Even though Marvel Studios’ upcoming TV series Daredevil: Born Again faces a creative overhaul, the spiritual successor to the acclaimed Netflix show has plenty of inspired comics to use as reference material. The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen enjoys a consistent run of high quality in the medium thanks to a string of excellent writers and artists.
With Charlie Cox and Vincent D’Onofrio making their grand returns as Daredevil and Kingpin, there are interesting comic book arcs that could raise the stakes based on what’s already been covered so far in the original series. Mayor Fisk would be a thrilling way of upping Kingpin’s threat level, while Devil’s Reign could follow as a natural crossover event.
10 Mayor Fisk Spices Up Daredevil And Kingpin’s Classic Dynamic
November, 2017 – March, 2018
Charles Soule, Stefano Landini, Matt Milla, and Clayton Cowles
Daredevil (Vol. 1) #595-600
The original Daredevil series’ riveting character drama did a superb job of making a convincing villain out of this live-action Kingpin. Charles Soule’s run offers a new blueprint with Mayor Fisk, a story arc that sees the Kingpin of Crime make a power play against Daredevil as New York’s next mayor.
Daredevil season 3was filled with a sense of dread over how Kingpin’s influence was spreading through the FBI, but Born Again could fashion a believable next step by having D’Onofrio’s villain assume public office. At this point in-universe, there are years’ worth of bad blood between Matt Murdock and Fisk, making this arc the perfect excuse to have them face off amidst a new dynamic.
9 Dark Art Pits Daredevil Against The Villainous Muse
August – December, 2016
Charles Soule and Ron Garney
Daredevil (Vol. 5) #10-14
While Daredevil’s most notorious foes are Kingpin and Bullseye, Soule and Garney crafted a gruesome newcomer. By taking the duo’s work in the Dark Art storyline as an influence, Daredevil: Born Again is primed for its next compelling rogue. Whether it’s before Fisk is elected mayor or after, using Dark Art to introduce a live-action Muse would be ideal for pacing and variety.
Born Again is still planned as an 18-episode first season, meaning that Matt Murdock needs to face more intriguing villains on top of Kingpin. A serial killer who makes art out of his victims might be too macabre for Disney+, but Muse’s looming threat would be a tense way of carving out an entire arc out of its 18-episode total.
8 Devil’s Reign Is The Culmination To Kingpin’s Role As Mayor
December, 2021 – May, 2022
Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto
Devil’s Reign #1-6, Devil’s Reign Omega #1
Daredevil: Woman Without Fear (Vol. 1) #1-3, Devil’s Reign: Moon Knight #1, Devil’s Reign: Spider-Man #1, Devil’s Reign: Superior Four (Vol. 1) #1-3, Devil’s Reign: Villains for Hire (Vol. 1) #1-3, Devil’s Reign: Winter Soldier #1, Devil’s Reign: X-Men (Vol. 1) #1-3, Moon Knight (Vol. 9) #8, and Spider-Woman (Vol. 7) #18-19
The recent Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto run with the hero spawned one of Daredevil’s best crossovers. Set halfway through the duo’s run, the Devil’s Reign miniseries involves Mayor Wilson Fisk outlawing superheroes in New York.
Understandably, one of the MCU’s biggest criticisms in particular movies and shows is the overreliance on crossing characters and stories over rather than focusing on the plot at hand, but Devil’s Reign offers a clear roadmap for Born Again. By building on top of the hypothetical Mayor Fisk-inspired portion of the story, the upcoming series could organically give reasons for Daredevil to be at the core of a street-level crossover arc, while turning Kingpin into an Avengers-level threat.
7 End Of Hell Throws Hell’s Kitchen Into A Grim Crisis
March, 2020 – August, 2020
Chip Zdarsky, Marco Checchetto, Jorge Fornes, Nolan Woodard, and Clayton Cowles
Daredevil (Vol. 6) #16-20
Zdarsky and Checchetto’s run did well to raise the stakes in End of Hell. The new villainous Stromwyn siblings employ a strike team of rogues to level Hell’s Kitchen and plunge it into a blackout. End of Hell feels like a culmination of several episodes’ worth of plot, but Born Again‘s planned 18-episode first season has the room and potential supporting cast to make a similar premise believable.
Even without the billionaire Stromwyns, End of Hell‘s outline can be retooled for Kingpin to push his political agenda from the shadows, involving any other villains planned for the show. Likewise, this could serve as a nod and evolution of Fisk’s efforts to gentrify Hell’s Kitchen in the original series’ first season.
6 Lockdown Pits Elektra’s Daredevil Against Bullseye
June – December, 2021
Chip Zdarsky, Marco Checchetto, Mike Hawthorne, Stefano Landini, and Manuel Garcia
Daredevil (Vol. 6) #31-36
Zdarsky and Checchetto’s Lockdown paved the way for the bloody return of an arch-nemesis. While Matt Murdock is facing a separate life-threatening situation in prison, Elektra Natchios takes over as Daredevil on the outside as Bullseye runs on a killing spree, forcing a lockdown of New York.
