This article contains so many Daredevil spoilers…consider yourself warned.
NOTE: We originally ran this in April of 2015 when Daredevil season one premiered on Netflix. It has been updated…a lot.
Marvel’s Daredevil Netflix TV series may feel completely different from other Marvel Universe projects, but make no mistake, it exists firmly within those confines. As a result, it’s positively loaded with references to, not only other Marvel movies and TV shows, but classic Daredevil comics, too. We’re going to try and nail down all of the important ones.
We found roughly 100 cool things spread across Daredevil‘s thirteen episodes. We’re always hunting for more, and this article can still be updated if we missed anything important. Anything that readers have found and posted in the comments or tweeted at me gets added once I verify it.
I have tried to keep spoilers for later episodes out of the earlier ones, so if you just want to refer to this as you go through the series, you should be able to do so with confidence.
Feel free to offer corrections, suggestions, and point out ones you think we might have missed.
We’d better start at the beginning…and just in case you’ve forgotten, this is the very definition of spoiler-heavy. There are nothing but Daredevil spoilers awaiting you. Last chance to get out and read our spoiler-free review instead!
Now, let’s get going with episode 1…
Episode 1 “Into the Ring”
– This may seem a silly way to kick things off, but stick with me. You see Matt Murdock’s unfortunate blinding right up front, right? Imagine that toxic sludge making its way into the sewers of New York City and mutating four turtles and a rat. No, seriously, the Daredevil origin was a major inspiration for the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics!
– Matt is nine years old here. In most versions of the story in the comics, Matt was a teenager (15 if you ask Frank Miller and friends). I suppose it’s not that important, but you came here looking for weird trivia, right? There you go.
All that aside, this is a pretty faithful recreation of, at least in spirit, the basic origin story from Daredevil #1 (1963) by Stan Lee and Bill Everett.
– The priest who Matt is confessing to is referred to as “Father Lantom” in the press materials. He’s a character who has appeared in The Runaways comics, and who has connections to Cloak and Dagger. He’s not a major player, or even a supporting one, but it’s pretty cool that they at least named him after a guy who has been around in Marvel Comics. By the way, The Runaways should totally be Marvel’s next TV series.
– The main bad guy in the pier fight is Turk Barrett. Turk is a small-timer who has been hanging around the Daredevil world since Daredevil #69 back in 1970. He even showed up in The Trial of the Incredible Hulk TV movie (Daredevil’s first foray into live-action), and the director’s cut of the Daredevil movie (where he was played by Coolio where he was not played by Coolio…sorry about that, but Coolio’s character was a friend of Turk’s, so Turk does get around). Basically, as far as non-super villains go, he’s got an impressive pedigree. I guess.
– The fight on the pier (including Turk) is mighty similar to events that took place in Daredevil #159 (which came out in 1979). That little skirmish didn’t involve human trafficking, but it did involve Turk Barrett getting his ass kicked by Daredevil, as well as DD knocking a bullet away with his billy club. It was also the second issue of Frank Miller’s legendary run as Daredevil artist.
– This has been talked about ad nauseum (including by me) since we saw our very first picture of the Daredevil costume revealed, but his black outfit here is very much influenced by Frank Miller’s expanded Daredevil origin story, The Man Without Fear. Also, his first foray in the black costume in that comic involved him taking down a ring of human traffickers, so there’s another little way into the comics for you.
– There’s one other neat thing about the black Daredevil costume, though. Den of Geek writer Gavin Jasper pointed out to me its similarity to Iron Fist’s mask. Since Iron Fist will be the fourth Marvel Netflix series, we have to wonder if Daredevil’s appearance here helps influence that down the road.
– “The incident” that people keep referring to, the one that makes the MCU Hell’s Kitchen a crime-ridden, run-down area (as opposed to the ridiculous rich person haven it is in the real world), is the big battle in The Avengers. It’s a nice touch, indicating that the property damage and general chaos of that movie’s climax had lasting consequences that couldn’t be explored in the main films.
This series takes place about 18 months after the events of The Avengers. I feel like most of the Marvel Universe kind of takes place in “real time” so this may occur before the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but I need to verify that.
– Wesley is another one of those non-super supervillain types who has been around the Daredevil block. He made his first appearance in Daredevil #227 (1986), by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli, as part of the incredible Daredevil: Born Again story. Basically, if you want to know what Daredevil season 3 or 4 should be, just go read Born Again.
