The Best Stories from Daredevil’s First-Ever Series
Every issue from Daredevil’s original 1964 series is now on Marvel Unlimited!
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In 1964, Stan Lee and artist Bill Everett launched the first volume of DAREDEVIL, and it ran for 380 issues until coming to an end in 1998 for the series’ Marvel Knights relaunch. DAREDEVIL (1964) set the stage for blind lawyer’s Matt Murdock’s crime fighting adventures all the way to the present, and now every single issue is available to read on Marvel Unlimited!
To celebrate the occasion, Marvel.com is taking a look back at some of the highlights from Daredevil’s first-ever series, all of which you can catch at your leisure on Marvel Unlimited.
HERE COMES THE MAN WITHOUT FEAR
Wondering where to start with DD? The beginning is almost always the best place to get in on the ground floor with Matt Murdock, so we recommend DAREDEVIL (1964) #1. The first few issues establish Matt and his supporting cast, including his lawyer partner Foggy Nelson and Karen Page, as well as an origin story for the ages. Some of Daredevil’s earliest foes include Electro, Killgrave, AKA Purple Man, and the Owl. For the first six issues, Daredevil is sporting a yellow and red costume. However, Daredevil finally got his signature red outfit in issue #7, when legendary artist Wally Wood depicted Matt’s battle with Prince Namor of Atlantis, the Sub-Mariner.
Matt Murdock is always going to be the defender of Hell’s Kitchen. But he also made his home on the West Coast alongside his new love, Black Widow, in DAREDEVIL (1964) #86. Moving to San Francisco gave Matt a chance to start over alongside Natasha Romanoff, and they were inseparable for several years. Natasha even shared top billing as of issue #93 when the book was retitled DAREDEVIL AND THE BLACK WIDOW through issue 108.
Although Matt and Natasha’s romance flamed out by issue #124, they remain close friends and an important part of each other’s lives.
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WATCH OUT FOR BULLSEYE
Shortly after Matt’s return to Hell’s Kitchen, Daredevil encountered the man who would become his longtime nemesis: expert marksman Bullseye. Their first battle unfolded in issues #131-132, but the assassin who never misses quickly became a recurring threat to Daredevil. Bullseye resurfaced in issues #141-147, but he really elevated his game in issues #159-#161 when Bullseye targeted Black Widow as a way to bring Daredevil down for good.
Legendary creator Frank Miller had already joined DAREDEVIL (1964) as an artist before he took things to the next level in issue #168. In his first issue as both the solo writer and artist, Miller introduced readers to Elektra Natchios, Matt Murdock’s former lover, who returned to his life as a hardened assassin in the service of crime boss the Kingpin. This kicked off an epic run that established Wilson Fisk as another ongoing adversary for Daredevil, while also building up Bullseye as an even greater threat than ever before.
Events came to a head in issue #181, when Elektra and Bullseye fought to the death. That issue alone is one of the seminal Daredevil moments of all time. Miller’s run came to an end in issue #191, but not before he wrapped Elektra’s story on a redemptive note.
No accounting of Daredevil’s best stories would be complete without the “Born Again” arc. During Miller’s second stint on the book, he was joined by artist David Mazzucchelli as they made Matt Murdock’s life a living hell. In issue #227, Wilson Fisk finally learned Daredevil’s civilian identity, so he systematically destroyed everything that Murdock cared about before attempting to take his life as well.
Miller and Mazzucchelli brought Matt to his knees and nearly broke him before slowly renewing his faith and giving him an emotional reunion with Karen Page. The final showdown between Daredevil and Kingpin’s hired gun, Nuke, shook Hell’s Kitchen to its core in issues #232-233. But Matt and the Kingpin weren’t done with each other yet. Not by a longshot.
MARY, MARY, QUITE CONTRARY
Ann Nocenti and artist John Romita Jr. followed Miller with a landmark run of their own. One of the duo’s most lasting contributions to the Daredevil mythos is none other than Typhoid Mary. Starting with her first appearance in issue #254, the sweet and innocent “Mary” personality started to form a romantic bond with Matt Murdock while Typhoid went to work as the Kingpin’s hired killer. She was so different in her two personas that Matt had a hard time realizing that they were the same person.
To further complicate matters, Typhoid Mary started her own relationship with Fisk. Then, a third persona emerged: Bloody Mary. And she was even more deadly than Typhoid! The initial Typhoid Mary storyline ran through issue #260, and it really put Matt through the ringer.
BEAT THE DEVIL AT HIS OWN GAME
Matt Murdock uses the Daredevil identity as his Super Hero persona. But it was only a matter of time before a real devil took notice. In the midst of the INFERNO event, Daredevil finally encountered Mephisto in issues #265-266. Mephisto almost broke Matt’s spirit that time, before two strangers helped Daredevil remember that there was still good in the world.
By issue #270, Daredevil and Spider-Man encountered Blackheart, the previously unseen son of Mephisto. Daredevil was the first to realize the connection between the two, when he sensed Mephisto watching them in a crowd.
Issues #278-282 culminated into a trip straight to Hell, as Matt and his Inhuman allies searched for Ahura, the long-missing son of Black Bolt and Medusa. Once they were trapped in Mephisto’s realm, the demon planned to hold them forever. And if not for an assist from the Silver Surfer, Daredevil and his friends could have spent an eternity there.
D.G. Chichester and artist Lee Weeks finally gave Daredevil his revenge on the Kingpin in “Last Rites.” From issues #297-300, Matt destroyed Wilson Fisk’s life just as the Kingpin had done to Daredevil during “Born Again.” Matt even tricked Typhoid Mary into reverting to her Mary persona before having her shipped off to a facility.
The showdown with Kingpin in issue #300 was an epic confrontation that left Fisk out of power for the first time in years. But it wouldn’t be the final confrontation between the two adversaries.
FALL FROM GRACE
After a long absence from Matt’s life, Elektra returned during the “Fall from Grace” storyline from issues #319 to #325. Daredevil’s life was already complicated enough by a doppelganger called “Hellspawn” and the fact that Matt’s secret identity was revealed in the newspapers. However, the real threat came from the Snakeroot—an offshoot of the Hand—that wanted to unleash a deadly virus.
Matt and Elektra were able to emerge victorious, at a price. For Elektra, it meant reclaiming the darkness that had once infected her soul. As for Matt, he used Hellspawn’s resemblance as a way to fake his own death. Daredevil soon emerged with a new costume and a new secret identity.
The last multi-part storyline in DAREDEVIL was “Flying Blind” in issues #376-379. Within these pages, readers were introduced to undercover S.H.I.E.L.D. operative “Laurent Levasseur,” only to later realize that Laurent was Matt! But Matt was in such deep cover that even he didn’t know who he really was (or why he was there). It took some help from Matt’s oldest friend, Foggy Nelson, to bring his partner back to the light, so to speak. And their reunion helped set the stage for the Marvel Knights DAREDEVIL (1998) run that began later that year.
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