After a cameo in Spider-Man: No Way Home, it’s official – Matt Murdock is back in the MCU. Now, we’ll see Daredevil again in the new She-Hulk series, and fans couldn’t be more hyped. A lot of that has to do with Charlie Cox’s incredible performance, but a lot of it also has to do with Daredevil simply being an awesome, well-written superhero.
Daredevil’s journey began all the way back in 1964, but the newly-announced MCU series is titled Daredevil: Born Again. That’s a pretty clear indicator that the story will probably be based on the fan-favorite Marvel Comics arc of the same name, written by Frank Miller and drawn by David Mazzucchelli.
The run was intriguing and groundbreaking for Daredevil as a character, as he faced some of the toughest tests in his life, faith, family, and vigilante career. The show will likely differ to fit the MCU narrative, but if you want to prepare and know what to expect in the show, here’s a complete guide through the Daredevil: Born Again comics run.
Daredevil: Born Again Reading Order: At A Glance
Daredevil: Born Again series is technically only five issues long, from Daredevil Vol. 1 #227-231. However, later prints included Daredevil #226, whereas #232-233 followed up on the same story, so they could be considered a part of the arc. So, at a glance, the list looks like this:
- Daredevil Vol. 1 #226
- Daredevil Vol. 1 #227
- Daredevil Vol. 1 #228
- Daredevil Vol. 1 #229
- Daredevil Vol. 1 #230
- Daredevil Vol. 1 #231
- Daredevil Vol. 1 #232
- Daredevil Vol. 1 #233
How much of it will be covered in the new MCU series – or if the series will follow the storyline from the comic books at all – remains to be seen.
Daredevil: Born Again Reading Order: Fully Explained
Daredevil Vol. 1 #226
Issued: January 1986
Daredevil #226 isn’t exactly a part of the Daredevil: Born Again storyline. The original arc spanned from Daredevil #227-231, and some plot points and loose ends were tied up in issues #232 and #233.
However, in a graphic novel-format reprint a while later, Daredevil: Born Again includes issue #226, simply for reference. It’s a cool issue but doesn’t necessarily revolve around the main storyline from the arc. Still, it’s worth a read to give you an idea of where Matt is at the beginning of the Born Again storyline.
The #226 issue revolves around the abduction of Betsy Beatty, and Melvin Potter (aka the Gladiator) is on a redemptive path to save her. He is truly a changed man and answers the call when the kidnappers request a ransom. To save Betsy, he tries robbing a jewelry store to try and raise money for Beatty.
However, Daredevil comes into the mix, thinking Potter has gone bad again, not knowing that Melvin has changed. They get into a fight, and Matt beats the Gladiator silly. When he realizes that Potter is not his old violent self anymore, Daredevil learns he was just trying to save Betsy.
Matt feels incredible guilt for beating Melvin and vows to save Betsy, which he eventually does. Still, this is where Matt’s world, and psyche, start to go downhill. Not only did he feel guilty about Melvin, but his law office was closing. That’s where Matt is at when Daredevil: Born Again starts.
Daredevil Vol. 1 #227
Issued: February 1986
This particular issue is considered to be one of the best, most shocking Marvel Comics issues ever. It’s certainly in my top ten, but opinions vary, of course. Throughout the Born Again series, Matt will experience a complete breakdown of his life and psyche after what happens in this very issue, Daredevil #227.
Karen Page returns with not-so-good intentions. Matt Murdock’s former lover left New York a while ago to go to LA and become an actress. Unfortunately, instead of an illustrious career, Karen falls into another kind of hell – a severe heroin addiction, which she financed by starring in the pornographic industry.
When she hits rock bottom, broke, embarrassed, and in severe pain from withdrawal, Karen Page sells the information about Daredevil’s identity to a crook just for a single shot of heroin. From that point, the info is sold upwards until it finally reaches Murdock’s arch-nemesis, the Kingpin.
Of course, Wilson Fisk uses his influence to destroy every aspect of his life – freezing his accounts, the bank foreclosing his apartment, and even having police lieutenants witness to seeing Matt pay a witness. To add to it, the law firm was closing, and coincidentally, Murdock’s girlfriend, Glorianna, broke up with him to date Foggy Nelson, his best friend, and partner.
Now, I’m not sure how much of it will be in the series, seeing that Karen Page played a totally different role in the Daredevil Netflix series. However, perhaps we’ll see her fall off the deep end after the Blip. We know the Kingpin is coming back, so maybe it all ties up to follow the comics arc more closely.
Daredevil Vol. 1 #228
Issued: March 1986
In #228, Matt starts to investigate and seek evidence about who destroyed his life so thoroughly in the previous issue, already having doubts about the Kingpin. He uncovers that the lieutenant witnessing against him was actually doing it for another person – who, in return, pays for the treatment of his ill son. However, he couldn’t find confirmation about who the other person was.
Meanwhile, Foggy makes an outstanding case and gets Murdock released without jail time, but Matt is disbarred. Matt gets depressed about his life crumbling like a house of cards – but to add salt to the wound, he witnesses his apartment getting blown into thin air directly in front of him.
In the wreckage, they left his torn Daredevil costume. Matt realizes it was the Kingpin all along and that this was his message, letting Murdock know Fisk knows who he is. Meanwhile, Kingpin orders to have everyone who knows the information down the chain from where it came killed.
Karen manages to slip away, returning to New York to get clean and help Matt survive the mess she made.
