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Comic Book / Daredevil

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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."

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.


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.


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, and the future of the character in the franchise is still unknown.

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. 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.

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Original Conception Provides Examples Of:

    Original Concept 
  • Alliterative Name: Matthew Michael Murdock. Hell, Daredevil is an alliterative name — that's why he wears the interlinked "DD" on his front.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: It is never acknowledged, but his symptoms match those of Sensory Processing Disorder, right down to the inconsistencies – except for the part where most of the time he has no trouble processing what his senses tell him, largely due to training.
  • Appropriated Appellation: "Daredevil" was originally an Ironic Nickname given to Matt by the kids who bullied him at school.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: It's more low key than most, but Matt Murdock. Just say it and see how Badass it sounds.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Matt often uses his "radar sense" to figure out what he can't see and use it to his advantage. When he fought Bruiser, a villain who can change his center of gravity, he discovered that his body couldn't keep up with the changes and used a precise strike against a fracturing bone to take him down.
  • Badass Bookworm: A variant in that he's not a scientific genius like most versions of this trope, but rather an expert lawyer. Although, apparently he crammed a master's degree in applied mechanical engineering in his spare time. Also, he's uncommonly knowledgeable in chemistry. Of course, that probably comes with the territory when you're able to identify different types of metals by scent.
  • Bandage Wince: Apparently having hypersenses just makes iodine sting that much more.
  • Beneath Suspicion: Basically, the whole reason Matt is able to get away with being Daredevil for so many years and passing Daredevil off as just an ally. Who would ever consider a blind man being a costumed crime-fighter?
  • 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 Weaponmaster: Daredevil himself, natch.
  • Boxing Battler: Daredevil's 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 Daredevil's father was a professional boxer.
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S": Two interlocked "D"s. The original yellow costume just had one D.
  • Building Swing: Via his billy club, which doubles as a walking stick.
  • Cassandra Truth: It happens every time that he reveals his secret identity to someone. He gets accused of Obfuscating Disability, as people can hardly believe that he's blind and can fight so well. It's easier to believe that he was feigning to be blind the whole time.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower:
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Combat Parkour: An integral part of DD's fighting style.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Despite being an anti-hero of quite high moral standard, DD has no qualms about using creative measures in a fight... Whether it's going for low blows, sucker-punches, grabbing a gun in the midst of fisticuffs, pushing you into oncoming traffic, using ambush tactics, or holding a loved one captive as psychological leverage. Being a Badass Normal, he kinda has to be pragmatic if he wants to keep up with the likes of Wolverine and Spider-Man.
  • Cosmic Retcon: As of the 2020 annual, Matt now has a history with his formerly fake twin Mike, who retconned his history in-universe.
  • 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.
  • The Cowl: Just look at the page image.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • David Versus Goliath: Daredevil runs up against much larger, much more powerful enemies with shocking regularity. Rarely does he face true giants, but the spirit remains the same.
    • Less literally, one of Daredevil's CMOA's was when he beat to death (with a stick) Ultron, a killer robot who regularly causes much more powerful heroes to fudge their undies.
    • An early CMOA had Daredevil go up against Namor back when Namor was enough to take on either the whole of The Avengers or the whole of the Fantastic Four. Daredevil doesn't win the fight per se, but Namor cancels his attack in respect to Daredevil's bravery and tenacity.
    • In Daredevil Vol 1 #163, Daredevil went up against the Hulk. He got in some good hits, but lost.
  • 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.
  • Disability Superpower: He's got the most advanced case known, though. His touch is so sensitive, he can read normal print by feeling the ink. With gloves on. His hearing is so sharp, he's bothered by the Les Miserables production across town. Often considered the Ur-Example of this trope, though DC's Doctor Mid-Nite precedes him by over 20 years. Even so, he's certainly the most iconic example - right down to the dis in his ability; loud noises seriously disorient him, and he has trouble handling currency because it's stamped too flat for him to feel the impressions — the movie shows that he folds different denominations in different ways to distinguish them (Truth in Television, this is a standard technique of the blind for keeping their cash organized).
