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The Man Without Fear.

"Few of us who choose this life are immune to tragedy or pain. Matt Murdock has suffered more of his share than most, but he keeps soldiering on, doing what he believes is right. The fact he has been able to take what most people call a ‘disability’ and turn it into his greatest strength, the fact a blind man takes to the streets every night to defend strangers, at huge personal cost—
Well. I know people look up to me.
I look up to Daredevil."
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The Man Without Fear. The Devil of Hell's Kitchen. The Disability Superpower Hero.

Daredevil is a Marvel Comics Superhero created by Stan Lee and Bill Everett, with artistic input from Jack Kirby and Wally Wood. Daredevil was an attempt to recreate Lee's earlier success with the archetypal "everyman" hero Spider-Man, this time with an adult central character and a somewhat Darker and Edgier tone. The new character first appeared in "Daredevil" #1 (April, 1964)

Daredevil has the ultimate in Disability Superpower — he is blind, but his other senses are superhumanly sharp. This is the result of his having been blinded by a radioactive substance whilst rescuing a blind man (oh, the irony) from the path of an oncoming trucknote . He is also a superb gymnast and martial artist, having been trained from an early age by a mysterious blind sensei called Stick. Stick also showed him how to control his senses in order to live normally. His Secret Identity is that of Matt Murdock, attorney-at-law.

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Despite his book having been home to some of the most respected writers (Stan Lee, Frank Miller, Ann Nocenti, Kevin Smith, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, and Mark Waid) and artists (Klaus Janson, John Romita Jr, Alex Maleev, Bill Sienkiewicz and David Mazzucchelli) in the business, Daredevil has never really succeeded in making the breakthrough into mainstream popular culture in the way that stablemates such as Spider-Man and the X-Men have, and he was generally considered to be at best a C-list character until Frank Miller took over the title in 1981 and introduced what are now considered to be some of the defining elements of the Daredevil mythos, including the characters of The Kingpin (originally a Spider-Man villain), Bullseye, and Elektra.

Part of the reason for the character's relative lack of popularity may lie in the fact that, Bullseye, Elektra, The Hand, and The Kingpin (and possibly Mr. Fear and Mr. Hyde) aside, he has been lumbered with arguably the least impressive Rogues Gallery in comics, including such threats as Shotgun (a guy with a gun), Ammo (a guy with lots of guns), The Jester (a failed actor with some toys and yo-yos for weaponsnote ), The Owl (a gang boss who can fly — v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y), the Matador (whose entire gimmick revolves around making you unable to see him note ), Leap-Frog (who is a man in a frog suit who is able to jump very high), and Stilt-Man (who unfortunately is just what he sounds like). Luckily, in later years the writers have been working to remedy this (see Echo, Purple Man, Bushwhacker, Gladiator, Bullet, Nuke and Typhoid Mary). Keep in mind that some of these villains were merely Rescued from the Scrappy Heap. Purple Man, Bullseye and Gladiator were created before Frank Miller took over the title but subsequently managed to become much more threatening in later years. Even Owl is now one of Daredevil's most dangerous rogues thanks to him being given an extra dose of Nightmare Fuel, while Mark Waid has actually made Jester a relevant antagonist with his current take on the character.

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A Daredevil film was released in 2003, starring Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, but despite being one of the most faithful comic-to-screen adaptations ever made — it lifted whole scenes and even entire chunks of dialogue from Miller's run — and some strong casting, it was a critical failure, in no small part due to being a vehicle for nu-metal and having severe Executive Meddling done to it; the director's cut is far better received. Some people prefer to believe that it never happened, though many liked Colin Farrell as Bullseye and Michael Clarke Duncan as Kingpin. Despite it making back more than double its budget at the box office, they did not do a direct sequel, but a spin-off starring Garner as Elektra. It didn't go over well. On a lighter note, Garner and Affleck (who met on the first film) later married in real life, have had three children, though in June of 2015 they announced that they were divorcing. As for the film property's future, the rights have reverted to Marvel.

In 2015 Marvel released Daredevil (2015) exclusive to Netflix, as part of a multi-series deal including Luke Cage (2016), Iron Fist (2017), and Jessica Jones (2015). The series is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and stars Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock. So far it has garnered rave reviews, with many considering it to be among the best, if not the best, works in the MCU. The series was canceled after three seasons, as a result of Disney creating Disney+ as a competitor to Netflix, though Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige confirmed the character would make future MCU appearance with Cox reprising the role. This came to pass in 2021 when Matt Murdock officially crossed into the films with a minor role in Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Daredevil has also made the occasional animated appearance, with guest appearances in the 1990s Fantastic Four and Spider-Man: The Animated Series (the former leans more closely to his Silver Age appearance, while the latter show took after the Miller version). Several animated series have been proposed over the years, but never came to fruition.

The character was also one of two characters created by Stan Lee to have never been an Avenger, until he was added to the New Avengers line-up in 2011.

After a long stretch of very dark stories, Mark Waid's lighter take —spanning two volumes between 2011 and 2015— was well-received by critics and audiences alike. Waid's run has its own page. Charles Soule took over the title with a new volume in late 2015 during the All-New, All-Different Marvel initiative — perhaps due to the success of the Netflix series, his run seems to be Darker and Edgier in contrast to Waid's, even giving him a new black costume similar to the one he wears on the show. Soule's run has its own page. In 2019, Chip Zdarsky took over. His run also has its own page.

See the franchise page for more details on the adaptations.


