Daredevil has once again turned to the dark side after being exposed to an experimental gas, echoing his deadly Shadowland possession by the Beast.
Warning: contains spoilers for Daredevil #33!
In the latest issue of Marvel Comics’ Daredevil, Matt Murdock’s dark side returns, and ally Cole North believes the former hero is about to take his life. While the new Daredevil (Elektra Natchios) has been dealing with extremely dangerous clones of Bullseye, the original Man Without Fear has been imprisoned in recent months. However, a new development has led to some disastrous results that could see Murdock reverting back to his darkest self akin to the villain he became during Marvel’s Shadowland storyline.
In recent issues of Daredevil from writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Marco Checchetto, Matt Murdock has been serving out his sentence for involuntary manslaughter. However, he’s taken a deal to help uncover the corruption within the prison itself and the illicit actions of its warden in exchange for a shorter sentence. To that end, Daredevil recently made his intentions to take the warden down known, gaining the desired outcome of agitating the warden and making him fearful and careless. While this positioned Matt to discover his secret underground lab, the original Daredevil then accidentally caused the explosion of a mysterious experiment.
Now, the prison is in total lockdown in the new Daredevil #33 while also being covered by some sort of gas (most likely from the destroyed lab). However, no one has been able enter or shine spotlights on the prison due to the actions of Daredevil himself, who it’s revealed has taken over the prison. While he does let Detective Cole North into the facility, he discovers a pretty dark scene that creates some massive concerns for Matt Murdock’s mental state. While it’s unknown what his true intentions are or why he’s sitting on a throne above all the other inmates, it’s very likely that Murdock has been taken over by a new darkness, not unlike when the Beast of the Hand possessed Daredevil during the Shadowland event.
While North and Daredevil were once opposed to one another due to the detective’s anti-vigilante beliefs, they have since become allies. However, Dardevil’s challenge to North to try and take him down is very concerning, and North is right to fear that, “Daredevil is going to kill me.” It’s likely that whatever compound/gas was being developed in the lab has affected Matt Murdock’s mind, corrupting him and making him more susceptible to the darkest parts of himself. In Shadowland, Matt murdered Bullseye – an act initially suggested to be of his own free will, and later suggested to be due to the Beast’s influence. Either way, Matt Murdock is not the type of hero so inherently opposed to killing that he’ll snap out of his current condition before doing something he regrets.
Hopefully, North can bring Matt back to his senses, but it would certainly be interesting if former assassin Elektra needed to be brought in to knock some sense into Matt with an epic Daredevil vs Daredevil showdown. Accepting imprisonment was meant to help Matt take responsibility for his actions and commit to being a more cautious and moral hero. Sadly, resuming his vigilante activities has immediately plunged him back into the darkness, suggesting that as long as he chooses to fight evil so directly, there will always be a chance it will seize control of him again. In Shadowland, it took heroes like Spider-Man, Iron Fist, and Ghost Rider working together to free Daredevil from the Beast – hopefully, Cole North and Elektra are up to the same challenge.
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