The Best Daredevil Comics & sagas that you MUST read!

Image of Daredevil in the fire from Born Again

Daredevil is, without a doubt, one of best heroes in comics. So it’s natural that any reader wants to know which are the best Daredevil comics to read to fully understand Daredevil’s story.

I believe that Daredevil was one the characters that got some of the best talents in comics, at the best time of their creative careers, producing material for us, lucky readers. 

Writers the likes of Frank Miller, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubacker or Chip Zdarsky are only some of the writers that took the character to unsuspectable high levels, and gave us stories to remember for ages.

Daredevil is my personal favorite character, so I’m glad to recap more than 40 years of  the best Daredevil’s comics and graphic novels in this article.

These are the ABSOLUTE BEST DAREDEVIL COMICS STORIES that you MUST read:

As you can guess, in more than 40 years there are many Daredevil storylines to review. I will be ordering them chronologically, so it would be probably better if you start from the first one and keep reading in that order.

There will be some material missing, but if you don’t read them, you probably won’t be missing anything that important.

I also left out some storylines that haven’t been collected yet, because they’re more difficult to get your hands on. And I didn’t want to go farther than the 80’s, because the really good meat starts there.

One important comment: as an Amazon affiliate, I will be getting a small comission if you purchase any of the books by following my links. That generates no extra cost to you, and if you like our reviews, it will also help us finance this page.

So let’s start with the reviews!

cover from Daredevil 179 Elektra saga

Or should I say Frank Miller’s 1st run on Daredevil? One of Marvel`s greatest bullseyes (yes, I used the word on purpose…) was when they put Frank Miller on Daredevil. Starting with issue 158, Miller started first with the pencils, and later he took complete control of the title.

By issue 168, he introduced Elektra, Matt’s old flame from his college days. The only catch? She had been turned into an extremely dangerous assassin by the Hand, a ninja occult sect.

Miller’s dark and gritty stories continue growing as the Kingpin hires Elektra Elektra as his personal assassin, and the story builds into one of the best stories not only in Daredevil comics, but in comic’s history.

I don’t want to spoil much of what happens,  I will just be saying that much of the story you saw in the TV series was inspired here, but the comic is better.

Frank Miller’s run on Daredevil continues until issue 191, sustains a great level along the run, and you can find it all compiled in these three books (or just one big Omnibus hardcover that the fanboy in me would LOVE to have) :

The first book sets the pace of the story, with Daredevil fighting Bullseye, Kingping and even The Hulk.

Daredevil’s origin is retold here, and also features the introduction of Elektra, Stick and the Hand, all of which will become pivotal parts in the Daredevil mythology. 

The main story develops in this volume. The Elektra story everybody talks about is contained here.

Elektra, Bullseye, Ben Urich & Kingpin play key roles in this story, with some minor appearances by Iron Fist & Luke Cage. If you have to buy just one, buy this one.

It also includes the “Child’s Play” story, featuring The Punisher, a dark and gritty story involving drugs in school.

Great, great comics that you MUST read!

Frank Miller’s first run on Daredevil ends in this volume, that includes issues 185 to 191, plus issue 219 and What If #28 (What if Daredevil became agent of Shield?).

This book even includes “Daredevil: Love & War”, a beautiful graphic novel by Frank Miller & Bill Sienkiewicz.

Believe me, issue 191 is one of the best single issues I read in any comic, ever…

If you want to have all this great story compiled in just one Omnibus volume, this is your choice.

Some people loves this oversized behemoths because the art looks bigger and better, some people hates them because the fact that they’re bulky and difficult to fully open.

I personally love them, an this is a great book for your personal library. And considering the price of the three books it replaces, it’s a quite good value for money.

I can’t praise this book enough: for me, it’s one of the greatest stories from comics’ history. What can I add to that?

Frank Miller does it again, and his return to Daredevil with Born Again brings us another of the best stories of comics.

What happens when the worst enemy of your favorite hero finds out his real identity? That’s what Matt Murdock will find out here, the hard way.

This story also explores Matt Murdock’s roots as Miller introduces Matt’s mother, and also solidifies his relationship with Karen Page. A MUST READ!!

The Born Again trade paperback collects issues 226 to 233, and if you haven’t read it, it’s a great story and a real cheap edition (even if you’re like me, a hardcover fan). Delicious pencils by David Mazzucchelli, who you might also remember by Batman: Year One.

