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Daredevil's Possession During Shadowland

Wasn’t there a better idea for a Daredevil-centric event series?

The best kind of superhero stories are the ones that push our favorite heroes to the absolute limit--testing their resolve, determination, resilience, and willpower. Over the last few years there has been no hero put through the ringer quite like Matt Murdock. He’s seen his second true love, Karen Page, die in his arms, he’s been outed as Daredevil to the press, thrown in jail alongside Kingpin, divorced his wife, Milla, and finally, become leader of an evil ninja cult The Hand. Murdock’s experienced more drama in the last few years than most people go through over multiple lifetimes.

With that in mind, Shadowland was pitched as a way to finally lay all of Matt Murdock’s demons to rest (apparently literally, as well as figuratively)--acting as an end-cap to the character’s seemingly never-ending downward spiral. A palette cleanser, if you will. Having now finished the main Shadowland mini-series, and having read the epilogue chapter in Daredevil #512, I find myself with one nagging question: was the possession route really necessary?

While not everyone is going to agree with me here, I do believe the possession angle taken by Andy Diggle when writing Shadowland was a mistake. Simply put, it greatly undermines the years of character work pumped into Daredevil, including the work Diggle contributed himself, giving Marvel a simple backdoor fix to the character’s redemption. “Oh, but it wasn’t really him.” I can already sense that kind of cheap explanation being used to justify Murdock’s return to Hell’s Kitchen once he’s completed his spiritual quest to rediscover himself. Hell, Foggy Nelson already started using that excuse in Daredevil #512! When it comes down to it, possession is a lame storytelling tactic that provides a safety net for easy explanation and write-off purposes later down the line; a quick-fix status quo renewer.
 == TEASER ==
This chosen path is even more disappointing when you consider how much potential Shadowland had as a fantastic culmination of years of pressure and stress put on Matt Murdock by his moonlight gig as the protector of Hell’s Kitchen. Imagine if Daredevil actually killed Bullseye by his own free will--without a puppet master pulling his strings? Think of the storytelling possibilities a dramatic event such as that could have led to? Matt would actually have to answer for his crimes, as well as come to terms with the boundary he crossed within the superhero community. 

Redemption would be a much longer and interesting road if this were the case. But as it turns out, it’s hard to sympathetically support the moralistic choices of a man with fire red eyes, smoke billowing from his mouth, and the ability to elongate like he’s Stretch Armstrong . In short, Shadowland was nothing more than a lackluster monster story. Is that really the best idea pitched for a Daredevil-centric event from the House of Ideas?

But, like I said before, you may disagree. Maybe you loved Shadowland for spotlighting the street-level heroes of the Marvel U., especially after all the alien invasions and governmental registration acts. So voice your opinion in the comments section below! What did YOU think of Marvel’s latest event? 
121 Comments
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Posted by Catastrophic

I have to agree w/ you. It would be interesting if they actually had a series where Daredevil tried to get redemption where runs from the cops, other superheroes while trying to do good. It would be interesting to see which superhero actually trusts him. 
 
Shame on Marvel for this.

Posted by Frootsnax
@Catastrophic: 
 
I completely agree with everything you said, and I'd like to add that I didn't like how demon of all things was too powerful for ghost rider. You know, the guy that kinda destroys demons. Just saying.
Posted by PrinceIMC

See but Daredevil never would have stooped to that level if he had been in complete control of himself. To me though he wasn't possessed until the end. It seemed to me that the path to Hell was paved with good intentions. It used Matt's desire to help people to turn him, it wasn't in complete control until the end. 
 
Now the changing of Scarlet Witch in Children's Crusade so she wasn't responsible for her actions during disassembled and since now that is stupid because it has been done so long after the fact. Daredevil being possessed was part of the Shadowland story. The tragic events of his live gave an open door to the demon to take over his body.
Posted by Mr. Dead Pool

I thought it was great lol! But I liked the demon thing it was the only way they could have Daredevil being a threat to guys like Ghost Rider, who no steet level crossover can be without, and have it be believable.

