Who wouldn't want to be a superhero? The powers alone are enough to sell most people. Then there's the chance of fame and adoration, and the dangerous freedom that comes with being a vigilante. Sounds like a picnic, right? Well, if our two-dimensional heroes could talk back to us, they'd say we're dead wrong. You have to take into account all of the crazy, scary, genius, and highly destructive supervillains out there. You have to consider the logistics of leading a double life and whether or not you're going to let your date in on your little secret. You have to wonder when the heck you're going to sleep. At the very least it's a hassle, and at the most, you're Matt Murdock, aka Daredevil, and your life is a living nightmare.
Daredevil has been through every tragedy imaginable. Supervillains deadset on shattering his psyche, switching bodies with him, or putting him through an elaborate gauntlet consisting of other villains? Check. Descending into mental instability, morally questionable acts, and brief spells as a supervillain? Check. An endlessly tragic love life? Of course -- this is Matt Murdock we're talking about. Whether he be going up against his greatest threats Kingpin and Bullseye, or other foes like Doctor Doom and Mister Fear, Daredevil can be sure of one thing: Something bad enough to test Daredevil's mental fortitude will happen. Prepared for a trip down Matt Murdock's devastatingly tragic memory lane? Here are 20 of the worst of the worst things that Daredevil has been through.
20 BECOMES THE NEW KINGPIN
During yet another mentally unstable period, Daredevil did the unthinkable and crowned himself the new Kingpin of the underworld. Daredevil did so after defeating Wilson Fisk, with the intent of preventing crime in the area. Although he was successful in doing so, he did so through morally questionable means. Daredevil's role as a crimelord came to an abrupt end when the FBI discovered his activities.
There's a common trend in Daredevil comics for the titular hero to take drastic measures when his identity begins to slip. But even by Daredevil standards, this was an astonishing development, indicative of the hero's fragile mental state.
In Daredevil (Vol. 2) #81, Matt Murdock is sent to prison for taking over the role of Kingpin, but Daredevil isn't alone at Ryker's Island. With him are Wilson Fisk, Bullseye, and Punisher. Fisk and Bullseye corroborate in a plan to break out. When the villains make their move, Daredevil and Punisher protect guards and save the Warden before escaping.
No 'worst things a superhero has been through' list would be complete without a visit to a prison. It seems to happen frequently -- as indicated by his encounter with Frank Castle. Count this one as a terrible, yet inevitable, experience for the Devil of Hell's Kitchen.
18 BEATEN BY THE HULK
In Daredevil (Vol. 1) #173, Daredevil went toe-to-toe with the Green Goliath. Naturally, the Devil of Hell's Kitchen was out of his league when he tried to stop the rampaging alter ego fo Dr. Banner. Although Daredevil was able to hold his own for a few minutes, the inevitable happened. Hulk eventually landed a couple of punches on Daredevil, resulting in Daredevil being treated by medics while Hulk leaped away.
It's a rare feat for Daredevil to be casually hospitalized by an enemy. Typically, he deals with street level threats, which is why a random bout with Hulk can leave him on the brink of death.
17 HEATHER GLENN
A long-time love interest of Daredevil's met her tragic end in Daredevil (Vol. 1) #220. At one point, Heather Glenn and Matt Murdock were engaged. When they broke it off, Glen spiraled into a depression. Relying on some nasty substances and loneliness, Glen calls Daredevil in the middle of the night. After a quick visit, Daredevil goes back onto patrol. He's alerted by Foggy Nelson the next morning that Glenn couldn't take it anymore.
Daredevil has more than his fair share of dark and depressing episodes in his life -- and this ranks among the worst of them. The story ends with Murdock confessing to Foggy that he feels responsible for what happened. In response, Foggy says that the only problem was that Murdock never loved Glenn as much as she did him.
16 DAREDEVIL: DARK NIGHTS
Daredevil was put through the wringer in Daredevil: Dark Nights #1-3. Written and drawn by a legendary Daredevil creator, Lee Weeks, the story opens with Daredevil stuck in a blizzard and suffering from amnesia and the temporary loss of his radar sense. While struggling to remember who he is, Daredevil must trek through the snowstorm to save a little girl. Along the way, he deals with plenty of unexpected enemies and obstacles.
Dealing with some of the harshest conditions imaginable, this story was definitely one of the worst things that Daredevil has been through. It was also an instant classic and a testament to the hero's unbreakable spirit.
15 HIS PSYCHE SPLITS
Daredevil's psyche has always been fragile, but it split apart once during the '90s. Part of the "Over the Edge" event, which saw several of Marvel's heroes temporarily losing their minds, Daredevil's psyche split into two entities in Daredevil (Vol. 1) #344-351. One entity was a super violent anti-hero who crippled criminals, and the other wore the original yellow and red suit. Daredevil eventually discovers that he's actually both vigilantes. With the help of his old mentor, Stick, Daredevil is able to sew together his psyche and become whole again.