Greeeeeat material…

This saga, written by Ann Nocenti and penciled by John Romita Jr., starts with issue 253, and to be honest… doesn’t have a proper closure until issue 300.

The starting part of this saga is the best. In it, Matt faces Typhoid Mary, a dangerous assassin that the Kingpin hires to break him again. But there’s something about Mary! She has multiple personalities and pyrocinetic abilities, and that both disorients and attracts old Matt…

The first part of this saga is collected in an Epic volume, “A Touch of Typhoid”, that collects Daredevil (1964) issues 253-270 plus Punisher #10. It’s a great volume to read, and it includes a hero’s beating as you haven’t seen in many places.

The story continues (chronologically) in the Hearts of Darkness storyline, where Daredevil wonders around America and meets strange characters, the likes of Mephisto, Ultron and the Inhumans… it’s an interesting story to read, where Ann Nocenti drops a lot of social criticisms, but it really deviates a lot from the previous issues.

I leave that up to you if you want to read it or not. It’s not crucial to read it to finish the Typhoid Mary’s storyline, but it’s good reading. You may find it in the Heart’s of Darkness Epic volume, that collects issues 271 to 282.

The story has its real closing in the Last Rites storyline, where Daredevil faces off Mary AND The Kingpin. It’s a good story, even when I don’t really like that much D.G. Chichester‘s style. (the author that replaces Ann Nocenti).

You find the full story collected in the “Daredevil Epic Collection: Last Rites” volume, that collects issues 283-300, and includes great art by Lee Weeks, plus appearances of The Punisher, Taskmaster, and a really great storyline in which Bullseye takes over Daredevil’s identity… a can’t miss!

Frank Miller does it again and gives us another of the best Daredevil comics. This time he brings us something he did really well with Batman, by telling us a kind of “Daredevil: Year One” story.

Very nice story, both for Daredevil’s lovers and newcomers to the character. Also, very nice art by John Romita Jr. There’s a scene with Matt Murdock facing a bullet with just his billy club that it’s worth the whole volume.

Please dont’t mistake this great Daredevil story with “Man without Fear: the Death of Daredevil”, a complete different story and definitely not on the level…

This saga starts in issue 1 of the second Daredevil run (usually known as “Daredevil (1998)” and runs to issue 8. Of course, it’s also collected in one beautiful volume. 

The story, written by Kevin Smith and spectacularly drawn by Joe Quesada, plants the seeds of much of the material that you saw in season 3 of the Daredevil’s Netflix series.

But watch out! There are real important differences in this book, which I won’t spoil here but make it worth every dollar spent on it.

It features appereances from Black Widow, Bullseye, Doctor Strange, and a certain well known villain that is not usual in Daredevil’s villain gallery.

Remember, if this book doesn’t make you cry, nothing ever will.

And also, if you want to know why I believe this is one of the best Daredevil comics moments, read the last issue from this saga. You’ll also notice why I think the best moments happen when Matt Murdock takes the centerstage.

From issues 9 to 15 of the second Daredevil’s run, a new character is introduced: Echo. This is the character they introduced in the MCU during the Hawkeye series, and that will be back in the next future.

Daredevil: Parts of a Hole  follows the events of Guardian Devil, centering in Echo, who believes Daredevil is her father’s killer and seeks revenge on him. Also, this story chronicles Wilson Fisk’s origins. Written by David Mack and with extraordinary art by Mack, Quesada & Palmiotti, it’s another can’t miss story.

It also has a second part in issues 51 to 55 by David Mack, which is collected in Daredevil Vol 8: Echo – Vision Quest. Again, real nice art and appereances by Wolverine.

Daredevil by Brian Bendis

best daredevil comics

Starting with issue 26 and as far as issue 81, the team of Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev take the wheel on the story. And they give us really good stories!

As usual with Bendis, great storytelling, and great dialogues. Alex Maleev’s art fits a ring to the finger of Bendis’ story, so we have a great book here.

Through his run, Bendis takes Matt to new, untaped territories, because here’s when Matt Murdock reveals his secret identity to the world. Not many heroes had done that before, and the big question is what will be the consequences of that revelations for the character. Won’t spoil the fun, you’ll have to read it!

Kingpin, of course, is a crucial character through the run. At the beginning of Bendis’ run, the Kingpin drops from his position of head of the criminal empire, and his wife Vanessa takes his role. An interesting twist to the traditional story. 

Black Widow also plays a part in some issues, depicting her as the strong character she is, instead of a characters that needs to be saved by our hero.

