WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Daredevil #5, by writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Marco Checchetto, on sale now
The end of Charles Soule's Daredevil run left the Man Without Fear in rough shape, having gravely injuring the hero when he dove in front of a truck to save a teenager. Jed MacKay and Danilo Beyruth's Man Without Fear dealt with the consequences of that injury, and saw Matt Murdock edging close to hanging up his mask. Things only got worse when Zdarsky and Checchetto kicked off their run, as Daredevil's compromised state led to him inadvertently killing a liquor store robber. That act has now culminated in him quitting superheroics in Daredevil #5 -- but for how long?
Following the events of Daredevil #4, the Man Without Fear goes after the Owl and his gang, having seemingly started the process of forgiving himself for the robber's death and seeking redemption by using his abilities to fight crime. As a result of the damage he's sustained over the last few issues (he's been shot and beaten up by Detective Cole North and faced off against Punisher), Matt almost gets bested by Owl's goons. However, his fellow Defenders -- Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Danny Rand -- show up as Matt gets knocked out, leading to him waking up on Cage and Jones' couch.
At first he thinks his friends are going to arrest him for his actions, and he laments what happened with the liquor store robber. However, Cage reveals, "We've all been there... Sometimes people die. Sometimes it's our fault." Jones backs her husband up. This upsets Matt, who declares, "You're all murderers... We're all murderers!" Matt then pretends to go to the bathroom and sneaks back to his apartment.
Matt's journey back to his apartment is intercut with scenes of a priest imploring a younger Daredevil -- still wearing his yellow costume -- to renounce violence. When Matt arrives at his apartment, Spider-Man reveals he's been tracking him and tells him that he can no longer continue, as Matt's "suicide mission" poses a threat to all the heroes in New York. Spider-Man then tells Daredevil, "I'm spreading the word. If any of us see you out there, attempting this, we'll stop you. We have to. Or it could be the end of all of us." Matt doesn't fight back. Instead, he agrees with Spider-Man and gives up his mask. The last panel of the issue shows a maskless Matt sitting in a chair as light washes over his face.
Matt has hung up his mask because he sees the damage his compromised physical and mental state is doing to those around him. That weakened state has taken away his ability to effectively do the work he thinks will redeem him. Matt's confrontation with the Defenders illustrates that he's not really aiming to forgive himself, but instead kill himself in pursuit of redemption. Choosing to eschew violence presents Matt with a path allowing him to avoid unduly harming those he's fighting and the people around him, including his friends in the superhero community.
At this time, it's hard to gauge just what will happen in the aftermath of Daredevil giving up his mask. Solicitations for July reveal Daredevil will still be missing when issue #8 releases, though New York's many villains haven't gone anywhere. There's a pretty low chance this retirement will actually stick much past the end of the next arc, as Zdarsky is only getting started. However, the next few issues will definitely see the Man Without Fear learning how to move forward and no longer pursuing redemption at the cost of his own life.
Daredevil #5 is on shelves now. Daredevil #6, by writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Lalit Kumar Sharma, hits stands May 29.