Along with the likes of Spider-Man, Daredevil is one of Marvel Comics’ characters infamous for taking a great deal of punishment throughout his career. Much of the pain the Man Without Fear endures comes with the physical beatings he takes from rogues like Wilson Fisk/Kingpin and Bullseye, though, he’s also dealt with tragic losses of loved ones as well.
But even with the grueling life that Matt Murdock deals with, he’s still managed to earn some truly cathartic victories in the process. Daredevil’s exceptional skills have led him to decisive — and occasionally even one-sided — triumphs over those same supervillains. These moments vary throughout his praised comic book mythos and particularly include the acclaimed Brian Bendis and Alex Maleev run, as well as the current Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto tenure.
Beating Down Bullseye In The Bendis & Maleev Run
Though it depends on which comic book circle one’s talking to, many fans understandably believe the Kingpin of Crime himself to be Daredevil’s top-tier rogues’ gallery member. However, the argument could be easily made for Bullseye, as he’s responsible for some of the worst things to ever happen to Daredevil in comics. The unhinged, psychopathic assassin and expert marksman has killed both Karen Page and Elektra Natchios, with the former being the rare case of a permanent comic book death.
In Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev’s acclaimed run on Daredevil, Bullseye wasn’t a huge focus but appeared long enough for the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen to emphatically put the villain back down in his place. Matt has dealt with the turmoil of his identity being leaked with organized crime surging in the background. Bullseye attempts to capitalize on the situation, resulting in Daredevil delivering the most violent humbling the former has ever received.
Beating Down Kingpin In Front Of His Underlings In Bendis & Maleev’s Run
As fans would expect, the gritty and destructive crime-noir epic that is the Bendis and Maleev run puts more focus on Kingpin when it comes to the antagonists. Matt has been put through the wringer throughout this story arc, with the legal trouble of the FBI leaking Daredevil’s identity. Meanwhile, Kingpin was dealing with his power struggles in the organized crime underworld in the background. But after Fisk started regaining his lost ground, he of course turned his sights to take advantage of Daredevil’s delicate situation.
The rivalry between Kingpin and Daredevil is more like a blood feud, and the latter finally hit his boiling point on dealing with the plague he brings to Hell’s Kitchen. In an attempt to deal with Fisk in a once-and-for-all style slugfest, Daredevil hits him in the most personal way he can. He beats the Kingpin of New York down viciously and in front of his underlings. After tossing his mangled body for them to see, Daredevil declares that he runs the city as the new Kingpin. It was a beatdown more humiliating than even Bullseye’s.
Winning The Battle For Hell’s Kitchen In Zdarsky & Checchetto’s Run
The current Marvel Comics run of Daredevil helmed by writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Marco Checchetto has been a further testament to the character’s status as one of the most consistently well-written superheroes in the medium. It began with genuine stakes and an intimate level of introspection on Matt Murdock as a character, while still providing some explosive climaxes. The earlier arcs eventually culminated in the Stromwyn crime family leaving Hell’s Kitchen in a blackout isolated from the rest of the country.
This was an attempt to then get a team of mercenaries – including Bullseye and Rhino – to level Hell’s Kitchen and effectively gentrify it. Matt had retired the Daredevil persona before this but made his triumphant comeback alongside inspired citizens to take the city back. Fans then see a revitalized Daredevil team up with the citizens, Detective Cole, and even (temporarily) “Mayor Kingpin” to thwart the rampant supervillains and ultimately come out as the victor.
Daredevil Getting Payback On Kingpin In “Last Rites”
Legendary writer Frank Miller got his start on Daredevil and eventually came to redefine the superhero into the crime-noir character he’s most acclaimed as. He went on to write several memorable story arcs, with Born Again being one of Daredevil’s best comics. Like much of Bendis and Maleev’s run, Born Again presented Matt Murdock at one of his lowest points in life but prevailed satisfyingly in the end nonetheless.
The sequel arc Last Rites (written by multiple writers, including the underrated Ann Nocenti) sees Daredevil flip the script on Kingpin. The hero goes on to systematically dismantle Fisk’s life by tearing down his status around the world as the top crime lord, as well as stripping him of the material wealth that helped him maintain power. Last Rites was a direct parallel to the prior arc, with the Man Without Fear paying Fisk back twice over for the immense damage he’s caused.
Matt Takes Back His Life After Kingpin Destroys It In Miller’s “Born Again”
Though Matt Murdock was in a traumatized and disheveled state in Miller’s iconic Born Again arc, his aforementioned perseverance is a worthy triumph in and of itself before reaching Last Rites. After Karen Page desperately sold Daredevil’s identity to the mob, it repeatedly got sold upward until it made its way to Wilson Fisk himself. This gave the crimelord the keys to his bitter nemesis’ life of misery, leading Kingpin to firebomb Matt’s apartment and force him into destitution.
But through the help of his estranged mother Sister Maggie, he gradually builds himself back up, returns to his mantle as Daredevil, and helps Captain America shatter Kingpin’s public image as the untouchable and dependable crimelord. However, perhaps the biggest victory in this arc was Matt living a happy, peaceful life with a reformed Karen while Fisk seethes in the same pit of hatred and paranoia he put Matt in. This story arc had a resonant effect on the hero overall, with Born Again being one of the biggest comic influences on Netflix’s Daredevil.
Matt Murdock Vs. The State Of New York To Protect His Identity In Zdarsky’s Run
It’s more of a stoic victory but one that nonetheless allowed Daredevil to benefit the greater good. What set the stage for Zdarsky’s run on Daredevil was the titular superhero accidentally killing a petty thief due to his body being out of form. Once he discovers what he’d done, it throws Matt into a spiral of guilt and anxiety. After the dust had settled on the bombastic street-war to save Hell’s Kitchen, Daredevil willingly turns himself into the authorities to atone for his mistakes.
In doing so, Matt, Foggy, and his ex-girlfriend Kirsten McDuffie successfully argue for Murdock to represent himself in court as Daredevil. This was also thanks to a prior Supreme Court case that Matt and Foggy took part in that gave them the leverage to qualify superhero identities as legal identities. It allowed for justice to be served and for Matt’s loved ones to be safe, though, the question of whether Daredevil should’ve fallen on his sword was best for the greater good created a new problem later.
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