Reading this post is not recommended for people who haven’t read Daredevil #512
At the end of Daredevil #512, after Matt has come to his senses and steps off a bus in the middle of nowhere, he gives us the following internal monologue:
Because that first step over the line… That decision to take the life of a murderer — and become one myself… That was all me. And everything that followed on from it — the insanity, darkness and death — that’s the burden I have to carry… Down a long and lonely road paved with good intentions.
Interestingly, the admission on Matt’s part that he, and not the Beast, was responsible for Bullseye’s death, has caused at least something of a stir online since it firmly places Daredevil into the category of heroes who have actually intentionally killed someone. Now, I thought it was pretty clear earlier on that it was this act which caused the Beast to take hold of Matt’s psyche so I’m surprised that the reactions I’ve seen are coming now.
Either way, I thought I’d take this opportunity to open the comment field up for debate on the topic of killing generally, since I suspect people have very different views on it. Well, whether Daredevil taking another person’s life, no matter how severe the circumstances, can ever be in character that is.
Before leaving you to voice your opinions, I suppose I should add my own. I personally didn’t mind that Daredevil killed Bullseye. It doesn’t, in and of itself, diminish his inherent nobility at all in my mind and it was certainly, to me, one of the least problematic aspects of the entire Shadowland storyline. My reaction was more one of “good riddance” than anything else.
The way I see it, killing Bullseye is akin to going back in time to kill Hitler. If I could go back and prevent the German dictator from invading half of Europe and set up death camps, killing tens of millions of people in the process, I absolutely would. I think most people would. That doesn’t mean killing can ever be legal (I also oppose the death penalty, its finality requires a degree of certainty that no legal system can provide), but, on rare occasions, killing is not necessarily immoral. By killing Bullseye, we know for a fact that Daredevil has probably saved the lives of countless unknown people who would otherwise have fallen victim to a man who has already killed hundreds.
At this point, I can hear one or two of you thinking “Well, if Daredevil is allowed to kill, even scum like Bullseye, then how would he be different from the Punisher?” That’s a valid point, and I don’t think any genuine Daredevil fan would like to see him become more violent. Just because killing a mass-murderer might appear warranted in certain extreme circumstance, it doesn’t mean that crossing the line into killing isn’t a huge deal. It is, and my guess is that we can expect Matt to spend a good amount of time chastising himself for this decision during Daredevil: Reborn.
As a lawyer, and as someone who seems to worship at the altar of order and structure, there are also other reasons why Matt would be averse to killing, beyond the moral implications: It represents a descent into anarchy, and violates his rigid code of conduct. Killing is absolutely out of character for Daredevil, but killing Bullseye should, in my mind, be seen more as a justified(?) aberration, and not as an act that, by itself, taints the character and makes him someone he is not. And, if he lives out the rest of his fictional days having killed only once, no one deserved it more than his arch-enemy.
I know this is a big deal to a lot of fans, and everybody’s opinions have a place here, so please weigh in with a comment!