If Marvel wants to go a little lighter while still retaining some of the tragedy of seasons one through three, they may consider adapting the storyline “Last Rites,” from writer Dan Chichester and penciler Lee Weeks. “Last Rites” revisits Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli’s legendary “Born Again,” which sees Kingpin buying Daredevil’s secret identity from a drug-addled Karen Page (played in the series by Deborah Ann Woll) and destroying Matt Murdock’s life from him. In “Last Rites,” Daredevil exacts his revenge on him, slowly taking Kingpin apart, piece by piece.
That sounds like a recipe for a grim story about the worst aspects of Matt Murdock. And to be sure, Daredevil is a little nasty here, unleashing a mirthless smirk as he insults Fisk and emotionally manipulates Typhoid Mary. But Chichester and Weeks use the plot to examine Murdock’s commitment to heroism. The climax builds to one of the most epic moments in all of superhero comics, in which Daredevil stands over Fisk, finally brought low, and, instead of pummeling him, says, “I forgive you.”
(Daredevil #270, 1989)
While the Netflix series certainly developed a shared universe, putting Daredevil in the orbit of the Punisher and the Defenders, all of these characters stayed low to the ground, allowing only a bit of mysticism involving the Hand ninjas. But in the comics, the character has a long history of dealing with monsters from beyond, including Marvel’s devil himself, Mephisto.
The best of these adventures came from writer Ann Nocenti and artist John Romita Jr, who sent Matt Murdock on a sabbatical away from Hell’s Kitchen. But life didn’t get any less weird for him outside of the big city, especially when he visits the cursed town of Christ’s Crown, New York. There, Daredevil encounters Mephisto and his son Blackheart, the former of whom again tempts the Man Without Fear. These supernatural adventures take full advantage of putting a man of faith like Matt Murdock in a world where gods and devils regularly interact with humanity. And with the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness putting a new emphasis on the otherworldly, Mephisto may be the perfect nemesis for Daredevil.
“Hardcore” and “The King of Hell’s Kitchen”
(Daredevil #46 – 50 and 56 – 60, 2002 – 2003)