Daredevil is sort of an odd duck, as far as superheroes go.
At first glance, he’s a hero who has no powers. He’s a blind man whose powers mean that he’s not really blind, who works as a lawyer in a crime ridden section of New York that’s bad enough to be called Hell’s Kitchen. He has no other powers other than not being really blind. He dresses in a bright red costume and uses a billy club as a weapon and he’s really kind of ridiculous.
Or, you know, he should be.
Back in the early eighties, a young writer by the name of Frank Miller decided to take Daredevil and make him important. This was back before Frank lost his damn mind, but there’s elements of the stories that would eventually seal his madness – a strong presence of street level crime mixed with a level of violence, drug use, and noir tropes that was utterly unlike anything that had been done up til that time.
Daredevil: Born Again explored the concept of Daredevil’s faith by making him a practicing Catholic who chose to dress like the devil. It played with that concept by making Mephisto – Marvel’s equivalent of Satan – take a stronger interest in Daredevil’s life. It introduced a personal life for Daredevil that was more important to the character than what he was doing when he was out superheroing.
This story was powerful enough to propel the character forward for decades, writers drawing from Frank’s work until Brian Michael Bendis took the time to revisit everything Daredevil with his run on the character. It doubled down on everything that Frank had established and created even stronger characters and arcs, introducing whole new concepts to the mythos and making Daredevil one of the most frightening characters in the Marvel Universe.
And these two stories are going to be the basis for Netflix’s new Daredevil series.
It’s a rich mythos from which to draw, dealing with concepts of political, legal, and economic corruption, eastern mysticism, the weight of faith, and the slow degradation of an environment over decades of organized crime barely held in check.
That’s some powerful stuff to explore on the small screen, but Netflix has proven to be a capable creator of original content – House of Cards, Hemlock Grove, Marco Polo, and Orange is the New Black all spring to mind as some of the most qualitative programming on air today, with brilliant direction, casting, sound design, and anything else you could possibly want.
And Marvel has proven themselves more than capable of transitioning from comic to screen of any size, what with the Avengers movies and Agent Carter. Marvel is hoping to do something monstrously complex with Daredevil, kicking off a number of related series that will transition into a climax the same way as Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor transitioned into the Avengers.
It’s an incredibly ambitious that promises to be like nothing else on television.
To say that we’re excited about what Daredevil could be is an understatement, and we’ll be watching and hoping that this series lives up to our expectations and kickstarts something fantastic.