Published May 11, 2023

Daredevil’s Darkest Moments

As Daredevil enters one of the darkest periods of his life, revisit a few of the other crucibles he has gone through—and survived.

When a hero’s backstory involves getting blinded by radioactive waste, the murder of their father, and brutal training from a curmudgeonly martial arts master, their adventures are probably going to get dark. Since his introduction in DAREDEVIL (1964) #1, Matt Murdock has gone through than his fair share of crucibles. In this list, we’re breaking down the seven darkest moments in Daredevil’s life.

Daredevil Institutionalizes Typhoid Mary

Mary Walker, AKA Typhoid Mary, has often been a thorn in the sides of New York City’s various street-level heroes, including Daredevil. Early on in her history, Walker—who has dissociative identity disorder—found herself working with Kingpin while at the same time engaging in a romantic relationship with Murdock. 

In DAREDEVIL (1964) #297, their relationship took a dark turn when Murdock forged paperwork to have Walker involuntarily committed in hopes of getting her the help she needed. However, to execute his plan, Murdock first seduced Walker and then brought her to a motel. He left during the night, and when she woke up, representatives from the Department of Social Services strapped Walker into a straitjacket and took her away. 

Although his desire to get Walker the help she needed was noble, the plan and its execution were genuinely quite dark. In the story, Murdock essentially used the government against a person with a long history of trauma. After the event, Daredevil was understandably shaken by what he’d done.

Murdock’s Marriage to Milla Donovan

In DAREDEVIL (1998) #41, the titular hero saved a blind woman named Milla Donovan from a speeding truck. Dedicated to improving living conditions in Hell’s Kitchen, Donovan remained a fixture of the Man Without Fear’s stories for quite some time afterwards. The two struck up a romantic relationship and eventually got married.

The relationship proved tumultuous. After she was exposed to a special gas created by Mister Fear, who posed as her therapist, the stress of Donovan’s relationship with Daredevil led to a complete mental breakdown that ended with her institutionalization and the end of their marriage. 

While Donovan did survive several attempts on her life, what happened to her was still pretty awful. Daredevil’s villains essentially ruined the life of a good person attempting to do her best because she married their enemy.

Bullseye Murders Elektra

Frank Miller’s character-defining run on DAREDEVIL (1964) introduced Elektra Natchios to the Marvel Universe. A deadly assassin with whom Murdock shared a romantic relationship during university, Elektra has played a key role in many of Daredevil’s most iconic stories. 

Originally, Elektra’s life came to a tragic and early end in DAREDEVIL (1964) #181. The story saw her fighting Bullseye, who skewered her on her own sai. A fatally wounded Elektra then went to the steps of Murdock’s apartment, where she died in his arms.  

While there’s a bit of a light at the end of the tunnel for this entry because Elektra did return to life, Bullseye’s act of killing someone so key to the hero’s life had a major effect on Murdock. Elektra’s death also foreshadowed much of the tragedy and darkness that would come to define Daredevil’s stories following Miller’s run.

Daredevil Accidentally Kills a Man

Over the years, Daredevil committed himself to never killing his enemies, though there have been a few close-calls or ambiguous incidents over the years. However, that all changed in DAREDEVIL (2019) #1. When Murdock fought against a group of robbers stealing from a liquor store, he accidentally killed Leo Carraro, one of the robbers, with a head injury.

Although Carraro himself was a minor character, his death had a massive impact on Murdock and, in many ways, the Marvel Universe on the whole. Following Carraro’s death, Murdock temporarily gave up his Super Hero identity and has struggled ever since with the guilt. The death also set the stage for DEVIL’S REIGN (2021), an event in which Kingpin outlawed vigilantes in New York City.

Bullseye Strikes Again

Introduced in the first issue of DAREDEVIL, Karen Page remained a key part of Murdock’s story for decades and served as a key love interest for the hero. Over time, Page’s life took several turns for the worse, and for years, she struggled with addiction and other issues. Just as her life started to stabilize again, Mysterio pulled her into a plan that culminated in her death at the hands of Bullseye in DAREDEVIL (1998) #5

Page’s death was one of the most shocking in the Marvel Universe, as she had been a key part of Daredevil stories since the very beginning. Her passing also affirmed the shocking depths to which Murdock’s stories could go and the consequences Daredevil’s heroic pursuits could have for the regular people in his life.

The Events of Shadowland

The SHADOWLAND (2010) event was undoubtedly one of the darkest times in Daredevil’s long history. In that story, Daredevil became the leader of the Hand and built Shadowland, the titular massive fortress, in Hell’s Kitchen to protect the area against criminals. 

At the same time, the Beast—a demon worshiped by the Hand—worked his way inside Daredevil, eventually possessing him entirely. The event showcased some of Daredevil’s darkest moments, pitting him against many of his heroes and friends. Murdock also killed Bullseye during SHADOWLAND.

SHADOWLAND had consequences for many of New York’s street-level heroes and villains. In the aftermath, Murdock went on a journey of self-discovery and T’Challa, AKA Black Panther, took over as the protector of Hell’s Kitchen. The event represented one of the biggest confrontations between Murdock and the Hand, setting the stage for many of the fights between the two in subsequent years.

The Man Without Eyes

Since the aforementioned death of Leo Carraro, Daredevil’s life has taken him down a much different path. Alongside Elektra, Murdock became the leader of the Fist, a group opposed to the Hand

Recently, the Fist collapsed due to the machinations of the Hand, resulting in the arrest of Elektra and several others. Then, in DAREDEVIL (2022) #11, the latest issue of the Man Without Fear’s solo series, Murdock enacted a plan free his allies that involved him literally stabbing out his own eyes.

As DAREDEVIL (2022) heats up and the ongoing “Red Fist Saga” gets closer to its conclusion, there’s no telling just what will happen to Murdock, who has become increasingly unhinged in recent months. Murdock seems dead set on dying, and regardless of what happens next, it promises to be one of the darkest periods in his life.

To find out what happens next, pick up DAREDEVIL #11, on sale now!

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