Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Crusher (!)

Okay. Where do I start?
Well, as every Daredevil fan is more or less aware of, in-between the beginnings by Stan Lee and Roy Thomas - acclaimed and celebrated for their "golden age" factor, if nothing else - and the coming of Frank Miller to the title, which practically redefined the character, there was a period that can be considered the dark age of Daredevil. I'm talking about the issues of the first volume going approximately from #70 to #150.
The book lacked then an identity, a defining mood. The Matt Murdock persona of the protagonist almost forgotten, Daredevil was just a little more than a masked acrobat in a fancy suit swinging around the city, making tiring wisecracks at the baddies while fighting them and getting all chauvinist on his then sidekick, the Black Widow.
Most of the bad guys fought during that period where also particularly lame. The hero got to fight them usually only for a storyarc or even a single issue, and after that they were pretty much - thankfully, I might add - forgotten. God-forsaken villains like "The Black Messiah" "Angar the Screamer", Ramrod, or this one villain here appearing in DD #119:

The Crusher.
Basically, this individual is Juan, a young boxer who underwent a series of clandestine treatments by a medic member of an underworld organization, in the hopes of increasing his body mass and thus be able to fulfill his dream of competing in the heavier boxing leagues. His trainer, Pop Fenton, and the ex fighter Kid Gawaine are however worried by all this, especially because of some minor side-effects that the drug seems to have on him.
While Matt is visiting the boxing gym, the gangsters come to intimidate Pop into not interfering, but everything gets violently interrupted when Juan suddenly turns into this mindless, oversized lump of meat with progressive alopecia, and steel pants.
Fortunately, Matt finds the opportunity to change into Daredevil and intervene.

Notice that he's actually the first to attack. The monster hasn't still given any sign of hostility. Who knows, maybe he was even about to ask for help to his friends. And yet, basing his judgement solely on the fact that he's now large, muscular and ugly, our hero assumes that Juan has also become evil, and that he must be attacked.
In any case, the giant is not too pleased:

Also, in case someone hasn't heard him in the first post-metamorphosis panel, he repeats his name.

No, in case you were wondering, no one has asked him what was his name again in the preceeding panel. Apparently, another side effect of the treatments is the compulsion to accompany every action with the repetition a certain name/title. While trying not to get "crushed" DD wonders why:

A drug being capable of transferring the personality of people who died elsewhere, as well as the impulse of repeating a title again and again? Interesting theory. Doesn't matter that much when you're getting slapped around by an enraged mountain of beef like that, but interesting theory nonetheless.

Damn. Who was he fighting again?

Oh, yeah. It had escaped me momentarily. Anyway here we have an example of the corny spidey-esque wisecracks that DD was made to say - or think - those days:

We are not shown how he manages to do it, but Daredevil tries to play smart by cutting the Smasher's supply of oxygen using the ropes of the ring:

Yeah, yeah, I mean the Crusher, geez.

Ouch. Anyway, we get a long sequence of the guy wrecking everything around, with DD utterly incapable of doing something about it. In all the ruckus, the structure of the old building gets compromised, and a wall is about to collapse on Pop and Kid Gawaine. In a brief moment of lucidity, "the Crusher!" throws himself between them and the collapsing wall. The young man reverts to his normal self, which, incidentally, didn't have any alopecia and didn't sport the hardcore metallic pants and boots of his monstrous alter-ego.

The issue ends rather abruptly, with a scene that was probably supposed to be touching, but fails miserably to be so. After all, there's no way any three-panel sequence can be touching, if it comes after pages and pages of a bald guy wearing only iron pants repeatedly yelling "The Crusher".
Notice also how DD asks pop for the boy's health status, even though he should know better than anybody else, given his heightened senses.

*sniff* how sad. This anyway, is the last we see of the Crusher.
Luckily, to cheer things up a little, I have here a panel from the same issue that will almost certainly make a certain DD fan jump for joy:


Monday, May 26, 2008

"You can thank Daredevil for that one"

Onboard the Helicarrier...

SHIELD personnel is pretending to earn their taxdollar payed salary, monitoring the situation and notifying every darn single event that happens in the Marvel Universe to their handlebar moustached commanding officer (who may or may not be Dum Dum Dugan), like if the poor man could keep in mind all those unrelated bits of informations on his own.
Suddenly, a man in a SHIELD crew uniform enters the main deck...

