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.
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.
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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?