With Marvel’s newest mini-series Shadowland underway, writer Andy Diggle has taken New York’s resident extrasensory superhero, Daredevil, and given him leadership of The Hand clan of ninja. Formerly bitter enemies, The Hand approach Matt Murdock’s red-clad alter-ego to take control of an organization that seems to be the very antithesis of heroic.

Daredevil has a tough task ahead of him as he tries to change the clan into something a little more upstanding: with Matt’s moral choices shifting between good and evil, Shadowland has been referred to as a fight for Daredevil’s soul.

But what of Hell’s Kitchen, the hero’s stomping grounds? While Murdock is being morally ambiguous, who would take care of it in his stead? Who could replace the Man Without Fear? Marvel Comics posed this question through a series of teaser images, each featuring a hero that would presumably take Daredevil’s place as a hero based in one of New York’s roughest areas.

At the time of this post’s publishing, the four heroes who have been revealed in teaser images are Captain America’s former partner, The Falcon, mutant and X-Man Gambit, Wakandan royalty Black Panther and Nova, the hero of the Annihilation storyline and former New Warrior. Each teaser image begs the question: “Will (hero) be the new Man Without Fear?”

My bet is on none of them. They don’t have the guts.

The character of Daredevil is placed in Hell’s Kitchen for reasons besides the matching names: his childhood was spent there, the accident that gave him his powers occurred there, and Murdock has witnessed corruption by mobsters and other hoodlums all his life. It is also close to Midtown Manhattan, where most of his villains set up shop. While the Marvel superhero population of New York must be brimming to the top by now, everyone seems to leave Hell’s Kitchen alone; there’s a reason for that.

Daredevil is extremely good at what he does, and any hero looking to replace him must be the same. They must be prepared to face the challenges of Matt Murdock’s life; the risks he takes and the baggage he carries will all become theirs.

If you don’t follow Daredevil history, here’s a hint: in some storylines, he makes Spider-Man’s life look peachy by comparison.

That hero will have to be able to counter one of Daredevil’s deadliest foes in the assassin Bullseye. A ruthless killer with an Adamantium-enhanced spine, Bullseye is a psychopath with ungodly aim and a habit for insanity. He is unrelenting, merciless and extremely violent; recent activities include killing the Sentry’s wife, Lindy, then dumping her body in the ocean. Later, he killed 100 innocents with explosives rigged to a building Daredevil and himself were fighting in.

When Matt realized what had happened, Bullseye taunted him with the possibility that those people would have lived had Daredevil killed him.

On top of Bullseye, the new Man Without Feat must deal with attacks on all aspects of his life from Wilson Fisk, alias The Kingpin. A man of unfathomable financial power, Fisk has systematically dismantled Matthew Murdock’s life on multiple occasions. In recent issues of Daredevil, the Kingpin’s new love, Marta, was killed in the name of the Hand. Though the possibility exists that the killing was a framing, it would be safe to say that Fisk wants revenge.

Both Fisk and Bullseye are not afraid of chasing after the people Murdock cares about; two of Daredevil’s love interests have been murdered, with the third merely ending up in a mental institution.

The replacement Man Without Fear must be capable enough to put the loved ones he has in the line of fire from multiple overwhelming forces. Few can face the possibility that their wife or daughter could be assassinated at any moment, or face potential financial ruin at the hands of a power-hungry businessman. Most heroes have an area in which they are comfortable operating in: for many of the suggested replacements, they do not have the fortitude to survive in such circumstances.

Even powerful heroes like Nova or Black Panther seem preoccupied by their responsibilities; expecting the King of an African nation to watch a neighborhood in New York is like asking Barack Obama to run your church’s bake sale. He simply has more important things to do. Nova has responsibilities as well, acting as Nova Prime of the Nova Corps and as a member of the Secret Avengers. Maybe he just needed an apartment close to Midtown and heard there were good rates in The Kitchen.

With lingering hostility to mutants, even the streetwise Gambit would find difficulty winning the trust of the people in order to operate freely. The Falcon, who considered retirement following Avengers: Disassembled, seems to lack the power set to get the job done. Flying can only do so much against a man with perfect aim.

Until we see more possible candidates for Murdock’s replacement, I’m going to stay skeptical. While not necessarily a hero at the forefront of the Marvel Universe, Daredevil’s role is no less difficult or dangerous.

It’s a difficult job, and who better to take the burden of the job than someone who’s known nothing else?

The Author

Matt Demers

Matt Demers

Matt Demers is an opinion columnist that thinks Scott Pilgrim is one of the most overrated comic series’ in the 2000’s era. There, he said it.
Writing for numerous websites around the Internet like Nerd Girl Pinups, Droid Life and The CoreBurner, Matt enjoys playing the role of the cynic, devil’s advocate and skeptic all rolled into one. He believes there’s a difference between ranting and informed views, and tries to keep on the side of the latter. You can direct your hate to his Twitter (http://twitter.com/mattdemers) and personal web site (http://www.mattdemers.com/).

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12 Comments

  1. Eddie Sheridan
    August 6, 2010 at 11:42 am — Reply

    Falcon’s the only one of these that’s “street level” enough to make any sense, although the thought of Bullseye and Gambit chucking things at each is strangely appealing to me.

