Daredevil: The Man Without Fear

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Comic books!  Yay!  In case you’re not getting enough superheroes to scratch that particular itch of your inner child, Netflix recently released Marvel’s version of an angsty, guilt-ridden vigilante who grinds his axes on the faces of villainous villainy as a form of healthy cathartic release of long-suppressed daddy/mommy issues: Daredevil.  If you thought DC’s Batman character a wee bit on the I’m-so-guilty-over-my-parents’-death-I-wear-a-mask-and-beat-up-bad-guys, then you’ll love Daredevil.  Not only does he blame himself for getting his palooka of a dad killed by the mob, Stan Lee and friends made him Catholic on top of that.

Now, if you already know that Daredevil is in fact mild-mannered, blind attorney at law Matt Murdock and that, because of a freak accident with some toxic mystery chemicals, he can actually “see” through his other heightened senses better than any normal person can see with their two eyes – well – this article isn’t for you.  But, if your curiosity is getting the better of you as you’re reading this, let me fill you in on some factoids to tantalize you even further.  While it is true that Stan Lee and Bill Everett created the character, it wasn’t until Frank Miller got his hands on him that old horn-head really got his legs…er…horns.

Miller’s run began on issue #158 and lasted until #191.  That doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you consider that comics used to come out one issue a month, his run lasted nearly three years!  That’s three years of getting under the skin of a character and really fleshing out his inner existential crises (are there outer existential crises?).  It was such a seminal work that Daredevil – a long time minor character – suddenly became one of Marvel’s most popular titles.  So what did Miller do to achieve that level of popularity?  For one thing, he got rid of much of the hokey silver age hero stuff and pinned down the character’s core.  He went from chasing bank robbers and two-dimensional mobsters to investigating serious crimes on the streets and throwing hoods through windows to get the answers to his questions.  His greatest contribution to the Daredevil mythos, however, was the introduction of Elektra – a ninja assassin sent to kill Daredevil who ends up falling in love with him.

There are others, to be sure – like Brian Michael Bendis’s mind-bendingly great run – but I will keep you in the dark, somewhat, on those in the hopes that the show’s creators will mine them for future seasons of Daredevil.  If the show’s creators continue in their excellence, then future seasons will only get better than the already incredible Season One.  Finally, because the show is a Netflix original, you can watch every episode of Season One in one sitting – if you dare.

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