Daredevil Provides Examples Of:

    open/close all folders 

    In General 
  • A Beast in Name and Nature: The Beast, a demon tied to the origins of the Hand.
  • Aesop Collateral Damage: Since the late '90s, the supporting cast has begun to notice that they tend to be the damage that teaches Matt Murdock a lesson.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: Daredevil's enemy Mr. Fear is much the same as DC's version of the Scarecrow, a longtime Batman villain. They both use a combination of creepy costumes, fear-inducing chemicals, and psychological manipulation to achieve their goals.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: The comics have become increasingly violent since Miller started writing, with other writers continuing this trend after Miller left, the comics have show headshots, impalement, and even decapitation.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Alternative universe Matt in the 50th Anniversary issue ends up losing his radar sense.
    • Also, during DD's appearance in Superior Iron Man, Tony Stark cures him of his blindness via Extremis. It only lasts for one issue, though.
  • The Chessmaster: Even after his many years as Kingpin of Crime of Hell's Kitchen, Wilson Fisk had so thoroughly entangled his criminal enterprises with legitimate business that there is NO hard evidence with which to prosecute him after his arrest. His deal to get OUT of federal custody is the epitome of this trope: he can't be prosecuted, but the feds aren't going to let him free, so he makes a bargain to provide undeniable proof that Matt Murdock is Daredevil in exchange for his release. In short, he lures Matt to the law office that holds the paper evidence, gets Bullseye to ambush him and then lure him out into the open street where Matt is then shot. The brilliance behind this plan? There was never any evidence. He tricked Matt into donning his Daredevil persona and obstructing justice by attempting to claim the papers before the feds. Furthermore, he now has a bullet wound that matches that given to Daredevil.
  • Child by Rape: The Purple Children, offsprings of the Purple Man, who were only born because he used his Compelling Voice to rape their mothers. They are not happy with him.
  • Climb, Slip, Hang, Climb: Used as a central metaphor in the classic Elektra story, where the monastery of the heroic ninjas is atop a forbidding cliff that only the spiritually pure can climb.
  • Combo Platter Powers: Well, this one was added by Ann Nocenti, actually. Typhoid Mary possessed telekinesis, pyrokinesis, limited Mind Control powers, and outstanding swordsmanship skills. The catch was that her Split Personality disorder left her Ax-Crazy and possessing different levels of control over her abilities at different times.
  • Continuity Snarl:
    • The Man Without Fear, Miller's origin story for Matt (originally intended as a screenplay), doesn't mesh very well with his existing origin; writers using elements from both versions makes it somewhat unclear what the actual canon is.
    • In Marvel 2099, the new Daredevil was Samuel Fisk, who was strongly implied to be Wilson Fisk's grandson, but definitely a descendant. However, several years later, Fisk's son Richard was murdered, and it remains unknown if he had children or not. This matter was not addressed in Sam's short cameo in Spider-Man 2099; he introduces himself as "Sam" and that's it.
  • Costume Copycat: As noted below, Foggy tried to use a Daredevil costume to keep up the lie that he was really Daredevil.
    • Then there was the time that Matt was exposed as Daredevil and sent to prison, and another person mysteriously took up the Daredevil mantle while he was behind bars. Though it later turned out to be Danny Rand AKA Iron Fist, who was just filling in as a favor to his friend Matt.
    • There's also the time during the "Born Again" arc where a murderous maniac was given a DD suit and told to go crazy on Matt's friends. This in turn leads to a CMOA, as Matt beats the living shit out of the psycho, and takes AND USES the psycho's costume and billy club for the rest of the arc (as all of Matt's belongings had been destroyed earlier).
    • Plus the time that Matt Murdock put Daredevil on the stand during a trial - it was actually Spider-Man doing Matt a favour.
    • There's also also the case of D-Man / Demolition Man, a c-level superhero from the 80s who originally sported a very close imitation of Daredevil's costume because he was a huge fan. D-Man went through some dark times - he was Marvel's homeless superhero for a while in the 90s - before falling into the orbit of the Captain America crew (both Steve and Sam) as a mechanic / aide.
  • Cradle of Loneliness: After Elektra's death, one cover showed a grieving Daredevil hugging her headstone.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: When the Yakuza try to muscle into Hell's Kitchen, Daredevil makes a direct attack on their headquarters — and brings along Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and Spider-Man. Sixty hardened killers with swords and automatic weapons go down like tenpins.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Jack, Matt's son from the 50th Anniversary issue.
  • Epic Fail: In-universe. During issue 14 of Volume 3, Daredevil is losing his senses thanks to nanoprobes from Doctor Doom's henchmen. He escapes and, without his radar sense or any form of sight or hearing, jumps over a fence and believes he's free... only to land back on the same side. To quote a Scans_Daily commenter, "Ouch. Right in the dignity."
  • Firearms Are Cowardly: Daredevil has sometimes expressed this opinion, particularly in regards to common crooks to murder people recklessly with smuggled firearms and to The Punisher, who's held in low regard by superheroes for his use of guns and willingness to kill people.
  • Gone Horribly Right: The Kingpin, having discovered Daredevil's true identity, manages to make Matt Murdock's life a living hell. Murdock has no hope left. Having nothing more to hold on to means that he has nothing to lose.
    Kingpin: A man without hope... is a man without fear.
  • Identity Impersonator: After a mix-up where Spider-Man thought Foggy was Daredevil, Foggy tried to convince Karen this was true to impress her. A series of further misunderstandings caused more and more people to fall for it at first, even the Gladiator, the guy Foggy bought his Daredevil costume from. Much more recently, Danny Rand, the Iron Fist, acted as Daredevil while Matt Murdock was in prison.
    • Spider-Man has also done a turn in the horned tights as a favor when Matt wanted to "prove" to the world that he (Murdock) wasn't Daredevil.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Bullseye is defined by this trope. His entire gimmick is that he can kill anybody with anything, which often Crosses the Line Twice. In The Movie this is shown when he kills people with paperclips and peanuts, and later uses pieces of a shattered window as ersatz throwing knives/shuriken.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: In the Return of the King arc, Master Izo tells Fisk: "not so fast, fatso", and points out that it is an anagram himself.
    Master Izo: See what I did there? So fast? Fatso?
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Turk, who is pretty much the pettiest criminal in Hell's Kitchen and has the incredible ability to always snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Except for the time in Born Again when a barely-sane Matt stumbled in front of Turk on the street and got almost fatally stabbed. Turk barely gave the guy a second glance.
