WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Marvel’s The Defenders, available now on Netflix, and potential details about the third season of Daredevil, set to arrive next year.
Matt Murdock’s friends and newfound allies may have mourned his loss in the closing moments of Marvel’s The Defenders, but few viewers believed the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen was actually dead, buried under tons of rubble. After all, Netflix ordered a third season of Daredevil last year. Nevertheless, the final scene was still surprising, not only for the questions it raised about how Matt survived the implosion of Midland Circle, who rescued him, and why, but also for the clues it may provide about where the character’s own series is headed next.
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That scene, as we noted previously, is drawn directly from the pages of “Born Again,” the 1986 Marvel Comics story arc by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli that’s to Daredevil what their “Year One” is to Batman: a seminal, redefining, storyline that shaped virtually every depiction of the hero — in comics, in film and on television — that followed.
The original arc, which ran from Daredevil #227-231, marked a brief return to the character by Miller, who rose to prominence first as penciler of the series (beginning in 1979 with Issue 158) and then added writing to his duties (with 1981’s Daredevil #168). Under Miller, the comic rose in popularity while exploring much darker themes and expanding Daredevil’s cast and mythos with the introduction of such now-key elements as Elektra, Stick, the Hand and the Chaste. After building up the Man Without Fear, Miller left the series in 1983, only to return three years later to tear him down.
In “Born Again,” Miller and Mazzucchelli reintroduce Karen Page, the former secretary for the Nelson & Murdock law firm, who at different times had been romantically involved with Matt and Foggy. Unable to cope with knowledge of Matt’s secret identity, she left Daredevil, and New York City, some 14 years earlier to pursue an acting career, and in the interim became a supporting character in Ghost Rider. Although Karen met with brief success in Hollywood, the character we meet again in Daredevil #227 has seemingly reached rock bottom. Now a drug addict who makes porn in Mexico, a desperate Karen sells Matt’s secret in exchange for a shot of heroin, information that finds its way to crime lord Wilson Fisk.
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