Thoughts on the “new” Man Without Fear

Jul 27, 2010

Thoughts on the “new” Man Without Fear

Jul 27, 2010

First of all, Marvel’s October solicits are online (see, for example, Newsarama). However, I strongly suggest you stay away if you want to avoid spoilers. I looked at a text-only version of the solicits yesterday, and sort of wished I hadn’t, and that was after only looking at the Shadowland main title, Daredevil and Shadowland: Daughters of the Shadow, before I realized that I didn’t want to know more. The cover to Shadowland #4 is allegedly a huge spoiler (which makes you wonder why they release these things at all). Anyway, if you still want to take a look, you know where the link is. Just remember to keep quiet about it around these parts!

In general, though, Daredevil’s future is something many of us have had reason to ponder lately, particularly in light of the teasers coming out of last week’s San Diego Comic-Con (see my last post). I said then that I would return to this topic, hence this post. Below, you’ll find some of my theories. Weigh in with your own in the comments!

Nova meets Daredevil, from Daredevil #142

Nova meets Daredevil, from Daredevil #142

  1. Red herring

    Let’s analyze the situation, shall we? Marvel attends the biggest Comic Con of the year in the middle of a somewhat significant event. Neither the main writer (Andy Diggle) or what could arguable be called the event’s second in command (Antony Johnston) are at the convention. There is no dedicated Shadowland panel, and there isn’t much that can be said about the event that should be revealed at this point anyway. But they have to say something about it, right? To get people talking and guessing. So, they throw around a couple of images – that no one who wasn’t in the audience has actually seen – and introduce us to three characters that have rarely (see Nova’s first meeting with Daredevil above, from Daredevil #142 by Marv Wolfman, Bob Brown and Jim Mooney), if ever, been associated with the Daredevil title in any way.

    In the days that have passed since these announcements, there has been no additional information, and no other characters have been suggested – at least not to my knowledge. I think it’s clear that Shadowland will have dramatic repercussions on the Daredevil title. In all honesty, there shouldn’t be an easy fix for the mess that Matt has gotten himself into, but the idea that a currently hyped character (Daredevil) would be replaced – in his own book – with one of the suggested characters (all of whom are clearly less able than Daredevil to carry a title for any longer period of time) sounds far-fetched.

  2. Daredevil stays in his own book, loses the tagline

    One of the things that struck me as strange about the release of these teasers was the wording. Someone else would be the new Man Without Fear? But, that isn’t even a proper title or even a costumed identity. It would be like saying that someone other than Spider-Man would be Marvel’s new Amazing character or that Iron Man would no longer be Invincible. Man Without Fear is a slogan or at best a nickname.

    There has been the occasional play on words in the solicits leading up Shadowland. We’ve read things like “The Man Without Fear is now the man to fear.” The teasers from SDCC may just be more in this vein. For all we know, Foggy Nelson may be the new Man Without Fear. From the look of things, he may need to be.

    We also have to consider the possibility that Shadowland will generate new titles and that a character other than Daredevil might snatch the famous slogan for some period of time.

  3. Daredevil leaves his own book for a while

    While this may have been most people’s first assumption, it makes less sense the more I think about it. Marvel runs a business, which is as it should be. Fortunately for us, the key to running a successful business is to put out a product that people actually want to buy. Taking a well-respected and moderately successful comic book character and giving him a higher profile is a good business move if you want more people to buy his book. Going through all of this only to remove said character from the scene (and/or his own book) strikes me as a bad business move.

    Marvel isn’t beyond making choices that might seem odd (One More Day comes to mind), but messing around with a title which has actually had 40+ uninterrupted years of publication in a way that risks putting off a large number of fans – of which I would most certainly be one – makes very little sense. Publishers usually take these kinds of risks with titles that are either doing well enough that an upset doesn’t risk sending the sales crashing or with titles that are doing so poorly that there is little to lose. Daredevil is not in either of these categories.

I think it’s natural for any emotionally invested Daredevil fan to feel a little anxious these days. In a way, this is one of the reasons Shadowland feels like an interesting event; there is an acute sense that what is happening in Matt Murdock’s life will affect him in very real ways. Whether we as fans will appreciate the fall-out of this event remains unknown, but we’re definitely at the edge of our seats.

I will admit that I’m nervous, but I don’t really worry terribly about Shadowland ruining Daredevil. I feel that he’s in good hands creatively, and it’s also well-known that Joe Quesada is big fan of the character. With a movie on the horizon (albeit a few years away and out of Marvel’s hands), I doubt that we’ll see any irreparable damage done to the true Man Without Fear.

Before I forget, do check out this 30-minute interview with Antony Johnston on the Speak of the Devil podcast.


  1. Ian

    I think we’re looking at someone new in the horns for a bit, my logic being:

    Saying a new “Man without Fear” is closer to saying a new “Dark Knight”, or a new “Man of Steel”

  2. Ian

    [Ahem] Posted a little early there.