  • Internal Homage: Issue #264, "Baby Boom". In the middle of a gritty, emotional story arc about the fall of Daredevil, corruption on the streets, and all hell breaking loose (literally, as it was an Inferno tie-in), the book's regular artist took time off to get married. Marvel got the legendary Steve Ditko to fill in, and for one issue the book became a goofy throwback to the Silver Age, with artwork and coloring that could've been unearthed from the '60s, a light, frothy plot about a missing baby being hunted by bee-bopping baby boomers who speak hippie slang, and a remarkably cheerful Matt Murdock temporarily ditching the angst and gloom that had hung over him like a stormcloud. Then, the next week, it was right back to a crumbling society and Black Widow fighting demons.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Ben Urich
  • Large and in Charge: The Kingpin again
  • Lighter and Softer: The pre-Miller series was generally this.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The Bruiser, aptly enough. Daredevil describes him as "fast as a freight train and half as nimble".
  • Made of Iron
  • Masquerading As the Unseen: In an early story, Foggy Nelson claimed he was the Man Without Fear to impress Karen Page. This led to Melvin Potter/the Gladiator targeting him in the belief he really was Daredevil, despite the fact it was Potter's costume shop he got his DD costume from.
  • Meaningful Name: Mindy Libris runs a bookstore.
  • Mythology Gag: Waid's run introduces a Shadow Archetype of sorts to Daredevil: Ikari, who has all of Daredevil's powers along with sight, which was accomplished by recreating Daredevil's origin. Appropriately enough, his costume resembles Daredevil's original yellow and red.
  • No Name Given: In the 50th Anniversary issue, the identity of Jack's mother is never given, merely that she's a mayor.
  • Not Me This Time: Mr. Hyde once contacted Matt Murdock and demanded he defend him, as while Hyde is a known killer and was planning on killing the victim, someone else beat him to it.
  • "Not So Different" Remark:
    • The Kingpin gave this one to Daredevil on more than one occasion.
    • The Punisher has also had this talk with Matt. On one occasion, when Murdock was at a particularly low point, Frank specifically arranged a meeting between the two of them so that he could remind Matt that not so different is still a bit different.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Part of Daredevil's Origin Story. He pushed a blind man out of the road when a truck carrying radioactive chemicals was coming, which resulted in Matt having the accident that enhanced his other senses at the cost of his sight. Even worse, in the limited series Father, it's revealed that the blind man actually went on to molest his daughter, which would lead to her becoming the serial killer Johnny Sockets who would blind and kill several of Matt's clients in revenge for his actions ruining her childhood.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: The series is rather famous for massive status quo shake-ups on a regular basis.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • When the Masked Marauder realizes Daredevil is unaffected by his blinding eye beams.
    • Even earlier when Kingpin realizes that after ruining Matt Murdock's personal life, he has nothing left to hope for and consequently nothing left to be fearful for.
      I showed him...that a man without hope...is A Man Without Fear.
    • When the Yakuza try to muscle into Hell's Kitchen, their thugs nearly kill Daredevil. The next night, he bursts into their makeshift headquarters, and we see that they have over sixty men with swords and automatic weapons. The yakuza's Evil Laugh trails off when the dust clears and they see that Daredevil brought Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and Spider-Man. Cue Curb-Stomp Battle.
  • Paranormal Gambling Advantage: One issue establishes that many casinos employ low-level psychics to scan customers and make sure they don't have powers. One casino rigs their major poker tournaments by hiring a psychic who can read other player's minds to see their cards. Fortunately Daredevil is immune because he can't see his cards, and plays by using his Super Senses to read when other people are bluffing, in another example of this trope. Unfortunately, to maintain his cover, he can't let the psychic know that he's blind, and he ends up fighting the psychic in a Battle in the Center of the Mind.
  • Pinball Projectile: Bullseye and Daredevil have both pulled this off.
  • Psycho for Hire: Bullseye and Nuke, as well as the Daredevil impersonator from Born Again.
  • Rock Bottom: Hit this during Shadowland. Since then Matt has had nowhere to go but up.
  • Required Secondary Powers: Bruiser's distinctive lack of these is what enabled Daredevil to defeat him. Bruiser can shift his gravity to augment his physical might or become impossible to knock down or throw, but he isn't invulnerable by any means and his powers put a lot of stress on his joints — one solid blow to his knee had him screaming in pain.
  • Status Quo Is God: Subverted, especially since the Bendis years.
  • Super Hero: Duh!
  • Super Senses: Daredevil's whole shtick. He's blind, but his other four senses are superhumanly sensitive, to the degree that he can "see" with sonar (called "radar sense" in the comics). This is part of the reason he is such a fearsome hand-to-hand fighter, because it basically means he has omnidirectional vision, seeing in all directions at once. You can't fake out someone who can detect what your body is really doing, or sneak up on someone who can see behind himself and on the sides at all times. He's also a decent detective, due to being able to tell when people are lying by their heartbeats (though things like pacemakers can throw him).
  • Supernatural Fear Inducer: Daredevil foe Mister Fear is able to use his fear gas to instill unrelenting terror in his victims. In lesser doses, he can induce a constant feeling of paranoia (as opposed to all-out screaming terror) which can be far more deadly in the long run.
  • Teeth Flying:
    • One issue briefly but specifically mentions this; Daredevil lands a blow on Max the Ax that'll cost him a lot of money in dental work.
    • He does this to Bullseye in another issue. Bullseye just uses them as weapons.
  • Throwing the Fight: Daredevil's father was killed when he refused to take a dive.
  • Token Motivational Nemesis: The Fixer, who traumatized Matt into the man he is today, unceremoniously dies of a heart-attack at the end of the first volume of the comics, having served his narrative purpose.
  • Vice City: Hell's Kitchen is usually portrayed in this way.
  • Villain Team-Up:
    • Electro and Typhoid Mary would both organize their fellow Daredevil villains in order to try and get revenge on the horn-headed hero.
    • One of the earliest multi-issue arcs featured Daredevil facing off against the Ani-Men, who were already a team when he met them.
  • Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Nuke's got the American flag tattooed on his face.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
  • Wretched Hive: Hell's Kitchen is also often portrayed in this way.
  • Zen Slap: Stick does this to Matt as a part of his training.
    The complete Daredevil origin began in "Daredevil: The Man Without Fear #1". Watch as wise old mentor Stick hits young Matt Murdock with a (guess what?) stick as part of his training. And Matt is grateful for this. Now, let's speculate: If editor Ralph Macchio hit writer Frank Miller with a stick every time he wanted a rewrite, would Frank react gratefully?
    I don't know, but it'd be fun to watch.
    Marvel Year In Review 1993

