Matt Murdock has been replaced as Daredevil after pleading guilty to manslaughter, but is his replacement any less likely to pursue lethal solutions?
Warning: this article contains major spoilers for Daredevil #25!
Matt Murdock is behind bars for murder, and the newest person to wear the horns as Daredevil is far more prone to lethal solutions than Matt has ever been. Can the new Daredevil keep the red costume from getting any redder from bloodshed, or is the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen about to live up to that title?
Daredevil voluntarily pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter for beating a man causing brain injury and the man’s eventual death. Having agonized about the accidental killing, Matt first quit superheroics and then – understanding that he’d never be able to truly stop using his gifts to help people – resolved to answer for his crimes, albeit serving his time as Daredevil rather than Matt Murdock. Matt was sentenced to two years in prison, only copping to the manslaughter after ensuring that Hell’s Kitchen would be protected in his absence – reassurance that came when Elektra spent a few billion buying up property to keep it out of the hands of the Stromwyn twins – the richest family in America, with a newfound vendetta against vigilantes.
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With Matt incarcerated for two years, Elektra takes it upon herself to become the new Daredevil and mete out justice, but without killing. Elektra is a one-woman wrecking ball, and while she’s been a Marvel hero for a long time, she’s always opted for permanent solutions. In the particularly memorable Dark Reign: Elektra, from Zeb Wells and Clay Mann, Elektra spares the former SHIELD agents pursuing her multiple times because she believes they’re acting on false information and can be persuaded to stop. The second she realizes their intel is right, she kills them effortlessly, coming to the split-second decision that no true enemy can be allowed to live. Elektra has been through a lot since, but little of it has run counter to her instinct to assassinate first and worry about it never.
Elektra was trained up by the mystical ninja group the Hand before breaking away and fighting against her former masters, killing for money as one of New York’s top assassins, then completing her training with the Chaste – a group traditionally opposed to the Hand – after having her sins cleansed by Daredevil’s attempt to resurrect her. While she is often at odds with Matt and his no-killing rule, something which has become even more important to him after committing manslaughter, she’s adamant that she wants him to trust her as the new Daredevil.
Prior to suiting up, Elektra revealed she needs Matt to fulfill a Hand prophecy about a counter-force to the ninjas called “the Fist” that needs a king and queen to work. Matt declines but isn’t made aware that this kingship would be short-lived, since only one member of the royal couple survives. Matt turns Elektra down when she again asks for his help in prison, spurring what seems like an attempt to win his trust and compel him to play along.
In Daredevil #25, by Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto, Elektra decides to take on the role of Daredevil to prove to Matt that she can fight for good. Using violence to protect others and promote peace is one of the biggest hypocrisies of vigilantes and heroes, and up to this point Elektra didn’t have to worry about holding these two opposing viewpoints in her head; she just used violence as a means to an end. But now she has to consciously pull punches and use the blunt end, not the pointy end, of her sai. Her true intention seems to be to lure Matt into his role as King Fist and eventually his death. Hopefully, she does some good as Daredevil in the meantime.
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