    The “who is?” game is as old as comics promotion (who is the new Superman? who will take the Cowl?) and Marvel itself isn’t averse to putting a different character in a familiar costume (Captain America, Iron Man, Spiderman etc).

    And, why not? Matt busy flirting with madness (again) and villiany, I’m sure someone running around showing him how he sued to do it could serve a purpose.

    • Christine

      I know what you’re saying, and I’ve seen this kind of teasers game before (aside from the examples you mentioned, we also had the new Black Panther thing). However, a couple of things about how this was done still seem suspicious to me.

      1) Why throw around absurd choices like Nova, Gambit and Falcon?

      2) Usually when we see these kinds of teasers, they make a big deal about it. The images are passed on to comic book sites, and the news gets a little more than a “by the way…” at a convention and no further mention.

      I don’t doubt that we’re going to see some pretty major fall-outs from all of this (heck, Stephen Wacker even hinted at Matt’s death in the #507 letter’s page, saying that the fall-out of Shadowland will “tear your heart out, but at least Matt will be in a better place,” though that could just as easily be another intentional misdirection).

      There may be new titles, costume switches and name changes, but I don’t think these specific teasers with absolutely no follow-up are necessarily a good indication of what’s really going to happen after Shadowland.

      Just my two cents. 😉

  3. JP Nguyen

    Didn’t have a lot of time to comment lately… so I jump on this occasion.
    I don’t have a big interest in Shadowland. Seems too much like “World War Hulk” (except DD’s reason to turn bad isn’t even as good as Hulkie’s…)
    From what we’ve seen, Matt is manipulated. So, we shall not expect much character development, it’s gonna be plot devices all the way.
    DD will be unstoppable until the last issue where he’ll do something dumb or will realize his mistake and there we go to the next event and a few spin-offs.
    Hopefully DD won’t get a lousy relaunch written by Jeph Loeb, for now it’s all I can hope for after Shadowland.

  4. Robert

    Would Marvel wreck one of its most acclaimed books and stir up its limited but very devoted fanbase? I’d like to think not. DD is the only Marvel book I still buy. I used to collect X-Men, but dropped those a few years ago when it became clear Marvel wasn’t interested in telling good stories. And after seeing last week, the new X-Force (Deadpool, Wolvie, Psylocke, Archangel, Fantomex, all looking “dark” and “edgy” with their GUNS) debut, I have lost all faith in Marvel comics.

  5. Marcus

    I’ve got the same sinking feeling that I had when they put DD in armour. Still, Marvel rectified that mistake. I think it’s up to us Daredevil uber-fans to let Marvel know what we think. It got Stan the Man to change the yellow costume and Nocenti to lose the armour… who knows? Maybe this arc will end in the line “…and it was all a dream”. God, I hope so.

  6. Marc

    Oh come on…
    I should not have read dem spoilers… even though I guessed most of it.
    Not sure how the fans will react to Daredevils change in… well I’ll just leave that there.

    “So come on, all you DD fans, pick up this issue and find out why Aint It Cool News raves: “very fun…I love this cast… this one is definitely going back on my pull list.””
    It sounds like Marvel is trying to get Daredevil fans to buy more of their books…

  7. Ian

    Have the images cropped up online yet?

  8. Bill

    I’m not a fan of spoilers. For now, I’ll keep the faith. I don’t mind someone new in the horns for a time (that would just be a ‘secular’ hook) so long as the ‘Matt’ story and overall story is compelling. AND so long as what I Consider core to the character isn’t trashed, I’m good with stretching.

  9. Bee Clayton

    What strikes me is the lack of online pics and further hype. If nothing else, Marvel is in this to make money and they’ve showed little hesitation in the past towards uber-hyping events in order to generate sales. (For example, I don’t want to see another Skrull for the next decade.)

    The lack of pics and further hype makes me think all of this is a red herring of some sort. If you’re not going to talk about it at San Diego, where else are you going to talk about it, y’know?

  10. Aaron K

    Marvel has finally unleashed the first of these official pictures teasing that Shadowland “brings a major change” to the MU. The notion of Nova cleaning up the streets of Hell’s Kitchen is so silly as to be nonsensical though. Unless he retires his position as Nova Prime – which is a possibility, I suppose – this is a red herring; and even were he to retire, this is such a serious abdication of responsibility on Richard Rider’s part that it would be a real dilution of his character. (Yes, yes, it COULD be done well, but I remain skeptical per usual.) Falcon or Gambit would certainly be a more reasonable choice.

  11. Christine

    Thanks Aaron, I just updated the blog thirty seconds ago. 😉

  12. Aaron K

    D’oh! I suppose it’s true what they say: great minds think alike . . . and read the same comic blogs.


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