    The Lee-Thomas Era: 1964- 1970 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/daredevil_vol_1_8.jpg
Stilt-Man, Stilt-Man, does whatever a stilt-man can.

  • Issues: Daredevil #1-71, Annual #1
  • Writers: Stan Lee, Roy Thomas
  • Artists: Bill Everett, Wally Wood, Jack Kirby, John Romita Sr., Joe Orlando, Gene Colan

Daredevil was created by Stan Lee and Bill Everett, alongside Jack Kirby (who designed Daredevil's billy club). The first issue established his origin and status quo: the son of boxer "Battlin' Jack" Murdock, Matthew Murdock was blinded as a child when he saved the life of an old man from being hit by a truck containing radioactive material. The radioactive substance that blinded Matt, however, also enhanced all of his other senses as well as giving him a sixth "radar" sense. Growing up to become a lawyer, Matt was joined by his best friend Franklin "Froggy" Nelson and their secretary/Matt's love interest Karen Page. Lee grounded the book by setting it the small Manhattan district called Hell's Kitchen, although Matt would venture out to other parts of New York City. When Matt's father is killed by the Fixer for not throwing a fight (ironically because Matt is in the audience at the time), Matt decides to don a costume and fight crime as Daredevil.

Daredevil's first costume was yellow and red, but starting with issue #7, artist Wally Wood redesigned the costume to make it all red, which is the costume that Daredevil has pretty much stuck with up until the present day.

Some notable villains introduced in this include the Owl (Daredevil #3), the Purple Man (Daredevil #4), Mister Fear (Daredevil #6), Stilt-Man (Daredevil #8), and the Gladiator (Daredevil #18).

One issue where Daredevil met Spider-Man had long-running consequences: after befriending Spider-Man, Spidey left a letter for Matt that accidentally revealed his secret identity to Foggy and Karen. Instead of telling them the truth, however, Matt decided to trick them by revealing that it was his twin brother Mike who was Daredevil and not him. This led into the "Mike Murdock" plotline, where Matt would occasionally pretend to be his fake twin brother in order to throw his friends off the scent, until eventually Matt began forgetting he wasn't Mike, causing him to "kill" Mike Murdock and tell everyone that Mike had trained a replacement to be Daredevil. Comics are weird.

By this point, Gene Colan had become the de facto Daredevil artist and Roy Thomas took over as writer in issue #51 and made a few changes. Matt finally told Karen that he was Daredevil, but due to the stresses of dating a vigilante, Karen decided to break up and move to Hollywood. Nothing much happened after that until Thomas decided to leave the book and new writer Gerry Conway decided to take the book in a completely different direction.

Tropes from the Lee-Thomas era:

    The Black Widow/San Francisco Era: 1971- 1978 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/daredevil_vol_1_93.jpg
Now with twice the superheroes!

  • Issues: Daredevil #72-91, Daredevil and the Black Widow #92-107, Daredevil #108-150, Annual #2-4
  • Writers: Gerry Conway, Garry Friedrich, Steve Gerber, Tony Isabella, Marv Wolfman, Jim Shooter
  • Artists: Gene Colan, Don Heck, Bob Brown, Klaus Janson, Gil Kane

The first thing Gerry Conway did when he took over with issue #72 is turn the sci-fi scale up to eleven. One of Conway's long running plots was the manipulations of Murdock & Nelson by "Mr. Kline," who turned out to be MK-9, a robot from a dystopian future intent on making sure its future never came to be. MK-9 hired various supervillains (and created robot duplicates of supervillains) to attack Daredevil and Iron Man before he was unceremoniously killed by two other random people from the future in issue #84.

One interesting storyline that happened was Matt getting together with Natasha Romanov the Black Widow. In issue #87, they decide to move in together in a house in San Francisco, essentially moving the entire comic over to the West Coast. This was later compounded by the book changing it's name to Daredevil and the Black Widow with issue #92 (although the indices would still refer to it as Daredevil). In fact, because Matt and Natasha were an unmarried couple living together, Marvel was forced by the Comics Code to have them exposit that they actually lived on separate floors in the house and there was no hanky-panky involved. The title change only lasted until issue #108 and Matt and Natasha broke up in issue #124 when Marv Wolfman took over the book and decided to move Matt back to Hell's Kitchen.

Wolfman introduced a brand new love interest, Heather Glenn, to the book, as well as a brand-new villain called Bullseye, but he ended up leaving after only twenty issues. The book then was handed over to Jim Shooter, who introduced the Paladin, but Shooter ended up having trouble keeping up with the schedule and decided to hand the book over to another writer.

That writer was Roger McKenzie, who took over in issue #151. McKenzie was much better known for writing horror comics (like Warren's Creepy and Eerie) and he ended up bringing that aesthetic over to Daredevil. The Man Without Fear was about to get a lot more scary.

Tropes in Black Widow/San Francisco Era:

  • Genre Shift: Gerry Conway really leaned into the sci-fi aspects of the Marvel Universe.
  • Innocent Cohabitation: Matt and Natasha lived in San Francisco in the same house, but different floors. Of course, they were also dating, but this was necessary for the Comics Code Authority.
  • Name and Name: Daredevil and the Black Widow.

    The Frank Miller Era: 1978- 1986 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/daredevil_vol_1_179.jpg
Elektra tries acupuncture on Daredevil.

  • Issues: Daredevil #151-233, Annual #5-7
  • Writers: Roger McKenzie, Frank Miller, Dennis O'Neil, Harlan Ellison
  • Artists: Frank Miller, Klaus Janson, William Johnson, David Mazzucchelli

McKenzie introduced a much darker tone, as well as chain-smoking reporter Ben Urich to the cast. About seven issues into his run, McKenzie brought in a new artist to the book called Frank Miller who changed up the art style to make it look more noir.