...and thwacks moustache-officer in the head by flinging a flashlight at him, showing an ability at throwing oblong objects that reminds a lot that of a certain superhero. The element of surprise expired, the agents attack the mysterious assailant, who however proves to be more than a match for them:

The attacker makes a blind reverse somersault, kicking two foes in the head upon landing. Only a martial artist like Daredevil could have performed such a feat, as confirmed by the mystery man's cynical remark. How can all of this be explained?
The man in question is none other than the Taskmaster, a ruthless mercenary with an ability commonly called "photographic reflexes", which consist in the fact that he can duplicate to perfection any physical action he has previously watched (for example, Captain America's proficiency with the shield, Hawkeye's marksmanship or, as in the case here presented, Daredevil's moveset and fighting abilities).

This sequence of panels, taken from a post Civil War issue of "Marvel Comics Presents", shows that, while DD seldom appears outside his own book (often as a mere a walk on), and is generally overlooked among the characters of the Marvel universe, a thing that is universally acknowledged is that, in the fictional world he lives in, he's considered one of the most formidable hand to hand fighters and an excellent acrobat.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Plastoid

Christine here posted a rather funny bit from the early days of the scarlet swashbuckler, with our hero turned into macaroni stuffing by a big robot/android. DD looks justifiably horrified, not so much because he's about to get squashed, but rather because he's meeting his demise in a most laughable way.
The art here is by an early Barry Windsor Smith. Without detracting anything from the level of prowess afterwards reached by the English artist, it can be said that, compared to the amazing art provided by Gene Colan before and after his first brief stint with DD, this looks like fanart more than anything else.
Let's see, for one, the very same scene pictured by Colan in the cliffhanger of the preceeding issue:

To tell you the truth, this sort of looks scarier, with the plastic pose of the robot, exposing us its crotch and holding its victim like a sexually aroused gorilla.
The robot, anyway, is called the Plastoid, and was created and programmed by the evil genius scientist Starr Saxon to seek and destroy Daredevil. The explanation of how the android managed to find our hero is given in the following panels:

Yes, the Plastoid is able to track its intended target by scent, or, more specifically, by using a built-in scentolator and following input provided by a photo of the victim treated with a special aromascope.
Yeah, I realize how retarded is that, but keep in mind that all of this was created by a guy who thinks it's necessary to tell an inanimated object to stay still while he installs something onto it.

Another peculiarity of the Plastoid is the indicator on its chest, showing a number that, as we're told via "bad guy conceited monologue", can go from 0 to 10 and is descriptive of the current level of efficiency of the Plastoid itself. This will be important later on.
So, the Plastoid reaches Matt's apartment, knocks him out after a short fight and captures him.

It's about to head for its master's hideout, when it hears the sound of someone approaching. This forces it to abandon the mission, drop Matt's body and return to the base empty-handed.

And what could that be? What was this unexpected danger, this sound not covered in the instructions, this event that forced a giant robot with superhuman strength and invulnerable body to leave its intended victim and flee in order to absolve its first function of protecting itself? The Avengers? The Mighty Thor? An earthquake?
No, just a blind man and his guide dog passing by.

So, thanks to the unaware intervention of his friend (the blind war veteran Willie Lincoln), Daredevil manages to avoid capture. The robot, hovewer, returns for him the day after, surprising him in his gym. Which leads us to the embarassing situation of Daredevil's gym equipment used against him.
It must be noticed that there was a changing of writer between these issues. Stan Lee, in fact, becomes editor. With issue 51, the writing chores fall to Roy Thomas, and along with them the burden of resolving the Saxon/Plastoid storyline. Lee, however, has still to find a way for DD out of that situation. He manages to do so, albeit by cheating a bit:

He can throw it where he wants to... but I won't be inside!

Uh, sure. Only that he wasn't going to kill him by throwing the "DD macarone" anywhere, he was about to kill him by squeezing him inside the rolled mat like a lemon, as was clearly told in the previous page and at the end of the previous issue.
But here comes the better part. Remember how they said that the numbers on the Plastoid's chest indicated his power level? Well, after failing to kill DD by renouncing to squish him to death and just throwing him at a wall, the already uber-powerful android decides he needs more power and automatically increases that number to... 50.