All in all, Bendis and Maleev’s run on Daredevil is  as good as great comics can be, and it deserves to be included into the best Daredevil comics runs!

Bendis’ run on Daredevil is getting harder to get on paper… you might get the digital edition to read on your tablet of the fist issues on Amazon 

But if you really, really love comics, you should try to get your hands on these magnificent Omnibus editions, that contains the main story plus some additional features.

Daredevil by Ed Brubaker

Ed Brubaker made the impossible in his Daredevil’s run: keep up the level of Bendis’ run. From issues 82 to 120 (due to Marvel’s magic numbering that issue is actually #500) Brubaker gives us an even darker saga than Bendis’ one, starting with Matt’s life in complete ruins. It’s difficult to talk much about it without giving out spoilers, so I won’t extend much here. Read it!

Michael Lark handles the art during most of the run. Lark’s art is reminiscent to Mazzucchelli’s work in Born Again, so for us Daredevil’s lovers is a delight.

There are many different collections. Maybe the most convenient one is the Daredevil by Ed Brubaker & Michael Lark Ultimate Collection. There are three books: Volume 1 goes from issue 82 to 93,

And you can even read the digital version for free if you subscribe to kindle unlimited. By the way, it’s amazing the quantity of good quality comics that you may read for free with it. Check this post if you want to know more about it!

Here’s the tricky one… the third volume of this saga, at least on Amazon, it crazy expensive. My suggestion (if you want to own it on paper, that you should!) is to go straight to the Omnibus. The printing is great, oversized, and it also includes additional material not included in the other editions. And while you think about buying this one… maybe it’s also great to go for Volume 1 instead of the previous two!

Relax, trust me, it’s good material! You’ll thank me later!

Daredevil by Mark Waid

Daredevil by Mark Waid

The third renumbering of Daredevil came with a change of writer. Mark Waid started his run on Daredevil with a fresher look at the character, more interactions with the Marvel mainstream universe, and a much cleaner art by Paolo Rivera & Marcos Martin.

Waid’s run continues during the 36 issues of Daredevil’s third collection (also called 2011-2014) and then 18 additional numbers of the fourth collection (2014-2015), now with Chris Samnee

Did I mention that I hate this kind of renumberings? Just confusing for the real comics lover and collector. During the first run we find out Foggy has cancer, around the half of the run, which to me is the best part.

.

To read Mark Waid’s run on Daredevil, you may find it on many paperbacks, or these great omnibus editions

It’s good material, but it might be a little expensive at the moment, you might prefer to go for the Paperbacks and enjoy them anyway!

 

Daredevil by Charles Soule

best daredevil comics

Fifth renumbering of Daredevil (2015-2018) finds Charles Soule writing the book. First issues are nothing special, but from issue 10 starts “Dark Art”, introducing Muse, a ruthless assassin that makes art out of his victims. That’s goooood material. And from issue 29 (renumbered again to 595…AAAAAAAARGHHHH) starts “Major Fisk” which up to issue 605 makes one of the best runs in the last years.

The Dark Arts storyline is collected in this book

But if you have some money to spend, my recommendation would be to go for the Omnibus that collects the whole run in one book. Yes, I know it’s expensive, but if you start buying trades you’ll probably spend this much. And when you start reading it, you’ll probably want the whole run…

Chip Zdarsky's run

best daredevil runs

Chip Zdarsky writes really good comics, and this case is no exception. Zdarky takes many risks with the character, and makes a really enjoyable and interesting history. He introduces interesting new characters, and mixes all the traditional ones in natural way, not as a cheap cameo.

It’s not only one of the best Daredevil comics that you can read, but one of the best comics published in the last years, so what are you waiting for? Go and read it!! 

As I always do with the really good material, my recommendation is to go for the hardcover edition of this Daredevil run. It might be a little more expensive, but you’ll never be dissapointed.

Daredevil's Best Comics runs: conclusion

Did I just review 40 years of history of the best Daredevil comics in this post?? Oh my, I feel old! I actually read many of these stories as a kid!

So if you want to start reading Daredevil, you have 40 years of good stories. Take your time, start slowly. My recommendation would be to start with any of these sagas, and concentrate in them. You enjoy them better as you read them continuously, as you would binge watch a tv series season.

Start with whichever you want (hint: Miller’s run!) and enjoy Daredevil, the character who gave many of the most memorable stories in comic history.

Keep reading good comics!!

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