Daredevil: Matt Murdock Starts An All-Criminal Version of a Classic Superhero Team


WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Daredevil #603 by Charles Soule, Mike Henderson, Matt Milla and Clayton Cowles.

If you're a Daredevil fan, you know he spends most of his nights fighting for the very soul of New York City, and the current arc by Charles Soule and Co. has him doing so yet again. But this time around, his civilian alter-ego has a lot more say in terms of how to go about safeguarding the streets considering he's currently the city's acting mayor.

With the Hand's demonic overlord, the Beast, sending the ancient sect of evil ninjas to purge the city, Matt Murdock needs all hands on deck. In the process of doing what he believes necessary, he makes a decision which may very well come back to haunt him, all in order to protect his people.

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Thanks to his current predicament of being short on superheroes, Matt makes a deal with the devil; specifically four of them, as he creates his own version of Heroes for Hire using criminals he's pardoned.

In the previous issue, Matt's fellow vigilantes -- Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Spider-Man, etc. -- had their hands full against the Hand, a situation that inspired this call for extra allies. Issue #603 opens up with him recruiting Elektra in exchange for info on someone she wants dead, but that's not a big shock. Right after this, however, Matt uses his office to hire Hammerhead, Diamondback, the Owl and Black Cat as heroes in order to save the city.

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Over Foggy's objections, Matt tells the villains they'll be his "generals," and can use their old gangs as necessary, so long as they offer full protection services to New York. Basically, Matt's offering them freedom in exchange for bodyguard services, and if they comply, they'll get immunity for being gangbangers... for now. Once the city is saved, this grace period is over, and if they revert to their criminal ways, Murdock'll come after them. With this deal of reform on the table, the villains, obviously, accept.

If it feels like history repeating itself, there's a good reason; we've seen Daredevil recruit or side with villains many times in the course of his career, after all. He did so with Wilson 'Kingpin' Fisk alone numerous times, most recently in Secret Empire (which led to Kingpin actually becoming mayor), and in Shadowland, where he ruled the Hand and became a vessel for the Beast. Here, though, it's a literal deal which is more or less an official contract. Or, as Foggy puts it, it's Matt, and not his horned crimefighting persona, who will be held accountable. Simply speaking, there's no hiding from the consequences here if things backfire, a risk Matt's all too willing to take.

Ironically, other legit Heroes for Hire members such as Misty Knight and Moon Knight are already in the trenches against the Hand. Over the decades, the team's concept (created in 1978 by Ed Hannigan and Lee Elias) began as a partnership between with Luke and Iron Fist, evolving over the years to include a number of New York's street-level vigilantes. Coincidentally, Black Cat was a legit member of H4H when she tried to go straight, so she'll be getting a second crack at a clean slate thanks to Matt's new leap of faith.

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This situation also feels eerily similar to one which ushered in Marvel's Dark Reign. In Civil War, Iron Man hired Norman Osborn and his team of crazy villains such as Bullseye, Venom and Moonstone to hunt Captain America's team, and anyone else who opposed the Superhuman Registration Act. They ended up becoming the Thunderbolts and later on, the Dark Avengers, which... did not turn out so well. For now, all we can do is hope Matt has some sort of contingency plan. After all, avid Marvel readers know, it's not a matter of if, but when these villains will turn on you.

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