So, in case of extreme situations, the normal range of the indicator can be overrun by 500%? Five times more powerful than the original form, which was already unbeatable? And this was the same robot who ran away from an approaching passer-by and his dog?
Well, anyway. Having reached Hulk's power level, the Plastoid judges himself ready to face Daredevil with acceptable odds. It manages to pin him under its hand:

Again, an embarassing situation with our hero's incredulous face depicted full frontally again. See how the synthetic assailant indulges in a useless description of what's happening and what it's about to do instead of just killing Daredevil and be done with it. Note: By the time I reached this page, I was getting so confused by the art and by the redundant text that I was reading DD's baloons with the "robotic-pattern" as well.
Daredevil takes adavantage of the Plastoid's taste for the dramatic, and manages to free himself from the hold:

He then tricks the robot into punching a fusebox. This temporarily takes it out, and erases its memory bank. After a short time, in fact, the robot gets up again and starts heading to Starr Saxon's hideout to get new instructions. How do we know all this? Because the android has the unexplainable need to say everything that passes through his circuits aloud, that's why.
Daredevil follows the android, both to learn the location of the hideout and to make sure that no civilians get harmed along the way.
And here we have Daredevil trying to convince the police not attempting to stop a menacing mechanical humanoid walking in the middle of the city streets as if nothing was:

I wonder what he means by "I take complete responsibility". That thing is going around thrashing everything in its path, detroying cars and at risk of stepping on abandoned baby carriages, old ladies etc. Is he willing to pay for all that? In any event, the police decides to play it his way.

The story continues then with the Plastoid leading DD to Saxon's sanctum, where some more mess happens, leading to more convoluted mess later, and so on. To make a long story short, the Plastoid self-deactivates after having accomplished his new objective, that is exterminating an imprisoned mob boss.
As for the rest of the plot, it is resolved after some four or five issue, with the defeat of Starr Saxon.
We never hear of the Plastoid again. Too bad, it was a rather intriguing foe and had an interesting concept, even taking into account the numerous absurdities shown in this entry.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Unfinished Business...

Wha? Daredevil got smacked around that way by the Gladiator? But... not fair! What happened then?

Oh, yeah. Cannot just leave it that way now, can I? It kind of leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
So, what happened afterwards?
Obviously, in the end, DD kicked Melvin's ass and returned him to the loving care of the psychiatric hospital. Here's how it happened.

We left Daredevil KOed by the Gladiator, courtesy of some chair swatting and a couple of well placed "help yourself!" gut punches. The Gladiator leaves the now deserted restaurant.
When Matt wakes up, he finds himself in the back of a police car, handcuffed. He still has his costume on. In fact, outside, two policemen are arguing over the licitness of removing his mask, in the light of the new superhero registration laws (DD is an unregistered superhero).
Fortunately, it is as true today as it was in the Stan Lee era: a civil servant won't remove your mask if there's even the remote risk of his ass being sued because of it:

If you say so...
While in the car, DD hears a voice apparently made inaudible to a normal human ear. It is also muffled so as to make it unrecognizable (personally I imagined it as the voice of the bad guy of the Saw series). The voice taunts him and tells him that, with his wallet left behind with the rest of his civilian clothes in the restaurant, they now know his new home address. Also, Milla had probably reached the apartment by then, and the crazed Gladiator is heading there. Once again, another loved woman is about to be killed by one of his enemies. And there's nothing Matt can do about it now, being handcuffed and about to be brought away by the police, presumably to the CSA and the 42 prison.

After having some more whiny inner monologue and having begged the cop who is driving the car he's in, to no avail, to let him go, Matt finally stops acting like a guy who fools around in a fancy devil costume and remembers that he's Daredevil.

So he busts the car door open with a well placed double kick, and jumps out of the car. The cops try to stop him, but a few acrobatic feats are all our Man Without Fear needs to dodge their bullets, steal the keys to his handcuffs and leap away into the night.

