New developments for Daredevil

Daredevil is one of my favorite superheroes. Granted, these days that is a long list, and he’d probably have to fight it out with both Hawkeyes, Peggy Carter, and the CW’s Flash for the top spot.* (Now I want to see that crossover.) But Daredevil has the edge in seniority. While a large part of my knowledge of Marvel comics postdates the inception of the MCU, Daredevil is a character I was familiar with long before he took Netflix by storm.

Recently I’ve been making an effort to keep up with the current run of Daredevil comics, so this AV Club article caught my attention. And… I’m not sure I’m a fan of the proposed new direction.

(Contains spoilers for recent Daredevil comics, as well as information about future issues gleaned from the aforelinked article.)

So, first of all, the article mentions that the new run is going to be dark. And when Daredevil comics go dark, they do not mess around. (See: Frank Miller, Brian Michael Bendis.) Which sometimes makes for great storytelling, but I’ve been enjoying Mark Waid’s comparatively lighthearted run.** Unrelenting bleakness gets to be a drag.

Secondly, it mentions a “new status quo, supporting cast, and sidekick.” Now, I have no objection to Daredevil acquiring a sidekick. And apparently he’s going to be Chinese, so hey, more diversity in comics, all to the good. My concern is whether “new supporting cast” means that the old supporting cast is gone, because I happen to really like the old supporting cast! Foggy Nelson has been Matt Murdock’s best friend for as long as Daredevil has existed, and Kirsten McDuffie has been expertly walking the tightrope of being a superhero’s girlfriend whose identity isn’t reduced to “Daredevil’s girlfriend”. It would make me very sad if they got written out. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this just means introducing new characters, not replacing the old ones.

As for the new status quo… well, apparently Matt Murdock has his secret identity back.

As a general rule, I love secret identity stories. It’s the dramatic irony, I think, where (for instance) Clark Kent gets to hear what Lois Lane really thinks about Superman. The problem is that Daredevil’s secret identity has been blown to Hell and back. It was published in the newspaper, for crying out loud. Matt publicly denied it for a while, but eventually he confessed to it in court, and subsequently moved to California after being disbarred in New York. The new writer seems to want to move the story back to New York and play around with secret identities–both motivations with which I sympathize. But it’s going to take a lot to put that genie back in the bottle. Either a massive retcon, or a massive in-universe rewrite of past events, like time travel or a deal with the devil (because that always goes so well). So, love of secret identity stories notwithstanding, I am very, very wary about this development.

Next issue of Daredevil–which I think might be the last Mark Waid issue–comes out this Wednesday. Further updates as this story develops…

* And probably some less mainstream superheroes as well. The Red Panda comes to mind.

** Comparatively. We are still talking about a run in which, among other things, Foggy Nelson gets cancer.

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