The Devil I Didn’t Know

I didn’t know much about Matt Murdock. I knew he was blind, that he had super senses, and that his alter ego sported a red costume with horns. I knew that Daredevil is known as The Man Without Fear. I knew Ben Affleck played a version of him on the screen. Those bits don’t add up to much, but I’ve been getting familiar with Hornhead (I love that Stan Lee called him that).

By day he’s a lawyer fighting the good fight with his faithful partner against crime, Foggy Nelson. By night he dons a disguise and takes on the villain of the week or issue. He battles with the devil inside, too. He has to deal with his past, the loss of his father, the loss of his vision, and the stress of struggling with a dual identity. To keep his secret safe he has to make the hard decisions, and it costs him. For example, the father of one of his love interests – Heather Glenn – was under the influence of The Purple Man. Mr. Glenn committed crimes, and he was imprisoned for them even though he was only a pawn. Daredevil knew about the mind control, but Matt Murdock shouldn’t have known. Rather than reveal the truth about Mr. Glenn, Murdock kept silent.

Honesty would have meant losing his life as Daredevil. As the superhero, Murdock can help more people and save more lives than he can as a lawyer. Well – in theory. The needs of the many versus the needs of the few and all that jazz (yes, I can use a Star Trek line when talking about Daredevil). Was it the right decision? Heather, who is in the know about Murdock’s nighttime habits, didn’t think so. The people Daredevil has saved probably feel differently.

I’ve learned about Murdock’s heightened senses, how his costume hasn’t always been red, and about his origin. He didn’t become Daredevil the instant he lost his sight. He was a hardworking kid, and my inner overachiever understood his constant need to prove himself. Jack Murdock was a boxer and like most parents, he wanted something better for his son. He didn’t have to worry. Matt was a hero before he got incredibly sharp senses.

Daredevil #164

He got caught up in the accident that blinded him because he was pushing an innocent from the path of swerving army truck. The truck crashed and a canister of radioactive waste exploded beside Matt. When he looked up, he “looked into the heart of a man-made sun.” It was the last thing he ever saw. He continued to push himself despite his disability, and he wasn’t motivated to put on the suit until he had to avenge his father.

I still don’t know Matt Murdock, far from it, but I’m looking forward to spending more time with him.


4 Responses to The Devil I Didn’t Know

  1. Kirk G January 9, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

    Ol’ hornhead also stars in the origin for the Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles, as I recall. Those in the know will recognise how Eastman and Laird wove their origin in and around Daredevil’s without actually saying it. Check it out!

  2. Jeff Nettleton January 7, 2012 at 4:23 pm #

    It was always ironic that the blind personna had better fashion sense than the “sighted twin brother.” Truly trippy Daddy-O!

  3. Kirk G January 6, 2012 at 1:34 pm #

    If you think ol’ Matt Murdock is interesting as ol’ hornhead, wait until you get to the part where he thinks he needs a THIRD identity to keep his partner and secretary from getting too close to him. I mean, who could possibly guess that the guy with dark glasses, a lousy sense of fashion, clashing patterns, a devil may care attitude and a flip way of talking that sounds just like Matt…. wasn’t a mental aberation of their partner just putting on a disguise and having a breakdown? Really!

    • Kirk G January 6, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

      You know, just as Earth’s Greatest Heroes took a look at the early Avengers years from a new perspective, I’d love to see something similar done for Daredevil, from the point of view of Foggy or Karen… not only wondering who DD could be, but why he hangs around their clients, and perhaps (just as the Avengers were revealed to have recognised that Hank was Yellowjacket and tried to humor him for Jan’s sake) saw through the Mike Murdock crap and decided to humor poor Matt!

Welcoming the Future, Treasuring the Past.