Daredevil Sets a New Tone for the Marvel Universe

For a show that’s only existed since April, Daredevil has found some die-hard fans among longtime readers and new binge-watchers. Since its debut in a massive, binge-worthy 13-hour series on Netflix, Daredevil has brought a unique tone to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

On hand to discuss were Gary Mitchel, writer and reviewer for RevolutionSF.com, Earth Station One podcaster Jennifer Hartshorn, writer and historian Bethany Kesler, writer Eric R. Asher, and writer Van Allen Plexico. All confessed to loving the series, even so far as to binge-watching the whole thing in one sitting.

“I was fervently hoping that it didn’t suck,” Kesler said. And everyone agreed it did not.

“When Daredevil came out, they got everything right,” said Plexico.

The panelists agreed, as did the audience, that the darker, more adult tone and look of the show really set it apart from typical Marvel fare.

“It was so refreshing to see a superhero actually bleed on-screen,” Kesler said.

“It’s grim without being bleak,” Mitchel said. “It justifies everything else for me, even the Incredible Hulk movie.

Asher gave another example of the difference between Daredevil and the rest of the Marvel universe—the development of the villain. In the show, the origin story of Daredevil (Matt Murdock) parallels the origin of Kingpin (Wilson Fisk) almost equally. “The villain is as much a main character on this show as anyone else,” he explained. Panelists and audience members alike commented that this was as much at testament to Vincent D’Onofrio’s exceptional work in that role as it was to the writing, which launched a quick discussion of the entire cast.

Allen explained that he was not familiar with Charlie Cox, the actor cast for Daredevil, but when he first saw Cox, he couldn’t take his eyes off him. “He plays it so precisely,” Allen said. He also commented on the realness of danger in the series. “There’s so much uncertainty from the get-go,” he said, explaining that during the series’ early fight scenes, you really did worry. Hartshorn said, “There’s a chance he could lose this fight,” and added that that believability is what makes this show a refreshing shift from every other superhero thing out there

Mitchel added, “Daredevil’s two real superpowers are Catholic guilt and I-won’t-give-up.”

Panelists and audience members discussed a few of the inherent difficulties with the possibility of all the interweaving Marvel threads actually crossing. “There’s a power differential for sure,” one audience member pointed out. But Hartshorn countered by noting that there were already major power differentials. Thor and Hawkeye are both Avengers, for example, but they’re definitely at different ends of the superpower spectrum.

Looking ahead to season 2, panelists pointed out that the next season will include Punisher, a fan favorite, but could be very different from the first season. When asked to speculate, Kesler explained she’d “do what comics fans do best, which is hope really, really hard.”

Author of the article

Jessica spends her days advising college radio, magazine and newspaper staffs, and balances the rest of her time binge-watching TV and binge-reading nonfiction.