Netflix’s most hated Marvel hero briefly took over as Daredevil in the comics. Here’s why he did it – and why it mattered.
2001-2006 ran at Marvel’s vovehals, by author Brian Michael Bendis and author Alex Maleev, culminated with Matt Murdock under arrest and deliberately left in an uncertain position. The next creative team, author Ed Brubaker and artist Michael Lark, agreed to start with Matt’s new status quo as a prisoner on Ryker’s Island. But their debut number portrays Daredevil, who fights crime back in Hell’s Kitchen. But what was really going on, and who was really behind the Daredevil mask?
Marvel underwent a lot of world-building in the mid-2000s, and the deceptive Daredevil subplot was immediately taken up in other titles. In it Civil war crossover recruited Captain America’s Secret Avengers cheater Daredevil for the team. By the exit of Civil war # 5, the faux Daredevil even had a remarkable exchange with Tony Stark, in which he criticized Iron Man’s support for superhero registration. While the character was featured in many other Marvel crossovers, no one touched on this Daredevil’s true identity in an obvious way. It was left to Brubaker and Lærke to concretize their exciting premise.
For a time, Matt Murdock was unaware that another Daredevil was taking over his duties at Hell’s Kitchen. Brubaker and Lark were more interested in pushing Matt to the extreme in prison without clear solutions. Matt spent some time behind bars, mixing with Kingpin and Punisher.
He then traveled to Europe to settle a conspiracy against himself and his longtime lawyer partner, Foggy Nelson. Brubaker’s background in writing crime and noir nurtured much of the race’s initial setup, but what about the deceiver Daredevil? What was he doing while Matt kept himself busy clearing his name and regaining control of his life? And in the end, who was the man behind the mask?
The answer, as it turns out, was none other than Daredevil’s ally, Iron Fist. The future launch of the paralyzed Marvel Netflix series unilaterally decided to assume Daredevil’s identity.
It’s easy to understand why Danny Rand took over, at least from a creative and marketing standpoint. In short, Brubaker was happy with the character. In a retrospective interview in 2012 with IGN for The immortal iron fist, said Brubaker (along with Matt Fraction), “The goal was to show how cool Iron Fist and all the myth around him could be. He was a long time favorite of mine, but he had never been so popular, and I always thought, that there was something very special about him. ” The inclusion of Iron Fist became a way to reintroduce the character and set him up in his own ongoing series, which was launched in 2006.
From a narrative standpoint, Danny’s adoption of the Daredevil identity also makes sense: Someone had to protect Hell’s Kitchen in Matt’s absence, and who would be better than another hero at the street level with martial arts skills? Danny’s masquerade also cast doubt that Matt and Daredevil were the same person.
What’s really strange is that Danny decided to implement this plan on his own. Nonetheless, Iron Fist filled in for Daredevil for a period, but the two briefly came into play in a classic example of misunderstanding when Matt got out of jail.
Danny quickly took off his mask and revealed himself to a confused Matt. Despite all the build-up, in a 2006 interview with Newsarama, Brubaker revealed that he never intended the revelation to be quite as dramatic as readers treated it. And while he found the reaction interesting and even funny, he also said it was “a little nerve-wracking” how much the internet exploded.
Netflix’s The defenders teased the possibility that Danny should succeed Matt Murdock as patron of Hell’s Kitchen when Daredevil was thought dead. However, the idea was never developed, and vovehals‘s third and final season never referred to Iron Fist.
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