Posted by Top Flight Security

I think Marvel should have shown DD break a little bit and do as @Catastrophic said and have him on the run trying to gain redemption. I think the possession was a cop-out.

Posted by Jake Fury

It was a necessary evil for him to be an actual threat to most of the heroes involved. As for the story..it was alright.  
Posted by The_Martian

I was disappointed with the story arc when it was revealed he was possessed.

Posted by dondasch

I haven't read this arc, but for me, the best was Frank Miller's work, in particular Fall From Grace, which I just uncovered the other day and reading again.

Posted by Jake Fury

Daredevil has always been Marvel's grittiest street leveler. He's rarely if ever tangled with any threats mystical in nature. I think the demonic possesion just felt out of character storyline wise for him.  
 
I didn't hate the story. The art was spectacular but it just didn't feel like a DD story IMHO.
Posted by Vance Astro

The comic went to far.There is no way they are going to be able to redeem DD after logically without a retcon.

Moderator
Posted by Icemizer

Possession is a definite cop out for this arc. Marvel should have taken him down into the depths and left him there. Has there been a major hero turned villian in normal continuity? Having Daredevil become the man who creates fear would have allowed for amazing stories to be told. Now we will get the usual redemtion arc and in short order he will be wearing the red pajamas and swinging around Hells Kitchen doing daring deeds blah, blah, blah. Daredevil as leader of the Hand, the new Kingpin of New Yorks Underworld will now only be realized as a What If Story. Very sad as this could have turned into something really fantastic.
Posted by Danial79

The possession angle, to me, is along the lines of "he woke up and it was all a dream"--it's cheap storytelling. If there's nothing actually at stake, then what's the point. Sure he did some bad things, but once everyone knows it's wasn't him, he's instantly forgiven, so there's no tension or consequences.

Posted by Midnight Monk

Shadowland was good pitch with awful ideas, When I first saw the solicit like everyone I assumed DD finally reached his breaking point and decided to take the law into his own hands. The first issue of Shadowland was incredible has Matt soundly defeated his longtime enemy and did what needed to be done by killing him. This book was a victim of simply too many unnecessary tie-ins which brought about Heroes For Hire. If anything the only books that should have involved Shadowland at all were Shadowland,DD, & Blood on the Streets; Everything else was entirely unnecessary and not needed  Diggle should have stuck with what made his DD run great rather than packing it fool of supernatural elements. You can throw this mess right up there with Siege as the worst event ever. Thank god for the Thanos Imperative

Posted by Lvenger

It was better than Sige but it still didn't feel right. I agree with what's said here in thta this series could have changed Matt Murdock forever.

Posted by Video_Martian

This actually reminds me of another superhero who wound up "possessed":

 


 

Posted by Vance Astro
@Midnight Monk said:
" Shadowland was good pitch with awful ideas, When I first saw the solicit like everyone I assumed DD finally reached his breaking point and decided to take the law into his own hands. The first issue of Shadowland was incredible has Matt soundly defeated his longtime enemy and did what needed to be done by killing him. This book was a victim of simply too many unnecessary tie-ins which brought about Heroes For Hire. If anything the only books that should have involved Shadowland at all were Shadowland,DD, & Blood on the Streets; Everything else was entirely unnecessary and not needed  Diggle should have stuck with what made his DD run great rather than packing it fool of supernatural elements. You can throw this mess right up there with Siege as the worst event ever. Thank god for the Thanos Imperative "
Agreed.
Moderator
Posted by Doctor!!!!!

Possessed.. thats lame.... 
it did make him a lot more awsome...
Posted by AndyPhifer

I didn't even know he was possessed until the last issue. There was all that "Is he" or "isn't he" talk, and since none of the other characters knew he was and... blah. I guess it would have helped if I'd read the issue where he becomes possessed? And who was he possessed by? 
Maybe it is ignorance of the recent issues that kept me in the dark, but the whole thing confused me.
Posted by SystemID

I have already stated my opinion of the Shadowland ending in a thread that was locked for being a dupe.
 
For those that missed. I shall re-iterate...
 

