|I hope this is useful to bring new readers of DD up to date, or to let old DD fans refresh their memories, on what's happened to DD during the 40 years that he's been in print. It will take some time for me to complete this plot summary, so check back from time to time for the next "chapter". I've tried to organize the plot into blocks of approximately 50 issues. I've only listed the major writers in each block. For exact credits on writers for particular issues, please check the issues section of the site or Creators checklist. To jump to the summary of a particular run of issues below, simply click on the "Chapter #" on the far left in the Table of Contents directly below.|
(The Man Without Fear #1-5) -- Frank Miller
NOTE: this 5 issue mini-series was written nearly 30 years after the
first issue of DD. It is not a simple 'retelling' of Daredevil's origin,
but an enhancement with new characters and events that, for the most part,
remain true to the Daredevil series. A few noticable changes, however, did
occur: exactly when the Fixer and his gang killed Matt's father, the
timing of Matt's revenge on the Fixer and his gang, who actually pulled
the trigger on his father, and which school(s) Matt attended.|
MAN WITHOUT FEAR:
I think on points 1 & 3 Miller confuses things. I don't understand why Miller felt he needed to revamp Matt's age, and the fact that the "boss" would have one of his men pull the trigger makes a lot more sense. However, I think Miller was right on target with Matt immediately seeking revenge sans costume/secret identity. As to the schooling, Miller's version has a lot of credibility considering Matt's (& Foggy's) prowess as a lawyer. Not to mention the fact that most people attend an undergraduate school for 4 years (usually as Political Science majors) before moving on to law school. The two versions could actually be combined on this point.
IDEAL VERSION (in my humble opinion):
Matt Murdock was raised by his dad, "Battling" Jack Murdock, who was an aging boxer. Matt's dad told him that he had promised Matt's mother not to let Matt grow up using his fists, that he would help Matt make a better life for himself. So, Matt studied very hard in school and did well, but was teased by the other children and called "daredevil" mockingly because he'd never fight back. Secretly though, he trained and became an accomplished athlete (and fighter?). One fateful day, Matt ran to push an old man out of the way of an oncoming truck, and though he saved the old man, a cannister of radioactive material flew off the truck splashing some of the substance in Matt's face.
While Matt was blinded by the mysterious substance, he found that his other senses were greatly enhanced and that he had a sort of "radar". Matt found his training and gymnastics were even easier to perform. Along with the help of a mysterious mentor, Stick, Matt learned to use his newfound senses and abilities to better and better advantage. Presumably Stick also taught Matt much of his early fighting technique. Meanwhile, Matt's father, Jack, has been finding it harder to get fights and make ends meet. He runs into a manager, the "Fixer", who will get him fights, but when Jack refuses to throw a fight, the Fixer has him killed.
Matt uses his new found abilities to avenge his father's death. He defeats the Fixer's gang single-handedly, and the Fixer suffers a heart attack running away from Matt. Unfortunately, during his rampage, Matt also knocked an innocent prostitute out a window--this would haunt him for many years to come and probably has a lot to do with his adamant philosophy of subduing rather than injuring or killing his opponents.
Matt attended Columbia University with his roommate Franklin "Foggy" Nelson. While there he met, and fell in love with, Elektra Natchios. Stick warns Matt that she is evil and Foggy voices his dislike as well. However, there's something enticing about this dangerous and exciting woman that draws Matt to her. She leaves shortly after when her father, the diplomat, is killed. Matt (and Foggy) continue on to Harvard Law School where Matt graduates summa cum laude. Matt takes a position with the Boston firm Sussman and Castro.
Wilson Fisk, aka the Kingpin, is just getting his empire underway, and some of his machinations cause a young girl that Matt has befriended, Mickey, to become kidnapped. Matt rescues Mickey in the first of many confrontations with the Kingpin and his empire. Matt goes on to found "Nelson & Murdock" in New York with Foggy and the beautiful new secretary that Foggy hired, Karen Page.
