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Link to purchase Being Matt Murdock – One Fan's Journey Into the Science of Daredevil on Amazon

I don’t necessarily go looking for every last potential spoiler or piece of set footage, especially the more obscure stuff. I will, however, discuss information that been covered by the major comic book news sites. If even this is too much information for you, you may want to stay away from this post. If, on the other hand, you are someone who does go looking for every last nugget of information available, please think twice about sharing that in the comments. Everything that’s been covered by at least 2-3 news site is fair game, as far as I’m concerned, but please err on the side of caution.

It was really hard to come up with a snappy title for this post that wasn’t a total mouthful. And, as you can tell, I pretty much failed at it. Either way, it’s high time we got to this item on the agenda, especially as the filming of the third season wrapped last week, incidentally while I happened to be in New York myself. I wish I could say that these two events were connected. Alas, they were not. 😉

With this post, I’d like to discuss some of what we know already, and also toss some ideas around for which elements from the comic might make their way into the third season. People seem to be clamoring for two things in particular: Bullseye and Born Again. The inclusion of Bullseye has all but been confirmed, so that ticks one box, and plenty of seeds have been planted for at least some elements of Frank Miller’s most famous storyline, beautifully illustrated by David Mazzucchelli, to make it into the show.

Not quite Born Again

What seems obvious to me, though, is that we won’t see the same exact story we know from the comics adapted for the Netflix show. First of all, the previous two seasons have taken plenty of liberties with the source material, drawing inspiration from events and well-known themes rather than copying them outright. We have no reason to expect anything else – or should I say less? – from this season.

Secondly, some of the things that have already happened thus far in Daredevil, and the Defenders, precludes an exact retelling of the Born Again arc from the comics in season three. The Defenders ended with Matt beginning to regain consciousness while being nursed back to health in a convent. There is mention of Sister Maggie, whom we know to be Matt’s mother, and the entire scene is staged to look very much like a panel from the comics. But, it’s taken from a scene that happens over two issues into the the Born Again arc (in Daredevil #230, as seen below next to the corresponding scene from the final episode of The Defenders), after Matt has already had his life destroyed by the Kingpin. In the Netflix take on this scene, the events leading up to his meeting with his mother has already been altered completely compared to the comic.

Matt seen injured on a bad in a convent. Scene comparison between the final episode of The Defenders and a simliar panel from Daredevil #230, by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli

It is also highly unlikely that we will be dealing with any kind of scenario in which Karen becomes a drug addict and betrays Matt. It certainly looks as if we’re finally getting some insight into Karen’s background, and her dark secrets, and there’s no reason to make her character even darker by having her develop an addiction to hard drugs in the current timeline. Especially since there’s no need for her to turn Matt over to the Kingpin, when the latter has already declared that he’s going to destroy him. As you might recall, this happened in the second season of Daredevil after Matt went to visit Fisk in jail, and ended up threatening Vanessa, for which he also took a severe beating.

I actually think it’s a very interesting twist that Fisk’s initial motivation to go after Matt in his civilian identity has nothing to do with Daredevil. Somewhere along the line, he’s going to have to connect Matt and Daredevil, but this can just as easily come about as a result of careful research. The fact that Matt and Daredevil both vanish from the scene at the same time is another obvious clue. I’ve seen some people suggest that Matt making any attempt to fight back during his encounter with Fisk would get the latter thinking that Matt may not be blind in the “traditional” sense, but that makes little sense to me unless you set your expectations for real life blind people at the level of Mr. Magoo. Whatever the case may be, we don’t actually need Karen to spark Fisk’s interest in going after Matt Murdock. He’s already looking to do just that.

How long will Matt have been away?

Let us now turn to the things we can’t really know much about. It seems reasonable that the entire first season of The Punisher takes place after the events of The Defenders, if only because of the publishing schedule. The second season of Jessica Jones definitely does. We’ll get more to go on when the second season of Luke Cage comes out in June since Matt’s “death” very neatly coincides with Misty getting her arm cut off. At the very least, we’re probably looking at something like several months of absence on Matt’s part. I’m guessing that as many as six to eight weeks can realistically be spent on his recovery (not that we’ll necessarily be privy to that information), but my guess is that we’re still going to be left with a rather big gap for the writers to try to address in terms of why he’s not announcing to even his closest allies that he’s alive. I honestly wouldn’t put it past the creators to throw some amnesia into the mix.

Matt has suffered amnesia on more than one occasion in the comic, and the may draw some kind of inspiration from this. There’s the storyline which begins in Daredevil #284, by Ann Nocenti and Lee Weeks, when Daredevil returns to New York after traveling around upstate – and literally going to hell – where he suffers a gradual mental breakdown that causes him to forget about Daredevil, and most of his previous life. He believes his name is Jack Murdock, takes up boxing, and forms a relationship with a woman named Nyla. He also does an interesting role reversal with Bullseye who steals his Daredevil costume early in the story, which goes on for several issues. Matt also has something that looks like some kind of psychosis in the Inferno storyline (Daredevil #345-347, by J.M. DeMatteis, and Ron Wagner), following a long period of living under the name Jack Batlin after having faked his own death. This breakdown, which is partially brought about by the death of his former girlfriend Glorianna O’Breen, also includes elements of amnesia, and famously ends with Foggy finding out about Matt being Daredevil. Amnesia storylines are quite difficult to pull off, but there’s obviously some less extreme takes on the topic that might make more sense.

