MARVEL CHARACTER SPOTLIGHT: DAREDEVIL
Abandoned by his mother, Matt Murdock was raised by his father, boxer “Battling Jack” Murdock, in Hell’s Kitchen. Realizing that rules were needed to prevent people from behaving badly, young Matt decided to study law; however, when he saved a man from an oncoming truck, it spilled a radioactive cargo that rendered Matt blind while enhancing his remaining senses. Under the harsh tutelage of blind martial arts master Stick, Matt mastered his heightened senses and became a formidable fighter. He also attended Columbia University Law School alongside his best friend, Franklin “Foggy” Nelson; but before Matt earned his Juris Doctorate degree, his father was murdered by agents of the Fixer (Roscoe Sweeny) for refusing to throw a fight. Enraged when the legal system failed to bring the Fixer to justice, Matt donned a costume made from his father’s boxing robe and went into action as “Daredevil,” savagely beating his father’s killers and frightening the Fixer himself to death. Establishing a small New York law firm with Foggy, Matt vowed to serve the law as Matt Murdock and to fight evils beyond the law’s reach as Daredevil. Over the years, he has fought many super-criminals, including Mister Fear,
Stilt-Man, Gladiator, Purple Man and Jester (Jonathan Powers), as well as crime lords such as the Kingpin and the Owl. He has loved and fought alongside both the Black Widow and Elektra.
Although Daredevil and the Punisher both fight crime, they often clash over the Punisher’s lethal tactics. During an early encounter, Daredevil shot the Punisher to prevent him from killing drug-dealer Peter “Hogman” Grunter. Since then, Daredevil has worked with the Punisher when necessary, but has also attempted to bring him to justice. Daredevil formed the “Marvel Knights” to apprehend the Punisher, who escaped police custody thereafter. Later, Daredevil teamed with Spider-Man and Wolverine in a failed attempt to take down the Punisher, who told Daredevil that the only way to stop him was to kill him.
Recently, Daredevil’s secret identity was exposed by a tabloid and he definitively defeated the Kingpin in public, declaring himself New York’s new kingpin. To avoid disbarment, Murdock has been forced to publicly and legally deny his dual identity, though the public remains unconvinced. He was incarcerated by the FBI which had been publicly embarrassed by Murdock and placed in a population comprised of many of his enemies in the hope that Murdock would be killed while in prison. Murdock, aided by the Punisher, escaped shortly thereafter.
Revealed in a tabloid newspaper, but denied by Murdock
Daredevil’s sense of smell is enhanced enough to distinguish individuals by their natural odors, and remember and identify them no matter how they attempt to mask their scent, as well as track that individual scent through a crowd of people at a distance of roughly 50 feet.
His sense of taste is sharp enough to enable him to detect the number of grains of salt on a pretzel. His ability to remember tastes enables him to determine every ingredient of a food or drink he tastes, as long as there are at least 20 milligrams of that substance present.
Daredevil’s enhanced sense of hearing enables him to detect an acoustic pressure change of 1 decibel at a pressure level of 7, whereas the average human can only detect a sound as low as 20 decibels. He can even hear people speaking through a standard soundproofed wall. Daredevil is also able to hear a heartbeat from 20 feet away, as well as identify people by their individual beat rhythm, or detect whether they are lying or not by the changes in their heartbeat, though a pace maker or self control will confuse his reading. Not only does Daredevil’s hearing allow him to be constantly aware of his own heartbeat, blood circulation, breathing, physical movements, etc, but he is also able to hear and sense the same attributes in other people. One of the primary ways he does this is by hearing the reverberations made by ambient sounds on objects and people, giving him a sonar-like sense of where things are, and how dense they are. And while he is able to block out a good amount of background noise, he can also be excessively disoriented by unexpected loud noises and can be confused when immersed in the wash of sound from a busy crowd.
Along with the enhancement of Daredevil’s normal senses, he has gained another sense which he calls his Radar Sense. According to one theory, this sense reacts to an emission of electromagnetic energy a mutation in his brain has caused, reading the reverberations of this energy as a 360º, 3-D map of objects. This “sight” is not perfect, and can only give Daredevil an impression of the exact physical shape of objects, not a literal one. Closely overlapping objects can also confuse this sense.
The mutations that have heightened Daredevil’s level of sensitivity have also increased his awareness of other forms of electromagnetic radiation. He is capable of detecting and identifying any electromagnetic radiation on the standard scale; from radio waves, (which he can only detect, not understand the message) all the way to gamma waves, and everything in between. He is also able to judge the strength of a given radiation and even differentiate between individual colors by the amount of radiation they give off. At very close range, Daredevil is able to detect the micro voltage of a human being’s brain.
First Appearance & Original Origin: Daredevil #1 (1964)
Daredevil: The Man Without Fear #1-5 (1993-1994)
Daredevil: Yellow #1-6 (2001-2002)