This past weekend, comic book enthusiasts barricaded themselves inside their homes to binge on the new Netflix show “Daredevil.” I couldn’t be more pleased that one of my favorite superhero characters has found the justice of proper representation (bad legal puns intended). As a longtime Hornhead fan, I present my personal top five Daredevil stories:
5. ‘In Mortal Combat With Sub-Mariner,’ Daredevil #7
Prince Namor, The Sub-Mariner, decides to sue the surface world for the damage done to his underwater kingdom by mankind and hires Matt Murdock to plead his case. Becoming impatient with mankind’s slow legal process, he lashes out at the city of New York and Daredevil must stop him. Outmatched and overpowered, Daredevil refuses to back down from the overwhelming odds and earns Namor’s respect and he halts his quest for revenge against the surface world. “In Mortal Combat With Sub-Mariner” is reprinted in “Marvel Masterworks: Daredevil,” volume 1.
4. ‘The Devil Inside and Out’
With his secret identity plastered over every news outlet, Matt Murdock ends up behind bars in Ryker’s Island locked up alongside his longtime enemies The Kingpin and Bullseye. His saving grace comes from another adversary, The Punisher, who deliberately gets himself arrested to help Matt break out, who then turns the tables on The Kingpin and Bullseye and begins to reestablish his secret identity. Daredevil is always at his best when he’s at the end of his rope and this storyline dangles the character from the very last inch of that rope without making him fall. “The Devil Inside and Out” is available in trade paperback.
3. ‘Daredevil Yellow’
This story is actually a retelling of the first six issues of the original series started in the 1960s. What sets it apart is how it retells these early adventures through the feelings of loss that Matt Murdock has for his secretary and past love Karen Page. Jeph Loeb’s writing and Tim Sale’s art tell a tale of heartbreak that Matt has come to know all too well. “Daredevil Yellow” is available in trade paperback.
2. ‘Born Again’
Considered the best Daredevil story by many, it shows what a complex and flawed character he is at his core. After learning Daredevil’s secret identity, The Kingpin uses the information to destroy Matt Murdock’s life. He takes away everything that Matt cares for, his home, his relationships and his law career. The Kingpin is at his most sinister and evil, leaving Daredevil at his most vulnerable. After losing everything, Daredevil is forced to fight his way back and be reborn as the true guardian of Hell’s Kitchen. “Born Again” is available in trade paperback.
1. ‘Last Hand,’ Daredevil #181
After Daredevil’s main nemesis Bullseye breaks out of jail, he hunts down and kills Daredevil’s lover Elektra. In her last moments of life, she stumbles to Matt Murdock’s doorstep to die in his arms. This sets off a dramatic showdown between Daredevil and Bullseye along the rooftops, elevated trains and high wires of New York City. Their tense battle is void of any dialogue and is told through the gritty and charged art of Frank Miller and Klaus Janson. Their visuals fluidly depict the war between two men filled with such ferocity and hatred for each other that even the city itself lives in fear of them and steps aside to let them pass. “Last Hand” is reprinted in “Daredevil Visionaries: Frank Miller,” volume 3.
If the new “Daredevil” television series has sparked your interest, there’s no better place to catch up on the character than with us fans here at Hi De Ho Comics.
Eddie deAngelini co-owns Hi De Ho Comics, 1431 Lincoln Blvd., in Santa Monica.