– The “Mr. Rigoletto” Wesley refers to is Kingpin’s predecessor in the comics, as well. Three guesses about how Kingpin came to power. Here’s a hint: Mr. Rigoletto didn’t retire to Florida. There was another, even earlier, “Kingpin,” as well. His name was Alexander Bont, and he’s the subject of a terrific story by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev…but I’d be surprised if they ever mention him on this show. Maybe someday.
– Foggy’s line about how “if there’s a stunning woman with questionable character” around, Matt Murdock will end up with her is pretty much true of all of his major love interests. Matt loved the crazy (and doomed) Elektra (who I imagine we’ll meet in Daredevil season 2), Black Widow (it would be great if they can hint that Matt has dated Natasha at some point in Daredevil season 2), and a slew of other ladies with some issues.
Sadly, this includes Karen Page, who is not nearly as innocent as Deborah Ann Woll makes her out to be in these early episodes.
– The meeting of nasty baddies includes Leland Owsley (played by Bob Gunton). He’s the crotchety dude with the glasses (who has his back turned to us in the above photo). Owsley is known to comic fans as The Owl, but I don’t think we’re going to see him make the jump to proper supervillainy any time soon. For an added piece of comic book lore, before Leland Owsley became a supervillain, he was a crooked financial wizard…just like the guy we meet in this episode!
– Mr. Nobu is probably a reference to Kagenobu Yoshioka, the man credited with founding Marvel Comics’ favorite ninja clan The Hand back in the 16th century. More on that in the notes for a later episode…
– By the way, in the opening credits of every single episode, they thank both Stan Lee and Bill Everett. I know everybody always makes a fuss over Stan Lee, but he only co-created these characters and never actually drew a single panel. It’s nice to see Marvel prominently acknowledging Bill Everett, who not only co-created Daredevil, but also created Namor, the Sub-Mariner. He’s one of the great artists of the early eras of comics. (Thanks to DoG writer Marc Buxton for keeping me honest)
Episode 2 “Cut Man”
– For the purposes of this show, Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) is basically Night Nurse, the character that NYC based Marvel superheroes go visit to get patched up when they get into scrapes. The thing is, Claire Temple in the comics was never actually Night Nurse, she was Doctor Claire Temple.
They’ve combined elements of both characters here, so you can still consider this episode to be “the secret origin of Night Nurse” or something. Or maybe not, because there’s also some weird hints that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has other plans for Night Nurse. Maybe in that Doctor Strange movie?
– In the comics, Claire was married to Bill Foster, who took on Hank Pym’s Giant-Man identity for a time, and she also dated Luke Cage. Luke Cage is getting his own Netflix series in 2016. She also refers to an ex named “Mike” who was good at keeping secrets. I haven’t had time to go through my Marvel superhero alter ego directory to speculate on who this could be, but it does open up another fun bit…but Nathan down in the comments pointed out that it could be Mike Petersen, Deathlok’s alter ego on Agents of SHIELD.
– Claire keeps referring to Matt as “Mike” because she doesn’t know his real name. Well, “Mike Murdock” comes from a particularly weird bit of Daredevil history. Matt had to pose as his own (not blind) twin brother in order to throw off suspicion that he’s actually Daredevil. It’s pretty bonkers.
Now, here’s the really crazy part: what if Matt actually IS Claire’s ex-boyfriend Mike?
Nah…they wouldn’t do that. Would they?
– Foggy and Karen go and get loaded at Josie’s, a fictional Hell’s Kitchen bar that has been making Marvel Comics appearances in the pages of Daredevil since at least the late ’70s. There aren’t many (any?) dives like Josie’s left in the real Hell’s Kitchen, but if you want to go a few blocks south of that neighborhood, find yourself a place called Billymark’s West to get some of the real old NYC flavor, enjoy their awesome jukebox, and get hammered on the cheap.
– The snappily dressed Irish gentleman at Fogwell’s Gym (which is another Marvel Comics landmark) is Roscoe Sweeney. But because it was never enough for a gangster to just be a douchebag gangster in the Silver Age Marvel Universe, he had the supervillainous name of “The Fixer.” Because, y’know, he fixes fights. And he fixes palookas who are too dumb to lay down when they’re told. Look, subtlety was never Stan Lee’s strong suit, okay?