    • Though his powers tend to vary based on the writer, generally speaking, Daredevil can tell you're standing near him and wearing a tee shirt and jeans. He just can't tell what color the shirt is, or if it has anything written on it.
  • 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."
  • Evil Costume Switch: During the "Shadowland" storyline, Daredevil abandoned his iconic red suit in favor of a black suit with larger horns, a larger & more stylised DD chest insignia, and blades attached at the wrists.
  • Expy: When Daredevil was first created and Stan Lee was writing him, Daredevil was little more than an Expy of Spider-Man. Both traveled by swinging around the city, both had an acrobatic fighting style, and both had some kind of enhanced senses that allowed them to spot danger. Daredevil's personality wasn't particularly distinctive either. Thankfully, future writers fleshed out the character. A lot.
  • Fake Twin Gambit: Matt Murdock (Daredevil's secret identity) pretended to be his own non-existent twin brother Mike Murdock to trick his friends into believing that "Mike" was Daredevil, after they began suspecting his identity.
  • Fights Like a Normal: He has superhuman senses, but no Super Strength or anything like that, so he gets by with being a highly skilled martial artist; enough to have beaten both Wolverine and The Punisher in one-on-one fights.
  • First-Name Basis: Curiously averted with his longest-term girlfriend, whom he still thinks of by her full name, Karen Page.
  • Forgot the Disability: Characters will frequently forget that Matt Murdock is blind, immediately apologizing afterwards for being insensitive. Though Matt always casually brushes it off while acting amused by the mistake.
  • Good Lawyers, Good Clients: Most of Matt's clients are this, although there is the odd subversion where Matt ends up defending assorted scumbags because they still have the right to legal representation.
    • This is taken Up to Eleven in a story arc where Mr. Hyde will only accept having Matt as his lawyer. Hyde is adamant that, for all the other crimes he's committed over the years, he is innocent of the murder he's being accused of. Matt is skeptical, but takes the case anyway. He eventually clears Hyde's name by ferreting out the true murderer as Daredevil.
  • Good Parents: Jack Murdock may have been a brutish, brawling loser of a boxer, but he at least did his best to raise Matt to apply himself intellectually and become a successful lawyer. Unfortunately, Jack's violent streak occasionally got the best of him and Matt did not completely escape that bad influence.
  • 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 Immortal 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 Aiming Skills: Although not on Bullseye's level, Matt still is able to return bullets to sender (courtesy of his billy clubs), shoot like Annie Oakley (despite never training with guns), and hit opponents with ricochet projectiles, thrown in manners that circle them around the target.
    • He's also quite nifty with pulling off the Robin Hood archery stunt of splitting several arrows in a bulls-eye.
  • Improbable Weapon User: His weapon of choice is a billy-club with a built-in grappling hook, that he disguises as a white-stick when out of costume.
    • ... as well as any weapon of opportunity he comes across. Although not as elaborate as Bullseye, Matt does tend to weaponize most stuff that isn't nailed down at one point or another. Whether it be trash cans, coins, traffic signs, government issue mailboxes, pool cues, couches, free weights or unfortunate opponents.
    • Also, his archenemy 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.
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: No, seriously. When Matt's enemies find out who he is, they make his life Hell. They don't destroy him, they make him destroy himself. This even extends to him turning down an invitation to join the New Avengers on two separate occasions, as he didn't want to put the rest of the team at risk by associating with him — he accepted the second invitation, however, when Luke Cage & Jessica Jones pointed out that he'd be an Avenger, so they'd have his back.
  • Keeping the Handicap: The main character, Matt Murdock, lost all vision after a childhood accident, but obtained Super Senses (including a radar sense) in exchange. 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.
  • Killed Off for Real: In the Ultimate Marvel universe, during Ultimatum.
  • Kung-Fu Clairvoyance: Courtesy of his Radar and other Super Senses.
  • Le Parkour: Matt has been a poster-boy for this trope since his debut in the 60s.
  • 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".
    • Also DD himself, being fast enough to respond to bullets in mid-flight as well as possessing formidable strength and durability for a street-level character.
  • Living Lie Detector: DD is a human polygraph who can hear your heartbeat and smell your sweat.
  • 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.