Daredevil rushes to save Milla. He finds his apartment in a mess, the door opened. With the help of his senses he deduces that Melvin wanted to lure him somewhere else. He goes back to the rooftops, hoping that Milla calls for help, so that he can locate her before it's too late.
Milla is in a nearby rooftop with Melvin, shocked, her pretty face badly beaten. Nevertheless, she tries to reason with the large man, trying to make him remember that he's a good guy, a honest man who doesn't kill. Her words manage to pierce Melvin's mind for maybe a couple of instants, but whatever the cause of his madness, it proves to be stronger than the blind woman's words. Milla must be sacrificed:

... and I am the walrus. Fortunately, Daredevil arrives. Once more, he attempts to negotiate, and once more, Melvin answers by being totally uncooperative, specifically by dropping Milla from the rooftop and throwing a pair of circular sawblades at Daredevil.

(what a bastard).
In a spectacular scene, DD manages to slide between the trajectories of the blades, leap over the Gladiator and pull off a neat aerial rescue:

Matt and Milla land safely inside an empty office. Moments after, the Gladiator crashes in through a drywall panel, ready to go berserk again on Daredevil.

One more round.
But with a different factor now in play: Melvin has attempted to harm an innocent under his protection. And as any hornhead fan can tell you: you don't wanna do that when tangling with Daredevil.

So, they clash again and, although enraged for what Melvin has done to Milla, Daredevil stays focused. The Gladiator, on the other hand, fights with brutal savagery, and - as Daredevil notices while fighting - without the level of dexterity he used to have in his old days. So it goes without saying that this time DD opens up a can of whoop-ass on him.

Or should I say, a bucket of whoop-ass:

Yup. He dodges one of Melvin's powerful straights, making him hit a wall instead. Immediately after he slaps him in the face with a paint bucket.
And now let me say that in Italian, now, because I totally enjoyed this panel: Daredevil lo ha colpito in faccia con una latta di pittura:

Still furious because the Gladiator had harmed and attempted to kill his wife, Daredevil continues to attack, now holding him by the neck (in a position not unlike that of the classical scene of Born Again when he threatens the defeated Nuke). As had occurrent in the past, it is Milla who, hearing the violence of the fight, begs him to stop, reminding him that Melvin was just being manipulated.

At that point, Melvin, realizing what has he done up to that point, cries, holds his head in anguish, and attempts to commit suicide by throwing himself out of the window, but Daredevil physically prevents him from doing so by latching onto him and then knocking him out for good.
The nightmare is over.

...for now, at least.
I want to conclude this entry with a little reflection. Despite the fact that the Gladiator had ben depicted, for most of the storyarc, as a maniac out of control, despite the fact that he had slaughtered many innocent and had nearly killed his wife, we see here that Daredevil, although furious because of all this, manages to refrain from excessively hurt his foe and even stops him from killing himself. And a big role in all of this is played by Milla, who, acting as an anchor to his fury, stops him from crossing the treshold. We can say that she reminds him who he is. It is a recurring theme in the recent Brubaker works.
And nowadays it's an uncommon vision of the figure of the "hero". Usually, in fact, the hero is the one who's always right in what he does. He can savagely beat an enemy, and even kill him, and the plot will almost always justify him for that.
With Daredevil, this is not the case. He's a flawed hero. He can commit grave mistakes, and has done so in the past (even the recent past). Better yet, he himself realizes that he can go too far, and that sometimes he needs to listen to his friends and loved ones to avoid committing mistakes.

This is certainly another reason why, when compared to other modern superheroes, Daredevil can be considered more multifaceted, and more suitable mature readers.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Preposterous Plot Points #3 - "No! Bleeding is slowing my reflexes!"

You thought preposterous plot points could only be found in ye olde issues of ye 60's?

Think again. Here we have a neat example of how, sometimes, something absurde can be written even in the modern age. And by modern here I mean the year 2007.
What's so odd in this storyarc? Tony Stark dresses DD in an iron man suit to frame him for drunkenness? Weird use of the radar sense? Improbable dialogues?
No, simplier...

Daredevil is defeated in hand to hand combat twice in a row by a big guy with no superhuman abilities.


Oh, well. A little recap in pills. The guy in question is Melvin Potter, also known as the Gladiator. In the past, the Gladiator was a bitter enemy of the Man Without Fear. Highly delusional and a bit crazy, Melvin crafted for himself a costume with some special features, including wrist-worn electrically powered circular sawblades. That, coupled with the fact that he was a pretty big and muscular guy would've made him, in his dreams, the ultimate hero buster.
After targeting our hero in hopes of achieving glory, and after getting beaten at every turn, Melvin quit his activity as villain, reformed, and went back to his work as a tailor and costume maker.

