How Does Matt Murdock/Daredevil See?

How Does Matt Murdock/Daredevil See?

Matt Murdock is a fan-favorite vigilante first appearing in Daredevil #1 in 1964. He’s a blind but brilliant lawyer during the day and a justice-seeking vigilante at night. Despite his blindness, Mat seems almost better at finding his way around his surrounding, including acrobatics, combat, and other feats. So, how does Matt Murdock, or Daredevil, actually see?

Daredevil is completely blind, and he can’t see anything. However, Murdock developed new superhuman senses after his accident, including radar and sonar senses, allowing him to pinpoint and create a mental picture of his surroundings.

It works on objects, people, and everything else surrounding him, using all his other senses to do so, especially hearing and smell. There’s much going on there in terms of the way Daredevil “sees.” Keep reading if you want to know everything about how Matt Murdock sees.

How Did Matt Murdock Lose His Sight?

How Does Matt Murdock/Daredevil See?

Matt Murdock wasn’t born blind. He lost his sight long before becoming Daredevil, though – Matt was still a teenager when it happened.

Murdock was walking down the street when he saw a blind man walking directly into a collision with an oncoming truck. Matt ran and pushed the blind man out of harm’s way, but the truck driver couldn’t control the vehicle, so it got tipped over. As the truck crashed, it spilled a radioactive isotope directly into Murdock’s face, causing him to lose his eyesight completely.

Matt was sad that it had happened to him but happy the man was alright. As he recovered in the hospital, Murdock realized that his other senses became incredibly heightened, up to a superhuman level. He could hear the sound of a heartbeat from other people.

At first, he didn’t know how to control his new powers, but after he learned how to harness all the information he was getting, Daredevil developed a completely new sense called the Radar Sense. We’ll get to that in the next subheading.

Can Matt Murdock Actually See?

Matt Murdock is completely blind if you’re considering regular human eyesight. He doesn’t see anything that you or I would see. Matt can perceive the outlines of an object such as a TV using his Radar Sense, but he can’t see the two-dimensional images on the screen. 

The same goes for reading, seeing distinct features of a human’s face (such as freckles), clothes, or anything that would require actual vision. He is blind in a traditional sense, but Murdock’s superpowers allow him a completely different perception of his surroundings that normal humans don’t have.

How Does Daredevil See?

How Does Matt Murdock/Daredevil See?

So, a 100% blind guy climbs rooftops, jumps from building to building, leaps, hits moving vehicles, dodges bullets, and the list goes on. How does he do that without eyesight?

Well, Daredevil uses a combination of newfound powers – the Radar Sense, the Sonar Sense, and Proximity Sense – to create a mental picture of his surroundings.

The Radar Sense is a form of echolocation using low-frequency radio waves projecting from Matt’s brain. The waves bounce off objects surrounding him and return to his brain to give him a very close mental picture of his surroundings. It wouldn’t be as precise without the other senses, especially the Proximity Sense.

The Proximity Sense uses all Matt’s other senses – hearing, smell, taste, and touch – to help Matt determine how far or close a certain object is. It lets him know exactly where somebody is simply by hearing their heartbeat or knowing someone entered the room due to the slightest temperature change Murdock feels on his super-sensitive skin.

Finally, the Sonar Sense is quite similar to the Radar Sense, but the two work hand-in-hand. It allows Daredevil to emit sonar waves or echoes that bounce off objects in the environment. But, instead of perceiving the waves with his brain, Matt listens to the echoes bouncing off objects, returning towards him or moving in another direction.

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That allows him to know, for instance, the exact angle of a rooftop he’s running on, based on the direction in which the sonar wave bounced off. It doesn’t even have to be his echoes – Matt showed he could use ambient sounds in the same way to map out his surroundings.

When you combine all this – the Radar Sense, Sonar Sense, and Proximity Sense, along with Daredevils superhuman senses, you get a mental image that virtually allows Murdock to “see” his surroundings. Of course, barring details like pictures on the wall (he can perceive the frame, but not the image itself).

One might say that Murdock actually sees better than a normal human in some situations. His “vision” is not related to eyesight or light, but rather the combination of all the before-mentioned senses allowing him to map out the environment. 

That’s why Matt can “see” in the dark, and most forms of invisibility or camouflage are completely useless against him (as seen in, for instance, Daredevil #3).

What Does Matt Murdock See?

How Does Matt Murdock/Daredevil See?

Now that you know how he sees, the question is – what can Matt Murdock see?

Well, as I mentioned, Matt can perceive a complete mental map of his surroundings. He can “see” the outlines of every object or person coming his way, even if it’s not moving at all, moving just slightly, or coming at him at a significant speed (like a bullet, for instance). 

He can’t see any two-dimensional details, like images on the TV or written words, but his touch is so sensitive that he doesn’t even need braille to read – he can read simply by touching the paper and the micro dents that a pen leaves behind when writing.