– Sweeney’s flunky is named Silke. A fella named Sammy Silke Jr. worked for the Kingpin during the excellent Underboss story by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev. He…ummmm…kinda ruined Matt Murdock’s life by exposing his secret identity. Then again, Matt Murdock’s secret identity might just be the worst kept secret in the entire Marvel Universe, so it’s not such a big deal. (thanks to James Hunt for jogging my memory on this one)
For real, I’m not messing around. In future seasons, I guarantee you everyone who matters (and then some) will learn who Daredevil really is. Unfortunate secret identity reveals are as part of the territory with DD as, ummm…blindness.
– By the way, you see the hideous red and yellow Daredevil costume in that Fixer panel up above? Well, that color scheme shows up on Battlin’ Jack Murdock’s fight gear:
– “Crusher” Creel is the guy that “The Fixer” wants to “fix” Jack Murdock up with in the ring. Creel showed up on a (rather good) episode of Agents of SHIELD as the supervillain, the Absorbing Man.
Why do they call him the Absorbing Man? We wrote a whole article explaining exactly that. You can probably figure it out, but it’s a good read anyway.
– In Fogwell’s Gym, you can spot a poster for Weeks vs. Barton. Despite some wishful thinking on everyone’s part that this could be a distant relative of Clint “Hawkeye” Barton (as well as Daredevil artist Lee Weeks who did some terrific and moody work in the ’90s) this is pretty much not true. All the other names on the posters appear to be various members of the crew, so that’s the MO for all these names. It was fun while it lasted, though!
– This has nothing to do with anything comic book-y or easter egg-y, but holy moley…the fight scene at the end of this episode. Is this or is this not the greatest piece of superhero fight choreography ever put on film?
– Marc Buxton points out that there’s a deck of cards in Jack’s medical kit (in fact, playing cards show up an awful lot in this show). Daredevil arch-enemy Bullseye loves using playing cards as a weapon. Just throwing it out there, so to speak.
Episode 3 “Rabbit in a Snowstorm”
– I believe the church that Matt frequents is St. Agnes. At the very least, I’ve heard St. Agnes mentioned elsewhere on Daredevil. St. Agnes is a connection to Agents of SHIELD. That’s the orphanage where Agent Skye grew up before the writers realized that the entire TV watching public hated her and decided to make her into an Inhuman and pretend that was the plan all along.
– Father Lantom sure seems like he wants to tell Matt something, doesn’t he? That’s probably because he knows what happened to Matt’s mother, who is definitely a nun, but who might be a nun at that very church.
– Ben Urich (Vondie Curtis-Hall) is a pretty crucial piece of Daredevil (and Marvel in general) mythology. He first showed up in Daredevil #158 in 1978, and was created by writer Roger McKenzie and legendary artist Gene Colan. Joe Pantoliano did a sterling job as Ben Urich in the Daredevil movie that most of you are trying to forget.
– The New York Bulletin is a tragedy, really. This really should be The Daily Bugle, as that’s the paper that Ben Urich worked for in the comics. Alas, the state of the Sony/Marvel situation was not as friendly during Daredevil filming as it is now.
– A few folks have pointed out the similarities between creepy bowling ball killer John Healy’s name and exceedingly minor Marvel Comics villain, Elton “Oddball” Healey. I want to believe this is more than a coincidence, especially given the “ball” themed nature of Healy’s murder…but I’m not buying it.
Episode 4 “In the Blood”
– Yes, we’re still talking about Ben Urich. He makes reference to looking into Karen Page’s “past activities.” Well, needless to say, those “past activities” aren’t very nice. Ms. Page’s past will become a driving force in later episodes or seasons. She has struggled with drug addiction and a side career in adult films. If this show ever gets to one of the greatest Daredevil stories ever told, Born Again, then her past will figure in prominently.
– The art gallery curator is Vanessa Mariana, and the future Vanessa Fisk. Love at first sight doesn’t just happen in comic books, folks…it happens on TV, too! Vanessa first appeared in 1969’s The Amazing Spider-Man #70, and she was created by Stan Lee and John Romita.
– After Wilson Fisk goes all Kingpin on that poor Russian fella, he asks Wesley to contact “Mr. Potter” about getting him a new suit. Mr. Potter is Melvin Potter, who at some point becomes the supervillain known as Gladiator. We’ve got lots more on him in a minute…
Episode 5 “World on Fire”
– The “billionaire playboys” Claire is always hearing about is certainly a Tony Stark joke, but we all know Matt has more in common (psychologically) with Bruce Wayne. Wait…wrong universe.
