in fistfights. Miller's run explained these feats were due to abilities inherent to all humans, which Matt unlocked in himself through the chemicals that blinded him.
- The Chessmaster: When pitting all of the criminal organizations against one another in Waid's run.
- Chick Magnet: He had a whole bunch of girlfriends over the years, from the "girl next door" variety to Dating Catwoman, and he's the most frequent flirting target in any social gathering he's at. He's only rivalled by Tony Stark in that department.
- 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". The trope itself is an aversion since his Secret Identity and costume in and of themselves are both very efficient. In this case, it's because — in one of the most groundbreaking story arcs in superhero fiction during Bendis's run — 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. Not to mention civilians.
- Clear My Name: As a defense lawyer, Matt Murdock often does this in his day job. He's also one of the few people who's done it to members of his own Rogues Gallery. When he was appointed as Mister Hyde's attorney, Matt made an effort to prove that Hyde was innocent of the crime he was accused of. And Hyde really was innocent this time, even though he's otherwise a sadistic monster who gets his jollies from beating up people who can't fight back.
- Combat Pragmatist: As previously mentioned, he's a Badass Normal. He kinda has to be this to be able to keep up with the likes of Spider-Man or Wolverine.
- Cool Shades: Almost always wears his sunglasses when not fighting crime.
- Costume Copycat: In the 2019 run, pretty much half of Hell's Kitchen imitates his Daredevil persona. Matt even notes that some are pretty convincing.
- Cover-Blowing Superpower: He must be very careful to play a plausible blind man, lest he accidentally reveal that he can 'see' just fine.
- The Cowl: He's basically Marvel's Batman. Well, one of them.
- 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?
- Dark Is Not Evil: He dresses up like the Devil and inspires tremendous fear in criminals due to his intense bravery and vicious fighting style but is a hero who stands up for the oppressed both as a hero and civilian and sacrifices himself for others on multiple occasions.
- 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!"
- Dented Iron: Daredevil has survived many things that most normal people wouldn't have, but he is now covered in scars from previous battles.
- Determinator: In some respects, this is Daredevil's defining character trope. He's had to adjust to being blinded and having his senses dramatically enhanced, having his secret identity exposed and his girlfriends murdered, losing his law license and practice, being possessed by demons, and fighting villains and heroes who by all rights should be completely out of his league. But no matter what, Matt Murdock just Keeps. On. Going. Matt goes so far with this trope, it actually enabled him to save New York City when he ended up fighting Namor the Sub-Mariner. Although Daredevil lost the actual fight, Namor was so impressed with Daredevil's refusal to give up that he decided to spare the city. Did the same with the Incredible Hulk, lasting long enough for the green guy to calm down and end his rampage. DD went straight to the hospital, but it worked.
- Death by Origin Story: His dad, Jack.
- Disability Superpower: He was hit in the face by a radioactive canister and went blind. His other senses became super-powerful, and he acquired a "radar sense" that let him "see" objects, much like echolocation. (Frank Miller's influential run took him closer to this trope, partially explaining the radar sense as a Charles Atlas Superpower resulting from training with his enhanced senses.) He can also read normal books by feeling the ink, because his touch is so sensitive. Interestingly, late in Miller's run, Daredevil's mentor tells him that EVERY human has the potential to experience sense the way he does, it's just an ability that's become dormant. The radiation didn't give him his powers, it just unlocked them. Sadly, Stick is killed soon afterward, and this plot point was never brought up again.
- The Dreaded: To the criminals of Hell's Kitchen. Unlike Spider-Man, they genuinely fear him. They mention that Spider-Man will go easy on you if you laugh at his quips Daredevil will make you kiss the pavement.
- Fake Twin Gambit: To throw Foggy and Karen off early on, Matt would posed as his own twin, named "Mike", though it's end with Matt faking "Mike's" death. Howver, thanks to a Cosmic Retcon, Mike is now indeed a separate and living person.
- Fighting Irish: Matt is Irish-American and definitely one of Marvel's tougher heroes. Which is not to say he enjoys inflicting violence at all.
- Fights Like a Normal: His super senses are his only real power. Everything else (his incredible athletic ability, his amazing strength) is all him.
- Fire-Forged Friends: One of his closest (and probably only) friends is Spider-Man.
- First-Name Basis: He always calls his enemy The Punisher "Frank". Frank never seems to tell him not to.
- Genius Bruiser: Is an accomplished lawyer who can also hold his own in a fight against a good portion of the MU.
