Obsession Perception #9: Why Daredevil is Equal to or Greater Than Batman
So, in the last OP I spent a bit of time singing the praises of Mark Waid and Chris Samnee’s current Daredevil run. I could seriously talk all day about that comic, it is immediately put on top of my read pile every time it comes out and it is my absolute number 1 favorite book currently running. After writing for that week, I thought about it even more and I realized that Daredevil is one of the deepest, most important super heroes in all of comics and belongs in conversations where he is spoken in the same breath as the likes of Batman, Spider-Man and Superman. Last time I also mentioned how I hate Deadpool and it opened up some interesting debate in the comments, so that’s why I’ve titled this weeks column as such, let’s get to it, come at me fan-bro!
This week’s column was inspired by me having just finished reading Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev’s stellar Daredevil run for the first time. As an on and off lifetime comic reader, I’m only now beginning to fully appreciate Daredevil as the A list hero he is and this run is a big reason why. Bendis’ character work with Matt Murdock, Foggy Nelson, Milla Donovan, Wilson Fisk, Hector Ayala and the rest of the deep supporting cast is not only well fleshed out and builds a lot onto Matt’s struggle, but it also is some of the best character development I’ve ever read in comics. Here we have Matt dealing with a lot of crap being flung his way, still mourning over Karen Page’s death, the threat of his “secret” identity being outed by the tabloids, protecting his loved ones from the recoil caused by his outing, and cleaning up crime completely in Hell’s Kitchen. As well written as this book is, it gets DARK. I can think of no better artist than Alex Maleev to fit the tone of this comic, moments where Daredevil interrogates criminals where only his glare and snarling teeth show through the darkness turn this comic from superhero book to a borderline horror affair. This run is just one of the ways Daredevil could be portrayed, it differs greatly from the lighter tone of Waid and Samnee’s current run but both work out incredibly well making Daredevil one of the most versatile characters in comics. Other creators who go on to become legends in the world of comics cut their teeth on their Daredevil runs, Frank Miller’s Daredevil reinvented the character into the gritty street level hero we know and love today and the tone he set for Daredevil predates and arguably influenced his seminal work on Batman that partially redefined arguably the most popular super hero of all time. Matt Murdock, to me stands equally as important to Marvel and to comics in general as Bruce Wayne is to DC. There are nearly as many “must read” Daredevil stories as their are for Batman and with a quarter-century less time in existence, that’s pretty impressive.
The comics are one thing, but translating to film and television is one thing that Matt Murdock has not been treated as well as Bruce Wayne. Fox’s 2003 Daredevil film fell way short of the mark, giving us little more than an example of what not to do. However, with the film property returned to Marvel Studios and the announcement of the Netflix exclusive television show, it would seem that we can all rest easy and the character is now in good hands. Awaiting the casting of the show and watching all the internet rumors come and go has been interesting, but I feel as if Marvel Studios and Disney have nailed it’s other properties when it comes to casting and capturing the proper tone. Either way, it’s great to finally see old horn head get the respect he deserves on screen.
I’ve written before about how the greatest heroes in comics (and fiction in general)are born out of tragedy. Matt Murdock is definitely up there with Bruce Wayne and Peter Parker when it comes to being dealt a shitty hand. He not only experienced a great loss with his father’s death, but also was orphaned, handicapped, and later on lost 2 of the women he loved the most. Where Bruce Wayne takes to living in seclusion and Peter Parker takes to making quips and using humor to cope, Murdock fights on both sides of the law to protect his city and even pushes himself beyond the line of his own physical and more importantly mental health in a crusade to eliminate crime in Hell’s Kitchen.
I guess the whole point of this little hero worshiping of Daredevil is not to say he is a better hero, or character than Batman or anyone else, but to say that he is an A-Lister that with the help of some amazing creative talent has contributed some of the best and most under-appreciated stories in comics. I’m here to say Daredevil is far more than “Red Batman” (even though I’ve seldom laughed that hard at a comic one-liner) he is a street level badass that has the depth of character to stand shoulder to shoulder to the Batmans, Spider-Mans, and Supermans of comics. With that said, what’s your opinion of the blind, ninja, vigilante, lawyer who has brought me more comic joy than any other hero lately? Do you think he belongs among the greats? What is you favorite DD arc or run? Let’s hear it in the comments below. As always come back to www.all-comic.com for all your comic news, reviews, rants, and needs.