– This episode features as good an explanation of Daredevil’s “radar sense” as we’re ever going to get. Kind of a cool representation of how it looks, too. It’s amazing that they took five episodes to get us here.
– The printer is malfunctioning because Ultron has taken it over and this is the first hint of the troubles we’re going to see in Avengers: Age of Ultron. That’s a joke and completely untrue and unfunny and I’m ashamed for having taken the time to write it.
– Karen sure seems rattled when they point out that she’s fluent in Spanish, doesn’t she? Almost like she’s hiding something in her past. Let me just remind you one more time: she totally is. In the opening pages of Born Again in Daredevil #227, Karen is in considerable trouble involving drugs and pornography down in Mexico.
– There’s a poster that Matt sits next to in the police station: “You don’t have to reveal your identity to stop violent crime.” Ummm…the events of Captain America: Civil War will say differently.
– So, when Vanessa tells Wilson over dinner about how a guy in a white suit and an ascot seduced her? Yeah, well…it eventually has an effect on Willie’s fashion sense. See for yourself…
Episode 6 “Condemned”
– We’re seeing some widespread police corruption in this show. It’s more than corruption, really. These cops are sick bastards. Marvel has the rights to do the Punisher, and Daredevil showrunner Steven DeKnight has said he’d like to take a crack at him.
If that’s the case, rather than make Frank Castle a military vet, they could easily go with the “Ultimate Punisher” origin story, which depicted Frank as a Serpico-like honest cop who finds his family targeted for not playing ball.
– WHIH shows up to cover the carnage in Hell’s Kitchen, and they’re a fictional news organization we’ve seen before in Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk, and Agents of SHIELD. They’re national news (although the series has local news coverage from real-life New York station NY1 peppered throughout), which means word is getting out about Hell’s Kitchen.
– Unfortunately, we get the old “villain tells the hero we’re so much alike” nonsense here. It’s something that’s been done to death, most notably in Sam Raimi’s first Spider-Man movie.
– It is totally possible that the faceless sniper working for Wilson Fisk who pops Detective Blake is Daredevil arch-foe, Bullseye!
Bullseye is the closest thing to a “Joker” Daredevil has in his rogues’ gallery, and he’s been hitting targets of all kinds since he first appeared in Daredevil #131 back in 1976, where he was created by Marv Wolfman and John Romita Sr.
He’s a nasty fighter, but he earned his nickname via his marksmanship. He can also turn things that aren’t usually deadly into very deadly things. See how playing cards keep turning up in this show? Those are some of Bullseye’s favorite things to kill with.
Bullseye was played by Colin Farrell in the 2003 flick, but let’s try not to think too hard about that. More importantly, Bullseye is the guy most likely to make Matt Murdock’s life completely miserable in future seasons of this show. Not only can he outfight Daredevil (and his allies), he’s been known to, y’know, kill women that Matt loves.
I had my suspicions about the sniper in the first place, but then commentor CC pointed out a card in his sniper bag. Check it out:
Like we know, Bullseye is fond of playing cards, and unless somebody can tell me that this is some police/tactical logo and not an ace of spades, I’m just gonna go with Bullseye here. This would be a pretty cool, low-key way to bring Bullseye into the Marvel Cinematc Universe. Until Marvel tells me otherwise, this is our guy.
– Foggy’s line about “guys with a mask have something to hide” is some J. Jonah Jameson style Spider-Man logic. Let’s remember this when Spidey joins the Marvel Cinematic Universe next year!
Episode 7 “Stick”
– The angry blind guy with the sword is Stick (Scott Glenn). Stick has been hanging around the Marvel Universe since Daredevil #176 (1981), and he was created by Frank Miller. For now, all you need to know is that he’s the guy who taught blind Matt Murdock how to be a ridiculous badass, and he’s got enhanced senses like Daredevil’s. He also trained another crucial player in Matt’s life, but we’ll save that reference for down below.
By the way, if you think Stick is a dick here, he’s considerably nicer and generally less abusive than he is in the comics.
– This episode also gives us our first public reference to Matt’s nocturnal activities as something Devil-ish. It’s fitting that his name comes from the New York news media, of course, rather than something Matt dredges up from the depths of his own Catholic guilt.