Problem is - being, as I said, a bit mentally unstable and with a not so strong force of will - from time to time Melvin got manipulated by some schemer into donning his Gladiator duds again and return to fight Daredevil.
And the one featured in DD vol.2 #95 to #99 was one of these times. But now, without further ado, let's tell the facts and peek at some scenes.

Having killed an inmate and a guard while being temporarily held at a psychiatric hospital, Melvin is taken away into a police van, to return to the penitentiary of Ryker's Island:

DD, suspicious about what is happening to his neighborhood and to Melvin, follows.
Armed goons attack the van, kill the escorting officers and engage DD with rifles and uzis, while at the same time freeing a now enraged Melvin.

The goons who haven't already been taken out by Daredevil are brutally disposed of by the large man. The scene is thus left for Daredevil and Melvin. Daredevil faces his former ally, trying to reason with him at the same time, but is not listened to and instead receives a pretty good beating.

Some notes: Daredevil here was probably tired from the fight, slightly dishoriented by the precedent loud explosion, and wasn't giving it all, convinced that Melvin could maybe still be helped. So this loss was somehow understandable. Even if I don't think an experienced fighter like DD would make the mistake of getting so close to a physically stronger opponent to allow him to do this:

especially because he was mainly trying to knock some sense on him with words in this fight. What the heck, you want to talk him out? Do it from safe distance, for god's sake. It's not like you have to whisper in his ear.

The second fight happens two days after. Melvin, in his Gladiator costume, has gone on a killing spree and is still at large. Matt and his wife Milla are at a restaurant. The Gladiator bursts in, this time looking especially for Matt.

The panicked crowd flees and Milla manages to get to safety, while Matt quickly changes into his costume and faces the Gladiator, now in full armor, helmet and wrist blades.

Do we get a showdown? Do we get the big resolving fight between the costumed hero and the costumed villain, with the latter emerging finally on the top? This is what I was hungering for while avidly sifting through the panels.
But nothing. Not only Daredevil is defeated again by the big guy, this time the desolating event is correlated with Matt's inner monologues (which sound awfully close to whining, if you ask me), told via caption boxes.

Gasp in awe as the Man Without Fear gets slashed and punched around while wallowing in a sad and - given the circumstances - absurde self-commiseration:

"I've forgotten how hard he can hurt when he wants to [...] or how sharp his blades can be"

Yes, okay, now could you please shut up and kick his butt like you're supposed to?

"No. Bleeding is slowing my reflexes"

Yeah, it's not like I trained myself to fight against people who could also attack me with cutting weapons. So when I'm bleeding my reflexes are slowed down to the point that I totally let a peasant clock me in the face with a chair.

"Let him get too close [...] understimated his rage"

No, don't tell me. Want a prize for that?

Long story short, our hero surely gets a few shots, but Melvin succeeds in KOing him again, and leaves him unconscious for the police to find. And this time, there are no excuses.
And there's also a little particular that just adds to the absurdity of it all, and pretty much summarizes this entry:

I have no words. Sure, both the events are used to set up the plot (which is in fact, remarkably good), but can this really be the guy who has made the likes of Bullseye cower in fear, who can go toe to toe with folks the caliber of Mr Hyde?
At least the first two installments of "Preposterous Plot Points" were sort of funny in themselves. This was just hard to swallow. Hard and bitter.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Devil you know, part 2

La porzione di storia che ha significative ripercussioni sulla situazione attuale del paladino di Hell's Kitchen coincide pressappoco con quella contenuta nel secondo volume di Daredevil. Come è noto, la numerazione della pubblicazione, comiciata nel 1964 con Daredevil #1 di Lee ed Everett è stata resettata nel 1998, concludendo il primo volume e dando inizio, a un rilancio della serie nell'ambito della collana "Marvel Knights" ad opera di Kevin Smith, Joe Quesada e Jimmy Palmiotti.