(Daredevil #1-50) -- Stan Lee
DD's first year was an eventful one. After establishing his origin,
identity, and cast of characters in the first issue, he trounces Electro,
the Owl, Killgrave, the Matador, Mr. Fear, Ox, Eel and the Ringmaster (in
a guest appearance in Spidey's mag). The end of his first year culminates
in an epic battle with the Sub-Mariner and a change to the costume which
he still wears today.|
In his second year of publication, after defeating Stiltman, DD goes on to help a powerless Fantastic Four (in their mag) battle Doctor Doom, regain their powers, and ultimately defeat Doctor Doom. A famous eye surgeon becomes the first (in the regular series) to uncover our heroes identity, but dies shortly afterward. Daredevil then enjoys a 2-part (vs. the Organizer) and 3-part storyline (Ka-zar & DD vs. Plunderer) and his first rematch against an old foe, the Ox. In the Ka-zar storyline, DD loses his powers for the first of many times.
Daredevil finds a new foe in the Masked Marauder, who sends out "Daredevil"s by the dozens to trick Spidey into fighting DD thus bringing Spidey into DD's mag for a couple issues. DD then takes on another new foe: the Gladiator, and an old foe: the Owl. During the issues with the Gladiator, Foggy is mistaken as DD by Spidey, and he plays up the role to impress Karen. There has been a constant Karen loves Matt, Matt loves Karen (but neither can say anything to the other), Foggy loves Karen triangle going from the beginning. The Marauder and Gladiator team up, and the Gladiator and DD are sent to Europe courtesy of the Maurader's "levitation ray". The Gladiator ends up with the Maggia, and DD visits Ka-zar and ends up battling the Plunderer with him again.
After DD returns to NY, he has his first real "identity crisis": Spidey has sent a telegram to him saying that he knows Matt is DD; Karen & Foggy read the telegram. So, Matt creates "Mike", his identical twin brother who is "really" Daredevil. DD defeats Leap-Frog and Stiltman. Stiltman is rescued by the Marauder. The Marauder is killed. DD defeats Stiltman again. (We learn later that Electro rescues him this time). DD then takes a one issue break from the usual foes by saving the world from aliens which are going to steal all of Earth's minerals.
DD proceeds to take on the heavy duty team of Cobra and Hyde in a 3 issue story which ends with Cobra captured and Hyde escaping. DD then takes on the Beetle for a couple of issues before defeating Electro, Stiltman, the Matador, Leap-Frog, and Gladiator all single-handedly in his first annual. Then via the machinations of the Trapster, DD is involved with the Fantastic Four against Dr. Doom. Doom switches bodies with DD, but DD declares war on all the countries surrounding Latveria, forcing Doom to switch back and try to fix things. On his way out, though, Doom convinces the Fantastic Four that DD is still Doom, so in a crossover into their magazine, we have the FF versus DD (with Thor & Spidey giving DD a hand).
DD then spends 3 issues battling the Unholy Three led by the Exterminator culminating with the "death" of Mike Murdock. During this time Foggy has been falling for Deborah Harris, an old schoolmate. Meanwhile, Karen has gotten tired of waiting for Matt, and leaves Matt and the firm when he can't commit to marriage. In a 5 issue story arc, DD battles and is accused of murdering the Jester. Thrown into the middle of that storyline is a brief battle with Capt. America. A (very good) one issue story introduces the minor character Willie Lincoln. Foggy is elected DA, and after yet another battle with Stiltman, DD battles Plastoid (an android created by Starr Saxon) in what will ultimately turn into a 7-issue story arc complete with retelling of origin and leading into the next creative team.