Matt's relationship with Heather Glenn took a turn for the worst as he revealed his secret identity to her and then accidentally caused the suicide of her father. Then Daredevil faced off against the supervillain Death-Stalker, who was trapped on another plane of existence, before he ended up materializing in a gravestone and dying, something which his mother later blamed Daredevil for and which resulted in Daredevil #208, one of the best issues of Daredevil written, surprisingly, by Harlan Ellison.

Miller, however, disliked McKenzie's scripts, so editor Denny O'Neil fired McKenzie and had Miller write and draw the book himself. This resulted in a drastic shift, furthering the book's dark tone and setting off a number of creative decisions which revamped the book and the character forever.

Miller's first issue as writer (issue #168) introduced Elektra, Matt's college ex-girlfriend and current assassin for the Hand, while his second issue re-introduced Bullseye, this time as a dangerous sociopath who loved killing. His third issue re-introduced the Kingpin, Wilson Fisk, smarter and more dangerous than ever, revamping him to eventually become Daredevil's main nemesis. The ensuing storyline saw Fisk consolidate power among the gangs of New York, hire Bullseye as his bodyguard, and hire the Hand to kill Daredevil. This storyline also showed that Matt was actually trained in a ninja fighting style by Stick, an old blind member of the Chaste, a secret group that stood against the Hand. Eventually, Bullseye figures out Daredevil's secret identity and goes after Elektra, killing her with her own sai.

This storyline is normally what people think of when they think Daredevil.

Subsequent storylines had Matt reteaming with the Black Widow to try and stop the Hand from resurrecting Elektra as their assassin (she ended up being resurrected by the Chaste instead) and Matt going off the deep end and throwing Bullseye off a building. Although Bullseye didn't die, he was paralyzed and Matt ends up sneaking into his hospital room and playing a game of Russian Roulette with him (although the gun ended up having no bullets). This issue, #191, was Miller's last for a while and the book ended up being taken over by Denny O'Neil. Longtime inker Klaus Janson became the new penciler and O'Neil generally continued the storylines Miller had introduced, including Matt's toxic relationship with Heather Glenn and the Kingpin's slow takeover of the city. Heather eventually commits suicide in issue #220, causing Matt further angst.

With issue #206, David Mazzucchelli became the new artist for the book and would stay on when Frank Miller came back to do his greatest storyline "Born Again," issues #227–233. Karen Page returns, only to reveal that she's become a junky and sold Daredevil's secret identity for a fix. The Kingpin, having finally confirmed the identity of his enemy, proceeds to tear Matt Murdock's life apart and then try to kill him. But Matt refuses to die. Matt saves Karen, fights the insane super soldier Nuke, and, with the help of Captain America, reveals the Kingpin's crimes to the world. The story ends with Matt and Karen rebuilding their lives together.

Tropes in the Frank Miller Era:

  • Aborted Arc: Near the end of Miller's run, Stick revealed to Daredevil that his super senses were not unique. In the past, every one had the same senses he does, they just lost them over time. The radiation only unlocked his senses, it didn't create them. Their conversation is interrupted by the arrival of a wounded Black Widow, and Stick dies soon afterwards. Sadly, no other writer picked up this thread.
  • The Alcoholic: Heather Glenn and, whenever he appears in the book, Tony Stark.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The Chaste vs the Hand. An ancient conspiracy of ninjas.
  • Bad-Guy Bar: McKenzie and Miller introduced Josie's Bar.
  • Big Bad: Miller basically turns the Kingpin into the Big Bad of the entire book. Even when Miller leaves, the Kingpin stays as Daredevil's ultimate nemesis.
  • Broken Bird: Heather Glenn and she becomes more broken over time, until she eventually kills herself.
  • Darker and Edgier: Daredevil was a grittier character even before Frank Miller took over in the 80s. Since then, he's been one of Marvel's grimmest (out-grimmed only by The Punisher), to the point that Mark Waid's purpose statement for the new series is that he wants to read a Daredevil story that didn't drive him to drink.
  • Gratuitous Ninja: A major part of Frank Miller's makeover of the series consisted of turning Matt into this trope, as well as using it as a reoccurring theme.
  • Malevolent Architecture: Daredevil #208 ("The Deadliest Night of My Life" by Harlan Ellison, Arthur Byron Cover, and David Mazzucchelli) is all about Daredevil being tricked into a mansion filled with death traps. The entire issue is just him escaping one after the other until the entire mansion explodes, which he barely escapes. It is considered one of the best issues of Daredevil.
  • Mob War: "Gangwar!"
  • Retcon: A pretty minor one, all things considered, but Frank Miller retconned what age Matt was when his father was killed. Originally, he was already in college. In Frank Miller's miniseries, Daredevil: The Man Without Fear, Matt is younger, and is instead in 12th grade. So instead of his father pressuring him to be important and Matt studying and then enrolling in law right before his father died, Matt was pressured to study and picked law... but didn't necessarily have to follow through, since he had already acted as a vigilante at the time and his father was dead.
  • The Rival: Frank Miller brought The Punisher in for a story arc, highlighting the vast differences in the methods, personalities, and ideologies of the two vigilantes. The relationship stuck and they often show up in each other's series, usually as an antagonist but occasionally as an ally. In an aversion of the usual arc, at first Punisher took a liking to Daredevil and considered it an honor to meet him, but over time grew less and less tolerant of him, going from tolerable ass to intolerable ass.
  • Russian Roulette: Between Daredevil and Bullseye. Played with, however: the gun had no bullets, but Bullseye didn't know that.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: 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.

    The Ann Nocenti Era: 1986- 1991 
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This issue is literally titled "A Beer with the Devil." 'Nuff said.