- Good Is Not Soft: He tries to avoid killing, but he can still deliver beat downs like no one's businessMatt: Fortunately for me, I'm not a cop. So, I can break your face into a jigsaw puzzle if I want to...
- Guile Hero: Mark Waid seems determined to make this his superpower. Not that it's exactly out of character.
- Heartbroken Badass: Four of his girlfriends were murdered. And that's just scratching the surface of all the tragedy he has endured.
- Handicapped Badass: Rendered blind after an accident in his youth, but was trained to utilize his hearing to make up for it.
- Heroes Want Redheads: As his relationship with Black Widow proved.
- Heroic BSoD: Goes through one of these as he realizes he accidentally killed small-time robber, Leo Carraro.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners:
- Matt's relationship with his law partner Foggy Nelson.
- Also DD and Spider-Man, who know each other's secret identities. Until they don't (or, rather, until no one knows Spidey's).
- And now that's been reversed.
- Honor Before Reason: Matt often faces off 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.
- Hurting Hero: Matt is only second to Iron Man on this. 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. 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 last couple of writers on Daredevil (Bendis and Brubaker) have seemingly competed to see just how much pain they can put Matt Murdock through. Just in the last two runs, he's gone though a mental breakdown over the death of his longtime girlfriend Karen Page, his secret identity was blown and he was sent to a high security prison (filled mostly with criminals he'd put away) for obstruction of justice, his wife was driven insane by a supervillain and committed to a mental hospital and his best friend was stabbed and assumed to be killed.
- Hypocritical Humor: He once told Moon Knight that his secret identity as Marc Specter is the worst kept secret in the hero community.
- I Love Nuclear Power: His super senses are the result of having a radioactive isotope hitting his eyes.
- Immune to Mind Control: He is shown as immune to mind control, particularly that of the Purple Man. Explained as being blind means he literally can't look into someone eye's when they're trying to mind control him, and this allows him to focus completely on ignoring their commands.
- Keeping the Handicap: In a number of plotlines, his eyesight is restored by some means or another, but Matt loses his enhancements and ends up incredibly disoriented and incapable of fighting. In one story, he outright begs the alien who returned his sight to him to take it back.
- 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. Most of the negative reactions from others fall less into "how is that action morally justifiable" and are more concerned with how out of character the action was.
- 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.
- Leeroy Jenkins: Befitting his epithet as the Man Without Fear, Matt has a bad tendency to take Fearless Fool levels of risk and act without thinking ahead, which often gets him or his loved ones into trouble. Lampshaded by many including Spider-Man during a team up where Matt decided to rush straight into enemy gunfire when he was supposed to be secretly rescuing hostages.
- Living Lie Detector: By listening, feeling and/or smelling, he can tell whether a person is lying by sweat, changes in body temperature and heartbeats (though he can be fooled by a pacemaker and those able to keep calm under pressure.)
- Missing Mom: His mother went completely unmentioned for over twenty years before finally showing up out of the blue; turns out that she abandoned her child to become a nun. Original Sin later revealed that she abandoned him because she was hit with a major case of Post-Natal Depression that drove her to nearly kill him.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: He really tries to avoid killing, but if you piss him off, he won't hesitate to beat the shit out of you. Kingpin, Bullseye, Punisher, and the Owl have all found this out the hard way, but they're hardly the only ones who have been on the wrong end of a beating from him.
- Obfuscating Disability: Whenever someone suspects Matt is Daredevil, they logically conclude he's faking being blind to throw people off rather than super-senses to compensate.
- Only Friend: Well, the closest thing for The Punisher. Daredevil desperately wants to stop Frank Castle from continuing his crusade, and both hates and sympathizes with him at the same time. The Punisher being who he is, this dovetails into Worthy Opponent.
- Pretending to Be One's Own Relative: As part of the aforementioned Fake Twin Gambit, Matt would act as "Mike". Also, again, moot point as a Cosmic Retcon caused Mike to become a real person.
- Real Men Love Jesus / Religious Bruiser: Matt is often presented as a devout Catholic; in fact, his faith and how he deals with it while being a vigilante is a main source of drama in his comics.
- 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 consensus places Matt second only to Tony Stark for Marvel's biggest playboy.
- Scar Survey: Milia Donovan notices some of Matt's scars while feeling his chest, he explains that one of them is from when he was shot by Punisher, one of them is from a battle with the Gladiator, and one of them is from a battle with Bullseye.