(Daredevil #51-98) -- Roy Thomas, Gerry Conway
With Roy Thomas now scripting, the Plastoid is stopped, but not before
killing mobster Biggie Benson, and Saxon discovers DD's identity. Matt
and Karen get back together, and the Black Panther also discover's Matt's
identity. Matt decides to have "Matt Murdock" die to eliminate the danger
of Saxon's knowledge. Saxon then dies while battling DD. Karen's father
Paxton then dies while saving Karen and DD after battling DD as "Death's
Head". Matt reveals his identity and that he's alive to Karen. Foggy
appoints Matt Special Asst. to the DA, and Matt proposes to Karen. She
says "yes" on the condition he give up being Daredevil. We get to see
Willie Lincoln again in a story where the Torpedo dies trying to kill
Willie. DD then takes on the Cobra, Mr. Hyde, and the Jester. Karen
leaves for L.A. since Matt won't give up being Daredevil. DD battles
Nighthawk, and then the Gladiator.|
Matt heads out to L.A. after Karen where he battles the Stunt-Master, who helps him by the end of the story. DD then battles Brother Brimstone, supposedly just a fictional character in a series that Karen is acting in. DD defeats his old foe the Stiltman (this time posing as the Stunt-Master), and finally keeps "Kid Gawaine", an up and coming young boxer, from getting in trouble with his manager and others who want to "fix" the Kid's fights. DD then crosses over into the Avengers (also scripted by Thomas) to help the Panther free the other Avengers from Aries. Thomas ends his reign as writer with a 2-part story started by Friedrich involving The Tribune who tries people for being "Un-American".
Gerry Conway then takes over the reins as writer starting with a story involving Tagak, a dimension hopping good guy who's chasing down an interdimensional thief. DD then gets involved with the Zodiac, and the Brotherhood of the Ankh in a 3-part crossover from Iron Man. The Smasher blinds all of NY with a chemical, but is stopped by DD and 4 people who were blind before the chemical. DD and Foggy take a trip to Delvadia (South America) to try to help with some revolutionaries there. DD (and Spidey) battle Sub-Mariner until a strange woman shows up and recruits both Subby and Spidey. After which DD battles the newly created Man-Bull, and then the Owl.
The Black Widow now enters the scene, saving DD and then helping him defeat the Owl. DD and the Widow defeat the "Scorpion" and "Mr. Hyde" which turn out to be robots created by the Assassin who is from the distant future and is trying to change history. The Widow is accused of murdering the "Scorpion" by Foggy as DA. DD battles the Gladiator. Karen and Matt bump into each other at the airport, end up getting back together, get engaged, and then break up, leaving the way clear for the Widow and Matt to begin their relationship. Oh, yeah...DD battles the Ox somewhere in the middle of all that. And Karen ends up getting involved with her agent, Phil.
The Black Widow and DD move to San Francisco where they face Electro, and then DD is captured by Killgrave. Ivan rescues Matt, Matt defends the Hulk in the Hulk's own mag, and then Matt and the Widow take on Killgrave and Electro respectively. The "Project Four" storyline starts up bringing in Dan French, an operative from the Widow's past. DD defeats Mr. Fear. French and the Black Widow are captured by Mr. Dran, who it turns out funded "Project Four". After a news announcer reveals that Matt is DD on television, the Panther stands in as DD against the Blue Talon while Matt is present on the sidelines to reestablish Matt's secret identity. This issue also saw the Black Widow added to the title of Daredevil's magazine. Dran uses "Project Four" to become Indestructible Man. French dies destroying the power "globe" which was the result of Project Four. DD is shot by a friend of the Man-Bull while battling Man-Bull. DD then faces the Dark Messiah and his Disciples of Doom.
(Daredevil #99-151) -- S.Gerber, T.Isabella, M.Wolfman, J.Shooter
After co-scripting with Conway for issues #97 & #98, Steve Gerber takes
over in issue #99. After a brief interlude in which DD and Hawkeye fight
over who's going to be the Widow's boyfriend, and then DD & the Widow join
the Avengers to fight Magneto, Gerber starts the first storyline which
actually turns out to be a continuation from the Dark Messiah issues. It
turns out that Matt's new boss Kerwin J. Broderick is your typical power
mad bad guy. He dupes Moondragon into helping him. DD fights Angar the
Screamer who has the ability to warp reality or the perception of it.
