The is part two of a Top 10 list. Part one can be found here.
Daredevil had been one of Marvel's best kept secrets for years. While he had some very good runs throughout his existence, he never quite achieved the status of an A-list superhero. I don't know if he would even now be considered A-list, but he's definitely more well known now than he was when I discovered him around 1993 or 94, mostly thanks to being shoved into the spotlight with a less than stellar movie (which really isn't as bad as you once thought if you actually take the time to watch the Director's Cut, which does fix a lot of the problems the original cut had), and now with a much anticipated Netflix original series, which so far (I just finished episode 9) is living up to most of the hype. The film, as well as the series, have drawn heavily from certain aspects of the comics, while not actually adapting any specific storylines (although the 2003 film did take some stuff from Frank Miller's run straight off of the page), but nothing can take the place of reading the actual original stories that served as inspiration for these great projects. So, without further ado, here are five more of the best Daredevil stories ever written.
The Man Without Fear
The Man Without Fear was a five issue miniseries published in 1993 and written by Frank Miller, who by this time had become almost synonymous with the character. Like with Batman: Year One, The Man Without Fear was an attempt at telling the origin of Daredevil from a unique, and much more detailed, perspective. The Man Without Fear is very unique for a superhero story because it isn't really about the hero, it's about the man who becomes him and the journey he takes to get there. While Batman wasn't a huge character in Year One, he was present from the first issue. Daredevil isn't seen in his iconic uniform until the last panel of the last page of the last issue, and while he does have a proto-costume, he doesn't even put that on until the end of issue 4. No, Man Without Fear is certainly Matt Murdock's story. Another treat is that we are shown a very early first meeting between Daredevil and Elektra, which was a relationship that was always central to Frank Miller's original run on the book in the early 80s. It should also be noted, as if most people didn't already know, that the idea of the proto-costume was something that the Netflix series used, even though the outfit was modified slightly for film.
The Devil, Inside and Out
Ed Brubaker did with Daredevil what he did with Captain America beginning with the Winter Soldier storyline, he brought the character to a whole other level. The Devil, Inside and Out seemed to be a return to the Daredevil of the 70s and the 80s, a gritty noir-inspired crime drama. With Matt Murdock's life a shambles after the events of Brian Michael Bendis' run, which in a lot of ways told the same story as Frank Miller's Born Again arc, Daredevil is trying to put everything back in order, however there is an impostor Daredevil also running around Hell's Kitchen. In the life of Daredevil, when it rains it pours it seems. Honestly, the dude is blind! Why do the writers have to torture him so? Can't you give the guy a break?
Before Ann Nocenti's great run on Green Arrow (which was immediately overshadowed by Jeff Lemire's legendary run on the book), she had made quite the name for herself on Daredevil. Along with artist John Romita, Jr, Nocenti had a pretty substantial run on the book, but the Typhoid Mary storyline was definitely the crowning achievement of that run. Again, Matt Murdock's life is unraveling, but this time it wasn't the Kingpin's doing, it was his own. Amid relationship troubles with Karen Page, who Matt claims to be the love of his life, he can't help but fall for this new girl in town, a mutant with pyrokinetic abilities. Seriously, in case you haven't noticed, Daredevil has a hard time keeping it in his tights.
In the story that sees Daredevil put away the black and red "armored" costume and return to his traditional red, Inferno tells the story of Matt Murdock literally losing his mind and going on a schizophrenic rampage in his original yellow costume, while at the same time trying to track down the psychotic "impostor" in his classic red costume. Daredevil is full on multiple personalities, and while that may seem kind of out there (it totally is), it is also just so intriguing a story that you can't put it down. Amid all of the schizo craziness, Daredevil is also battling a transgender supervillain named Sir, who was a woman who turned herself into a man because she thought women were weak. Sir beats Daredevil within an inch of his life and steals his red costume, only to be taken down by the yellow suited psychotic Daredevil, who honestly believes he is not Matt Murdock. Everything that started in Fall From Grace comes to a head here, ending a three year saga in the life of Daredevil.
The Elektra Saga
This was where it all started, folks. The Elektra Saga, as it is unofficially referred to, encompassed most of Frank Miller's original run as writer on Daredevil (he was the artist only first, then took over writing duties with issue 168). This was the arc that was rather loosely adapted into the Ben Affleck Daredevil movie, and for most fans of the character it can be seen as the definitive run on the series. So much of what is considered part of the Daredevil mythos was created here. It was Frank Miller who had decided to make Kingpin a Daredevil enemy, as before this he was primarily associated with Spider-Man. It would be extremely fair to say that without this run on Daredevil, there would have been no Dark Knight Returns, no Batman: Year One, and none of the great Batman stories and movies that came later and took inspiration from both of those.
Well there you have it, folks, the best Daredevil stories out there. Well, ten of them anyway. Any I missed? Let us know in the comments. Oh, and before anyone goes crying foul that I left Bendis' stuff out, he wrote great stuff but it was really derivative of Born Again and I didn't think it warranted having basically the same story on here twice, no matter how good it is. Cheers!