What is it about Daredevil? Maybe it’s because he’s more grown-up than other heroes: a lawyer with a love life. Maybe it’s because Daredevil’s New York has a certain mood: dark but aspirational. Maybe it’s because his superpowers are at once simple and endlessly fascinating. Blessed with super-senses, Daredevil offers a smart young writer a million clever ways to get out of a jam. Daredevil’s entire persona is based on an obstruction–he can’t see–and the idea that that one obstruction makes him more powerful. Sometimes in art it’s the same way: the obstructions are what lead the creative mind to overachieving. Maybe writers of a certain age–slightly older, slightly more world-weary—gravitate to Daredevil, whose tragic experiences feel like a metaphor for the minor tragedies of your twenties, whose ability to keep on going feels like a metaphor for just learning to deal with it. Maybe it’s because Daredevil has never really been an A-list superhero–never an X-Man, never a character with multiple books.
There are superheroes with more stories, but I’m not sure any hero has the batting average of Daredevil. If you’re any kind of person who wants to read comic books–if you’re any kind of person who wants to see what a superhero story can be–pick up ‘Born Again,’ pick up the first Maleev/Bendis volume, or just pick up any of Waid’s issues. They’ll draw you in; they’ll make you a believer. Three runs by creative teams that could stand aside or ahead of any of the great stories of their era; three stories that defy any easy comic-book-history definition, romance mixing with grit, ‘realism’ mixing with sensibility that vibe epic or even cosmic. All of them sad, all of them addictive. You watch Daredevil get his heart broken; you watch Daredevil ride the Silver Surfer’s surfboard.
Is Daredevil the best superhero? I didn’t think so when I was a kid. Now I’m older, and I find weird truths of being older on every page of every great Daredevil story. Maybe that’s the secret. Maybe Daredevil is the superhero for people who don’t believe in superheroes anymore.
Darren Franich, “3 Stories Show Why Daredevil Is the Best Superhero” [x