  • Issues: Daredevil #234-291, Annual #5
  • Writers: Ann Nocenti
  • Artists: Barry Windsor-Smith, Louis Williams, John Romita Jr., Lee Weeks

Mark Gruenwald and Danny Fingeroth wrote single issues before Ann Nocenti was asked to write an issue. Her issue, "American Dreamer," illustrated by Barry Windsor-Smith, was so well-received that she was asked back to become the regular writer. Nocenti would then become the sole writer on the book for over four years, the longest of any Daredevil writer at the time.

Nocenti's run became notable for a number of different things: her long-running attempt at deconstructing Daredevil, asking if he actually changes things with violence or if he is caught in an eternal cycle, and very strange and esoteric stories to the point where she had Daredevil actually go to Hell and confront the Devil. Her stories were also intensely political, having themes of feminism, drug abuse, nuclear proliferation, and animal rights. They also tended to be caught in whatever Crisis Crossover that Marvel was having at the time, although Nocenti made it work for her. Her second story was set right after the "Mutant Massacre" and one of the most notable was the tie-in to "Inferno," where the aforementioned confrontation with the Devil happened.

Nocenti also introduced Typhoid Mary as a recurring villain/love interest for Matt. Matt and Karen Page have rebuilt their lives and started a new nonprofit drug and legal clinic, but Matt is tempted to cheat when he meets the kind and innocent Mary Walker. Meanwhile, the psychotic and pyrokinetic Typhoid Mary goes to work for the Kingpin — and when Matt finally does cheat on Karen with Mary, she reveals that she is Typhoid Mary and that Mary Walker was another one of her personalities. Then she gives Matt a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, leaving him in a coma...just in time for New York City to go to Hell.

In the aftermath of his beating, Karen leaving him, and confronting the Devil, Matt ends up leaving Hell's Kitchen and becoming a drifter in Upstate New York, helping anyone who needed help. Eventually, this led him into the crosshairs of Doctor Doom during the Acts of Vengeance crossover, when Doom constructed Ultron 13 to kill Daredevil. Ultron 13, however, falls in love with a young superhuman woman traveling with Daredevil called Number Nine and then Ultron 13 goes a bit crazy. Yes, this is the story where Daredevil beats Ultron and yes, it's awesome.

Nocenti eventually ended her run by having Matt return to Hell's Kitchen and reconcile with Foggy, determined to find Karen again.

Tropes in Ann Nocenti's run:

  • Captain Geographic: Number Nine wears a costume made from the stars and stripes.
  • Healing Factor: Number Nine's power, which makes her pretty much indestructible.
  • Runaway Train: In the "Inferno" crossover, Matt is on a runaway train...to Hell.
  • Walking the Earth: More like "Walking Upstate New York," but this is what Matt does post-"Inferno."

    The "Fall From Grace" Era: 1991- 1998 
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New costume, who dis?

  • Issues: Daredevil #292-380, Annual #8-10, Daredevil: Man Without Fear #1–5, Annual #7-10
  • Writers: D. G. Chichester, J. M. DeMatteis, Karl Kesel, Joe Kelly, Scott Lobdell
  • Artists: Lee Weeks, Scott McDaniel, Gene Colan

Daredevil meets The Dark Age of Comic Books. It's not D. G. Chichester's fault, exactly, it's just the way that comics were going at the time.

Chichester took over the book after Nocenti and kept it going, with Matt still trying to rekindle his relationship with Karen and keep Hell's Kitchen and it's citizens safe as Daredevil. During "Last Rites" (issue #297–300), Matt performs a Batman Gambit so good that he captures Typhoid Mary, brings down the Kingpin, and even gets back his attorney's license. And in 1993, Frank Miller returned to write Daredevil: The Man Without Fear five-issue mini-series about Daredevil's origin and early days. (Basically, it was Batman: Year One but for Daredevil, although not as acclaimed.)

And that's when things started to go downhill. D. G. Chichester had been doing more experimental stories in line with Ann Nocenti's run, but that ran smack down into Marvel's '90s era and it's insistence on extreeeeme things, like symbiotes. So Chichester decided to write a storyline called "Fall From Grace" (#319-325) that included symbiotes. And vampires and demons and ninjas. All of whom are after a mysterious virus called "About Face," which can change the very nature of your being. And somehow, in all of this, Daredevil's identity is leaked, so Matt decides to fake his death and reinvent himself as "Jack Batlin." And gets a brand new costume with armor. Yeah.

After Chichester left the book, it was taken over by Gregory Wright, Alan Smithee, and, for one issue, Warren Ellis, before J. M. DeMatteis took over and restored Daredevil's classic red costume as Daredevil fights against a double in his original red-and-yellow costume. (This story was also called, confusingly, "Inferno.") DeMatteis's run would be short, however, and eventually Karl Kesel would become the writer, having Matt and Foggy work for superstar lawyer Rosalind Sharpe (Foggy's mother). DeMatteis and Kesel returned Daredevil back to basics, something the book desperately needed.

Unfortunately, sales had fallen so low that it was too late. The book went through two more writers, Joe Kelly and Scott Lobdell, but sales didn't turn around, so the book was cancelled with issue #380.

Daredevil was dead. But not for long.

Tropes from the "Fall From Grace" era:

  • Lazy Alias: Matt's father was "Battlin' Jack Murdock." So when Matt fakes his death and changes his name, he changes it to..."Jack Batlin." Real smooth, Matt.
  • Significant Wardrobe Shift: Daredevil switches out his iconic red costume to an armored black-and-red one.

    The Marvel Knights Era: 1998- 2009 
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The Secret is Out.

  • Issues: Daredevil vol 2 #1-119, vol 1 #500, Annual #1 (2007), Daredevil: Ninja #1–3, Daredevil: Yellow #1-6, Daredevil: Father #1–6
  • Writers: Kevin Smith, David Mack, Brian Michael Bendis, Bob Gale, Ed Brubaker
  • Artists: Joe Quesada, David Mack, Alex Maleev, Michael Lark

In 1998, right after Marvel's bankruptcy, they contracted Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti to head an imprint called Marvel Knights, revamping some of Marvel's low-selling books. One of those book was Daredevil. Quesada decided to draw that book himself and asked a friend of his to write it: Kevin Smith. The new volume started with the storyline, "Guardian Devil," which saw Daredevil tasked with protecting a baby that might be the Antichrist. It also featured the return and death of Karen Page at the hands of Bullseye.