  • Mole in Charge: For a while, Daredevil ostensibly ran the evil ninja assassin cabal called the Hand.
  • Multilayer Façade: For a while, Matt Murdock pretended to also be his non-blind twin brother Mike, who everyone suspected was secretly Daredevil.
  • 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.
  • Nebulous Evil Organisation: Daredevil fights these now and then, but he has an intimate history with one in particular: Black Spectre.
    • The second arc of the Mark Waid series involves Black Spectre and rival organizations AIM, Hydra, the Secret Empire, and Agence Byzantine all gunning for DD's head.
  • The Nose Knows: Among Daredevil's powers is enhanced smelling.
  • 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.
  • Obfuscating Disability: Subverted. A running bit is that whenever someone finds out the truth of Daredevil's identity, they immediately jump to the conclusion he's faking being blind as a way to throw people off as it makes more sense than him having some sort of super-senses to make up for it.
  • 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 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.
  • Parental Abandonment: Matt's father dies in his origin story, and he never knew his mother; she's finally introduced some twenty years later, in the Born Again storyline.
  • Pinball Projectile: Bullseye and Daredevil have both pulled this off.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: Daredevil 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.
  • Pretending to Be One's Own Relative: To throw people off the scent that he was the Daredevil, Matt engaged in a Fake Twin Gambit and sometimes acted as his own twin brother named Mike, though he'd ultimately fake "Mike's" death. That said, events in Charles Soule's Daredevil and Chip Zdarsky's own run resulted in a Cosmic Retcon that made Mike Murdock an actual and still-living person.
  • Really Gets Around: Fans generally agree that the title of supreme pimp of the Marvel Universe is a tossup between him and Tony Stark. A weighted tossup, as Stark tends to cheat by surrounding himself with expensive bombshell bait. Murdock just lays back and waits, knowing that any woman who thinks about it will realize that besides his sculpted physique, a blind man can give a woman the sensation of Braille being read.
    Wolverine: (Murdock), you're the biggest himbo that ever wore a pair of tights.
    - Wolverine #24
  • 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.
  • Rogues Gallery: Bullseye, Elektra, Gladiator, Leap-Frog, Mister Hyde, Nuke, Ikari, Bullet, Man-Bull, Electro, the Eel, Typhoid Mary, Stilt-Man, Death-Stalker, Mister Fear, the Kingpin, the Owl, Bruiser, etc. You could arguably count the Punisher here, too.
  • Rogues Gallery Transplant: It's often been pointed out that most of Daredevil's villains are someone else's "castoffs". While Electro earned his spurs fighting Spider-Man, he was also the first supervillain Daredevil defeated, and returned to tangle with Matt on a semi-regular basis. Daredevil would also have one-off fights with other villains, such as Klaw (an enemy of the Black Panther), the Absorbing Man (an enemy of The Mighty Thor), the Blob and Pyro (enemies of the X-Men), and Nitro (an enemy of Captain Mar-Vell).
    • Similarly, the Kingpin was originally a Spider-Man villain who was eventually permanently transplanted to Daredevil to the point that the character was officially licensed in other media adaptations, which meant no Spider-Man film appearances until recently. Unlike many transplants, Kingpin can and does routinely appear in Spider-Man stories still, given the extent of his criminal empire (and Fisk's hatred for superheroes in general).
    • Mysterio, again a Spider-Man villain, had Daredevil as his "adopted" nemesis during an arc because The Clone Saga deal kept Mysterio from knowing if Spider-Man was the real thing or just a clone.
    • And the Eel (originally a Human Torch foe) and Mr. Hyde (originally an enemy of Thor) both became more associated with Daredevil as time went on.
  • Step into the Blinding Fight
    • Daredevil invokes this trope despite being blind himself. His superb hearing and "radar" senses allows him to "see" in the dark much to the disadvantage of the criminals who can actually see. While they're paranoid and distracted, he's calm and controlled and kicks their asses.
    • Turned on its head though any time his superior senses are overloaded, such as when in the movie Bullseye causes a raucous of noise and disorients Daredevil, thus making him "blind" to any attack Bullseye can impose on him.
  • Super Hero: Duh!
  • 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.
  • Super Reflexes: Part of his training.
  • Super Senses: Duh!
  • Swiss Army Weapon: DD's billy club has many different functions and features.
    • It also doubles as his cane, enabling him to carry it all the time without attracting suspicion.
  • Throwing the Fight: Daredevil's father was killed when he refused to take a dive.
  • Triple Shifter
  • Uniqueness Decay: Matt Murdock's radar sense was originally a super power, the freak result of the accident that blinded him. Later, Frank Miller introduced a mentor character and revealed that anyone could learn to "see" without their eyes the way that Matt does.
  • 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.