– It’s worth pointing out that Stick’s advice to Matt to “cut it loose…all of it” rings true to the comics as well. The Fall From Grace storyline saw Matt do exactly that in order to get some serious shit done, and he’s pretty much always one bad day away from doing it, anyway. (thanks to James Hunt for the catch)
– By the way, Matt Murdock is totally right about the New York Mets bullpen. It’s been bad news for years (and it’s looking shaky this year, too). I’d like to believe Daredevil is a Mets fan, since he’s all about the underdog.
Fun fact, though: Spider-Man is definitely a Mets fan. It’s canon. You can look it up. He’s from Queens. It all fits.
– There’s another reference to Karen’s mysterious past, here. I’ll eventually stop harping on it, but look for this to be a major problem in future seasons.
– A couple of things about the scene in the orphanage with Matt and Stick. First of all, every member of the Church that we’ve met so far on Daredevil is hiding something about Matt’s mother. The other thing is that this is orphanage is St. Agnes, the same place Skye from Agents of SHIELD spent some time as a kid.
– To be fair, I have no idea what the Black Sky is supposed to be. Clearly, though, that little boy is superhuman. Could he be…Inhuman? Then again, the Inhumans seems to be the concept that Marvel is most intent on developing right now, but that seems to be Agents of SHIELD territory, and I don’t see these Netflix shows going anywhere near that.
The Black Sky is probably the first seed of the mystery that will ultimately lead to Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist teaming up to become The Defenders. We’ll have more on Black Sky once we actually, y’know, figure out what the hell it is.
– That shipping container reads “Asano Robotics.” Yoshida Asano is an Iron Man villain by the name of Samurai Steel. I’d say the odds of seeing Samurai Steel in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are virtually zero, but then again, I never thought I’d see an R-rated Daredevil series, either, so what the hell do I know?
Anyway, whether Yoshida Asano has something to do with the whole “Black Sky” thing, or if that’s just pure mysticism remains to be seen. (I don’t speak a word of Japanese, so I owe everything on this catch to Opello down in the comments!)
– On Ben Urich’s board, of course Daredevil is the Jack of Hearts (he’s got a troubled romantic history, likes red, his Dad’s name was Jack, and let’s never forget that great Bob Dylan song), and the Kingpin is the “king of diamonds.” Wilson Fisk always had a fondness for a diamond tie pin in his early appearances in the comics, so that makes this even more appropriate.
– Okay, so it turns out that the scary guy that Stick is talking to at the end of this episode is totally Stone (thanks to a sharp-eyed Tweeter for this one), and he’s played by Jasson Finney. Stone is one of Stick’s crew of warriors known as the Chaste. Other Chaste members have similarly flashy names like Shaft (not that one) and Claw.
Check out this panel of John Romita Jr. artwork from Daredevil: The Man Without Fear. It’s pretty much that last shot!
So this is now another Frank Miller creation that has made his way into this show. For now, all you need to know about Stone is that he’s really tough to hurt, he’s another Stick pupil, and he loves fighting ninjas. I expect an all-ninja extravaganza for season two at this point.
Episode 8 “Shadows in the Glass”
– Consider this episode “the secret origin of the Kingpin.” While I don’t remember these particular dismemberment details from his early life, it does set up the Don Rigoletto connection, via his father. In the comics, Fisk was Rigoletto’s bodyguard, who then betrayed and murdered him. Clearly, Don Rigoletto is no longer a consideration, and you don’t get to be the Kingpin of Crime by waiting for folks to retire.
– And, of course, the episode’s climax, with Wilson Fisk emerging as a “pillar of the community” to make life even more difficult for Daredevil is about as classic an interpretation of the character as you’re likely to see.
– As promised, there’s our first look at Melvin Potter, fitting Leland Owsley for his new suit. Note the “Revenge of the Gladiators” poster on the wall, which features a yellow and blue color scheme that definitely recalls Melvin’s villainous activities as the Gladiator. We’ll get to more on Melvin in a few episodes, though. Right now, let’s just focus on the colors of the overcoat that Potter is working on for Leland look very much like Leland’s comic book counterpart, “The Owl.”
– That bit where Ben hesitates before deleting his big story is something we saw Joe Pantoliano’s Ben Urich do in the Daredevil movie of which we aren’t supposed to speak. But that was one of the good moments in that film, and I’d like to think this is an intentional nod. (thanks to the radar senses of Alexander on Twitter for pointing this out)
But now it’s time for episode nine…
Episode 9 “Speak of the Devil”
– It’s not a Daredevil story without ninjas! That isn’t just any ninja that DD is facing off with during the opening…it’s a member of Marvel ninja clan, The Hand. So, it’s official: Nobu is the head of The Hand. Fisk asks him to find someone “from your organization” to deal with Daredevil. This is very exciting.