  2. jurman
    August 6, 2010 at 12:25 pm — Reply

    My guess would be this new Power Man character. I would rather see it be Gambit, though. And I would really rather see it just go back to Daredevil. Don’t get me wrong, I like the whole Shadowland concept but Matt acts differently in the Shadowland book than in his own title. He struggled with his new position, sure, but it seems like he got a complete personality transplant out of the blue.

    Hopefully this is carefully planned out and DD’s up to something (like when he “killed” Master Izo)and this isn’t just some stupid mind control story that we’ve seen a thousand times.

  3. OS Perry
    August 6, 2010 at 12:52 pm — Reply

    How about Ben Reily? Peter Parker has stepped in for Matt and Vice Versa I believe.

    I looked up the ScarletSpider/Ben Reily wiki and found this:

    Possible Return
    After the release of “Spider-Man: the Clone Saga” miniseries, various blogs reviewed the series. Reportedly, Howard Mackie and Tom DeFalco, creators of the miniseries had this to say to a manager of one blog: “Thanks, Brad. I truly appreciate all the kind words, and that Tom gets all the blame for the minor negatives! Tom and I would LOVE to continue with Ben– and have pitched a series– but that is Marvel’s call. Maybe a grassroots movement would help? Thanks again”.[19] The blog is “Spider-Man Crawl Space” and news of this quote was posted February 25, 2010.
    On July 25th, at the 2010 San Diego Comic-con many fans expressed their desire to see a return of Ben Reilly. To this, assistant editor Tom Brennan replied “It’s being worked on”[20].

    I could go for this idea better than the 4 mentioned.

  4. Slappy
    August 6, 2010 at 2:02 pm — Reply

    Gambit may be an X-Man but he is street level. That is where he came from and is most comfortable. Except for his accent, he is Hell’s Kitchen.
    Who better to fight crooks than a crook?

  5. Bloodstain
    August 6, 2010 at 2:32 pm — Reply

    The new “Man Without Fear” should be Hal Jordan… oh wait, wrong universe.

    Of this list, Gambit seems to be the best choice. He could conceal his mutant-ness better than others. It guess it depends on how much he used his powers and in what way around Hell’s Kitchen.

    Nova’s galactic scale. Black Panther has other concerns. Falcon’s just doesn’t doesn’t interest me enough to consider…I’m fond of the character from a “He’s one of the old background crew” kind of way, but I can’t remember a time I read a story that featured Falcon that had me go “Oh yeah, he’s awesome.”

    Eventually it’ll just go back to Matt Murdock as the good Daredevil again. I also think Gambit should stay being Gambit with having Marvel actually do something interesting with him (as opposed to how he’s been treated over the past few years).

  6. Ray
    August 6, 2010 at 4:25 pm — Reply

    none of these characters can keep a title. May as well have Alpha Flight in the running. People care about Murdock not who polices Hell’s Kitchen, a small chunk of a city filled with superheroes. Why shoehorn another character into Daredevils world?

    This is a fairly weak premise.

    Although I’d like to see Stick take over. I don’t know if he’s alive or dead though.

  7. Doctor Sleepless
    August 6, 2010 at 6:06 pm — Reply

    Ironfist has done it before… Just saying. And is it just me or does Falcon have one of the goddamn worst costumes ever. Its really ruins my experience with the character.
    I’m not gonna bring up Gambits (I hate that one even more) because other people actually seem to like his costume.

  8. Doctor Sleepless
    August 6, 2010 at 6:09 pm — Reply

    Deadpool?…Marvel kinda needs him in a niche if they are gonna keep running his ongoings (all 15 of them)

  9. Ray
    August 7, 2010 at 12:00 am — Reply

    I think OS Perry’s idea is pretty good. I also liked Ben Reily.

  10. Jim
    August 7, 2010 at 12:30 am — Reply

    I second the idea of Iron Fist. His solo title was very awesome and sadly got canned. There’s a lot of similarities between Danny and Matt Murdock. My back-up choice would be Moon Knight.

  11. Jonathan Cadotte
    August 7, 2010 at 10:50 am — Reply

    I’d like to see Ben Grimm in a solo title taking care of The Kitchen. He’s has the street level background and the gruffness that would be fun to read in a protector scenario.

  12. August 8, 2010 at 5:58 pm — Reply

    It’s my personal bias, of course, but I’d love to see them give Carlos LaMuerto, the Black Tarantula, a good chance at proving himself once more. If not, he could always take over The Hand – he is the former boss of their rivals…

    Otherwise, hurm, let’s see…none of the above would work as they all belong in a different ‘world’ to Murdock, except perhaps Gambit…to twist the knife, Mister Fear would do in a pinch.

    A ‘Street’ character who’s been out of the limelight might also work – how about, for instance, that son of fun, Shen Kuei, the Cat?

    Perhaps Jason Aaron could be shoe-horning in his pet favourite, Ghost Rider, for the role? Would his entire Daredevil run just be an elaborate plot to get GR back into reader’s pull-lists so that he’ll have the chance to write more strange Mid-Western demoniac tales?

    Or might they even throw a sucker-punch and lumber us with some crazy unappreciated wacko – like The Orb, who Aaron re-introduced? Or a revamped Carnage? Or perhaps even The Captain?

    Only time shall tell.

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