We’re two week’s away from the release of the 3rd season of Daredevil on Netflix. The flagship show of the “Defenders-verse” has got many a fan excited to see what will happen to blind lawyer Matt Murdock this time round. DD’s last appearance in the Netflix shows was at the end of Defenders. The world at large thinks Daredevil is dead, but we know that he’s on the slow road to recovery in the care of a local mission. This ending to the 2017 series was one that hardcore fans of the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen got very excited for. The quick shots of this mission and the mention of a certain Sister Maggie alluded to the GREATEST Daredevil comic story of all time: BORN AGAIN.
Released in 1986, the Born Again storyline was written by Frank Miller and drawn by David Mazzuchelli. A year after this, the duo would leave their mark on the caped crusader with Batman: Year One. But first, they gave the Devil his due. Using the Kingpin as a catalyst, they destroyed Matt Murdock’s life and made him crawl from the gutter on the road to rebirth. It was a tale that took Joseph Campbell’s “Journey of a Hero” framework to its limits.
While this story is a great jumping off point, the television series will not do a direct, “Shot for Shot” adaptation of Born Again. Karen Page’s story alone would be hard to fit into the current climate of the show. And Matt Murdock and Wilson Fisk are in very different places than their comic book counterparts. But there are 5 key elements that can be taken from the comic to do Born Again justice:
MATT MURDOCK MUST LOSE IT ALL!
If you saw the end of Marvel’s Defenders series, Matt’s already halfway there. The world thinks Daredevil is dead. Murdock’s pretty banged up. He feels more alone than he’s ever been. But his loss will have to be greater than that. In the comic, Wilson Fisk finds out his true identity and takes everything away from him. He gets him disbarred, freezes his assets, gets him accused of tampering with witness testimony, and even blows up his brownstone apartment. That’s just the first act. In a one-on-one confrontation, Fisk breaks Matt’s ribs. He even adds insult to injury in the third act by using Nuke to set Hell’s Kitchen on fire.
The difference between the comics and the show is that the Kingpin already knows Matt’s identity. He may finally put this knowledge to use to break down the Man Without Fear this season.
WILSON FISK: MASTER OF MANIPULATION
The Kingpin is a powerful man. Even in jail, his reach far extends past the cage that is holding him. The same can be said of Wilson Fisk in Born Again. Fisk is able to influence power players at all levels in government to give him what he needs to destroy one defense lawyer. And not because Matt Murdock brought down his criminal empire. Not even close. Just because he finds Daredevil annoying and wants to put him in his place. What’s more is that he manipulates a general into giving him a highly unstable operative to open fire on civilians in the hopes of drawing DD out from hiding. While Matt is fighting for his life, this is more of a game for Fisk.
We’ve seen Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin convince many a person to do his bidding, either with his words or with his fists. This could be the season where we see Fisk hold all the cards.
AN IMPOSTER IN RED
One of the more interesting fight scenes of Born Again happens in Daredevil #231. The issue is titled Saved and is the first sign of Matt Murdock rising from the depths of despair. The Kingpin pays off a doctor in a psyche ward to release a deranged man and gives him a Daredevil costume. The plan is to have the imposter break into the home of Foggy Nelson and kill him dressed as the Man without Fear. Matt intercepts the fake DD on the roof of Foggy’s building and the two have at it. The subtext of this scene is to show that Matt must overcome his own persona and realize that he is more than just the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen. He’s fighting not just to save his friends, but to save himself.
Having an imposter wear the famous red costume and duke it out with a plainclothes Murdock is a must. Matt needs to learn that the man is more important than the persona he puts on. And Fisk manipulating someone to don the costume would also be a great scene to further build his power base.
We already know that Sister Maggie, the nun that runs the mission in Hell’s Kitchen, will be making an appearance in this season. It’s in the Born Again storyline where her character is first introduced. She is the one who finds Matt’s near dead body in Fogwell’s Gym. She brings him back to the mission and nurses him back to health. During his recovery, Matt puts the pieces together and realizes that he met her when he was a boy and figures out a connection that would be further developed in later stories.
Maggie will definitely factor into this season. How much they decide to reveal about her character is hard to say. But without a doubt, she will play a pivotal role on the show.
THE HEADLINES PLAY A FACTOR
The Kingpin is so strong, no one dare defy him….that is unless you work for a newspaper. In the comic story, Ben Urich figures out pretty fast that the news about Matt Murdock’s fall from grace is a frame-up. When he uncovers the Kingpin’s involvement, he’s forcefully convinced not to print the story. Realizing he can’t be silent, he eventually comes around and begins to write about Wilson Fisk’s corruption in the pages of the Daily Bugle. These articles lead to Matt Murdock’s redemption and further investigations into Fisk’s criminal endeavors.
We all know that Ben Urich died in the first season of the Netflix show. But Karen Page has taken up his mantle and has become the go-to reporter in this corner of the MCU. Also, since they won’t be touching Karen’s story from the comics (a lot of drugs and sex and whatnot), this gives her a storyline for the season.
So there you have it. These five elements will capture the spirit of the Born Again storyline for this season of Daredevil. We’ll find out in a couple of weeks if any of them make the cut. The 3rd Season of Marvel’s Daredevil begins streaming on Netflix on October 19th.
If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!