Matt Looks to the Law to End Crime in Daredevil 22

by Spencer Irwin

Daredevil 22

This article will contain SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

As much as I admire superheroes and the aspirational messages they’re designed to send, it is occasionally troubling that they solve 95% of their problems with violence. There are other ways, often better ways, to help people, and that’s something Matt Murdock has always understood. It only makes sense, then, that the big plan to “end crime” in NYC writer Charles Soule (a lawyer himself) has been teasing for the past few issues has nothing to do with super-powered spectacle, and everything to do with setting a legal precedent. 

The plan — as explained by Soule and Goran Sudzuka in Daredevil 22 — is to establish that masked superheroes can provide “anonymous” testimony in court, allowing them to present evidence that cops can’t and more effectively prosecute criminals. It’s neither as “big” a plan as I imagined nor as foolproof as Matt seemed to be implying in earlier issues (criminals are still going to commit crimes and escape from jail), but I’m nonetheless impressed not only by its unexpected simplicity, but by how squarely it fits into Matt Murdock’s worldview. Daredevil is firmly a street-level hero, and Murdock a lawyer, so of course his big plan to end crime involves getting superheroes more entrenched in the legal process. That’s exactly the kind of cause Murdock would be lobbying for, and it’s what makes Soule’s perspective so refreshing.

Of course, the whole point of a superhero universe is that the law alone can’t stop criminals. Matt may be trying to expand the law’s role in fighting super-criminals, but superheroes are still a key, necessary element in the process.

Soule and Sudzuka demonstrate this first-hand when the Clip break into the court room. It’s a convenient way to prove Matt’s identity, but it also demonstrates why superheroes are necessary in the first place, and why they’ll remain so even if Matt’s plan actually works. That may be what’s got me most excited about this storyline — despite how it appeared last month, Matt’s plan isn’t necessarily doomed to failure. This precedent could actually stand without completely upending the Marvel Universe, and that opens up an entirely new door of storytelling possibilities — assuming Kingpin doesn’t bring it all crashing down, of course.

The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?

3 comments on “Matt Looks to the Law to End Crime in Daredevil 22

  1. I’m not familiar with the artist of this issue-Goran Sudzuka–but it struck me that their art (and the coloring) is similar to that of Chris Samnee’s (or, at least far more similar to Samnee’s to what the rest of Charles Soule’s run has been). Even when the story took in Waid and Samnee’s San Fransisco, the art was a lot darker, more “realistic”. Now it has a lighter quality that “pops” more. It seems interesting to me because Waid and Samnee had a far more optimistic take on the character than Soule has had up until this point, and I wonder if Sudzuka’s choice with regards to the art speaks to a sense of that optimism coming back to both Daredevil’s book and his world. I mean, he IS back in his red suit after all…

    • How the hell is the red suit his optimistic costume? That is the costume he wore when he had all of his defining moments, and they were all bad THis is the costume he wore when Elektra died, when Karen Page died, when his secret identity was leaked. Literally everything bad that ever happened in Matt’s life is connected to the red suit. Daredevil has long been the comic that plugned the dfarkest depthes of the Marvel Universe, taking Matt to the worst places, and all in that suit

      If I was to discuss the art and the suit, I would discuss how it is a lot closer to the sort of art you would see on one of Marvel’s model sheets, sent directly to businesses to make shirts and cookiee jars, than any specific art style in Daredevil’s artistically varied career. Iconic costume, lack of any obviously distinctive artistic feature. Which is to say, a universal Daredevil. The ‘true’ Daredevil, free from any person’s specific interpretation. Which is fitting for a comic all about establishing that this is the true Daredevil

  2. Interestingly, DC at one point had it that superheroes could provide testimony in costume (whether that is canon now is unknown). Manhunter, the book that had that happen, used a constitutional amendment to justify it instead of actual legal precedent, but it led to a funny scene of Kate Spencer’s internal monologue mocking the opposing lawyer’s quixotic attempt to turn the jury against Superman

    I actually read this, accidentally picking it up out of routine after enduring the awful Purple storyline. Very disappointed, in that Soule really seemed trapped between two masters. The reason to read this is that a professional lawyer is writing a legal storyline, but Soule appeared to keep sacrificing that aspect out of fear of alienating the audience. Which is a shame, as Daredevil has proven capable of supporting legal storylines before (it is amazing how often modern Daredevil goes back to Bendis). And if David E Kelly has proven one thing, this that you can build an entire career on legal procedural drama. And yet, this comic goes out of the way to show as little of the actual procedure of law as possible. Matt listens to every part of the chambers conversation, but we don’t. So instead of Soule using his knowledge to build drama out of the procedural elements of law, we have a vague ‘they struggled’. Basic breaking of show, don’t tell. For a story whose big gimmick is that it is written by a lawyer, there is remarkably little law. Just a couple of binders passed around

    Made worse by the fight scene that wastes 4 pages. There are so many quicker ways to establish legally that the person on the stand is Daredevil, which means we could have spent more time on the actual interesting stuff. Instead, we get a bad fight. Generic mooks are never interesting to fight, and so the fighting seems to be obligatory. Existing solely because Soule doesn’t trust the audience to read a legal story. Soule has a great idea for a story, but takes every effort to turn away from that idea and default back to superheroes out of a lack of faith in the audience. Which is tragic, as Soule’s expertise is exactly the thing that makes this concept great, but also the thing so obviously missing from the issue itself. Really disappointing

    Also, out of interest, how many heroes would actually be affected by this change in rule, these days? I think Matt, Miles and Kamala are the only Marvel heroes actually invested in keeping their identities secret. Anyone else? Because all of the other Defenders who you think would most benefit from this are already public with their personas.

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