The Hand were introduced in 1981’s Daredevil #174 by (who else?) Frank Miller. Since then, they’ve become the go-to ninja army of choice for Marvel. And yes, the Hand has HYDRA ties, but it’s going to be ages (if ever) before we even see a whisper of that explored on film. There’s only so much time, y’know.
Our favorite blind asshole, Stick, has a group of warriors known as the Chaste, and their primary function is to keep the Hand from getting too powerful. Remember the big scary guy that Stick is chatting to at the end of episode seven? That’s one of his Chaste warriors. I would watch an entire show about the shady backroom dealings of magical ninjas and the blind bastards who hate them.
Now, whether or not Nobu is (or was) uber-ninja Kirigi is another story:
…okay, anyway, Nobu is probably not Kirigi. Maybe Nobu will be back, as The Hand doesn’t always stay dead. Maybe they’re saving Kirigi for season two. Either way, I want more ninjas. We just got to watch a flaming ninja fight Daredevil. Life is good.
– Now, in the comics, when Hand ninjas die, they don’t just die. They kind of crumble into ash. Well, there was a distinctly less magical reason for that in this episode, but Nobu bursts into flames, and dies, which I suppose qualifies as turning into ash. That was totally on purpose. (thanks, Autonomous!)
– It looks like Matt deliberately overplays his blindness during the “handshake” with Ben Urich during their meeting at Matt’s office. He knows that Ben is smart enough to put it together who he is…and in the comics, that’s exactly what happened during the “Marked for Death” storyline, which was, coincidentally, Frank Miller’s first arc as Daredevil artist. Urich is a trusted keeper of Matt’s secret identity. Which, as far as secret identities go, tends to not be all that secret.
– On the packets of heroin, there’s a strange symbol. That’s the symbol of Davos/Steel Serpent, a native of the mystical/alien city of K’un L’un, and Iron Fist enemy. Basically, this pretty much cements the K’un L’un and Iron Fist connection for that upcoming series, and I suspect it factors heavily into the Black Sky mystery, too (thanks to Courtney down below for pointing this out and Douglas Sturk for the screenshot!).
– So the two jerks who jumped Karen are named Joseph Pike and Stewart Schmidt. Pike is another low-rent douchebag from the comics, a criminal informant, and a Josie’s bar regular. He first showed up in the Frank Miller drawn Daredevil #165 in 1980. I’ve got nothing on Schmidt, but there does appear to be a fictional Stewart Schmidt who lives in the comic book version of Marvel’s Manhattan. I don’t think I have any comics with him in them. Please don’t think less of me.
– There’s plenty of precedent for Daredevil getting brutally beaten down by the Kingpin, so just consider the beatdown in this one of those “iconic moments.”
Episode 10 “Nelson vs. Murdock”
– During one of the Columbia University flashback sequences, Foggy blurts out… “The Greek girl…whatever happened to her? She was smokin’.” That was, without question, a reference to Elektra Natchios. Try and forget about Jennifer Garner for a second and understand that Elektra is one of the most pivotal figures in Matt’s life, and her proper introduction will probably be the driving force of Daredevil season two.
Elektra is another pupil of Stick, although she makes even more questionable life choices than Matt, working as a bounty hunter, enforcer, and aide to evil ninjas The Hand at various points in her career. Matt and Elektra have a, shall we say, complicated relationship.
– In Ben Urich’s office there are framed front pages from the Bulletin with the headlines “Battle of New York” and “Terror in Harlem.” Now we know Ben got the big bylines for the events of The Avengers and The Incredible Hulk. There’s also one that reads “caught cheating,” which I would really like to imagine involves Tony Stark’s love life, but if anybody has any better ideas, I’d love to hear ’em.
– Roxxon is mentioned in the Landman/Zakk boardroom. Roxxon has come up a few times, mostly in the Iron Man movies. Basically, they’re all-purpose corporate douchebags, and they’ve been doing douchebag corporate things since 1974 in the comics. But it should be noted that their corporate douchebaggery extends all the way back to the ’40s in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
It’s kinda fitting that a Marvel staple like Roxxon is ultimately what drives Matt out of corporate law.
