The following contains major spoilers for Daredevil #1, on sale now from Marvel Comics.
Daredevil has taken on numerous looks and endeavors over the years, but at his core he has always been a hero. More importantly to Daredevil himself, Matt Murdock has always been a Catholic. While this hasn’t always played an especially prominent role in the character’s comic book career, it is now a bigger aspect of who Daredevil is than ever before, especially now that he has traded in his three-piece suits for a white collar.
Rather than being caught in the middle of any rooftop action or nighttime heroics, Daredevil #1 (by Saladin Ahmed, Aaron Kuder, Jesus Aburtov, and VC’s Clayton Cowles) opens to its titular hero dealing with the potential loss of St. Nick’s. Apart from being the church where Matt Murdock now resides, this is the literal mission where he has taken up duties as a priest. As it turns out, returning from his time in the literal depths of Hell robbed Daredevil of all but fragments of his memories of his past. Though these memories come rushing back to him soon enough, they still don’t change how he feels about the new life he is leading, and for plenty of good reasons.
Daredevil’s Long History with the Church
It shouldn’t be surprising that Matt decides to continue working with the church rather than return to his old life even after regaining his memories. Considering how important the church and his faith have been to Matt’s story since it was made canon in 1993’s Daredevil: The Man Without Fear, it only makes sense that he would find the kind of solace there now that he did when he lost his sight and developed his powers. Whereas a young, orphaned Matt found an outlet for his anger in training with Stick, he also found peace and compassion within the church. It was also in the church where it was first suggested to Matt that his powers might be a literal blessing instead of a figurative curse.
This question was posed by none other than Sister Maggie, Matt’s own mother Margaret Murdock who left her family out of concerns over her postpartum depression and the harm it could cause. Matt didn’t know it at the time, but this still further cemented his connection to the church on both a personal and spiritual level. In turn, Matt has dedicated countless hours of his work as an attorney to helping the church wherever he can, while doing much the same albeit in a far different form as Daredevil. Usually, this has come in the form of Daredevil protecting various orphanages or missions from those who would shut them down for one reason or another. More recently, however, Daredevil became a far more literal warrior of God.
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How Daredevil’s Faith has Shaped Him as a Marvel Superhero
Matt has always held firm onto his faith as Daredevil, even when fighting alongside or against gods of a different variety than that of his chosen religion. This is an astonishing fact of life for Daredevil considering everything he has lived through, yet it is also a testament to how deep Matt’s faith runs. At the same time, many of his experiences as Daredevil have confirmed his faith, even if their frequency is as great as those that would likely call it into question. Despite going so far as to lead his own cult in his war against The Hand, Daredevil’s faith saw him battle through Hell in what can be described as a costume gleaming with divine light.
This on its own was a poignant reminder of the power of Matt’s faith, yet his battle against the demonic Beast offered another more blatant of these reminders with Daredevil turning his horns into swords of divine light to vanquish his enemy. Not even losing his memories has slowed this trend, as Matt uses his power as a priest to perform an otherwise ordinary exorcism on the demon that makes a temporary home within Elektra’s physical form. As much as these moments serve to highlight Daredevil’s faith to readers, they also serve to reinforce it upon the character himself, setting them up to be both more potent and frequent going forward.
Why Daredevil’s Journey Into Priesthood is Perfect for the Character
For how much of his life and superhero career have revolved around the church, or at least his faith, Matt Murdock making a place for himself within it is a long overdue development. It isn’t just that Matt is Catholic, but rather that his mission to help people has never been relegated solely to striking down street level supervillains or roving ninja. All the opportunities to work pro bono or in secret as an attorney were certainly invaluable when it came to making a difference in the lives of others, but the church arguably provides more of those same opportunities, not to mention those that hit closer to home for Matt personally than many of the cases he took on in court.
This coupled with the very real battles of faith he has fought as Daredevil makes his turn as a priest the perfect next step for him to take, and not just in terms of character development. Stepping into the role of a priest is infinitely more low profile than being an attorney ever was, which itself is a boon to whatever Matt does next as Daredevil. Being in the church also puts him closer to the community he has chosen to protect. It might not come with some of the privileges and avenues of information he enjoyed as someone with legal certain legal protections, although realistically he has merely traded one set of those for another. At that rate, being a priest may be the best turn that Matt’s trajectory could have possibly taken no matter how it is dissected.
Daredevil’s latest series has turned Marvel’s Man Without Fear into a Man of God, and it is the perfect evolution of his character. Read More