Who is 'Daredevil' and why does he have his own Netflix show?

The question being asked is who is Daredevil, and furthermore, why should I care?

While Marvel Studios has legions of fans invested in its rapidly growing and interconnected cinematic universe, this Friday will see the premiere of the studio’s first Netflix-exclusive series.

All 13 episodes of "Daredevil's" first season will be available to stream simultaneously, and fortunately for fans of the comics, the show has been garnering fantastic early reviews. Whereas the previous Ben Affleck movie (which, as a massive Daredevil fan, I have forcefully blocked from my mind) had a tone that could only be described as goofy, reviews have praised the new Netflix series as being dark and gritty.

Surely, loyal fans know all about the hero’s story and his place in the spectrum of Marvel comics. But for non-fans, the question being asked is who is Daredevil, and furthermore, why should I care?

The answer to the first question is simple. Matt Murdock, aka Daredevil, first appeared in spring 1964 in Daredevil No. 1, written by Stan Lee. Dubbed “The Man Without Fear,” Murdock is a blind attorney by day and hero by night who takes to the streets of New York’s Hells Kitchen borough in order to keep them clean.

Though it may sound like a fairly basic concept, seeing how different artists have illustrated Murdock’s disability and how he fights crime has been fascinating. Due to his disability, his other senses are heightened greatly and Murdock uses a highly acute radar sense that allows him to understand his surroundings. His story arc ranks amongst some of the most notable in Marvel comics history, including an iconic stretch of issues in the early '80s written by Frank Miller (of "Sin City" and "The Dark Knight Returns" fame).

The answer to the second question is a bit more complicated.

First, the creative team behind the show ensures that it’s one not to miss. “Cabin in the Woods” director and longtime “Lost” scribe Drew Goddard serves as the show runner with former “Boardwalk Empire” star Charlie Cox playing Murdock.

The second half of this answer is a bit more technical. To make a long story short, “Daredevil” is the first of several series that will culminate in a group called “The Defenders.” Essentially a group of amateur vigilantes, The Defenders originally appeared in 1971 after being formed by Doctor Strange. Previous members have included the Hulk and the Silver Surfer.

Although there’s still a lot of time between now and when the series culminates, it should be well worth putting the shows on your radar. If Marvel's television universe is anything like the cinematic one they currently have going, the time invested will be rewarded. We’ll have a better picture of where Marvel is taking its individual series when "Daredevil" hits Netflix on Friday.

Contact this reporter at seweinst@asu.edu or on Twitter @S_Weinstein95.

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