Foggy discovers Matt's secret, as seen in Daredevil #347, by J.M. DeMatteis and Ron Wagner

Even if Matt fully remembers his past and has a smooth(ish) recovery, there might be other reasons why he’d be hesitant to declare to the world that he’s back. We all know that he can get really self-destructive and might actually believe that his friends are better off with him dead. He may also want to try to engineer his return – in and out of costume – so that Daredevil (now apparently back in the old black costume) and Matt Murdock don’t reappear at the same time. There’s some genuine concern that it may take a long time for the gang to get back together, and that Matt may stay “hidden” for several episodes, and I think those concerns may be valid. I wouldn’t give it more than, say, the first third of the season though, since Wilson Fisk is not going to be spending much time on destroying the life of someone he believes to be dead. And, considering that there has to be some kind of quality life for Wilson Fisk to destroy, you’d have to assume that Matt will at least be lulled into some sense of getting his life back on track, before things start unraveling again.

Much of the point of Born Again, if you want get down to the essence of the story, is that it’s Matt’s life that’s being attacked, more so than Daredevil’s. I can see them taking their time with this, but spending too much time on the big return seems counterproductive. For instance, what point is there to Karen getting to tell her story, and Matt not even being there to find out? But maybe I’m overly optimistic.

Will there be a subway scene?

Daredevil strains and fails to find Bullseye in the subway in Daredevil #169, by Frank Miller

I would be willing to put some serious money on there being a subway scene in this season. Specifically one that involves Bullseye, because that battle is one of the most iconic in the history of these two characters. One thing that might affect how it plays out though is that the Netflix version of the character doesn’t appear to be very sensitive to noise, the way he is in the comics, and that’s kind of an important element of the scene. Any other famous Bullseye moments you’re counting on seeing in the show?

Though, while we’re on the topic of Bullseye, I’m not at all counting on anyone very close to Matt (i.e. Karen or Foggy) being killed off this season. Not because I think that the creators don’t have it in them to break people’s hearts, but because I suspect there will be additional seasons of the show and Daredevil’s supportive cast is already small enough to fit in a utility closet. I know people are saying that Bullseye has to do something to make it really personal for Matt, but we’re also talking about a character who literally feels he’s responsible for everyone. Hurt people in Hell’s Kitchen and you’ll be hurting Matt. Though if you want to make it really painful, maybe have Bullseye kill off Sister Maggie? Yup, I went there.

Will Vanessa be kidnapped?

Okay, this may sound like an odd one, but as soon as we got confirmation, sort of, that Vanessa was returning, my thoughts went immediately to her really creepy disappearance during the Frank Miller run where she’s kidnapped by “mole people” who live underground. I’m not expecting anything of the sort, but with Vanessa back in the picture, I do expect some kind of threatening situation for her to be in. I realize that the whole damsel in distress thing is old and tired, but there has to be some kind of pressure applied to Wilson Fisk as well, for maximum tension, and I’m sure the writers can come up with something. I really like Ayelet Zurer as an actor, so I’m happy to see her back, whatever her story brings.

What exactly is Karen hiding?

As mentioned, I don’t think that Karen will develop a drug addiction during the course of this season, but she will most definitely deal with some pretty dark stuff. I’m actually very excited to find out what she’s been hiding all this time. And I can’t wait to go to Fagan Corners, Vermont! Of course, the last time we visited that place in the comics was decades ago, and involved a rather convoluted storyline in which Karen’s father was the inventor of something called the “cobalt bomb,” and also the villain Death’s Head.

I don’t expect there to be a literal Death’s Head, but would squeal with joy if there were at least a background shot of a pub by that name or something similar. If there isn’t, you’ve dropped the ball Netflix people! If you want a refresher on this crazy story, go to this post, where I mention it among my “seeing goofs.” It also comes up in this Wacky Powers post. Below are panels from Daredevil #56, by Roy Thomas, and Gene Colan.

Karen gets off the train in her home town of Fagan Corner.

Everything else

I really meant to cover a lot more stuff in this post, but it’s getting late, and I really want to get it out there so we can cover the rest in the comment section. And I know I haven’t been great at contributing in the comment sections lately, but I promise to catch up. 😉

However, before clicking on the “publish” button, let me mention some of these things briefly:

  • Foggy’s career – It appears as if Foggy may find reason to reassess his career goals in light of Jeri Hogarth getting the boot from her own firm. I doubt he’d be anxious to go with her, but staying behind with the mean partners may not be such a sweet deal either. And, if there’s ever going to be a Nelson & Murdock to go back to, things need to change. I would love the chance to see Hogarth getting involved in legally raising Matt from the “dead” though, as she has some experience in that field (see Iron Fist).
  • Sister Maggie – What kind of liberties will they take with her? Are they going for something more traditional or the kick-ass nun version from the Daredevil, volume four? What will her reasons be for walking out on Jack and Matt?
  • Marci Stahl – I like Marci. She’s irreverent, and this kind of show needs that. I’m guessing we might see more of her, especially if, they’re looking for way to “pad” the story (not necessarily in a bad way) before getting everyone reunited. Also, the cast needs to grow, and giving a bigger role to characters that have already been introduced is a way to to do that.
  • Will Claire make an appearance? – My guess is no.
  • Other characters – Will anyone interesting emerge as a new Wesley type character? Will we see Josie? What about Blake Towers? (My guess is yes). Will there be a police officer (I can’t imagine it would be Brett), who will sell out in some way when it comes to Matt/Daredevil, along the lines of what happens in Born Again in the comic?

Well, the list could obviously go on, but I think I’ll hand the reins over to you, my esteemed readership. Take it away!