Later versions by Frank Miller and modern writers provide examples of:

    Frank Miller and Modern Writers 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • And I Must Scream: The ultimate fate of Bullseye in Issue #27, Volume 3. After having been revived with locked-in syndrome due to injuries he received from Daredevil, he gets radioactive chemicals in his eyes, also blinding him.
  • Arch-Enemy: Kingpin and Bullseye.
  • A Beast in Name and Nature: The Beast, a demon tied to the origins of the Hand.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Born Again. Between a bloodthirsty psychopath in a Daredevil costume and a murderous drug dealer coming for them pretty much at the same time, it looks like Karen and Foggy are screwed. Enter a reinvigorated Matt Murdock who manages to lay out both threats without breaking a sweat.
  • 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.
  • Break the Cutie: Daredevil has several nervous breakdowns; unfortunately for him, There Are No Therapists.
  • 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.
  • Cartwright Curse: Karen Page included, Daredevil's female companions have a nasty tendency to die, go crazy, or both. Sometimes more than once. The Black Widow was lucky to emerge relatively unscathed. Of course, she's a big enough character in the Marvel Universe to have some Plot Armor.
  • 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.
  • Christianity Is Catholic: Well, Daredevil himself is, at least. Oh, and his mother is a nun. Frank Miller added this to his character as a joke. "I figured Daredevil must be Catholic because only a Catholic could be both an attorney and a vigilante."
  • CIA Evil, FBI Good: Subverted to hell and back. There are government agencies that view Kingpin as a necessary evil and resort to False Flag Operations to keep him in power. But the FBI hates both Daredevil and Kingpin, and even put them in the same prison hoping that they would end up killing each other.
  • 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.
  • Constantly Changing Name: A Running Gag in Mark Waid's run is that Kristie keeps changing the name on the door of the law firm every time it appears.
  • 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.
  • Dating Catwoman: If the comics introduce a female antagonist, Matt will be in bed with her at some point.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Jack, Matt's son from the 50th Anniversary issue.
  • Demonic Possession: Possessed by the Beast, the demonic man behind the man of The Hand and the real Big Bad of the "Shadowlands" event.
  • 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.
  • Friendly Enemy: The Punisher... sometimes. 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. But they can be surprisingly civil with each other when they're NOT trading blows, with Spider-Man even comparing them to an old married couple during Greg Rucka's Omega Effect storyline. Famously, Frank allowed himself to get arrested so he could foil a plot to assassinate Matt while he was in prison.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Highly Visible Ninja: The Hand is a whole bunch of these. Not to mention Elektra, the Stripperiffic Greek ninja.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Ben Urich
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Matt's reason for rejecting Kirsten when she tries to reconcile with him while he's in the hospital. Not that he tells her that.
  • Knight Templar: As the leader of The Hand, read Shadowland.
  • Large and in Charge: The Kingpin again
  • Legacy Character:
  • Lighter and Softer: Mark Waid accepted the offer to write Daredevil on the condition that he could move the series away from the overwhelming bleakness that had dominated the character for the better part of thirty years. Surprisingly, the results have been rather successful.
  • Logical Weakness: It's long been established that Daredevil can read ordinary print thanks to his super-sensitive touch. In the 21st century, though, more and more vital information appears on screens. Because it's not (currently) common knowledge that DD is blind, this has occasionally left him screwed, as when Elektra handed him a piece of plot-critical evidence on her smartphone.
  • No Name Given: In the 50th Anniversary issue, the identity of Jack's mother is never given, merely that she's a mayor.
  • Not So Different:
    • 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.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: The series is rather famous for massive status quo shake-ups on a regular basis.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: In issue 17 of Mark Waid's run, a flashback to the early days of their law office shows Matt and Foggy having a spat about the division of workload. Foggy accidentally makes an insensitive remark about sight and apologizes, but artwork implies that Matt's retort to this was actually obliquely referring to his double life as Daredevil.
    Foggy: I wish you could see the nonsense I deal with!
    Matt (with Daredevil's shadow): So do I.
    Foggy: That's not...not what I...
  • One-Man Army: Most famously shown when the Yakuza send 100 mooks to Matt's address, decked out with guns, swords and nearly half of them being hopped up on an imitation of the Super Soldier Serum. It does not end well... for the Mooks.
  • Open Secret: As of Mark Waid's run, virtually everyone suspects Matt is Daredevil — forcing him to play the bumbling blind man in an attempt to throw people off his scent. It hasn't been working too well, and Matt's career is in danger.
  • Orgy of Evidence: In Daredevil: Born Again, this phenomenon was what finally convinced Matt Murdock that the recent misfortunes he had suffered was being caused by the Kingpin rather than simply being a string of bad luck.