Lockdown is an excellent modern Daredevil and Bullseye feature with a twist, but the premise for the villain’s return is what could benefit Born Again. After the seething emotions that swirled between Daredevil, Bullseye, and Kingpin in Daredevil season 3, Born Again could use this to reintroduce Wilson Bethel’s underrated take on Bullseye. Left to his own devices, the villain could easily throw a wrench in both Matt’s heroics and Fisk’s mayoral plans.
April, 1988 – September, 1989
Ann Nocenti, John Romita Jr., Mike Baron, and Whilce Portacio
Daredevil (Vol. 1) #253-270 and Punisher (Vol. 2) #10
An underrated Daredevil writer, Ann Nocenti fleshed out important elements of the hero’s mythos. A Touch of Typhoid introduces another of the Man Without Fear’s most memorable villains, Typhoid Mary, as she’s unleashed by Kingpin to destroy Murdock from the inside out.
Typhoid Mary is a mutant with pyrokinetic powers. While she’s technically already made her debut within the MCU in some fashion, her role was relegated to Netflix’s Iron Fist rather than Daredevil. An odd choice, but with Born Again, the new creative team can make the complex villain a key figure in Kingpin’s attempts to ruin Daredevil’s life and reputation.
4 Daredevil Returns The Man Without Fear To His Adventurous Roots
July, 2011 – February, 2014
Mark Waid, Paolo Rivera, Joe Rivera, and Marcos Martín
Daredevil (Vol. 3) #1-36
Since industry legend Frank Miller revived the Daredevil’s reputation and success in comics, many fans mostly know Daredevil as a grittier, street-level hero. However, writer Mark Waid shows how well Murdock can operate in a more adventurous setting from the opening arc of his run.
Those expecting the same level of Miller and Brian Bendis-like crime-noir in Born Again that was in the original series will likely be disappointed, but Waid’s opening Daredevil arc and beyond offer the perfect blueprint for the Disney+ show. Taking on a more swashbuckling tone, Waid’s arcshows a deft balance of serious, nuanced character drama with a more colorful sense of adventure. It does it all while still feeling like quintessential Daredevil.
3 The Autobiography Of Matt Murdock Explores Daredevil And Kingpin’s Dynamic
May – September, 2015
Mark Waid, Chris Samnee, Marc Guggenheim, and Peter Krause
Daredevil (Vol. 4) #15.1 and #16-18
Coming in at the tail-end of the main duo of Mark Waid and Chris Samnee’s Daredevil run is The Autobiography of Matt Murdock. By now, Matt Murdock has been building a new life outside of New York, but after an extended period apart, he finds himself pitted against Kingpin once again.
While The Autobiography of Matt Murdock is more of an endgame arc to years’ worth of character development, it could function as metaphorical inspiration for Daredevil: Born Again. These live-action iterations of the Man Without Fear and Kingpin of Crime have more than enough vitriol between them. The upcoming series could take a page from how the comic perfectly visualizes the level of hatred and obsession Fisk has.
2 Parts Of A Hole Features A Daredevil/Echo Team-U
May, 1999 – February, 2001
David Mack, Joe Quesada, and Jimmy Palmiotti
Daredevil (Vol. 2) #9-15
David Mack’s writing in the Parts of a Hole arc is a natural fit for Born Again given the MCU’s status quo on Disney+. This comic book arc revolves around Kingpin using her surrogate daughter Echo to assassinate Daredevil for him, however, the villain deceives her the entire way.
Alaqua Cox debuted as Echo in Marvel’s Hawkeye miniseries, revealing her tumultuous dynamic with D’Onofrio’s take on Kingpin akin to Parts of a Hole. It remains to be seen how much of this Daredevil lore will be used in next year’s Echo miniseries. Whatever revelations come from it could likely be used in Born Again as motivation for Echo and Daredevil to team up against Kingpin’s wrath.
1 Last Rites Flips The Script In Daredevil’s Favor
August, 1991 – January, 1992
Dan G. Chichester, Lee Weeks, Al Williamson, and Max Scheele
Daredevil (Vol. 1) #297-300
Though the Disney+ series is likely only taking symbolic inspiration from the title of Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli’s comic Born Again, its sequel Last Rites could have a place in the TV show. D.G. Chichester and Lee Weeks’ story revolves around Daredevil turning the tables on Kingpin to tear his life apart.
In the MCU and comics, Fisk has often been the dark architect of Matt’s crumbling life, and Last Rites could influence the upcoming show’s closing arcs. Miller and Mazzucchelli’s Born Again featured Kingpin systematically destroying every aspect of Murdock’s personal life. Last Rites reverses the roles in a way that could work in Daredevil and co.’s dismantling of Mayor Fisk’s career.
Depicting the Man Without Fear at his highest and his lowest points, Daredevil’s best comics are the perfect inspiration for Daredevil: Born Again. Read More