Proprio nel primo arco narrativo di questo rilancio avviene un evento sconvolgente nella vita di Matt Murdock. Karen Page, già segretaria dell'ufficio legale Nelson e Murdock, la donna con cui ha vissuto con alterne vicende una intensa storia d'amore, il primo e forse l'unico vero amore della sua vita, viene uccisa.
La cornice in cui questo avviene, a dire il vero, conta poco (tanto che il fatto in sé è stato ritenuto da molti una mossa editoriale ad hoc, che si poteva evitare). Quello che invece conta è l'entità dell'evento. Per rendersene conto si consideri che, oltre a far parte preponderante del supporting cast della serie, il personaggio di Karen è stato presente sin dalle origini, ed ha avuto un ruolo cruciale nel plasmare Matt Murdock/Daredevil, in più di una occasione.

Ecco allora che Karen muore, così all'improvviso, in quello che poteva essere uno qualsiasi dei tanti pericolosi episodi della vita dell'eroe. Barbaramente uccisa da Bullseye, sanguinario assassino e vera nemesi di Daredevil. Trafitta dallo stesso billy-club dell'eroe, Karen esala l'ultimo respiro tra le sue braccia.

Come nella realtà di chiunque abbia mai perso una persona cara, tuttavia, la vita dell'avvocato Matt Murdock prosegue, e con essa la crociata di Daredevil a favore della giustizia. Ma il ricordo di lei e la paura di mettere in pericolo le persone care torna frequentemente a rabbuiare la mente di Matt.

Altro evento senza dubbio cruciale per capire il contesto attuale è ciò che avviene poco tempo dopo: un agente dell'FBI rivela a un tabloid l'identità segreta di Daredevil. Nonostante non venga fornita prova di ciò, gli editori del tabloid non perdono tempo a sbattere la notizia in prima pagina:

"Il popolare eroe di Hell's Kitchen è l'avvocato cieco"

Il mondo crolla addosso al protagonista. Sostenuto dai pochi amici che aveva messo a parte del suo segreto (il socio e amico fraterno Foggy Nelson soprattutto, ma anche la Vedova Nera, Luke Cage e l'Uomo Ragno) Matt cerca di non affogare nel pandemonio che ne segue: attacchi da parte di vecchi e nuovi nemici in cerca di vendetta, schiere di reporter accalcati di fronte casa e ufficio, il rischio di venire privato della licenza di pratica legale, o peggio, di essere arrestato per le continue violazioni della legge nelle vesti del vigilante mascherato.
Si affaccia l'opzione di appendere il costume al chiodo per sempre. Matt, però, ha sempre creduto nella sua missione. E, fedele all'insegnamento del padre, in base al quale non si sarebbe mai arreso nonostante le difficoltà, affronta la situazione a testa bassa e senza scendere a compromessi.

L'uomo senza paura continua ad affrontare i suoi nemici con più ardore e tenacia di prima, li sconfigge, e nelle vesti dell'avvocato Matt Murdock risponde alle illazioni sollevate negando tutto, e anzi facendo causa agli editori del tabloid.
Non essendovi prove certe che il notoriamente cieco Matt Murdock sia il supereroe, gli editori sono costretti a smentire la rivelazione e a pagare una ingente somma - che viene devoluta in beneficienza - allo studio legale Nelson & Murdock.

E' in questo periodo che Matt conosce e si innamora di Milla Donovan, impiegata alla commissione edilizia della città. Come Matt, Milla è cieca. Il primo incontro tra i due avviene quando lui, nei panni di Daredevil, la salva da un camion che stava per investirla. Durante il turbolento periodo della rivelazione del tabloid, l'amore tra Milla e Matt si cementa sempre più. Matt rivela inoltre a Milla di essere Daredevil, cosa che la donna aveva sospettato sin dai loro primi incontri.

Col ritrovamento dell'amore e della serenità, torna però la coscienza dell'incompatibilità di una vita normale con l'attività di vigilante mascherato. Anzi, si può indubbiamente dire che questo è uno dei temi portanti del secondo volume.
Questo è tanto più vero quando - come nel caso di Daredevil - si hanno come nemici individui spregiudicati, disposti a tutto pur di rovinare la vita di chi gli si è opposto. Wilson Fisk, il temibile Kingpin, torna a riconsolidare il proprio potere a New York. Per farlo, tuttavia, ha bisogno di mettere in riga gli altri boss criminali, e al contempo tenere in scacco l'FBI e soprattutto Daredevil, l'implacabile eroe che ha ripetutamente intralciato i suoi piani in passato.

