This is the first in a series of Geek Sushi articles reviewing, speculating and discussing (if you’ll have it) classic Daredevil comic stories that could have an impact on the upcoming Netflix series that will be released at Midnight PT on April 10th.
Now that we’ve seen Daredevil’s all-black costume in the trailer and most have noticed that it’s markedly different from the “Red Batman” suit that he wears in the vast majority of comics Daredevil appears in, it gives a hint as to what Daredevil story arc the show could borrow from, and it isn’t a tough puzzle to piece together.
One of the first released official images showed Daredevil in an all-black costume, it was packaged with some concept art by Joe Quesada and a page from Frank Miller and John Romita Jr.’s 1993 mini-series “Daredevil: The Man Without Fear.”
In the vein of his “Batman: Year One” story, Frank Miller takes a reimagined look at Matt Murdock’s development from a bright, blue-eyed, young boy into the blind hero of Hell’s Kitchen.
*Possible Daredevil Netflix series and definite The Man Without Fear spoilers ahead*
Growing up in New York, Matt Murdock is the son of one-time great boxer, now widower, “Battlin’” Jack Murdock. Matt, teased by other kids because of his study habits forced upon him by his dad, “studying like a demon,” finds solace in his father’s old gym. One day walking home after spending time at the gym the young Murdock saves a blind man from being hit by a truck that was carrying radioactive waste, and in turn is doused with the waste himself, turning the boy blind with otherwise painfully heightened senses, sheets feel like sandpaper, doors closing sound like gunshots, and every smell is gag-worthy.
Not being able to provide for his son otherwise, a man by the name of The Fixer and his cronies approach Jack Murdock to be their muscle in the city, and leave him no choice, but to accept.
The healed, but blind, Matt is found in his father’s empty gym fumbling around by a mysterious blind man who goes by the name Stick. Stick begrudgingly tells Matt that he will train him even though he is “undisciplined, indulgent, and emotional.”
The Fixer tells the resurgent Battlin’ Jack to throw his next fight at Madison Square Garden, and his refusal leads to Matt becoming an orphan.
Matt, now stronger and fully trained by Stick, seeks revenge against the men who are responsible for his father’s death: McHale, Gillian, Slade, Marcello, Angelo and The Fixer. Matt systematically takes the men out, brutally beating them in darkened locales. The Fixer and his driver Angelo escape while Matt is taking out Slade with a roll of pennies clutched in his fist, but Matt, listening and locking on to the sound of The Fixer’s cough and struggling heartbeat tracks him down and scares him to death, dying of a heart-attack as he cocked a gun to shoot the masked son of Battlin’ Jack. Stick, knowing that Matt has lost control, gives up on him.
A jump to a year later, Murdock, now a freshman at Columbia University, Matt Murdock meets his roommate, Franklin “Foggy” Nelson, and at a meeting of the leaders of the Manhattan underworld, head of the criminals, Don Rigoletto, is overtaken by a man named “The Kingpin.”
More time passes, Matt Murdock graduates Summa Cum Laude from Harvard Law School and is working at a Boston law firm when a case he is given brings him back to New York and Hell’s Kitchen. While reminiscing in his old school’s playground where he was teased with the nickname “Daredevil,” Matt is confronted by a gang that brings back even more memories of his childhood that lead him to his father’s old gym, that’s now abandoned. There he finds a young girl named “Mickey” hiding there. He befriends her and it is revealed when she questions a poster exactly how the young Matt got the nickname of Daredevil. His father, only knowing fighting, dressed up as the gimmick character Jack “the Devil” Murdock to support his small family.
Still in New York Matt meets his old college roommate, Foggy, for lunch. Intrigued by Foggy’s case that involves a slumlord Matt jumps at the opportunity to help him as it is a breath of fresh air compared to his corporate law case.
Mickey, working out at the gym alone while Matt is tending to Foggy’s case at night, is taken by some of Kingpin’s entry-level creeps. After cashing in on the $6,000 ransom, Matt follows the junkie back to his apartment where Mickey is still being held, only for the junkie to be shot in the head by Kingpin’s right-hand man, Lark, as Matt is hiding in the stairwell.
In an all-black and wielding an officer’s night stick that has been hidden in a locker at the gym since his childhood, Matt tracks Lark and Mickey to Kingpin’s “main distribution center for lost lives.” There, Matt initiates a one-man attack on the distribution center, taking out every person he encounters easily, only to have to chase Lark and Mickey around town while embracing his Daredevil nickname.
After saving Mickey and being fired from the law firm, Matt calls New York home once again, laughing uncontrollably at the thought of Boston, Matt Murdock is connected to Hell’s Kitchen as much as Batman is connected to Gotham. Free from Boston and his corporate law job, Matt and Foggy decide to start their own law firm, “Nelson and Murdock.”