Fist Fights and Legal Fights in Daredevil 25

by Michael DeLaney

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

I’m about to blow your mind: superhero comics are full of fist fights. Crazy, I know. But with every punch or kick traded, there’s typically opposing ideologies. In Daredevil 25, Charles Soule and Alec Morgan match the high stakes of Matt Murdock’s Supreme Court case with the trappings of superhero fisticuffs.

Matt is petitioning the Supreme Court to allow masked heroes to be used as anonymous witnesses in criminal cases. Alec Morgan establishes the Supreme Court in a double-page spread that grounds us in its reality as Matt makes his opening statements. In the following spread, Morgan takes us into a heightened version of this reality, where the Supreme Court Justices provide physical attacks along with their counter arguments.

Just to ensure that we’re aware that this isn’t actually happening as presented, Morgan throws in a few off-kilter panels and dreamy backdrops. Every fist, foot, or gavel to Matt’s face is a punctuation mark for the Justices’ arguments and every block and dodge he makes are in tandem with his counterpoints.

Before all of this goes down, however we have a brief back and forth between Matt and the defense attorney known only as “Legal.” Soule gives us some insight into Legal’s mind as he openly presents Murdock with his beliefs about the legal system.

Legal says that the law is “a secret language” but really you could swap that with the word superpower. With his vast knowledge of the system, Legal clearly views himself above or outside of the law — separate from the majority of civilization.

Likewise, a big part of Murdock’s argument to the Supreme Court is that they should not consider superheroes as “the other” and recognize that they aren’t too different from us. Matt’s call for equality is less about equal treatment and more about taking a stand in the name of justice.

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


One comment on “Fist Fights and Legal Fights in Daredevil 25

  1. Is this really how Soule does the Supreme Court?

    The effect is a great example of heightening reality to visually depict the content of the drama of the scene, but such an effect is only additive. Ultimately, it has to all come down to the words themselves.

    And it is sad that Soule, a lawyer, has so little faith in the law’s ability to be compelling. The easy comparison is Bendis’ own work on Daredevil, where he was sending scripts of his Trial of the Century arc to every lawyer he knew to make sure that it was as accurate as possible. But many others have successfully found the drama in the court case. I mentioned David E Kelly in a previous thread, but Rich Burlew did a fantastic job in the comics realm.

    That speech by Legal is a villain’s perversion of one of the key ideas of the judiciary. The important part of the judiciary is that it is a negotiation on the law, a debate on how the law should apply. Whether it is a criminal case negotiating, based on the unique merits of the particular case, which legal action is the best fit or a Supreme Court Case negotiating the constitutional principles that underpin government and what they mean, the judiciary is a fundamentally a conflict where different perspectives and ideals are debated in an attempt to find a greater truth. Which is to say, it is inherently dramatic. There is a reason that the juidicary has been the setting of some of our most iconic moments in art

    And in the hands of a skilled lawyer who, unlike Bendis, doesn’t have to rely on made up precedents like Illinois v Steve Rogers and the People v Tony Stark or other cheats that come from being a comic book writer doing his best, could wring so much drama out of the very arguments used by the Supreme Court. Use the very nature of the Supreme Court to create a debate that is dramatic even without the addition of a visual metaphor.

    But this looks rushed. The scene you show sets up a fantastic debate on social intent, on the full repercussions of making such an adjustment to the law. What making such a change to the law means morally. But before it can be properly explored, you have the panel saying ‘Time’s Up, Counsellor’. Wouldn’t it be more interesting for Soule to really dig into that debate. Really stretch his legal muscles so that we could really dig into fundamental drama.

    Shouldn’t the drama of the scene not just be about how facing the Supreme Court is hard, but the fact that any legal case that reaches the Supreme Court is a case so full of complexities and nuance that it requires the Supreme Court in the first place? The idea that a story about a superhero lawyer can’t use the Supreme Court as a true test of the very values that underpin the hero feels like wasted potential

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