Non ancora completamente ripresosi dai problemi con i mass-media e i federali, Daredevil è costretto ad affrontare in successione la letale Thyphoid Mary e Bullseye. Quindi, inaspettatamente piomba addosso a Kingpin proprio durante il colloquio tra i capi che avrebbe dovuto sancire il suo ritorno al potere. Stremato fisicamente e mentalmente, Daredevil affronta in corpo a corpo il colossale signore del crimine, e lo abbatte.
Ma la serie di eventi sin qui accaduti lo hanno portato al limite. Dopo lo scontro irrompe in un bar frequentato dalla malavita, getta ai piedi dei presenti la carcassa di Wilson Fisk, si toglie la maschera e si autoproclama nuovo dominatore di Hell's Kitchen. Agli sconvolti avventori dichiara che, da quel momento, chi non avesse rigato diritto avrebbe dovuto abbandonare il quartiere o pagarne le conseguenze.

La voce si sparge rapidamente. In breve tempo, Kitchen diventa un posto più vivibile. I cittadini onesti sono grati per questo a Matt Murdock, anche se il fatto che lui sia effettivamente Daredevil viene ufficialmente considerato alla stregua di una leggenda metropolitana. Nel frattempo, Matt sposa Milla, con una cerimonia privata.

Passa all'incirca un anno prima che i criminali si organizzino per togliere di mezzo brutalmente Daredevil, rimasto ormai senza lo scudo di una identità segreta e potendo contare solo sul timore suscitato dalle sue azioni. Un banda di Yakuza assale Matt Murdock in massa. Matt riesce a salvarsi, ma viene ridotto in fin di vita. Ancora una volta, le conseguenze delle scelte fatte ricadono, pesanti, su di lui. E sono ancor più pesanti in quanto questa volta Matt ha fatto queste scelte decidendo per conto proprio, isolandosi da tutti e tenendo lontani, forse anche solo per proteggerli, gli amici più cari.
La realtà è forse ben peggiore. Ciò che è accaduto dalla morte di Karen in poi ha portato Matt all'esaurimento nervoso. Quando l'amico giornalista Ben Urich dà voce a questo ormai evidente fatto, Matt si scuote, torna in sé, ritorna a chiedere aiuto ai suoi amici e riporta l'ordine a Hell's Kitchen, sconfiggendo la Yakuza.
Milla, di fronte all'ammissione di Matt del fatto che la sua crisi possa essere dovuta al persistente ricordo della morte di Karen, sentendosi tradita, lo abbandona, richiedendo l'annullamento legale del matrimonio.

La decisione è sofferta, ma Matt acconsente a tale concessione. Milla, però, comprendendo di aver sbagliato a giudicare così sbrigativamente il comportamento di Matt, ritorna da lui dopo qualche tempo. I due tornano ad essere sposati, giusto in tempo per un ancora più grande sconvolgimento nella vita di Matt Murdock. Dal carcere, Kingpin annuncia di voler rivelare tutto quello che sa su Matt Murdock e Daredevil. Tutte le prove, gli indizi e le informazioni da lui raccolte sulla sua identità. Elementi che avrebbero finalmente dimostrato che Matt Murdock è sempre stato Daredevil, consentendone dunque l'incriminazione, contenuti in un dossier speciale.
In realtà, ciò si rivela essere nient'altro che una macchinazione di Kingpin per far uscire Daredevil allo scoperto, farlo mettere fuori combattimento da un cecchino e consentirne la cattura da parte dei federali, che da tempo gli stanno dando la caccia. Il piano riesce. Matt Murdock, ferito gravemente e con indosso parte del costume, si consegna all FBI. Per lui scattano le manette.

In attesa del processo, Murdock viene rinchiuso nel carcere di Ryker's island. I prosecutori riescono inoltre a negargli lo status speciale di detenuto con disabilità, e a metterlo assieme alla popolazione carceraria generale. Matt attende pazientemente che la giustizia faccia il suo corso. I suoi soci, Foggy e Becky, lavorano senza posa in preparazione del processo, che con ogni probabilità, in assenza di prove, lo dovrebbe riconoscere innocente.