    Matt (pulling his Daredevil costume from out of the rubble of his demolished building): It was a nice piece of work, Kingpin. You shouldn't have signed it.
  • 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.
  • Psycho for Hire: Bullseye and Nuke, as well as the Daredevil impersonator from Born Again.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Since Miller's run, Murdock has generally only been able to achieve these, at best. But he carries on.
  • 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.
  • Reality Ensues: Lampshaded by DD himself when receiving a house call from a horde of Yakuza Mooks. He notes that when somebody is serious about wanting you dead, they won't bother with fancy costumes and theatrical Supervillain schemes. They will simply show up on your doorstep at odd hours and shoot you. However, that plan does not turn out quite as well as expected (see One-Man Army).
  • 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.
  • Rock Bottom: Hit this during Shadowland. Since then Matt has had nowhere to go but up.
  • Rule of Drama
  • Save the Villain: Daredevil saves Bullseye from drowning in radioactive chemicals in the latter's latest appearance. However, he is left a prisoner in his own body due to the injuries that accumulated over time.
  • Shadow Archetype: Bullseye. And the Kingpin, whose constant evasion of criminal convictions cause Murdock to seriously doubt the law's ability to deal with the most calculating criminals.
  • Spandex, Latex, or Leather
  • Status Quo Is God: Subverted, especially since the Bendis years.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge:
    • Karen Page, who gets dumped repeatedly for "bad girls" and turned into a drug-addicted porn star before... getting back with Matt and being happy again just before she goes into another nervous breakdown and gets killed by Bullseye. Okay...
    • Again with Matt's wife Milla Donovan, who had to suffer through Daredevil's secret identity being leaked to the press, Matt being sent to jail, and then driven crazy by Mr. Fear to the point of being in a near catatonic state, with Matt being too busy trying to find a cure to be with her, and eventually we learn that there is no cure.
    • Issue 11 of Waid's run has Daredevil rather conspicuously call out Punisher's partner Cole for believing in this trope — there are millions of cops and firefighters who simply want to do what's right, and claiming that they aren't as driven as someone with a dead loved one is a "vomitous insult".
      Cole: You know what gives me the strength? The loss. We're alike that way, I imagine. Admit it: nobody's who a stranger to that particular pain could ever be as driven as us.
      Daredevil: Never - (throws his staff at her face, purposefully missing it by mere millimeters) - don't you ever say that to me ever again. That is a repellent statement. It's a vomitous insult to every cop - every fireman - every soldier alive who steps up to fight for those who can't! I am sorry for your loss! But if you genuinely believe that only the death of a loved one can motivate a human being to take up a cause... then get your pathetic, cynical ass out of my way so I can do my job!
  • Supernatural Martial Arts: Daredevil is a marginal case; he has superhumanly enhanced senses to more than compensate for his blindness, but his physical abilities are otherwise defined within human limits. His mentor, Stick, however had full on magic in his skills.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Too Broken to Break: Given how much the titular hero suffers in his life, this trope does tend to pop up now and then.
    • In the Born Again storyline, Wilson Fisk does everything in his power to make Matt's life living hell, and destroy everything he had. When Matt is left homeless and penniless with barely any of his sanity left, Fisk thinks he has beaten him... Only to realise that he has created a man with nothing to lose, and thus a man without fear.
    • This happens again in a later storyline when Mysterio tries to break Daredevil as his dying act, only for him to deliver a scathing "The Reason You Suck" Speech and explain why that's not possible.
      Daredevil: You think you can break me? You're a joke and a fraud. [...] And trying to drive me insane? Kingpin nearly did it, once.
  • Useless Without Powers: In an issue of Daredevil crossing over with Secret Wars II the Beyonder gives Matt Murdock his sight back. Murdock assumes that this will make him an even better crimefighter, but he can't adjust (including losing his Hyper-Awareness) and gets the Beyonder to take back the "gift."
  • Vice City: Hell's Kitchen is usually portrayed in this way.
  • Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Nuke's got the American flag tattooed on his face.
  • Wham Episode: Volume 4, issue 36 ends with the New York Bar Association reluctantly disbarring Matt for previous perjury (i.e. denying to be Daredevil on record) and the questionable ethics and legality of his vigilantism. As Kristen points out, it's nearly impossible to get onto another state's bar unless you've practiced law there before...and Matt did previously work in San Francisco, California, prompting a move.
  • 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.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Daredevil keeps having to tangle with female enemies at a remarkable frequency. He's savvy not to underestimate them due to gender. Especially when most of them are equally or more super-powered than he is.
  • Wretched Hive: Hell's Kitchen is also often portrayed in this way.


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