Do not fear everyone, for the devil of hell’s kitchen is here. For Episode 12 of the podcast, you chose Matt Murdock… Here’s a beginners guide to Daredevil.
A Better Life
Much like in our previous episode with Zatanna, Matt Murdock’s story starts with his father. Jonathan “Battling Jack” Murdock was a professional boxer. He was raising Matt alone in Hell’s Kitchen, the boy’s mother having left when he was young. Jack wanted a better life for his son and always insisted Matt focus on his education to get a good job. Matt respected his father and did as he asked, he would focus on his studies despite his natural athletic abilities. This led to a lot of bullying, but despite spending a lot of time blowing off steam in the gym, Matt promised his father to never fight back. This led to the kids calling him ‘Daredevil’
It was his good character that would set his path for life.
One day, Matt saw an out of control truck heading towards a blind man crossing the road. He rushed to push the man out of the way as a container of waste fell from the truck. It burst open into Matt’s face, covering him in radioactive material.
Recovering in the hospital, Matt was now completely blind. Jack was distraught, but Matt was as strong as ever, assuring his father he would be ok. Within days, he had continued his studies, determined to graduate law school. He was beginning to learn that despite not being able to see, his other senses had been enhanced. His hearing could tell him who was in the room by their heartbeat alone. He had a sense of touch so sensitive, he could ‘read’ by feeling the raised ink on books and newspapers. His senses were so highly tuned that he had an almost radar ability, knowing when he was about to walk into something.
Jack, meanwhile, had continued to fight, determined to be able to provide for Matt to get him through college. Unable to find a manager, he had signed up with ‘The Fixer’, a notoriously bad character. While Matt carried on studying following his accident, Jack had found some recent success and was due to fight for the number 2 rank. He soon learned, however, that it had all been set up by The Fixer. He was told to take a dive in the first round of the fight, purposefully loosing.
Seeing his boy in the crowd and wanting to make him proud, Jack refused and went on to win the fight.
As Jack leaves the gym, a gunshot rings out through the alley. Battling Murdock was dead; nobody crosses The Fixer.
Despite his grief, Matt graduates shortly after the death of his Father and opens up a small law firm with his friend. Knowing the killer of his Father is still out there, it becomes difficult to focus on the job. With the promise he made his Father years ago on his mind, knew he had to find a way to get justice while protecting his name. Coming up with a plan, he stitched together some old shirts to form a costume. Taking back the name the kids used to hurl at him as an insult, he became Daredevil.
The Man Without Fear
Adapting a special cane with a hinge as a weapon, he headed to the Gym owned by The Fixer. Using his heightened senses, he was able to deal with The Fixers goons with ease. He is able to hear from peoples breathing and heartbeats where they are in the room and how many of them there are. It also helps him pinpoint where to throw his cane as a weapon. Losing track of The Fixer, he was able to hunt him down again from the smell of his cigar through the streets. Catching up to him in the subway, he apprehends The Fixer, forcing a confession from his right-hand man about the shooting.
Although his first outing was against a relatively small-time crook, it didn’t take him long to really get stuck in. Issue 2 of daredevil sees him battle against his first super villain, Electro. This set him on his path to becoming a respected superhero. He would battle against many of New York’s most hardened super villains and soon became an ally of Spider-Man. Even Matt Murdock, working at the law firm with Foggy Nelson, he was able to do a lot of good. He quickly became a helpful ally and friend to the Fantastic Four, as well as representing many more of New York’s finest.
This is his origin as it appears in Daredevil #1, but this has been adapted and built on over the years. Daredevil has a long, layered, interesting history. He has battled depression, struggled with his multiple personalities, had his identity revealed and confronted his faith. If you like stories with depth and character then you cannot go wrong delving into Daredevil.
Remember, to find out more you can listen to our full episode, where you can hear us talk about some of these issues and much more.
More? Well how about the link between The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Daredevil… How can you turn that down.
Steve‘s Reading list:
Daredevil: The Platinum Collection
Daredevil: The Elektra Saga
Daredevil: Love And War
Elektra Lives Again
Daredevil: Born Again
Daredevil: Man Without Fear
Daredevil: Guardian Devil