The superheroes we know and love have all been shaped and influenced by those in their hearts. Whether it was family, friends, or sometimes even foes, the basis of many superhero origins and who they became first began with these people — especially the one and only Matt Murdock, a.k.a. Daredevil. It was his father Battlin' Jack — who made money as a boxer and by throwing fights — who first pushed his son to be a better man than himself and to work at his education. His father's eventual murder is what made Murdock initially take on the identity of Daredevil and fight crime in Hell's Kitchen. Now, with the second season of Daredevil having been released on Friday and introducing The Punisher and Elektra, let's take a look at the many superhero friendships The Man Without Fear has made in the past.
One of Daredevil's best superhero friends is, of course, your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. They're so close that they're two of the few people who know one another's secret identities. When the two first met, by using his heightened senses, Daredevil was able to pinpoint Spidey's identity as Peter Parker. Later on, Spider-Man figured out Daredevil's alter ego as well.
Many amazing storylines have come from these two teaming up to defend their neighborhood, and with the first visual confirmation of Spider-Man in the newest Captain America: Civil War trailer, it would be absolutely astonishing to actually see the duo fight crime in a live action team-up. Even Charlie Cox (the actor who portrays Matt Murdock) wants to see them team up, as he stated in an interview last year with MTV News:
"I’d love to see Peter Parker and Daredevil hang out! There’s a wonderful issue of the comics where Matt Murdock has to defend Daredevil, because the public don’t know, and so he has Peter Parker put on his Daredevil outfit so that he can sit in the docks. You know, great storyline."
How awesome would it be to see that storyline actually go down on screen one day?
Another of Daredevil's greatest friends is Danny Rand, also known as Iron Fist. In a storyline that coincided with the massive Civil War crossover, Iron Fist also disguised himself as Daredevil to take on his identity. This was to help convince the public and the media that Matt Murdock wasn't the vigilante of Hell's Kitchen. At the time, police had figured out that Murdock was Daredevil and threw him in jail before putting into witness protection to avoid being killed by the criminals he'd helped put away as a lawyer. So Rand, who is a skilled martial artist, donned the Daredevil disguise and continued to fight crime in order to convince police and the public that Matt was innocent and to exonerate him.
During the events of Civil War, while still pretending to be Daredevil, Danny was completely against the Superhuman Registration Act. He ended up joining Captain America's side, which led to one of the most iconic moments in Daredevil's history, when he branded Tony Stark a traitor to superheroes.
At first, Matt didn't realize it was Iron Fist posing as him and had not signed off on it, so he broke out of jail to challenge the impostor. However, upon learning it was Danny wearing his cowl, Matt trusted him enough to continue using his persona for a while longer, freeing him up to track down the murderer he'd originally been pursuing. That's a tight friendship, right there.
While the Punisher is generally an antagonist to Daredevil, he has proven to be an unwilling ally at times. If it were a Facebook status, the relationship between Frank Castle and Matt Murdock would be classified as "It's complicated."
It isn't that the two have always been on opposing sides and pitted against one another, but rather, that the dark shades of gray in Punisher's morality clash with Matt Murdock's black-and-white moral compass. Being a vigilante, the Punisher isn't afraid to finish the job — no matter what, killing if he has to. Obviously, Murdock has disapproved of his ways over the years, fearing that innocent people would get caught in the crossfire.
One of the most pivotal moments in Daredevil's career happened at the hands of Frank Castle in Punisher #3, written by Garth Ennis, when Punisher gave Daredevil a moral choice with no good outcome. And while I won't spoil anything, the decision Daredevil made continued to haunted him. It may not exactly be friendship, but hey, sometimes, the best partnerships aren't.
Even though Daredevil and Black Widow were known lovers in the comic universe, a relationship developing between them isn't probably going to happen anytime soon in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, for obvious reasons. So just friends, it is! And that's fine, as Natasha Romanoff and Matt Murdock have been friends and allies in the comics far more often than they were in a romantic relationship, even after that relationship ended.
They first met when Black Widow was manipulated into saving Daredevil from criminal mastermind, the Owl, a move that had been orchestrated by time traveling android Mr. Kline. The android later framed her for murder and Matt Murdock defended Natasha in court. As they grew closer, their relationship blossomed, and the two fell in love. They teamed up to fight crime together, mostly Daredevil's foes, but the pair even moved to California for a time until The Avengers called them back to New York City to help them fight Magneto.
Eventually, Black Widow left Daredevil as she felt he had never viewed her as an equal and just as capable of taking care of herself as he was. But even after their romance ended, Natasha and Matt remained close friends, often working together and assisting one another in times of need. If that's not friendship, I don't know what is.
Along with Danny Rand, Daredevil was part of a street-level team called The Defenders and he had close relationships with all of them, including Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, who are already in the MCU.
In the comics universe, Jessica Jones first knew of Daredevil from her brief stint as a superhero, but they grew to be genuine friends when she acted as Matt Murdock's personal bodyguard after his real identity was exposed. The superhero who would later become her husband, Luke Cage, was also a friend of Daredevil and Matt Murdock. Cage, Iron Fist and even Jessica's best friend, Trish Walker, a.k.a. Hellcat, were proud Defenders. And though Jessica Jones was never a member of the official Defenders team in the comics, she worked closely with Daredevil to help protect their city in other ways.
The Defenders, like The Avengers and many of Marvel's other teams, is usually composed of superheroes who regularly follow their own agenda and only join together as a group when there is a need. To see how Marvel is going to bring The Defenders together and show how crucial they've been in shaping Daredevil's story is going to be compelling.
Who can't wait to see these four — maybe even five — fight crime as a group?
Header image credit: Huy Dinh