The book was a hit and, even after Kevin Smith left, it still sold well. David Mack took over the book and introduced Maya Lopez/Echo, a deaf Native American vigilante who would become a recurring character. Mack then brought on board Brian Michael Bendis to write "Wake Up" (#16–19) while Mack did the illustrations. Bendis would then take over the book in issue #26 with artist Alex Maleev for a run that would win two Eisner Awards.

Bendis, well known for his crime comics, turned the book into much more of a crime noir drama, with his first arc "Underboss" (#26-31) about a low-level mobster who bites off more than he can chew. The mobster ends up overturning the status quo, however, by selling Daredevil's secret identity to the FBI who then leak it to the press. The secret is out and there's no putting the genie back in the bottle — no matter how hard Matt tries. Bendis also introduced Jessica Jones and Dakota North into the book as recurring characters.

Bendis and Maleev's stories included "The Trial of the Century" (#38-40) where Matt represents White Tiger against a false murder charge; "Lowlife" (#41-45) where Matt meets his new love interest, the blind Milla Donovan; and "Hardcore" (#46-50) where the Kingpin, Typhoid Mary, and Bullseye all return to make Matt's life hell. That story ended with Daredevil beating the Kingpin nearly to death and declaring that Daredevil would be the new Kingpin of Hell's Kitchen now.

Now known as the King of Hell's Kitchen, Matt manages to protect his city for over a year before things go bad. He even marries Milla, but that doesn't end well, either, with her leaving him. Eventually, this all turns out to be one long nervous breakdown caused by the death of Karen Page. After that, Daredevil helps out Black Widow escape the government and fights against Alexander Bont, the first Kingpin of Crime before Fisk, before the book goes more experimental with "Decalogue" (#71-75): a church group meets to exchange stories about Daredevil when he took over as the King of Hell's Kitchen. After that came "The Murdock Papers" (#76-81), Bendis's last story, where the Kingpin agrees to give the FBI a file on Matt Murdock in exchange for his freedom. The entire thing turns out to be a con by the Kingpin to flush Daredevil out and have him arrested. Which is what happens and the storyline ends with Matt going to prison.


So Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark's run begins with "The Devil in Cell Block D" (#82-87), where Matt is exonerated by Iron Fist pretending to be Daredevil and Foggy is "killed" (his death is faked and he is placed in Witness Protection). Matt goes on a worldwide trip to find who was responsible for Foggy's death, eventually finding out the cause of all his problems was Vanessa Fisk, the Kingpin's wife, who wants Matt to spring her husband from jail in exchange for helping exonerate him. He ends up doing it, but forces the Kingpin to give up his US citizenship.

After that, in "Without Fear" (#100-105), Matt's wife Milla is driven to insanity by Mister Fear. Even after Daredevil beats him, Mister Fear reveals there's no cure and Milla is confined indefinitely to a mental institution. In "Lady Bullseye" (#111-115), Daredevil confronts a new Hand assassin called, well, Lady Bullseye.

Brubaker's run ended with "The Return of the King" (#116-#119, vol 1 #500), where Lady Bullseye and the Hand force Wilson Fisk to return to New York City by killing his new lover. Fisk decides to team up with Daredevil to stop the Hand, but also might be working with the Hand. The entire thing ends up being a Gambit Pileup as the Hand, Fisk, and Daredevil all betray and cross the other in an attempt to take control of the city. Finally, it ends with Daredevil beating Fisk and Lady Bullseye and telling the Hand that he will lead the Hand now.

Tropes from the Marvel Knights era:

  • Batman Gambit: Vanessa Fisk's plan to get her husband out of prison is, basically, get Daredevil to do it by weighing on his guilt.
  • Downer Ending: The end of one of Ed Brubaker's arcs has DD's wife being committed to a mental hospital, Mr. Fear in control of Ryker's (with nobody knowing) and the Hood having both his organisation and Mr. Fear's to use to control Hell's Kitchen.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Matt and Milla.
  • Gambit Pileup: The last story in Brubaker's run has the Kingpin's plans, the Hand's plans, and Daredevil's plans all collide at once.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Basically Brubaker's entire run is this to Matt, from him going to jail, to his wife going insane, to finally breaking down completely and deciding to lead an evil ninja cult.

    The Shadowland Era: 2009- 2011 
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  • Issues: Daredevil #501-512, Shadowland #1-5, Daredevil Reborn #1-4
  • Writers: Andy Diggle, Antony Johnston
  • Artists: Marco Checchetto, Roberto De La Torre, Billy Tan

Andy Diggle took over the book and immediately launched it into the crossover Shadowland. Since Matt was now the leader of the Hand, it was his turn to take over New York City. "The Devil's Hand" (#501-504) shows him taking over Hell's Kitchen again and using the Hand as his enforcers, before the main Shadowland crossover begins. Matt slowly begins to show that he's Jumped Off The Slippery Slope, first by building a temple/prison in Hell's Kitchen (the eponymous "Shadowland") and then by killing Bullseye. Eventually, it's revealed that Daredevil has actually been possessed by a demon called "the Beast." When Iron Fist manages to exorcise it from Matt's body, Matt kills himself before it can take control again. In the aftermath, Elektra steals his body to resurrect him like she was once resurrected.

This leads into Daredevil: Reborn, a four-issue mini-series by Diggle and Antony Johnston, where Matt hides out in Mexico trying to figure out his life. While there, he gets into a conflict with the local corrupt police and drug smugglers. After dealing with the situation, he decides to move back to Hell's Kitchen and restart his life.

(Meanwhile, Daredevil's own book was taken over by Black Panther and renamed Black Panther: The Man Without Fear.)


    The Mark Waid Era: 2011- 2015 
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Back to basics.