– During the fundraiser, we’re introduced to Senator Randolph Cherryh (thanks to Ryan in the comments for catching his name), a corrupt politician (aren’t they all?) who was introduced in Frank Miller and Klaus Janson’s Daredevil #177 (1981). Kingpin lovingly refers to him as a “simpering slave” in that comic, by the way, in case you were wondering what their relationship is like.
– Owsley mentions someone named Van Lunt, a guy who is obsessed with astrology. This would be Cornelius Van Lunt, the unfortunately ridiculous Marvel supervillain known as Taurus. (Thanks, JackRussell)
– What seems like a throwaway remark by Owsley is actually a nod to The Defenders comics, too. ““Make sure Richmond’s on the guest list. He won’t come, but he’ll get pissy if he isn’t invited.” He’s talking about Kyle Richmond, known as Nighthawk. Richmond was kind of a spoiled, rich toolbag before he became the super strong Nighthawk, and he eventually became a key member of the classic Defenders lineup. He first appeared in Avengers #71 in 1969, but he first met Daredevil in Daredevil #62.
It’s gonna be a long time (if ever) before we see him on screen, but this was a cute nod (and thanks to Brad for pointing it out to me!).
– Also, James Hunt notes that Foggy’s discovery of Matt’s secret identity is similar to how it went down in Daredevil #347. To be fair, Matt was drunk when that happened, not recovering from a serious ninja whupping.
Episode 11 “The Path of the Righteous”
– So, let’s talk about Melvin Potter for a moment. Melvin Potter, like I mentioned up above, is also the supervillain known as the Gladiator. You can spot a Gladiator-themed movie poster in his workshop. While there is a Revenge of the Gladiators movie, I’m not sure this is a poster for the real one. The best thing about that poster, though, is that the yellow and blue color scheme is definitely consistent with what Melvin liked when he became…The Gladiator.
See for yourself:
When Matt first breaks into Melvin’s workshop, you can see a design in progress on a drawing table:
(thanks to SuperStuff for mentioning that, as I totally missed it on the first viewing!)
That’s pretty much exactly the design we see in Alex Maleev’s Gladiator redesign for the excellent Daredevil comic book story “The Golden Age.” That’s a story that I’d love to see explored in a future season of this show if given the chance. Anyway, check it out…
So, this workshop fight is awesome for about a million reasons. First of all, it’s Daredevil vs. the super strong Gladiator in all but name. That’s cool. But then, Melvin throws a freakin’ saw blade at him. That’s really cool, especially since the comic book version of the Gladiator is fond of wearing throwable saw blades on his arms.
But that’s not all…
-The “Betsy” that Melvin keeps referring to is Betsy Beatty, a social worker who helps Melvin work through his criminal issues. Poor guy is smitten with her. Anyway, what makes the whole Betsy thing even cooler is that she first appeared in Daredevil #166 (1980). It’s notable because it’s another one of Frank Miller’s early issues, and it’s another indication about the general direction of the show: so much has been pulled from that “Marked for Death” storyline in the 1979-1980 Daredevil comics, that it means that Elektra, Bullseye, and loads more ninjas aren’t far behind when it’s time for season two!
– “Do you really think this is the first time I’ve shot someone?” Holy moley. See? Haven’t I been telling you that Karen Page has a seriously dark past? It’s a shame about Wesley, though. He might just have been the best villain Marvel has produced this side of Loki so far.
Episode 12 “The Ones We Leave Behind”
– You can see the “Van Lunt” name (he’s the ridiculous Taurus villain that was mentioned in the section on Episode 10 up above) on the door, where the Nelson and Murdock hand-lettered sign is pasted over. It’s a cute touch. (thanks, Ed Kauffmann! That would have slipped by me.)
– Karen shouldn’t joke about “the hard stuff” given her history with narcotics (again, Daredevil #227, “Born Again” etc). Also, after we just saw Foggy in flashbacks at Columbia, are we really supposed to believe that guy only “smoked a doobie once?” Seriously, Foggy? Once, my ass. You don’t get a nickname like “Foggy” unless you’re engineering gravity bongs and hooking up UV lights in your dorm closet for some non-credit botany.
– Before Marvel Comics was, well, Marvel, they were Atlas Comics. Aside from some half-hearted attempts to revive Captain America, the original Human Torch, and the Sub-Mariner in the post World War II years, they don’t have too much in common with the Marvel Universe you’ve come to know and love. On the other hand, the great Jack Kirby continued to hone his craft on a host of books during the Atlas years.
