According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the word sense (noun) is defined as follows:
“Mechanism by which information is received about one’s external or internal environment. Stimuli received by nerves, in some cases through specialized organs with receptor cells sensitive to one type of stimulus, are converted into impulses that travel to specialized areas of the brain, where they are analyzed.”
Sounds pretty straightforward, don’t you think? However, some Daredevil writers have taken a kind of “it’s magic, we don’t have to explain it” approach to Matt’s senses. The physical senses are our means of perception, and it is therefore an appealing idea to have someone with hypersenses be extra perceptive. Right? In the early comics, Matt seemed to have an uncanny ability to be able to sense whether people were evil or not, as evidenced by the panels below where Matt is having encounters with first the Owl (Daredevil #3), and later the Purple Man (Daredvil #4). Notice the wonderful use of the word “villainy.” You’ve gotta love it…
Description: The caption reads “Turning slowly, Matt Murdock involuntarily recoils in shock as an aura of unmistakable villainy seems to surround his razor-sharp senses…” Matt is then thinking to himself: “It’s incredible!! I can tell by the sound of his heart beat, his pulse rate, his labored breathing… The man is charged with sheer animal power… With almost limitless energy… All of it directed into evil channels!”
Description: The caption reads “As they draw near the Purple Man, Matt Murdock’s unbelievably sharp senses conjure up a picture of Killgrave… The real Killgrave, which sighted humans cannot see!” Matt thinks to himself “I feel an aura of evil… of greed… And I can hear his pulse rate quicken… the way a man’s does when he sees an attractive girl! Karen has caught his fancy!”
While Matt simply comes off as being good at reading people in his meeting with the Owl, he’s borderline psychic when encountering Purple Man. Many years later, Matt would demonstrate this ability again. In Daredevil #90, when Matt is introduced to Larry Cranston’s partner Jason Sloan, the above two panels are referenced:
Sloan:”Welcome to San Francisco, Mr. Murdock. I hope we’ll be… seeing more of each other. Matt: Perhaps, Mr. Sloan. It might be interesting to work with a man of your reputation.” Matt (thinking to himself): …yet that’s not all. I can almost sense an aura enclosing Sloan… There. Now I’ve got it… something I used to feel before… when I first met men like the Owl… or even Killgrave. It’s as though my mind received a double image, one from my senses… the other from my instincts! This man Sloan… he plays with people as thought they were puppets…”
So, I guess if being a lawyer doesn’t work out for Mr. Murdock, maybe he can make some cash reading people’s auras. Unless they want to know the color of the aura, in which case… Okay, nevermind. Delightfully wacky, it is!