Posted by .o0Johnny0o.

It felt like a movie you watch and you can tell the script is rushed towards the end.
 
Also, if even had a conversation with Daredevil or one of his friends, I'd check that my insurance covered 'Sai'

Posted by doordoor123

It started well but ended horribly. Chaos War also started well but has been on a downward slope. Same could said about x-men Curse of the Mutants. I dont think these kind of events work at Marvel. The good events they do usually crossover a bunch of books. It could even be a contained crossingover  like Second Coming where the story only crossed over the "X" books.

Edited by zzax

As someone that has collected DD since frank Miller's original run, I can say my interest in the character and the series is as low as it has ever been. I know it is sacrilege, but I never care much for Bendis' run on the book. It was a one-note homage to Miller's run. 
 
This may sound strange, but I pine for the days of Ann Nocenti's run on the book. She did an amazing job of balancing the law aspects of Matt Murdock with the costume exploits of DD. She would weave these two worlds together in great arcs. The tone was  a little lighter. DD is never going to be a happy character and the tone, should never be that  of Spiderman or FF, but the "lets see how badly we can emotionally torture Matt Murdock" has gone on too long. This was the problem with the Bendis run. It was so singular in its misery. Putting a character through tragedy only works if it is balanced with some joy or normalcy. 
 
Maybe they should cancel the title for a year or two (I already know this is not happening) and let a fresh writer come on and reviltialize the character. Hopefully someone with their own vision that is not so in love with the Miller years. Don't get me wrong, those comics are some of my all time favorites; but it has already been done and repeated several times. 

Edited by asgoodasezra

What happened, happened.   :/
 
Kinda wish it was just contained in the Daredevil ongoing, but I'm more curious to see where Diggle takes Murdock from here.
 

Posted by comicbikerscott

i think its good so far
Posted by Trodorne

I would have prefered no possession and him falling into the world of becoming a super villain. that being in charge would have brought about an ego which never would have come from Matt before. possession is just a quick way to speed up the story when the series itself should have played like a soap opera.

Posted by MisterMollusk

IT WAS PARALLAX!!!!!!111!!!!
 
srsly tho. that is sooooo lame.

Posted by Fantasgasmic
@mr.obvious said:
"

This actually reminds me of another superhero who wound up "possessed":


 

"
I didn't think of it at the time, but yeah, THIS is a great parallel.
Posted by weapon154

Okay... so who became Marvel's greatest villian? Was it Kingpin? Daredevil? Elektra? Bullseye?

Posted by Seraphim84

The similarities with the Parallax retcon are uncanny.  Maybe they had it in mind all along, but that still doesn't excuse the tackiness that something like a possession rather than a character breaking moment makes readers feel.

Posted by ComiCCloseup

 I Don't read Marvel
Posted by Vance Astro
@ComiCCloseup said:
"  I Don't read Marvel "
Then why post at all?
Moderator
Posted by Theodore

I agree 100%, the story had such potential... IMO the demon being able to take down Ghost Rider was total PIS. And then Iron Fist takes him out with his chi, I mean really?!

Posted by thiagofonseca
@weapon154:   Okay... so who became Marvel's greatest villian? Was it Kingpin? Daredevil? Elektra? Bullseye?
 
yes, that's the true question. everybody knows the storyline sucked.
Posted by speedlgt

I thought it was cool story......i loved the idea of the street level heroes all going after DD. I agree that its an easy fix.........but hey no cried cop out when stark didnt back up his mind.........????????? so if stark gets the cop out then DD gets too. after all stark did way more damage then DD did. The worst he did was kill bullseye and stomp all his friends.  
 
over all yes it can be a cop out but i enjoyed the arc quite a bit. The only thing that didnt make sense but its also what made it cool was wouldnt the avengers just step in? i mean if they did it would be over fast but you got what 4 avengers going after DD but they leave out all the heavy hitters? its a little too convient but all the same I like it
Posted by G-Man

I was bummed as well. At least Bullseye stayed dead (for now).