We've got to imagine that it's a bit jarring to discover that you've been unconsciously masquerading about as another person. This was certainly one of the darker periods in Daredevil's life.
One of the first major deaths to happen in Daredevil comics was Elektra's. Matt Murdock's former love interest turned assassin met her end in Daredevil (Vol. 1) #181. Elektra was hunted down by the bloodthirsty assassin Bullseye and the two fought over the job to serve Kingpin. Bullseye won, taking Elektra out with her own blade. Elektra crawled all the way to Daredevil's house and died in his arms.
Although Elektra would soon after be revived via ninja magic, this was definitely a heartbreaker for Murdock. He'd recently reunited with Elektra after years apart, in hopes of persuading her to join the side of the good.
13 MEETS TYPHOID MARY
One of the most dangerous villains in Daredevil's rogues' gallery, Typhoid Mary, made her debut in Daredevil (Vol. 1) #254. A telepath with telekinetic abilities, Mary suffered from a dissociative personality disorder. She led a double life as a psychotic villain that battled with Daredevil and as a sane, aspiring actress that dated Matt Murdock. Needless to say, Daredevil was broken hearted when he discovered that the two were one and the same.
Daredevil has a long and storied history of tragic relationships -- and plenty of them have proved to be fierce enemies. However, none of his girlfriends have been quite as dangerous and unpredictable as Typhoid Mary.
12 SECRET IDENTITY LEAKED TO THE PRESS
Daredevil's secret identity is leaked in Daredevil (Vol. 2) #31 by the mobster Sammy Silke. Silke was being hunted down by Vanessa Fisk, and, with nowhere left to turn, went to the FBI for help. In return for protection, he told the FBI something that he'd learned from his buddy Richard Fisk -- that Daredevil was a lawyer named Matt Murdock. The information made its way to the press, and Murdock promptly denied the rumor.
Although Murdock sues the paper and ultimately convinces the public that he isn't Daredevil, the leak causes him a considerable amount of trouble within a small duration of time.
11 BREAKS UP WITH KIRSTEN MCDUFFIE
Matt Murdock's relationship with Kirsten McDuffie was one of his most recent ones to end in disappointment. While Foggy Nelson was undergoing treatment for his cancer, McDuffie filled in for him at the law firm. She discovered Murdock's secret identity and the two fell in love. After a run-in with the Purple Children, who rewarded Daredevil for helping them by mindwiping everyone who knew about Daredevil's secret identity, Daredevil decided it was best if McDuffie didn't relearn his identity. He broke up with her for her own safety.
This wouldn't be the first time that a superhero has had to cut ties with a loved one because of their duty -- but it's a difficult decision nonetheless.
10 HIS FATHER'S DEATH
No origin would be complete without a family tragedy. Jack Murdock was a single father who pushed Matt to excel in academics, so he wouldn't have to resort to a job on par with Jack's -- as a boxer. Down on his luck and desperate to land a big fight, Jack worked out a deal with the infamous promoter known as the Fixer. The Fixer commanded Jack to take a dive during his big fight, but Jack refused and won the fight. For payback, the Fixer ordered a gunman to take out Jack.
The tragedy Matt's father was one of the formative events in his life. It was tough on young Matt, but without it, it's unlikely that he'd ever have become Daredevil.
9 LEADS BLIND CHILDREN THROUGH A BLIZZARD
The devil of hell's kitchen got stuck in another blizzard in Daredevil (Vol. 3) #7- - but this time while leading a field trip of blind students. After the bus crashes in the woods, Daredevil extracts the grappling line from his Billy Club and uses it to guide the kids to safety. However, Daredevil's leg was injured in the crash, and he ends up losing enough blood for him to pass out.
The children work together to save Daredevil and reach safety. The weather is not Daredevil's friend. Lucky for him, this time around he was the one to be saved -- and by a group of kids no less.
8 ECHO BETRAYS HIM
Maya Lopez, aka Echo, was introduced in Daredevil (Vol. 2) #8 as an assassin hired by Wilson Fisk. Fisk used her in a plan to break Daredevil by getting her close with Matt Murdock and then convincing her that Daredevil had killed her father -- although it was Fisk who'd done so. Echo proved to be an even match for Daredevil. Luckily, she accepted Daredevil's explanation, which caused her to viciously attack Fisk. Echo would go on to become a formidable hero in her own right.
From Daredevil's perspective, Echo turned on him out of nowhere. Bewildered that his significant other now wanted to kill him, Daredevil's world was thrown into chaos.
