Heroic Origins: Daredevil

Daredevil portrait, image credit Sam Wood

Name:Matthew Murdock                       Alias:Daredevil

Profession: Defense Lawyer                 Powers: Heightened Senses

Equipment/Weapons: Baton, which serves many functions.

First AppearanceDaredevil #1

Continuing with the theme highlighted in the last column, radioactivity, this column will look at one of the oddest forms in which radiation has impacted upon a hero. That’s right, though largely ignored, Daredevil owes a large portion of his powers to a dose of radioactive chemicals.

As many people will now know from the Netflix series, Matt Murdock was blinded by a chemical spill whilst saving an elderly man from being hit by the truck carrying them. However, whilst these blinded him, they are also documented to have had a significant impact on the heightening of his remaining senses, which is why they are honed to a level that is not shared by most blind people.

First Issue of Daredevil (April 1964), art credit Jack Kirby and Bill Everett

However, the radioactive side of Daredevil had little impact outside of this, and has not been used as a continuing theme of the comics he features in. Throughout the 60s and 70s Daredevil’s comics stuck largely to the same successful format that Marvel had been using for their comics, documenting the tale of one man and his battle against crime and villainy. But the tale of Daredevil became more interesting because of his alter ego.

Matt Murdock is notable for being one of the few comic book characters who seeks to protect the innocent in both his day job and his vigilante profession. His role as a defence lawyer makes his determination for protecting the weak evident, a lesson which he clearly learned from his father, the boxer Jack Murdock, who was murdered for standing up to organised criminals who wanted him to rig a fight. The determination of Jack to be seen as a brave figure in the eyes of his son clearly impacted, as Matt took it upon himself to stand up to those that most people back away from.

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