Staff Online
Posted by ComiCCloseup

Because people work hard on their topics and it's always nice to get a response. So I comment and sometimes I have a lot to say and other times not so much.

Edited by Deadcool

Well, this was Spider-man's equivalent to The Other+Civil War+Back In Black+One More Day, but JMS didn't need a Spider-man possesed to do what he did in Back in Black, but at the end they used another bad excuse, Maphisto used "Magic, I don't have to explained", we can say that the same thing happened to Daredevil,  “Oh, but it wasn’t really him”,  that was a little mediocre...
I don't like it that saga that much, but oh well, I liked the rest... 

Posted by Sir Duke

Long before this story line started and the hype machine was in full swing, I knew that the success of this story hinged entirely on Marvel actually having the guts to make Daredevil a villain.  They didn't, and from a storytelling perspective, Shadowland was a failure.  The moment his eyes started glowing and he grasped his head talking to, the story failed.

Posted by IrishX
@ComiCCloseup said:
"Because people work hard on their topics and it's always nice to get a response. So I comment and sometimes I have a lot to say and other times not so much. "

I don't think anything comic book related including anything having to do with this site should be considered hard work. It's kind of an insult to people who actually do work hard. 
 
 
On the topic yes I enjoyed the series for the most part. Were there things they could have done better? Sure but I could say that with just about any comic story.
Posted by daredevil21134
@Vance Astro said:
" @Midnight Monk said:
" Shadowland was good pitch with awful ideas, When I first saw the solicit like everyone I assumed DD finally reached his breaking point and decided to take the law into his own hands. The first issue of Shadowland was incredible has Matt soundly defeated his longtime enemy and did what needed to be done by killing him. This book was a victim of simply too many unnecessary tie-ins which brought about Heroes For Hire. If anything the only books that should have involved Shadowland at all were Shadowland,DD, & Blood on the Streets; Everything else was entirely unnecessary and not needed  Diggle should have stuck with what made his DD run great rather than packing it fool of supernatural elements. You can throw this mess right up there with Siege as the worst event ever. Thank god for the Thanos Imperative "
Agreed. "

Agreed
Posted by Deadcool
@Midnight Monk said:
You can throw this mess right up there with Siege as the worst event ever.
I liked the first 3 issues of Siege...
Posted by danhimself

think about it this way...would Daredevil have been any kind of problem if he wasn't possessed?  think about it...Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Spider-man, Punisher, and others went in there and got their collective a$$es kicked...if he wasn't possessed then they would have gone in stopped and arrested him with almost 0 problems..then the story would have been over

Posted by Jake Fury

LMAO@ worst ever...
Posted by daredevil21134
@danhimself said:
"think about it this way...would Daredevil have been any kind of problem if he wasn't possessed?  think about it...Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Spider-man, Punisher, and others went in there and got their collective a$$es kicked...if he wasn't possessed then they would have gone in stopped and arrested him with almost 0 problems..then the story would have been over "

true dat
Edited by Dr. Detfink

The WORST part was the fact that they brought back in the B.S. involving the ...cops' trying to issue a warrant to arrest Matt Murdock under suspicion of being Daredevil. Er, Didn't Bendis/Brubaker approach this better? 
 
Shadowland was just an excuse to switch out DD for Black Panther (after he horrifically destroyed his country's supply of Vibranium, plunging the country into poverty)...
 
Don't see why Daredevil Reborn is so necessary after this messy story that had zero consequences.

Posted by daredevil21134

hmmmmmmm
Posted by goldenkey
@Fantasgasmic: I was actually scrolling down to leave a comment about Hal being possessed.  Worked for Hal, not to much for DD.
Posted by KJPPPimp

Really? Possession? I'ved been missing Shadowland and have been meaning to catch up on the back issues but after hearing this I don't know if I could. Marvel and their cop outs.

Posted by GT-Man

I like it he's even more badass 
Posted by The Sadhu

I would like to think that Marvel will try to retcon this in some way and say that the 'Beast' was just Matt's darkside manifested in some way making him truely responsible for what he did! 
 
Wishful thinking!
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