Daredevil is known as The Man Without Fear and the Devil of Hell's Kitchen. The character has been in comics for nearly sixty years and has had one of the most successful comic book adaptations on television. He's a highly intriguing character who practices law during the day and fights crime when the moon rises. Like most people, his inability to see the world hasn't prevented him from protecting his city.
Matt Murdock has fought many villains thrown at him by several writers. Some of these writers took Murdock to new heights, solidifying his place in comic books. As a complex character with multiple layers, these are the writers that understand him. These are the creators that gave fans the stories they wanted to read.
Ten best Daredevil comics to read
From the mind of Brian Michael Bendis (House of M and Secret Invasion), Daredevil saw a much more gruesome iteration in the Marvel Knights imprint under Marvel. Bendis must have been doing something right because his run on Daredevil lasted from 2001 to 2006. In this story, a man named Mr. Silke tries to take out the Kingpin. Simultaneously, a hit was put out on Matt Murdock.
If you're new to Daredevil, this is the recommended title. You get a solid story with the same creative team for five years worth of comics. Underboss was just the start, and they brought fans new, intriguing stories that many hope to see adapted to the big (or small) screen.
The Man Without Fear
Frank Miller is a name that any comic fan knows. He's known for putting out solid stories for big-name characters such as Batman and Wolverine. His other notable works are 300 and Sin City. By the time he penned The Man Without Fear, Frank Miller had already given fans a fantastic Daredevil story in Born Again.
The Man Without Fear was a five-issue miniseries in 1993 that paired Frank Miller with John Romita Jr.
Frank took this opportunity to reboot Daredevil, giving readers a story where Matt hones his abilities and becomes Daredevil. This story heavily influenced the Netflix series Daredevil.
A Touch of Typhoid
After Frank Miller was done with the Devil of Hell's Kitchen, Ann Nocenti took the reins. She brought a new villain for Matt Murdock in the form of Typhoid Mary. Typhoid Mary was a complex character, an assassin with Dissociative Identity Disorder (D.I.D.). Wilson Fisk hires her to fall in love with not just Daredevil but also Matt Murdock.
This allows the Kingpin to attack Daredevil on two fronts, hopefully ensuring victory over the blind lawyer from Hell's Kitchen. Turns out Elektra isn't the only homicidal girlfriend Matt has had. Nocenti is a clever writer and has helped create various Marvel characters like Typhoid Mary, Longshot, Mojo, Spiral, and Blackheart.
Jeph Loeb and Time Sale, the creative team behind Batman: The Long Halloween, work together again to revisit the Man Without Fear's origin. Loeb was able to inject a healthy sense of humor into his story as a way to balance out the grittiness that the character was known for at this point. He also kept his storytelling tight, cutting out any fat with enough room to show DD's entire origin and then some.
Daredevil: Yellow was a part of Marvel's "The Color Series" created by Loeb and Sale. They retold the stories of other characters like Spider-Man (Blue), Captain America (White), and Hulk (Gray). Yellow acted as a love letter to Matt and Karen Page's relationship before she died.
Parts of a Whole
Maya Lopez, a.k.a. Echo, has recently made her MCU debut in the Hawkeye series on Disney+. Her origin arc is slightly different in the MCU, with Hawkeye being pinned for her father's assassination rather than Daredevil. However, the integrity of her story is still intact and maintains its essence. Written by acclaimed writer David Mack, this story showcases the origin of the Echo.
Echo's father is killed in the comic, and the blame lands on Daredevil. In reality, it was ordered by the Kingpin who raised Maya like a daughter and trained her to be an assassin. Just like in the Disney+ series, the comic ends with Maya shooting Wilson Fisk.
Famously known for his work as a director and actor, Kevin Smith is also an acclaimed comic book writer. He has written characters such as Green Arrow, Batman, and Daredevil. Smith writes a bizarre story about a child born from an immaculate conception that may either be the world's savior or destroyer. Kevin Smith recognizes he is writing a comic book and takes it to a new level of camp.
The story ends up being a convoluted scheme setup by Mysterio that employs help from multiple villains like Kingpin and Bullseye. Unfortunately, the story ends with a funeral. However, that funeral brings Matt and Foggy back together with a goal in mind.
The Purple Children
Anything to do with The Purple Man can be triggering for some. The Purple Man is representative of trauma and abuse towards women. Zebediah Killgrave used his powers of influence to get women to fall in love with him and get them pregnant. Only to eventually abandon them, leaving them alone for the birth of their children. Unbeknownst to the mothers, Killgrave kept track of his offspring.
Killgrave tried controlling his children, but they proved too strong for him when they worked together. The Purple Children would then turn their sights on Matt and start to wreak havoc throughout San Francisco. Chaos ensues and Matt has to face his inner demons to save the day, but with a little help from unlikely allies, he's able to pull through.
Chip Zdarsky wrote a great jumping-on point for newer fans in 2019. It’s a good story to start with as it follows Matt getting back into the swing of things. Matt had a brush with death and that's going to leave everyone off-kilter. Especially if you're a blind lawyer that moonlights as a vigilante dressed as a devil, it doesn't help that DD gets blamed for a criminal's death.
It's a story about righteousness and clearing one's name. Zdarsky dives deep into Matt Murdock's psyche, showing different layers. He managed to keep the character as fresh as ever. Chip Zdasrky recently wrote the Devil's Reign story and will return with a new DD #1 this June.
Devil at Bay
Mark Waid took his opportunity on the Man Without Fear to move him out of New York City to sunnier (foggier, really) days in San Francisco. He took a character with a darker tone for most of his comic book existence, especially under Bendis's pen, and gave him a lighter tone. This works for the character, too.
Coupled with Chris Samnee's art, this run of the character was vibrant and fun. Coming off a story where DD killed his longtime villain, Bullseye, it was a breath of fresh air. Waid's three-year run with the character earned himself a couple of Eisner Awards in the process.
Frank Miller has had multiple runs with the character since 1979. If you are a fan of season three of the Netflix series Daredevil, then Born Again is the story for you. This story arc heavily influenced that season. This 1986 arc saw Matt Murdock fall into insanity and poverty at the hands of Wilson Fisk. It even saw Captain America enter the fray briefly to help Murdock.
When one wants grit, they go to Frank Miller. Miller is one writer a publisher can turn to when they want a new life brought to a character, and Frank Miller did that here. He shows a side of Matt Murdock that fans weren't used to. If you want some real street-level Daredevil, this is the comic to checkout.