Daredevil Vol. 1 #229
Issued: April 1986
Homeless, jobless, and with his ex dating his best friend, Matt’s psyche severely deteriorates, as he becomes paranoid, aggressive, and utterly depressed. Meanwhile, Fisk rejoices in seeing Murdock’s mental state deteriorating, so he has his goons follow Matt all the time, giving Fisk updates and causing even more paranoia for The Man Without Fear.
Daredevil finally confronts Kingpin in his office but gets nowhere – in fact, things go from bad to horrible. Fisk ends up beating Matt so severely that they think he is dead. Murdock survives, though, and regains consciousness just as Kingpin’s men put him in a cab, drenched him in whiskey, and pushed the car into the East River.
He jumps out of the taxi and swims to safety. Badly injured, Matt stumbles into a gym where his father used to train boxing. His mom – who was now a nun, out of Matt’s life for decades – finds him and nurses her son back to health. It was the first appearance of Murdock’s mother ever and a moment from which he started to recover.
Daredevil Vol. 1 #230
Issued: May 1986
Matt is still recovering with his mother, while Manolis’s (the lieutenant that framed Matt) son eventually dies from his illness. Manolis confesses the scheme to Ben Urich, Murdock’s confidant, and says he believes the Kingpin was behind everything.
Of course, Kingpin had his enforcers nearby to ensure Manolis stayed in line. After the confession to Urich, a nurse named Lois is revealed to be one of Kingpin’s enforcers, beating Manolis nearly to death and breaking his fingers.
Still, Manolis is unphased, as he feels like he has nothing left to lose. He still calls Urich from the hospital, but before he can say anything, the nurse comes back into his room and strangles Manolis; all the while, Urich is still on the line. It’s the moment when Ben – a Daily Bugle reporter – finally comes out with a story about everything going on.
Daredevil Vol. 1 #231
Issued: June 1986
Finally, the one who started it all comes back to New York. Karen Page hitches a ride from a guy named Paolo Scorcese, who was her big porn fan. He drives her to New York and gives her heroin in exchange for sexual favors. Soon, he becomes violent, and Page calls Foggy Nelson, who helps her by hiding her in his apartment.
Meanwhile, Daredevil is in hiding, so to lure him out, the Kingpin arranges for a violent asylum patient to be released, dressed up as Daredevil, and tries to kill Foggy. To add to it, against her orders to relocate, nurse Lois wants to kill Ben Urich. She is stopped by Matt and arrested.
Back in Foggy’s place, Karen realizes that Paolo followed her, stalking her in front of the apartment. The Daredevil imposter arrives at the scene as well, and in a dramatic twist, Murdock beats them both and saves Karen.
In tears, she admits to Matt that it was her who leaked his identity, but Murdock forgives her, telling Karen he moved past his material losses. He is, indeed, born again and takes Page in to help her get rid of her heroin addiction.
Daredevil Vol. 1 #232
Issued: July 1986
Technically, neither #232 nor #233 are officially a part of the Born Again arc. However, they continue the same storyline and tie up some loose ends left from the previous issues, so it’s widely considered that the two issues are, in fact, a part of the arc. And honestly, they are probably my two favorite issues on the list.
In #232, the Kingpin doesn’t give up on killing Murdock and becomes obsessed with it. He wants to draw Matt out so badly that he hires a maniacal, psychopathic American super soldier known as Nuke to find and kill Murdock.
At the same time, nurse Lois offers to testify against Fisk for a reduced sentence, but Fisk has her killed before that, sending one of his guys to act as a reporter and kill her.
Then, in a completely crazed, bloodlust state, Kingpin orders Nuke to go all out and wreak havoc on Hell’s Kitchen. The mad soldier does just that, killing dozens of civilians by opening fire from a helicopter and destroying the diner where Matt used to work.
Finally, Daredevil suits up for the first time since he lost his apartment – and his former life – and engages in a head-to-head battle with Nuke, all the while trying to avoid more civilian casualties. It was such an epic moment for me, seeing Daredevil in his suit, quite literally born again!
Daredevil Vol. 1 #233
Issued: August 1986
The action picks up right where it left off in the previous issue. Nuke continues to fire away at innocents all over Hell’s Kitchen – with bullets and missiles. Finally, Matt avoids a hail of bullets and catches up on Nuke’s helicopter from a rooftop, and they fight.
Nuke delivers the first blows with his gun, but Daredevil responds, and just as he is about to lose, he kicks Nuke off of the roof. Nuke tumbles gets caught up in wires, and is electrocuted, falling on top of a car. As he falls, Nuke shoots a missile up towards Daredevil, who has to jump down to avoid the blast, falling right on top of Nuke.
As he moves, the car explodes, and Matt watches in horror as Nuke walk out of the explosion in flames. The Avengers arrive with Thor’s thunderstorm setting the fires out, and they take Nuke into custody.
Long story short, everything is traced back to the Kingpin being responsible for Nuke’s attack on Hell’s Kitchen. And although Fisk uses his influence to avoid any charges, his public image is finally destroyed, and everybody sees him for what he is – not a fine, respectable businessman, but a criminal, and a thug, who will stop at nothing to get to his goals.
Now, the tables have turned, and Kingpin’s life starts to crumble, whereas Matt lives in Hell’s Kitchen with Karen, fighting for justice as a proclaimed Man Without Fear – Born Again.
It closes the arc beautifully, and I can’t wait to see how the story changes in the new series. Daredevil: Born Again is set to premiere in the spring of 2024 on Disney+. But, unlike other MCU series so far, this one will have an 18-episode Season 1, meaning there’s plenty of space to explore the storyline and utilize its plot points accordingly.