The Last Dare: Bendis talks "Daredevil: End of Days"

Its tough being a superhero in the Marvel Universe and it seems like no hero has had more tough times than Daredevil. Throughout his career, the Man Without Fear has dealt with the deaths of multiple lovers, the destruction of his civilian identity, putting his friends' lives in constant danger and has even done jail time.   If anybody deserves a happy ending to his heroic career it's Daredevil. Later this year, readers will get a chance to see if Matt Murdock gets the ending he deserves when "Daredevil: End of Days," a mini-series by writers Brian Michael Bendis and David Mack and featuring an all-star team of "Daredevil" artists hits stores. CBR News spoke with Bendis about the project.

"This is very exciting," Bendis told CBR News. "It actually came about because Klaus Janson and I had talked on and off for years about doing something. He was very supportive very early on of my and Alex's run on 'Daredevil.' It was a very emotional thing for us to get that kind of approval.

"So, Klaus and I were always talking about doing something and it never seemed to click," Bendis continued. "Then Warren Simons said, 'How about you guys do the last Daredevil story?'   I forget how long I had been off Daredevil at that point, but I was like, 'I can't believe I'm going back to Daredevil.' Then me and David Mack were talking about him returning to mainstream comics, or I was yelling at him about returning to mainstream comics and this seemed like the perfect thing for him to do since David is also a well renowned Daredevil writer as well. Then someone said, 'How about this? You and David write it. Klaus Janson pencils it. Bill Sienkowicz inks it and Alex Maleev on covers."

With an all star team of creators assembled, all that was left was for Bendis and his collaborators to pitch their story of the Man Without Fear's final adventure. "It goes a little further than most of 'The End' stories. And we make it cannon," Bendis explained. "This is in continuity; not too dissimilar to how 'Dark Knight Returns' became continuity through sheer force of will. So we put it out there and everybody jumped."

With their story pitch accepted and the creative team assembled, Bendis and his collaborators got to work on "Daredevil: End of Days."   It was important for Bendis and Mack to craft a script that made full use of all the artistic talent working on the project. "We said that we should come up with a script that not only allows for Klaus penciling and Bill inking, but sometimes Bill painting, sometimes David painting, sometimes Klaus doing art work all by himself," Bendis said. "We want to have segments where each artist can express themselves on top of being part of the machine."

Past "The End" style stories have been dystopian science fiction tales and "Daredevil: End of Days" will also contain some elements of that genre. "In our story, the natural progression of the future is a violent and dark underworld that has affected the character on a profound level," Bendis stated. "There's only two ways out of that world. You leave or you let it take you over. That's what this story is about.

Bendis compared the feeling evoked in Daredevil: End of Days to the critically acclaimed film Children of Men by writer/director Alfonso Cuarón. "That film had this look to the future that was fascinating without being too sci-fi-ish. We had written two issues before I had seen that film and when I saw it I was like, 'Wow, this is like what we're doing.'"

Bendis and his collaborators are still crafting "End of Days" and are unsure of exactly how many issues the mini-series will run, but know it's going to be at least six, with the first two issues being double sized.   In those issues, readers will become reacquainted with literally all the characters playing a role in Matt Murdock's life. "Almost all of Daredevil's rogue's gallery will be in the story," Bendis stated. "The second issue deals with all the surviving women in Daredevil's life. You'll see other Marvel Heroes; ones that often work with Daredevil or perhaps even ones that will be close to him in the future that you're not even aware of."

"Daredevil: End of Days" will feature a variety of characters, but not all of them are going to survive. "What happens in the first issue will shock you," Bendis said. "I was shocked we got away with it. Somebody dies. Somebody big dies brutally. There are many deaths in the first issue and Ed [Brubaker, current 'Daredevil' writer] is being kept in the loop on everything.

"If you get suckered back into a book that you were already on, which is sometimes a disaster, this is the best way to do it, because now you get to tell the most insane story you could tell -- you're ending the book."

Bendis is overjoyed at the work the "Daredevil: End of Days" team is doing. Every creator involved on the project is giving it their all because they want the project to be something special. "It's not only the last Daredevil story, it's a valentine to all that Daredevil represents in the Marvel Universe," Bendis explained. "I always considered 'Daredevil' to be the book that fans expect the most from creatively. I definitely felt that when I first got the book. You can't fuck up 'Daredevil.' If you fuck it up, it will be glaring. Other characters have good runs but the long list of outstanding runs on 'Daredevil' was so big that it was like, 'Boy if you fuck this up, you suck.' So on top of all this other stuff it's about what this book has represented to Marvel since Wally Wood and Jack Kirby."

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