Ma anche in questa situazione così drammatica, qualcuno trama nell'ombra. Qualcuno preme affinché la situazione nel carcere divenga tale da far sì che Kingpin e Matt, rinchiusi assieme a criminali come Bullseye, il Gufo, la Tarantola Nera e Testa di Martello, si uccidano tra loro.
Viene inscenata l'uccisione di Foggy Nelson durante una visita al carcere, mentre un altro misterioso uomo continua ad operare ad Hell's Kitchen nelle vesti di Daredevil. Ciò porta Matt Murdock a scatenare nel carcere la parte più violenta e cinica di sé stesso. La sua priorità diviene scoprire chi ha ordinato l'uccisione di Foggy e fargliela pagare, anche a costo di brutalizzare secondini e detenuti, anche a costo di rendere palese il fatto di non essere un cieco come tutti gli altri.
L'occasione di evadere si presenta con una rivolta carceraria organizzata dai leader dei vari gruppi di detenuti, con l'intento di eliminare i due principali bersagli del mondo criminale: l'ormai tramontato Kingpin e Matt Murdock, ormai noto a tutti come il vigilante Daredevil.
Matt si trova suo malgrado a lottare al fianco di Kingpin e Bullseye contro orde di detenuti inviati per fargli la pelle. Nel trambusto che segue, grazie anche al Punitore, Matt riesce a fuggire dal carcere, assicurandosi al contempo che Kingpin e Bullseye vi rimangano.

Deciso a vendicare la morte di Foggy, Matt scopre che il misterioso uomo nei panni di Daredevil altri non era che il suo amico Danny Rand, alias Iron Fist, reclutato per fare questo per conto di una persona residente in Europa. Matt, ufficialmente ancora fuggitivo, raccoglie i pochi indizi che ha e il suo costume da diavolo, e parte alla volta del vecchio continente, a caccia del mandante.
Dopo una tortuosa ricerca, Matt scoprirà che il mandante di tutto questo altri non era che Vanessa Fisk, moglie di Kingpin. La donna, ormai in fin di vita per un male incurabile, ha architettato tutto il vortice di eventi per far sì che il marito e Matt Murdock (che ritiene responsabili di averle rovinato la vita con le loro interminabili guerre) si uccidano a vicenda, o alternativamente siano condannati a soffrire continuando a lottare fra loro per sempre.

La donna propone dunque un patto. Lei avrebbe utilizzato le sue possibilità e i suoi vari agganci per scagionare completamente Matt da ciò di cui era accusato. In cambio, Matt avrebbe dovuto provvedere legalmente al rilascio di Wilson Fisk.

Matt - mai uomo da scendere a compromessi torbidi - rifiuta, ma di ritorno in America apprende che Vanessa aveva già messo in atto la sua parte del patto, e che l'assassinio di Foggy era stato solo una messa in scena architettata dalla donna.
Matt e Milla si ricongiungono, Foggy e Becky riescono a far prosciogliere Matt dalle accuse e a fargli riottenere l'abilitazione alla professione legale. Matt adempie alla sua parte del patto, facendo rilasciare Kingpin. Distrutto dall'apprendere che quanto sia accaduto sia stato causato dalle sofferenze fatte patire all'amata Vanessa, ormai morta, Fisk acconsente a rinunciare alla propria cittadinanza americana e abbandonare il continente.

In breve tempo, la situazione torna ad un minimo di normalità. Ma non tutto è realmente come prima. Anche se non vi sono prove ufficiali, l'identità di Matt Murdock è ormai nota. Inoltre, alla luce delle nuove leggi sui supereroi e sul vigilantismo, Matt risulta un supereroe non registrato, in palese violazione delle leggi e costantemente a rischio di venire colto in flagrante ed arrestato.
L'equilibrio tra l'attività di custode di Hell's Kitchen e una vita felice rimane più che mai delicato, e già si profilano ombre all'orizzonte. Durante la sua lunga assenza sono sorte nuove lotte per il potere, e il quartiere è tornato ad essere terra di nessuno per i criminali.
Matt Murdock/Daredevil è comunque là, pronto a combattere il crimine e a vigilare sulla città, dispensando giustizia sulla punta di un billy-club, con lo stesso spirito di abnegazione e la stessa risolutezza di sempre.

Matt Murdock vive e lavora ancora ad Hell's Kitchen.
E cerca di tenerla pulita. Questo e tutto ciò che dovete sapere.