Now, let’s pretend for a moment that Atlas Investments is, in fact, actually a front for Marvel’s Agents of ATLAS superhero team, which consisted of characters from those forgotten 1950s comics revived for the modern age. Like many little background gags here, don’t expect this to necessarily pay off, but it’s fun to see, nonetheless.
– Matt gives Ben Urich a crucial piece of his secret identity, during their chat, talking like a boxer. This is such a perfect, classic interaction between Ben Urich and Daredevil, that I was really hoping we’d get to see Vondie Curtis-Hall in the Spider-Man movie next. Ummm…obviously that won’t be happening. Holy moley.
– So, Madame Gao probably wasn’t kidding when she said she spoke “all” of the languages, because there’s clearly more to her than meets the eye. Where’s her home that is “considerably further” away from China? My current guess is K’un L’un, the mystical city where future Marvel/Netflix star Iron Fist gets his superhuman martial arts abilities.
A few folks down below, notably Rukhavi118 are making a compelling case that she is actually Crane Mother, a character with connections to Davos/Steel Serpent…the character whose emblem appears on the heroin baggies (see above). Until somebody can tell me otherwise, I’m willing to go with this.
Crane Mother first appeared in early issues of The Immortal Iron Fist by Ed Brubaker (the writer who first gave us The Winter Soldier), Matt Fraction, Travel Foreman, and David Aja. I suspect that series holds more answers about the future of Marvel’s assorted Netflix series, as well.
Even if we’re all wrong, I’ll bet good money that whatever Madame Gao really is, she and the mysterious “Black Sky” will be among the connecting threads as we head towards the big team-up, The Defenders.
Episode 13 “Daredevil”
– Holy moley. The song that plays during Ben Urich’s funeral is “Many Rivers to Cross” by Jimmy Cliff. It’s a beautiful, perfect tune. It has nothing to do with Marvel Comics, but you should totally check out the movie The Harder They Come and its incredible soundtrack, which was my first exposure to the wonders of Jimmy Cliff.
– So, Leland Owsley sure appears to be dead, so he won’t be the Owl. Unless, of course, he isn’t dead. But his son is mentioned several times in the course of this show, and Bricketh in the comments pointed out his name is “Lee.” That sounds like Leland Jr., to me, so don’t rule the Owl out for future seasons just yet!
– For more musical amazingness, that bit of opera playing during the “everybody gets arrested” sequence appears to have been carefully chosen. It’s an aria from Puccini’s Turandot, called “Nessun Dorma” (“None Shall Sleep”), and that’s Luciano Pavarotti singing. The lyrics are kind of appropriate…here are some excerpts:
But my secret is hidden within me; none will know my name! No, no! On your mouth I will say it when the light shines!
Vanish, o night! Fade, you stars! Fade, you stars! At dawn, I will win!I will win! I will win!
Gosh, does that sound like anyone we know?
And no, don’t let my Italian last name fool you…I know nothing about opera. I had to Shazam that aria just like everybody else.
– Thanks to Smitty for setting me straight on this one: Stan Lee DOES have an appearance in Daredevil…just not the one we expected. He’s hanging on the wall in the police station! Check it out:
– Now, once we get back to Melvin Potter’s workshop, there are two ridiculously cool bits of Marvel-ness on display. The first is Stilt-Man’s legs:
Yeah, you read that right: Stilt Freakin’ Man now officially exists in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Just let this sink in for a minute or two. This guy:
The other is the blueprints for Gladiator’s buzz saw arm things. You don’t need me to tell you how cool buzz saw arm things are.
– Not only does Daredevil get his iconic, horned red costume from Melvin Potter, but he gets that perfectly balanced billy club. In the comics, that little stick is to Daredevil what the shield is to Captain America. Then again, the action sequences up until this point have been so cool that I hardly missed it.
– The artist’s impression of Daredevil on the front page of the New York Bulletin was done by awesome Daredevil artist Alex Maleev, who collaborated with writer Brian Michael Bendis on a nice long run of Daredevil comics that are a huge inspiration for the tone of this show!
– We finally get to see Kingpin in his white suit. Probably not how we intended.
Mike Cecchini thinks Hell’s Kitchen is a great place for vegetarian food and expensive desserts. Kick his ass on Twitter.