[SPOILER WARNING: THIS INTERVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR “DAREDEVIL” #15, ON SALE NOW.]
The old saying, “No good deed goes unpunished” is especially applicable to Matt Murdock, the title character of Marvel Comics’ Eisner Award-winning “Daredevil” series. As a boy, Murdock was blinded by a radioactive canister that fell off the back of a truck when he tried to pull a man from the path of an oncoming vehicle. Fate was not entirely unkind to Murdock though; the radiation that blinded him amplified his other senses to a super human level. He uses these senses along with his hand to hand combat prowess and his legal acumen to fight for justice on the streets as the costumed hero Daredevil and in the court room as an attorney.
Murdock’s dual struggles for justice recently led to the destruction of a money laundering scheme between Latveria, the nation ruled by the despotic super villain Doctor Doom, and several mega crime conspiracies. Chancellor Beltane, the Latverian official who concocted the plan, was furious and swore revenge. He exacted his vengeance at the end of “Daredevil” #13 when the titular crime fighter was abducted and imprisoned in Latveria.
In “Daredevil” #15, Murdock broke free from his captors and was eventually rescued, but he did not emerge from the ordeal unscathed. While in captivity he was subject to several experiments that affected both his health and super senses. How will those experiments impact his life going forward? And what kind of dangers and complications await him in the future? For the answers to those questions and more CBR News spoke with “Daredevil” writer Mark Waid.
CBR News: Mark, at the beginning of your run Matt Murdock was making a conscious attempt to move past all the horrible things that had befallen him in recent years. In “Daredevil” #15 Matt tells us that turning his back on despair and depression these last few months is the hardest thing he’s ever had to do. That led me to wonder what types of things get Matt down the most? Things he’s lost? Or thing’s he failed to do and done while acting impulsively? Is Matt as driven by guilt as, say, someone like Peter Parker?
Mark Waid: Less things he’s failed to do than things he’s lost. NO one’s as driven by guilt as Peter Parker, but Matt’s great weakness is that it weighs on him that he can’t make the world fair for everyone. That he has limits that folks like Iron Man or Thor or Hulk don’t seem to have. And, to be honest, feeling like a victim of circumstance (as Matt has legitimately been many a time) is a very addictive state of mind, and Matt has to work hard not to fall down that rabbit hole of self-pity.
“Daredevil” #15 also featured an interesting revelation about Matt’s super abilities. From what I understood Matt’s super senses stem from a highly evolved nervous system that will never really let him be truly cut off from sensory stimuli. Is that correct, or is there more going on there?
There’s MUCH more going on there. Matt always believed that the accident that gave him his abilities was a one-time gift. What he’s now learned is that this may not be so. And there’ll be independent verification of that next issue by a very interested party.
The revelation about Matt’s brain and nervous system feels almost character based in that Matt is someone who fails, but never truly gives up and it seems like his nervous system is the same way. Where did the idea for this revelation about his nervous system come from?
From the movie “Altered States” as much as anything. Ever see it? It’s about the strange biochemical things the human brain does to sustain itself in extreme states of sensory deprivation. Well, also, it’s about the power of love, but anyway — my pal Tom Peyer suggested that as a touchstone, that being cut off from all his traditional senses might spark Matt’s brain to evolve in new ways, and when I added the notion that there’s still some residual radiation in there, the notion took shape. And this is only the beginning.
In issue #15 we learned about Matt’s powers and his state of mind while he was fighting to escape Latveria. During that battle he took on a host of human enemies instead of Latveria’s usual assortment of robots and mechanized forces. What made you want to put Matt up against flesh and blood soldiers instead of mechanical ones? And does Daredevil’s rescue at the end of issue #15 put an end to the vendetta the soldiers’ commander, Chancellor Beltane, has with Daredevil? Is there a chance we might see Beltane again in later issues?
I could be wrong, but I tend to believe that Doom’s probably the only guy in Latveria who actually has full and total control of the Doombots and other mechanical soldiers, at least to the extent you’d need to control and direct them to apprehend Daredevil. Plus, as strange as this sounds, it kept the story grounded a bit, especially given some of the over-the-top menaces we’ve had DD face so far. This narrowed the focus of the story away from fantastic antagonists and towards the real true threat — the shutdown of Matt’s mind.
Speaking of the shutdown of Matt’s mind, issue #15 ends on a pretty interesting cliffhanger of Daredevil needing emergency surgery. How much story time passes between issues #15 and #16? In terms of plot and themes what are issues #16 and #17 about? The solicits suggest that this is a story about the fracturing of Matt and Foggy’s friendship. Is that correct?
Nine days pass. Enough to truly solidify the rift between Matt and Foggy, who’s furious that Matt hasn’t been in touch. And even when Matt explains, that’s not enough to calm Foggy — because, remember, Foggy seems to have found something very disturbing hidden in Matt’s office…
Interesting and ominous. The visuals of issues #16 and #17 are provided by two stellar artists, your regular collaborator Chris Samnee, and guest artist Mike Allred. What’s it like working with these guys? What do you feel Chris and Mike’s artistic strengths are?
Chris can flat-out tell a story in the single most dynamic, suspenseful way imaginable. His eye for detail is stunning — always enough to give each scene character, but never so much that the characters get lost. And Mike Allred’s a legend — there’s an acrobatic energy that he brings to the page that’s PERFECT for Daredevil!
Chris returns for September’s issue #18, which according to the solicits is the kickoff to the biggest “Daredevil” story you’ve done so far. In terms of scope and scale how does the story that begins in #18 compare to the stories that preceded it?
It’s bigger and broader. It spans the globe and threatens Matt’s newfound sense of self. It features the return of an old flame in a REALLY AWFUL WAY and leaves Matt bereft of any real support system. He’s truly on his own in this four-parter, and he’s up against a villain with a surprisingly gargantuan grudge.
That villain is known as the Coyote and according to the solicits he makes his debut in “Daredevil” #18. Is there anything else that you can tell us about him?
Just this: you’ve seen him before.
Intriguing. It sounds like the next few months will be a pretty exciting time for “Daredevil” fans. Anything else you can share with us?
Yes. Thanks to ALL the fans who support what we’re doing! I’ve never enjoyed this level of critical acclaim before, and I’m beside myself with joy. I appreciate your enthusiasm and loyalty and I’ll try not to disappoint in the months to come!
“Daredevil” #15 is on sale now, and #16 by Waid and Samnee goes on sale in August.