The Responsibility of the Witness in Daredevil 605

by Patrick Ehlers

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

Charles Soule and Mike Henderson’s Daredevil 605 begins with Wilson Fisk raising from his hospital bed to attempt to regain control of New York City. Even dressed in a hospital gown and dragging an IV pole behind him, Fisk backs Foggy into a corner. It looks like Fisk is going to get his way, but ends up collapsing to the ground — it turns out that he wasn’t well enough to exert himself so much. But he made a choice to stop letting Matt Murdock run New York City, rather that simply witnessing it from the safety of his hospital room. While the sun sets on this Wilson Fisk story after three pages, the remainder of the issue plays out that same fundamental question over and over again: what responsibility does a witness have to interfere with whatever they are witnessing? Continue reading

Who Controls the Page in Daredevil 604?

By Patrick Ehlers

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

“I’m gonna need the room.”

Father Jordan, Daredevil 604

Charles Soule and Mike Henderson’s Daredevil 604 is all about controlling space. Within the world of the story, that’s about dispersing satanic mists, or driving out swarms of ninjas. On the metatextual level, that’s about which character commands the space on the page. With the introduction of the Order of the Dragon (or Ordo Dragonum, if you’re nasty), the pages become thick with both action and potential, but it’s still on Daredevil to take control of every square inch of the city… and by extension, every inch of the page. Continue reading

The Difference Between Mayoral Action and Superhero Action in Daredevil 602

By Patrick Ehlers

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

“New York City’s uniformed protectors are under attack by the Hand.” It’s a straightforward premise, one with both obvious drama and an obvious solution: superheroes fight the ninjas. But as of Daredevil 601, Matt Murdock is more than just a superhero; he’s also the mayor of New York. Suddenly those simple solutions don’t seem quite as simple. Charles Soule, Mike Henderson, Matt Villa and Clayton Cowles’ Daredevil 602 illustrate the difference between the streamlined drama of the superhero and the complicated drama of the mayor. Continue reading

Daredevil 600: Discussion

by Patrick Ehlers and Ryan Desaulniers

This article containers SPOILERS. If you have not read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Patrick: Where does power come from? I’ve been seriously grappling with this one since Trump was elected to the White House, but this question obviously extends waaaay beyond that fucking monster. Does power ultimately come from money? From social connections? From one’s willingness to sacrifice their friendships? From violence? From non-violence? As the battle between Wilson Fisk and Daredevil reaches a fever pitch, questions of where either of them gets their power are posed right alongside the question of where Daredevil 600 gets its power. This is a six-hundredth issue, after all — so what makes this one special? Continue reading

Kingpin Drowns Out Everything Else in Daredevil 599

by Spencer Irwin

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

Ever since Donald Trump was elected president, the media has been a constant bombardment of scandals, missteps, and outrage. Every new sound bite is accused of being a “distraction” from something more important, but the truth is that almost every one of these stories is important (and horrifying) in their own way. Still, so many stories flying around at once can be absolutely overwhelming — nobody can get their bearings straight or agree on which scandals to tackle first. There’s just no way to focus in a world absolutely overwhelmed by Trumpian horrors, which is exactly what Matt Murdock is discovering in Daredevil 599, where newly-elected Mayor Fisk is just as divisive, dangerous, and all-encompassing a figure. Continue reading

Fisk Keeps His Enemies Closer in Daredevil 597

by Drew Baumgartner

Daredevil 597

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

What rock did these morally pure creatures crawl out from under and, more important, how do you go from innocent millipede to White House staffer without becoming soiled or disillusioned by the dirty realities of politics along the way?

Heather Havrilesky, “Will The West Wing go south?”

There are a lot of things to nitpick about The West Wing, between its heavy-handed Sorkin-isms and its penchant for too-saccharine resolutions, but the one criticism that I can’t stand is that it isn’t realistic enough. Of course it isn’t — it’s fiction. No, these aren’t how actual White House staffers would talk about issues, because how they actually talk would be totally impenetrable to the audience the show is actually made for. Tone-deaf critics would dismiss this as dumbing-down, but the alternative is a highly accurate but totally unwatchable bore. Policy wonks may lament that there’s no television truly tailored to their niche interests, but the rest of us want something, you know, entertaining. Moreover, we understand that in order to generate drama, characters in fiction may need to speak and act in ways that real people wouldn’t (hint: real people don’t only sit on one half of a dining room table or speak in iambic pentameter). Which means the hero sometimes has to be naive in their hopes and dreams — if they know they’re going to crash on the rocks, they might just call the whole adventure off, which doesn’t leave us with much of a story. Such is the case with Matt’s attempt to keep a watchful eye on Fisk. Continue reading

The Limits to Resistance Daredevil 596

by Patrick Ehlers

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

When Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, I took comfort in some of the facts of the matter. For starters, while he won the electoral college, he actually lost the popular vote by more than a million votes. This wasn’t some nation-wide referendum on misogyny and white supremacy, but a statistical loophole exploited by opportunists and trolls. Trump may be in office, but with a historically low approval rating, he is not representing the interests of the people he was elected to lead. But this is a cold fucking comfort. A man in power, even if a widely reviled one, still commands the resources and the authority to make some terrible stuff happen. Wilson Fisk, in his mayoral victory, is an obvious and easy stand-in for Trump, and while Daredevil may be confident that the people of New York City aren’t actually behind Fisk, there’s no denying that the office itself has power. Continue reading

The Universal Immigrant Experience in Daredevil 28

by Taylor Anderson

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

For a long time, America celebrated the fact that it was a country made up of immigrants. People pointed to visionaries such as Albert Einstein, John Muir, and Hakeem Olajuwon to show that immigrants not only contributed to our country, but led it. However, the narrative around immigrants has changed lately, and, like all things these days, has been politicized. The result of this is that America has forgotten the value of immigrants, and with that has forgotten to care about them as human beings. This, in turn, is what drives Sam Chung to betray Daredevil, but it’s also why it’s so easy to understand why he did it. Continue reading

Killing Hope in Daredevil 27

by Drew Baumgartner

Daredevil 27

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

When you walk through the garden
You gotta watch your back.
Well I beg your pardon
Walk the straight and narrow track.
If you walk with Jesus
He’s gonna save your soul.
You gotta keep the devil
Way down in the hole.

Tom Waits, Way Down in the Hole

There are plenty of great morals to learn from The Wire, but one that left the biggest impression on me is the thought that many Americans simply don’t have access to the American Dream. Each successive series does a great job of detailing why both policing and education fail to end the drug trade, why politics fail to fix the police or the schools, and why the press fails to fix politics. It’s a disheartening lesson to learn, for sure, but it’s one we must reconcile with before we can mount any meaningful solutions. Unfortunately, many American’s are still too enamored of the old narrative of the American Dream — the kind represented by Matt Murdock’s “orphaned fighter’s son to high-powered attorney” origin — to accept that not everyone has access to that dream. Continue reading

Revisiting the Past While Also Moving Forward in Daredevil 26

by Spencer Irwin

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

Charles Soule’s run on Daredevil began with a bit of a “back to basics” approach, a return to the character’s traditionally dark tone after Waid and Samnee’s more optimistic run. Still, Soule wasn’t content to just do the same old things with Daredevil; Matt underwent significant changes, including adopting a new costume and sidekick, fighting new villains, and losing all of his old support systems. The last few storylines, though, took a step away from those changes — one was a straight-up flashback tale, and the other a Kingpin story. Daredevil 26 finds Soule reconciling all these various takes, moving forward with the status quo changes brought about by issue 25 while also revisiting concepts from both earlier in this run and long before it. Continue reading