- Secret Identity: Had one for a while, but it wasn't a particularly well kept secret. Eventually he was outed, and while he "proved" that he wasn't Daredevil in court, he himself commented "good luck getting that genie back in the bottle." Eventually, he outed himself in court.
- Stepford Smiler: In Waid's run, Matt starts acting all cheerful, much to the concern of literally everyone who knows him. They all speculate - including Matt himself - that he's trying to cover his trauma.
- The Stoic: Accused to be this by Karen and Foggy after "his brother" was supposedly killed.
- Sunglasses at Night: Justified considering he's blind.
- Super Reflexes: Possibly due to his exposure to the radioactive waste that caused his blindness, Matt's reflexes is enhanced to the degree where he is quick enough to catch catches a sai thrown by Bullseye, easily dodge gunfire, dodges point-blank gunfire when his back was turned, easily and repeatedly deflect point blank gun shots.
- Super Senses: Although he is blind, his remaining four senses function with superhuman accuracy and sensitivity, giving him abilities far beyond the limits of a sighted person.
- He has a radar sense that he has described as "like touching everything at once". It is a form of echolocation via low radio wave projection, according to one theory, an energy wave within certain portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. The signal emanates radio waves from regions of his brain, after which it travels outward, bounces off objects around him, and returns to receiving regions of his brain as well as use of his superhuman hearing. In any event, with this ability, Murdock synthesizes a very close analogue of three-dimensional 360% human sight.
- His sense of touch is so acute that his finger can feel the faint impressions of ink on a printed page allowing him to read by touch, though laminated pages prevent him from touching and thus reading the ink impressions at a much faster pace than a normal person would be able to read. The rest of his skin is equally sensitive, enabling him by concentration to feel minute temperature and pressure changes in the atmosphere around him. Even with his senses of smell and hearing blocked, he can feel the presence of a person standing five feet away from him simply by his or her body heat and disturbance of air
- His sense of hearing enables him to detect an acoustic pressure change of one decibel at a pressure level of seven decibels (whereas the lowest threshold for average human hearing is twenty decibels.) He can hear a person's heartbeat at a distance of over twenty feet, or people whispering on the other side of a standard soundproofed wall. Through practice, Matt is able to control his hearing acuity, mentally blocking out specific sounds like his own breathing and heartbeat, all ambient sounds to a normal human level of perception, or all sounds but a particular sound he is concentrating upon.
- The Nose Knows: His sense of smell is so acute that he can distinguish between identical twins at twenty feet by minute differences in smell. He can detect odors of an atmospheric concentration of thirty parts per million. Further, his ability to remember smells enables him to identify any person he has spent at least five minutes with by smell alone, no matter how he or she might try to camouflage his or her natural odor. His powers of concentration are such that he can focus upon a single person's smell and follow it through a crowd of people at a distance of fifty feet
- Terror Hero: Even if he won't kill criminals, which is not always sure, he will destroy them physically and morally.
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: Matt used to have a typical view of killing, claiming that it wasn't his place to pass judgment, but he has killed when the situation called for it. And when the situation has called for it, he has hated but not regretted doing it. That said, he does not endorse wholesale murder as the answer to his, or anyone else's, problems. Well and truly averted after he finally killed Bullseye.
- 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.
- Weaksauce Weakness: His main weakness is his vulnerability to powerful sounds or odors that can temporarily weaken his radar sense. This weakness is often used to immobilize him.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: His whole life he refrained from participating in any activities such as sports because his dad wanted him to study and get a respectable job. During Frank Miller's run, he openly wonders how many of his life decisions (mainly becoming a lawyer) were actually his own. He also feels very guilty of becoming Daredevil because his dad made him promise to never fight.
- What the Hell, Hero?:
- Deadpool was not all that impressed with Daredevil on hearing about his first meeting with (the girl who would become) Typhoid Mary.
- Matt got this a lot during the Miller era, particularly for things like making an alliance with the Kingpin and ruining his girlfriend's career.
- Worthy Opponent: This is essentially his relationship with the Punisher. Matt thinks Frank is a psychopath whose methods are far too brutal to be justifiable, while Frank thinks that Matt is a self-righteous asshole who needs to mind his own business and stay out of his way. While they dislike each other immensely and come into conflict enough to practically be members of their respective rogues galleries, they respect each other just enough to abstain from killing or permanently crippling one another.
- Supporting Characters
- Central Rogues Gallery
- Rogues Gallery