Top 50 Marvel Characters #3

by  in Comic News Comment
Top 50 Marvel Characters #3

Now Marvel’s turn…

3. Daredevil – 1006 points (22 first place votes)

Created by Stan Lee and Bill Everett (with help from Jack Kirby), Daredevil made his debut in the pages of his own self-titled comic book in 1964. Matt Murdock was a successful attorney who was secretly the superhero Daredevil.

The catch?

Matt was blind.

When Matt was a kid, he saved an old man from being hit by a truck, but the truck was carrying radioactive materials that splashed on to Matt, blinding him for life. However, the materials also ended up giving Matt a kind of superpower – all his senses were heightened, to the point where he could read newspapers just by reading the ink on the page with his finger. In addition, he gained a sort of Radar sense, like a Bat, only not sound-based, Matt just basically had a supernatural sense of where people were around him. It was how he was able to operate as a superhero, and how no one was able to connect him with blind attorney, Matt Murdock, because how could a blind guy do this?

Matt was a basic superhero for many years, during which time he was notably involved with his secretary, Karen Page, and the superhero Black Widow (they even shared his comic for awhile, as Daredevil and Black Widow). Matt’s law partner, and best friend, was Foggy Nelson.

This all changed with the arrival of Frank Miller as the writer of the book.

Miller introduced an old girlfriend of Matt’s called Elektra, who was a dangerous assassin. He also made Matt into a sort of a ninja, introducing a heretofore unknown sensei of Matt’s called Stick. Miller also made the Kingpin, a Spider-Man mob villain, into Daredevil’s arch-nemesis, while cementing the supervillain assassin, Bullseye, created a little while before Miller took over the book by Marv Wolfman, into a force to be reckoned with, even to the point of having Bullseye KILL Elektra.

Later on, Miller returned to the character, as Karen Page (who had left years ago to become an actress) was now a drug addict who sold Daredevil’s secret identity. It got to the Kingpin, who then proceeded to tear apart Matt’s life. In the end, though, Matt was too strong, and along with Karen, he began a new life.

Eventually, he even regained his law license.

Sadly, Bullseye struck again, this time killing KAREN, as well.

Reeling from her death, Matt was spiraling. He had his identity published in the papers and he even attempted to put HIMSELF in place as the new Kingpin of Hell’s Kitchen. During this perio,d he married Milla Donovan,, who is also blind. Matt was able to recover from this period, and even was able to refute the identity issue (although everyone pretty much thinks he is Daredevil now).

He is now back to doing what he does best, practice law and patrol the streets as Daredevil!

Here is why Mik Throntveit picked Daredevil #1…

When I was a kid (being 25 now) I didn’t understand what the hell was so special about Daredevil. I thought he was just some dude without super powers who dove off of buildings. I didn’t even give the character time enough to learn he was fucking blind! So why do I love Daredevil now? He’s a blind tortured Catholic Lawyer who womanizes and protects his childhood neighborhood (that just happens to have the best name a neighborhood has ever been given). He is tortured psychologically and physically every day and night of his life because of his choice to gallivant about at night protecting Hell’s Kitchen. People know for a fact that he is Daredevil and he just sits back and denies it even when there are thousands of undeniable pieces of evidence. He can do this (simply put), because he’s a bad motherfucker. If any character in Comics were deserving enough to carry Jules’ wallet from ‘Pulp Fiction’ it would be Matt Murdock.

Most of all I respect Daredevil for much the same reason I think a lot of people love
Wolverine, because they both feel their pain, In the recent issue of Wolverine where they had a huge machine gun trained on him to suppress his healing powers, he felt every bullet and he grinned and bared it. Matt Murdock does the same after every night out fighting, only he heals just like every other human on this planet. Only Matt Murdock continues to go out and fight in the streets and the court room for what he feels is right. I particularly love the fact that he calls himself DareDevil, because Matt Murdock is a heavy handed Saint.

My favorite Daredevil stuff is of course Frank Miller’s legendary run, but the current run started off by Kevin Smith’s Guardian Devil through Bendis’ long run (the best arc I feel being ‘The Murdock Papers’) and now with Ed Brubaker’s new storylines has turned out to be one of the best 100 issue runs in recent memory. This run has rarely (if ever) disappointed.

And here is why Graham Vingoe picked him #1….

It’s hard to believe that up until the mid 1970’s, Daredevil was seen as a joke character a rip off of Spiderman. Anyone reading the first 100 or so issues would be hard pressed to ever have him as a favourite character- He was just another wisecracking superhero with a vaguely interesting rogue’s gallery. I read the title from the late Gerry Conway issues through to the Jim Shooter run and was enjoyed them but DD was nowhere near the top of my reading list. There was 1 issue of the series which completely changed my view of Daredevil. The issue in question is this.

Since issue 159 and through to date DD has been blessed with a number of creators who done their absolute peak work on the title- Miller, Bendis, Brubaker, Nocenti et all have all revitalized a character who was once Spidey mark 2. None of them wrote this issue.

Issue 163, written by Roger Mackenzie (whatever happened to him?) features Daredevil, a man with little more than normal human strength going up against the Hulk. He knows he has no chance of beating him but does everything he can to stop him. What happens? He succeeds, but is beaten to a pulp and hospitalised for his troubles. Frankly, Any man, with reasonably normal strength who is willing to attempt to stand up to the Hulk KNOWING that the Hulk could and will beat him to a pulp, is truly a man without fear. That issue is why I voted him number 1 on my list of favourite Marvel heroes.

Thanks, Mik and Graham!

Tomorrow is #2 and #1!!!!