Can Matt Murdock See Color?

Matt can’t perceive color. It’s believed that he sees the world as entirely black, with the outlines of the objects surrounding him like flickering spots that change depending on where he’s standing and how the objects are moving.

Can Matt Murdock See Faces?

Murdock also can’t see the faces of other people. He can only see the outlines of their facial features like the chin, cheekbones, nose, etc., but without any details. For instance, he couldn’t perceive if you raised your eyebrows or if you had freckles or small wrinkles, but he could detect you are turning your head or maybe even opening your mouth.

However, there are many other distinct things that allow Matt to identify people up to the tiniest detail. For instance, he can recognize the rhythm of someone’s heartbeat, smell, body temperature, body outline, the shape of the head, even hair length (depending on the hairstyle). 

Matt can also perceive one’s weight or fitness level simply by listening to their breathing or vibrations emitting from their footsteps.

Therefore, even though Matt Murdock couldn’t actually see your face, he could recognize and identify you even in pitch darkness.

Does Matt Murdock Get His Vision Back?

How Does Matt Murdock/Daredevil See?

Murdock had regained his eyesight numerous times in the comics, but most times, he didn’t quite enjoy it. One time, Moon Dragon has his eyesight restored, but at the cost of all his other super senses. He doesn’t know how to fight that way, so Matt asks her to change him back to being blind so that he can fight.

Another time, Matt could see after switching bodies with Doctor Doom, whereas one time, the Beyonder gave him eyesight to go along with all his other senses when the omnipotent cosmic being was trying to conquer Earth.

In the end, Murdock always realizes that he’s better off without his eyesight, as the other superhuman senses he has are worth so much more to him while working as a superhero.

Do Villains Know Daredevil Is Blind?

If you see a guy beating the living crap out of an entire gang of thugs without ever getting hit, would you believe he was blind? Well, neither do most of Daredevil’s enemies. He has eyeholes with red lenses on his suit as well to furthermore throw them off his track. 

Even his arch-nemesis, the Kingpin, didn’t know Daredevil was blind for a very long time. Eventually, he found out, and other villains knew about Murdock’s blindness, like Crossbones, Typhoid Mary, or Mysterio. Sometimes, they try to overwhelm Daredevil’s other senses to use the blindness against him.

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Still, regardless of some villains knowing about Daredevil’s condition, most of them have no idea that he’s blind. If the question was whether people knew Matt Murdock was blind, then the answer is different.

Most people know that Matt is blind (although it’s sometimes pretty hard to tell), but not many know Daredevil is blind as well. That’s another reason why he hid his identity so successfully for so long.

Why Does Matt Murdock Cover His Eyes?

How Does Matt Murdock/Daredevil See?

There are several reasons and situations behind Matt Murdock covering his eyes. First, blind people often cover their eyes because of other people (to hide eye damage, for instance). Also, people tend to feel uncomfortable if they don’t know someone is blind but sit directly in front of them – it might appear as though the blind person was staring at them.

In Matt’s case, he covers his eyes to hide his identity while working as Daredevil. You see, eyes are the most distinctive trait of a human’s face, so he covers up his eyes to avoid identification. It also hides the fact that he’s blind from his enemies, as you can’t really fake eye contact.

Another reason for the red lenses on his suit despite being blind is for the intimidation factor it has on Murdock’s enemies – it feels as if a demon was staring right down your soul.

Why Does Matt Murdock Wear Red Glasses?

Believe it or not, Matt Murdock didn’t wear red glasses in the comics for decades. He wore all kinds of glasses before – black aviators, dark wayfarers, and even wearing no glasses.

The red round glasses appeared for the first time in 1998, in Daredevil Vol.2 #1, written by Kevin Smith, penciled by Joe Quesada, and colored by Jimmy Palmiotti. I believe they chose the red glasses to resemble the red lenses on Daredevil’s suit, but whatever their reason was, it was the right decision because the fans loved the change.

After that, Alex Maleev used the red glasses in his 2003 run as well, and Ben Affleck sported them in the Daredevil film that premiered around the same time.

However, if the first appearance of the red glasses came in 1998, that means Matt Murdock didn’t wear the now-signature red glasses for over 30 years since his comic book debut. I believe that the Daredevil Netflix show made the appearance so iconic for Daredevil, with Charlie Cox donning the awesome, old-school red glasses.

However, they don’t really have a function, per se; they just went great with the show’s overall tone and style. It wasn’t even the first choice for Matt Murdock in the series.

In fact, the show’s costume designer, Stephanie Maslansky, talked to Fashionista in 2015 and said that Charlie Cox tried on “close to 100 pairs of glasses to figure out which one should work.”

So, there you have it. The red glasses don’t have a particular meaning in the comics or the TV show. They are more of a fashion choice of the writers/costume designers rather than a purposeful item Matt Murdock sports.

I hope this article answered all the questions you might have about Daredevil’s eyesight.