Both Dark Messiah and Angar got their powers via Moondragon. Claremont
scripts a fill-in issue with DD fighting Stiltman yet one more time before
we return to the Broderick/Moondragon storyline. Broderick sends Ramrod
and then Kraven after DD. Moondragon saves DD after he's been captured by
Kraven and discovers that she's been tricked by Broderick. Broderick then
"melds" with Terrex (very reminiscent of the Indestructible Man
storyline). Everybody (including Capt. Marvel) battles Terrex. During a
couple transition issues, the Black Widow asks Matt to decide between her
and Moondragon, Moondragon leaves Matt, the title of the comic changes
back to just Daredevil, Matt has a couple dates with Foggy's sister, all
of this while DD battles the Beetle a couple times.|
Then, in a four or five issue story arc, DD battles Black Spectre which is headed by Nekra and none other than the Mandrill. Eventually, DD, Shanna the She-Devil and the Widow defeat Mandrill, Nekra, and Black Spectre. Candace and then Foggy are then captured by Death-Stalker and the Gladiator in a storyline involving papers by Ted Sallis regarding the creation of the Man-Thing. Man-Thing stops the Gladiator and DD rescues the Nelsons from Death-Stalker. Daredevil and the Widow are captured by the Owl. The Widow breaks free but has to capture Shanna to save Daredevil's life. Shanna, Widow, and DD then proceed to defeat the Owl. Then after a 1 issue filler by Conway involving the Circus of Crime, Tony Isabella takes over the writing chores.
After a single story in which DD defeats the Crusher, Isabella gives us a 4 part story of HYDRA vs SHIELD with Foggy (and DD and the Widow) caught in the middle. The Widow professes her love for Matt at the beginning of this story arc, and leaves at the end of it when both her & Matt realize it won't work. While Isabella had the shortest run during this time, Marv Wolfman who now takes over as writer, had the longest. Wolfman started DD off with 2 two-part storylines. The first involved a vigilante called Copperhead, and the second a character known as the Torpedo. In a very powerful issue (#127), DD & the Torpedo wreck a family's home without even realizing it. DD battles Death-Stalker and the Man-Bull. After Foggy loses the DA race to Blake Tower, DD & Foggy start up the Storefront Free Legal Clinic. After preventing a Voodoo priest from sacrificing a child, DD mixes it up with Bullseye for the first time in a 2 part storyline. With the help of Uri Geller, DD defeats Mind-Wave, and then rejoins with Torpedo to defeat the Chameleon. In Wolfman's longest storyline, DD defeats the Jester who has been broadcasting false TV reports and images to turn the public against the police and superheroes. DD teams up with Ghost Rider to stop Death-Stalker who has kidnapped Karen Page. DD stops a mad bomber and saves a hemophiliac before battling Gladiator and Beetle in a 1 issue fill-in by Mantlo. DD loses to Bullseye (possibly the only time), and then escapes Bullseye's trap to be captured by Cobra and Hyde.
Jim Shooter takes over as writer for 8 issues. While somewhat brief, Shooter's time on DD has some major impacts. Also during this time, the magazine goes to every other month. After battles with Man-Bull, Owl, and Bullseye, DD rescues Deb Harris who had been kidnapped by Killgrave. DD then battles Death-Stalker while looking for Killgrave, and the Smasher whom Death-Stalker sends after DD. Foggy is having problems with Deb Harris who doesn't want to see anybody after her kidnapping, and the relationship between Heather and Matt is developed further. Shooter's reign as writer ends with Paladin (hired by one of Killgrave's underlings) looking for Killgrave also, and Maxwell Glenn (Heather's father) committing suicide. Matt wants to give up being DD, but then changes his mind when a hijacker runs down a child.
(Daredevil #151-193) -- Roger McKenzie, Frank Miller
|After coscripting 151 with Shooter (and Kane), McKenzie assumes the pen for DD...|
(Daredevil #194-237) -- Denny O'Neil, Frank Miller
(Daredevil #238-291) -- Ann Nocenti
(Daredevil #292-343) -- D.G.Chichester
(Daredevil #344-350) -- J.M.DeMatteis
(Daredevil #351-375) -- Karl Kesel, Joe Kelly
(Daredevil #376-380) -- Scott Lobdell, D.G.Chichester