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How Daredevil Went From The Kingpin's Deputy To Prison And Back To The Streets

The answer to the question “What’s going on in Daredevil comics?” is almost always pain and suffering of some sort for the Man Without Fear. All of the best Daredevil comics put Matt Murdock through the wringer, and all that trauma has become the defining feature of his character. More importantly, its given him the strength to get back on his feet again and again.

Even though he’s been down and out before in his most classic Daredevil sagas, the last decade has been particularly unkind to Matt Murdock. He’s been publicly exposed, he's had countless personal relationships destroyed, and he even did a stint in prison. Meanwhile, some of his worst enemies have had a great 10 years - Kingpin is the mayor of New York City, and Bullseye’s got an entire team of clones at his back. 

Fortunately, overcoming dire circumstances and overwhelming odds is old hat for Daredevil. And thankfully, the last decade has also gifted him another Daredevil to back him up.

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  • Daredevil Went Public, But The Purple Man’s Children Erased All Knowledge Of His Secret Identity, Giving Him A New Lease On Life

    Many, many years ago, Wilson Fisk became aware of Daredevil’s true identity. And though the Kingpin did his best to maintain exclusive ownership of that fact, the secret got out anyway. In time, Matt Murdock’s name would be splashed all over New York tabloids as the man behind the mask of the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen, but Murdock would always deny it and sue when he had to. Then, a tricky legal case called for him to testify as both Murdock and Daredevil, so he finally gave up the charade and officially went public.

    Though losing the burden of a secret identity was freeing for a while, soon the consequences began to impact Murdock’s day-to-day life. He had to leave New York for California, his loved ones were constantly under threat, and his legal practice faced constant conflict-of-interest issues. That’s why, when the children of the Purple Man were looking for a way to pay Murdock back for rescuing them from their father, they decided to use a device the Purple Man had rigged up to expand his own mind-control powers and erase all public knowledge of Daredevil’s identity.

    The effect was total. Daredevil decided to let longtime best friend Foggy Nelson back in on his secret, but decided to use the opportunity to break things off with girlfriend Kirsten McDuffie and move back to New York for a new lease on costumed life. 

  • Wilson Fisk Was Elected Mayor Of New York City

    After losing his vast criminal empire, gaining it all back, and then getting beaten down by Daredevil in the streets and arrested, the Kingpin of Crime was prepping for a comeback. Wilson Fisk used the opportunity of Hydra’s Secret Empire takeover of the United States - during which a dome of Darkforce energy was placed over Manhattan - to play hero and win over the hearts of the people of New York.

    Fisk employed his extensive network of contacts and resources to keep people safe within the Darkforce dome, and when the threat subsided, he rode that wave of popularity into the next municipal election. Partly through his restored reputation, and partly through voter fraud, Fisk was elected as the mayor of New York City. To take the job, he once again gave up his role as the Kingpin - though not his enormous influence.

    Of course, he also used his new position to target his old costumed rivals.

  • Matt Murdock Established A Legal Precedent That Superheroes Could Be Tried As Their Masked Identity, Instead Of Their Secret One

    For years, Matt Murdock had been the go-to attorney for any superhero in legal trouble. In the past, he’d successfully argued that masked vigilantes like Spider-Man could not be sued for the consequences of their actions, and now that he had his own secret identity back, he wanted to take steps to ensure that alter egos could be legally protected.

    During a landmark case, Murdock argued that Daredevil - who just so happened to be Murdock - should have the right to testify against a criminal gang without having to take his mask off or reveal his true identity to do so. After hearing his argument, the judge agreed, so Daredevil testified, setting an important legal precedent. Now, superheroes don’t need to avoid the courtroom altogether and have a means of defending themselves - or aiding in the prosecution of villains - without putting their loved ones in peril. 

  • Matt Murdock Became Fisk’s Deputy Mayor, And Later Filled In As Mayor When The Kingpin Was Injured

    As mayor of New York, Wilson Fisk maintained a burning hatred for Daredevil. And even though he’d been made to forget about the connection between the two, Fisk wasn’t a big fan of Matt Murdock, either. The former Kingpin especially did not like Murdock’s efforts to legally protect the secret identities of superheroes, as one of Fisk’s campaign promises had been to curtail the actions of caped crusaders in NYC.

    In an attempt to both legitimize his own anti-superhero measures and delegitimize Murdock’s precedent-setting legal work, Fisk offered Murdock the position of deputy mayor - and Murdock took it. Fisk had no way of knowing he was inviting his own worst enemy - one with super-hearing, no less - into his mayoral office, and he was unsuccessful in using the opportunity to sabotage Murdock.

    In fact, after Fisk was temporarily debilitated by a ninja attack, Murdock dropped the “deputy” and became the temporary mayor of New York himself, using the brief opening to undo some of the damage Mayor Fisk had already done. Then, when Fisk recovered, Murdock quit.

  • Daredevil Briefly Wielded The All-Seeing Power Of Heimdall During ‘The War of the Realms’

    As all that political intrigue was unfolding in New York City, the rest of Earth-616 marched on. Soon enough, The War of the Realms broke out, a crossover event in which Malekith the Accursed made a bid to invade and take command of all Ten Realms. Naturally, he was unsuccessful, but it took a concerted effort from Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to repel him - including the Man Without Fear.

    During the course of the fighting, Heimdall was blinded, meaning he could no longer wield his magic sword Hofund, nor access his omniscient abilities. So, he found the closest superhero he could to fill in for him, and it happened to be Daredevil, someone who was blind at the best possible time.

    In possession of Hofund and the full power of Heimdall, Matt Murdock found that he could hear and sense everything in the universe, all at once. It proved overwhelming immediately, but Heimdall guided him through enough to aid in the final battle of The War of the Realms - after which Daredevil gladly gave it all back to the healed Asgardian. 

  • Through The Power Of The Inhumans And Norse Magic, Matt’s Imaginary Twin Brother Mike Murdock Became A Real Person

    The saga of Mike Murdock is a long and convoluted one. Originally, the “twin brother” of Matt Murdock was just a fake persona that Matt had whipped up to prevent Karen Page and Foggy Nelson from figuring out his secret identity. He wasn’t Daredevil, you see, it was Mike all along! That gimmick only lasted for so long, though, and the Mike persona was mostly retired, only to be busted out again when the occasion called for it.

    Years later, the Inhuman known as Reader was doing research into Daredevil’s past, and came upon some information regarding “Mike.” But Reader was not being careful with his powers, and as he read up on Mike, he accidentally manifested him into existence as a “fragment” of a person. Reader copped to his mistake right away and offered to “unwrite” Mike, but Matt told him not to and decided it was best to let Mike “live.”

    But a half-existence wasn’t enough for ol’ Mike Murdock. He got into organized crime almost immediately, running jobs for the Kingpin and forging a bond with Wilson Fisk’s illegitimate son, Butch. After one heist, Mike managed to walk away with a Norn Stone, and then he hired the Black Cat to steal him some Asgardian spellbooks so he could use it. With Norse magic in hand, Mike wished to be a real boy - and was rewarded with genuine existence, along with a backstory and retroactive memories implanted in everyone’s head that Matt had actually had a twin brother all along. 

    Mike has since skirted the line between lawfulness and criminality.