He’s The Man Without Fear, and he’s Hell’s Kitchen’s very own vigilante lawyer. Matt Murdock has been fighting the good fight in Marvel comic books since April 1964, when he first appeared in Daredevil #1, created by Stan Lee and Bill Everett. He’s known for his athleticism, his great detective skills, his marksmanship, his interrogation techniques and his martial arts training, but it’s his radar capability and heightened senses that give him his superpower.
Murdock is the son of Jack Murdock – a well-respected boxer – and while Matt idolized his father, Jack Murdock wanted a better life for his son and encouraged him to study hard and be ambitious. The young Matt Murdock suffered a terrible accident when he tried to save a blind man from the path of an oncoming vehicle, and was himself blinded by a radioactive substance that spilled from the truck. His father supported him as he came to terms with the loss of his sight, but was murdered by a local crime boss when he refused to throw a fight. A traumatized Matt Murdock made a superhero costume from his slain father’s boxing robes and confronted the thug responsible for the murder – causing him to have a fatal heart attack.
After that, Matt Murdock carved out a double life for himself – as a skilled lawyer by day, and a crime-fighting, radar-guided, ninja-trained superhero by night. He is aided in his endeavours by Franklin ‘Foggy’ Nelson – his law partner and former college roommate – and was trained in the ways of the ninja by Ninja Master, Stick. His comic book story arcs also have him develop a number of connections with other superheroes over his decades in publication – including four years spent sharing a San Francisco apartment with Black Widow, a recurring romantic situation with the ill-fated Elektra, and a close friendship with Spider-Man.
Daredevil’s secret identity has been revealed several times in the comic books. At one point, his friend Iron Fist masqueraded as him, and Black Panther had covered his patrols on occasion. It is his clashes with supervillains that deliver his most iconic moments, however, and have him locked in an almost symbiotic relationship with less virtuous individuals invested in the city in very different ways. While he has battled enemies such as Death-Stalker, Electro, The Jester, Mister Fear, The Owl and Purple-Man in the comic books, he is most famous for dealing with Bulls-Eye and the Kingpin – and it is the Kingpin that features as his arch-nemesis in the upcoming Daredevil on Netflix.
The show is created by Drew Goddard and stars Charlie Cox as Murdock/Daredevil, and Vincent D’Onofrio as his nemesis, The Kingpin – also known as Wilson Fisk. Deborah Ann Woll features as the tragic Karen Page – secretary to Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson (played by Elden Henson) – while Rosario Dawson appears as Claire Temple. In the comic books, Temple is a trained nurse and ‘love-interest’ of Luke Cage, but here, she may be combined with the character of Night Nurse – alter ego of Linda Carter, and go-to healthcare worker for Marvel superheroes in New York City.
The somewhat central position of Matt Murdock within Marvel’s Hell’s Kitchen characters and stories dictates that his is the first to be told by Netflix in its Defenders series. In addition to being a friend of Iron Fist, he is also a point of connection for Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, who have both worked as bodyguards for Matt Murdock in his day-job as a lawyer.