With Netflix’s take on Daredevil launching this Friday, I thought I’d take a look at five of the most read story-lines featuring the Man with No Fear. This list is in no particular order, just a must read list, and as I will be going into quite a few plot points in this, FULL SPOILERS AHEAD!!
Guardian Devil 1998-1999
Clerks writer and director Kevin Smith took to the helms of one of the most influential comics on this list. with the love of Matt’s life Karen Page leaving him, Daredevil finds himself both angry and vulnerable, with him falling back on his Catholic faith for the first time in years.
Featuring an all star line-up of supporting members, such as Black Widow, Doctor Strange and Mysterio, with a story echoing themes of religion and the Anti-Christ, all culminating in the tragic death of Karen at the hands of Bullseye.
Daredevil :Yellow (2001)
Critically acclaimed writer Jeph Loeb takes to the pages of the Man without Fear in the follow-up to Guardian Devil. Retelling several tales in Matt Murdock’s long history, with the death of his father and setting up his law firm with friend Foggy Nelson, to his first days in the vigilante business, along with his transition from his original yellow suit, to the red suit we know today.
With several stories focusing on his relationship with Karen, from their first meeting, to their bittersweet ending at the hands of Bullseye, this arc was seen as a love letter to Karen, in the same vein as the recently released Spider-man Blue and his relationship with Gwen Stacy.
Daredevil: Redemption (2005)
This tale is one of the more unique story arcs on this list: A daredevil story with very little Daredevil. Focusing more on Matt Murdock and his law career instead, he is sent to the town of Redemption, Alabama defending three teens of crimes they did not commit.
This arc comes after Matts alter-ego is publicly known to the world, and plays into Matt’s Catholic beliefs, with the teens being branded as Satanists. Writer David Hine took inspiration from real life events based in West Memphis, dubbed the West Memphis Three, and in doing so tells one of the grittiest tales in Daredevils history.
The man without fear (1993 mini-series)
Frank Miller and John Romita Jr’s retelling of Matt Murdock’s origin holds its own as one of the best interpretations of the classic tale yet. Serving as the main inspiration for Netflix’s series, and featuring a darker version of Matt Murdock, and a darker version of the suit, that will also be featured in the series.
Initially meant to be a screenplay for a live action film at the time, it was later turned into the best Daredevil mini-series to date, and is responsible for introducing us to characters such as Matts teacher Stick, and on/off love interest/enemy Elektra.
Daredevil: Noir (2009)
Set during Marvels publication wide Noir event, featuring heroes from across the universe, from Spider-man to iron-man, Luke Cage and Daredevil amongst many more.
Written by Alexander Irvine, the limited series followed Matt in the black and white noir world, where he is following the trail of his father’s killers, that leads him back to Wilson Fisk, AKA the Kingpin.
Told entirely in flashbacks, all culminating in his final showdown with Fisk.
The use of colour is fantastic, with the black and white being broken by only Matt’s red suit.
Honourable mention : Daredevil: The end of days. (2012)
The most recent story arc on this list, written by Brian Michael Bendis, it only gets a mention because it only features Matt and Daredevil once, as a corpse. Set after Matt’s death, it sees the Daily Bugle reporter Ben Ulrich investigating his death, his history and his legacy.
Following leads across New York, Ben looks into the figures that shaped Matt’s life, from his relationship with Black Widow, his friendship with Frank Castle, The Punisher, and his death at the hands of Bullseye.
After being saved by someone imitating Daredevil, who is later revealed to be Tim Ulrich, the adopted son of Ben, which also turns out to be the child of Matt and Natasha Romanova, The Black Widow, given to Ben in order to keep him safe, Ben finds himself riddled by arrows at the hands of the Foot Clan.
This arc shows that even after Matts death, his legacy and teachings live on in his son, and that Hells kitchen will always have a protector.
Netflix’s Daredevil launches with all 13 episodes available instantly, this Friday April 10th.