7 SWITCHES BODY WITH DOCTOR DOOM
Daredevil's life takes a hard left turn in Daredevil (Vol. 1) #37-38. During a casual bout with Paste Pot Pete, Doctor Doom interferes. The villain proceeds to incapacitate Daredevil, kidnap him, and then switch bodies with the hero. The Fantastic Four get involved, and it's ultimately left up to Spider-Man to clear up the confusion and prevent the FF from attacking Daredevil.
We've never switched minds with an international supervillain, but we can bet it comes with a fair amount of trauma. We're not even sure what the worst part was -- getting beaten within an inch of his life by Doom or subsequently being imprisoned in his metal-clad body.
6 BORN AGAIN
"Born Again" took place in Daredevil (Vol. 1) #227-233, beginning with one of Murdock's closest confidantes betraying him. Karen Page, who's fallen on hard times and has become an addict, sells Murdock's identity to feed her addiction. Kingpin gets ahold of the information and uses his power to destroy Murdock's life.
Kingpin's actions result in Murdock being disbarred, his bank accounts freezing, and his home being turned to ashes. Murdock is driven to the brink of insanity and nearly dies after Kingpin attempts to finish him off for good. It's safe to say that Daredevil hit rock bottom in this story. Luckily, he was able to climb out, amend his relationship with Karen Page and defeat the Kingpin.
5 MR. FEAR
Hardcore fans will know that Daredevil was in fact married at one point. His wife's name was Milla Donovan, a blind woman that Matt Murdock had met during the time his secret identity was public. The two soon got married despite Milla constantly being endangered by Daredevil's enemies. While Murdock is in prison, Milla seeks out a therapist to help her through the stressful time.
Her therapist turns out to be Mr. Fear who poisons her with fear toxin, driving her to take someone's life. Milla was sent to a psychiatric hospital and Murdock had to file for a divorce. Just when you thought nothing worse could happen to Daredevil's loved ones, this happens. And yet things would still get worse for Daredevil.
4 GUARDIAN DEVIL
After being diagnosed with terminal cancer, Mysterio resolved to go all out and take a hero down with him. This terrible episode went down in the "Guardian Devil" story, which took place in Daredevil (Vol. 2) #1-8. Mysterio constructed several illusions meant to drive Daredevil insane. Daredevil was drugged into believing that a baby in his care was the second coming of Christ, Karen Page was deceived into thinking she had AIDS, and Foggy Nelson was framed for murder.
Eventually, with the help of Doctor Strange, Daredevil was able to overcome his delusions. All of this is bad enough -- and we haven't even included the worst thing to happen to Daredevil and friends in the story. That deserves its own spot.
3 FOGGY FIRES HIM
Foggy Nelson debuted in the first issue of Daredevil as Matt Murdock's long-time friend. Over the course of the following decades, they practiced law together. Thus it must've felt like a punch to the gut of Murdock when Foggy fired during writer Ed Brubaker's "Return of the King" story arc. Daredevil has been caught in another downward spiral, doing increasingly questionable things. The last straw was when Foggy learned that Daredevil agreed to partner up with Kingpin to take on Master Iz0.
This may not have been the best move for Foggy. More lost than ever, Daredevil attempted to reform the Hand from the inside out, leading to the events of Shadowland.
2 POSSESSED BY THE BEAST
At the end of Daredevil (Vol. 1) #500, Daredevil is initiated into the Hand in an attempt to transform the organization from the inside out. However, the opposite happens. Daredevil becomes possessed by a demonic entity known as the Beast and builds a fortress in the middle of New York called Shadowland, which attracts the attention of local heroes. Under possession of the demon, Daredevil kills Bullseye and takes on numerous heroes, including Spider-Man, Luke Cage, Misty Knight, and Ghost Rider.
The event concludes with Iron Fist helps to expel the Beast from Daredevil's body. By the end of "Shadowland", Daredevil had once again reached rock bottom. He moved to New Mexico and gave up on heroics for awhile -- before having his inevitable redemption.
1 KAREN PAGE
Long-time friend, lover, and colleague of Matt Murdock, Karen Page, didn't make it out of the "Guardian Devil" storyline alive. Page had been there since the beginning, having debuted with Murdock in 1964's Daredevil (Vol. 1) #1. Mysterio hired Bullseye to retrieve a baby Daredevil had been charged with protecting.
During a bout between Daredevil and Bullseye, Page sacrificed her life to save Daredevil from one of Bullseye's projectiles. The death of Karen Page propelled Daredevil into one of the darkest periods of his life. Not until after Shadowland would he truly find his footing again. It doesn't get much worse than this. 'Nuff said.