When Charles Soule kicked off his run on Marvel Comics' “Daredevil,” he took the titular Man Without Fear back to his roots -- but with a few shocking twists, of course. Chief among them was that, due to some as of yet unrevealed reason, the world no longer knew Matt Murdock and Daredevil were one and the same. Murdock's restored secret identity also allowed him to resume his legal career, but now he's practicing law from the other side of the court room as an ADA for New York City. Perhaps the biggest change of all, however, is the fact that Daredevil no longer fights crime alone, having taken on mentoring a young crime fighter named Blindspot (AKA Samuel Chung).
In the series' current “The Seventh Day” arc, Murdock is beginning to feel the weight of these changes. Issue #15 saw him wrestle with the responsibility he feels over a traumatic injury Blindspot suffered, which also saw him welcome new people into his life as he turned to an old institution for comfort. Worst of all, though was that he found himself once again on the radar of one of his most dangerous foes, the contract killer known as Bullseye.
CBR spoke with Soule about Bullseye's return, Blindspot’s injury, the new characters in Matt's life, and his next arc of “Daredevil,” which promises to finally reveal how the Man of Fear's identity became secret again.
CBR: Let's start with Blindspot, who is still recovering from the loss of his eyes. What made you want to go this direction with Samuel Chung? Will Sam be an active player in these next couple arcs?
Charles Soule: This happened in part because it’s where the story needed to go – it’s always been the story I was planning to tell, from the beginning. I don’t think you jump into Daredevil’s orbit and expect to get out unscathed.
That said, I want to make it clear that this was part of Blindspot’s story, not just some catalyst for change for Matt. Blindspot essentially chose this fate for himself, in a way – he sacrificed his eyes to save the lives of over a hundred people. It was the culmination of the first phase of his heroic journey – a journey that is not complete, not even close. I have huge plans for Blindspot, and while for the moment we’ll be focused back on Daredevil, we’ll definitely see Sam Chung again.
One of the big events in Issue #15 was Matt finally stepping back into church after a long time. What was it like for him to do that? And will we see Father Jordan, the priest Matt met with, again?
Yes, Father Jordan is a big part of the story going forward. You’ll learn some interesting things about him in Issue #16 that will set up some cool new threads to come, and then we’ll see him in a ‘father confessor’ role in Issues 17-20, which will reveal the way Matt got his secret identity back.
As far as putting Matt back into the church – I’ve always thought it was a hugely important part of Murdock’s background, a rich vein to mine. I was raised Catholic myself, so I know the traditions and tenets pretty well. As far as I’m concerned, Matt Murdock is three things: attorney, vigilante hero and man of faith. Each pushes and pulls on the other and complicates him as a character. I understand completely why earlier writers pulled him away from the church, and we got some great stories out of it, but I thought it would be great to bring him back – I just wanted it to feel organic, and I hope it does.
The other interesting characters we met in issue #15 were the Inhuman hitman Carlos and his son Steven. The vibe I got from those two characters was that they could have been a lot like what Matt and Battlin' Jack would have been like if Matt had been given a chance to grow old with his dad. Was that your intention?
Absolutely. The thing about those two, though, is that Daredevil doesn’t know anything about them, or their story, and they don’t know anything about his. They need a lawyer, which Murdock happens to be, but they assume they’ll never be able to afford one. Then, as far as Daredevil’s concerned, this is just another assassin out to collect on the bounty. Their story could have gone an entirely different way… but it didn’t. That kind of thing is why writing Daredevil is so great – the more layers you layer in, the better the story tends to get.
Carlos' attempt on Matt's life is cut short by the reemergence of Bullseye. How does it feel to finally get a chance to pit one of DD's worst enemies against him? What's your sense of how Matt and Bullseye view each other?
I think Daredevil may have the best rogues gallery of any Marvel character. Others may disagree – Spidey’s got his crew, of course, and there are some awesome X-villains. For my money, though, it’s DD’s baddies all the way.
I’ve spent some time making up some new bad guys in the series – Tenfingers, and then Muse – and we’ll see if they stand the test of time, but it’s definitely amazing to take one of the most iconic villains in his canon and try to do something interesting with him. We’ve seen a ton of incredible Bullseye stories over the years, and this one’s a little different. Bullseye works as almost a mythological figure for Daredevil here, like the devil to his “angel,” I guess you could say. He only says one word across the two issues in which he appears (“Bullseye,”) and all of Issue 16 takes place in the span of time between when he fires a shot at Daredevil and the moment that bullet hits. It’s pretty cool, I have to say – I’m very happy with this two-parter, and then the four-part story covering the secret identity stuff which follows. It’s all really one big story – and really, Issues 1-20 are one big story in and of themselves. It all flows together.
Goran Sudzuka is providing the art duties for "The Seventh Day" arc. What do you enjoy most about how he's bringing this story to life?
My favorite thing with Goran is actually something that he has in common with a lot of my favorite artists – he takes the story apart, really thinks it through, and tries to figure out how to make it better. The script is both the starting point and the ending point. Plus, he’s up for anything. There’s a two-page spread in #16 with a billion characters on it, and he just went for it, and it’s gorgeous. I’m very lucky to be working with him.
In February's “Daredevil” #17 you kick off a new arc, titled "Purple," which you hinted will finally touch upon the mystery of Daredevil's restored secret identity. So this arc will payoff some of the long form mysteries of your run? Does artist Ron Garney return to the book for this arc?
Ron is indeed back for this arc, which is awesome. He’s done incredible work on Daredevil so far, and I’m so happy to have him back. The “Purple” story finally reveals how Matt Murdock got his secret identity back, but not just that. It also explains why he’s back in NYC, why he’s no longer with Kirsten McDuffie, why he’s working as a D.A. as opposed to a defense attorney and unveils the secret plan he’s been working on this whole time. There’s been a larger story at work since my Daredevil #1, and we’ll pull back the curtain.
The title "Purple" suggests that one of Matt's long time foes, Zebediah Killgrave will have a presence in this story.
That’s a pretty fair assumption! That said, just because Killgrave’s involved doesn’t mean you know how it all plays out – lots of surprises here, including a callback to a thirty year old Avengers story. It’s fun stuff.
It’s been fun to see people’s reactions as the pieces start to come together on the larger story I’ve been telling. I know this is something creators say a lot, but it’s really just the beginning. So many huge things to come – stick around!
Finally, we know come spring Matt will be part of Brian Michael Bendis' new ongoing "Defenders" series. How does it feel to have Matt playing in a bigger sandbox like that?
Oh, I’m just happy that Brian’s writing Daredevil again, even as part of a team book. His run on the main title a little while was very influential on me as a writer. We’re talking a lot about both books, working to make sure everything connects in a satisfying way while also giving each other room for the stories we want to tell. The scripts I’ve read from Brian are fantastic, and I’m glad Daredevil’s getting out there in the world more. Good stuff!