  • Issues: Daredevil vol 3 #1-36, vol 4 #1-18, vol 5 #1-28, vol 1 #595-612, Man Without Fear #1-5, * Daredevil vol 6 #1-present, Annual vol 3 #1 (2012), Annual vol 4 #1 (2016), Annual vol 5 #1 (2018), Annual vol 6 #1 (2020)
  • Writers: Mark Waid, Charles Soule, Jed MacKay, Chip Zdarsky
  • Artists: Marcos Martin, Paolo Rivera, Marco Checchetto, Chris Samnee, Khoi Pham, Javier Rodriguez, Ron Garney, Matteo Buffagni, Stefano Landini, Mike Henderson, Phil Noto, Lalit Kumar Sharma

The era of many relaunches.

From 1998 to 2011, Daredevil had gone to some pretty dark places. The book had sent Matt Murdock through hell over and over again. So Mark Waid thought it was time for it to become a bit more fun, so when it was relaunched in volume 3, Waid and artists Marcos Martin, Paolo River, Javier Rodriguez, and Chris Samnee returned the character to his more "swashbuckling" persona.

Which wasn't to say that the book couldn't get dark: it could and it did. At one point, Matt's father's remains are dug out by the Mole Man and Matt thinks he's going crazy. During one crossover with Spider-Man and the Punisher, Daredevil protects a MacGuffin called the Omegadrive from being taken by Black Spectre and other evil organizations. But the book also introduced Kirsten McDuffie, a new ADA who teases Matt about being Daredevil, and really fun moments like Matt entering a Christmas party with a sweater proclaiming "I Am Not Daredevil."

Matt is eventually beaten by a new villain, Ikari, who has all of Matt's powers, but isn't blind. Defeating Ikari and Lady Bullseye, Matt and Foggy realize the real villain behind everything is Bullseye, who has become completely paralyzed and is seeking revenge against Matt. Even after defeating Bullseye, Matt still feels the pull of hopelessness and Waid finally gives him a reason: he has depression. Meanwhile, Foggy himself is diagnosed with cancer and begins treatment.

Eventually, in order to stop the Sons of the Serpent from taking over the city's law enforcement, Matt goes on the witness stand and reveals to the entire world that yes, he really is Daredevil. Disbarred from practicing law in New York, Matt decides that he'll go to the one city where he previously practiced law: San Francisco.

Relaunched again, Daredevil vol 4, by Waid and Chris Samnee, saw Matt, Foggy, and Kirsten living in San Francisco, with Foggy getting cancer treatments until he has to fake his own death (again). Matt has trouble when confronted with the Purple Children, the children of the Purple Man, who stir up his depression again, but manages to work on it with Kirsten's help. Matt then decides to write and sell his autobiography to Kirsten's father, but this was interrupted by the Owl, who had gained new powers. Defeating the Owl and outsmarting the Kingpin (again), Matt returned to his friends as the world turned white.


    The Charles Soule Era: 2016– 2017 
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Back in black.

In the wake of Secret Wars (2015), the book was relaunched again. Daredevil vol 5 was written by Charles Soule, with artwork mainly by Ron Garney, and saw Matt back in Hell's Kitchen, back with his secret identity and a new black-and-red costume, and working as an Assistant District Attorney, instead of a prosecutor. Ultimately, it was revealed an encounter with the Purple Children had caused them to use a device to increase their power and mindwipe the world of Daredevil's identity — so even people who knew before (like Foggy) didn't know. Matt did tell Foggy, but decided against telling anyone else.

Soule's run introduced the new character of Sam Chung/Blindspot and new villain Muse. Matt even brought up a case before the Supreme Court where they ruled that masked superheroes could testify without revealing their secret identities. The book then reverted back to its original volume 1 number (confused yet?) for Marvel Legacy and, in a stunning turn of events, Wilson Fisk is elected Mayor of New York. Surprisingly, Fisk chooses Matt Murdock to be his deputy mayor, which results in the weird position of Matt Murdock becoming the Mayor of New York when Fisk is almost killed by the Hand and put into a coma.

Fisk eventually wakes up and fires Matt, but Matt has other problems. An incident involving the Inhuman called Reader turned Matt's fake twin brother Mike into his real twin brother (and in a 2020 annual, uses magic to rewrite reality and become Matt's actual twin brother). And, finally, in "The Death of Daredevil" (#609-612), after getting hit by a car, Matt decides to take down Mayor Fisk for good and does so...except that it was all a dream as he almost died from that car accident and nearly dies on the operating table, too. Finally deciding to live, he wakes up from his coma.

The five-issue mini-series Man Without Fear by Jed MacKay and Danilo Beyruth show Matt recovering from his accident, going through physical therapy, talking with Foggy about what to do next. At first, he attempts to let Daredevil go, but in the end, he realizes that fear has taken control of him and he decides to become Daredevil again.


    The Chip Zdarsky Era: 2019–Present 
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Know Fear.

And then one more relaunch: Daredevil vol 6 by Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto is the current volume. "Know Fear" (#1-5) starts off the book with Matt still recovering from his accident, but deciding to go out as Daredevil anyway. This leads into him getting into a fight with three regular robbers, getting a concussion, and then accidentally killing one of the robbers. Wilson Fisk, on the other hand, has decided to let his title of "Kingpin" go and become more legitimate, but is hampered when the Owl decides to vie for the Kingpin title by starting a war with the Libris crime family.

Detective Cole North is introduced as a By-the-Book Cop intent on capturing Daredevil, while Fisk finds out that the billionaire Stromwyns are dirtier than Fisk could ever be and are seeking to buy Hell's Kitchen outright. Meanwhile, Daredevil is told to retire by Spider-Man or else, so he does. The entire thing comes to a head when the Stromwyns send hired supervillains to raze Hell's Kitchen in the two-part "Inferno" (yes, again) (#19-20). Daredevil, Fisk, Typhoid Mary, and Cole North end up saving Hell's Kitchen, but Daredevil insists on being arrested for the murder he committed.

In the latest storyline, Daredevil pleads guilty to second-degree manslaughter and, to gain his help and his respect, Elektra decides to take up his mantle while he's in prison and becomes the new Daredevil.



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