I believe any comic lover must at least have heard about Daredevil, the Man Without Fear. He is, for sure, one of Marvel’s most awesome heroes, especially since, you know, he’s blind….
This guy has been rocking his iconic red suit and winning hearts for years. For a casual reader, it must be incredible to see and understand how a blind man can do Daredevil’s acrobatics, fight menaces as he does, or in some cases, even dodges a bullet.
To help these new readers, today we’re diving deep into his super cool powers. We’ll find out how did Daredevil become blind, what Daredevil actually “sees,” and what are the limitations of his radar powers. And we’ll try to go into some particular comics that explore even better the issue.
So, grab your favorite drink, get comfy, and let’s uncover the mind-blowing world of Daredevil together!
How Did Daredevil Become Blind?
Before Daredevil became the amazing superhero we know, he was just a regular kid named Matt Murdock. He grew up in the tough neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen, where life wasn’t always easy. His father, a struggling boxer called “Battlin’” Jack Murdock, raised young Matt instilling him with strong values and a desire for a better life. Jack wanted his son to be a good student, and to avoid ending up being a low-life boxer like him.
Matt didn’t want to disobey his father, so he kept getting good grades at school and avoiding street problems. But he was also training in secret, becoming a strong man and a top-grade athlete.
But one pivotal day, everything changed. As Matt was walking down the street, he noticed a military truck out of control and about to hit a blind man. Without hesitation, Matt rushed to move the man out of the way, as the truck fell on its side and spilled its load. The unfortunate spill left him blind, transforming his world in an instant.
Heightened Senses: The Extraordinary Compensation
Coping with the loss of sight was a difficult journey, but Matt’s indomitable spirit led him to discover something extraordinary amidst the darkness.
At this point, young Matt was blinded, but not defeated. Matt’s other senses underwent an incredible enhancement in an unexpected turn of events, compensating for his blindness in ways no one could have foreseen.
His hearing reached superhuman levels, allowing him to detect even the faintest sounds. He can also detect slight changes in any person’s heartbeat as he or she is lying, turning him into a human lie detector.
His sense of smell allowed him to trace a person blocks away, a power only next to the X-Men’s Wolverine. And his sense of touch became so refined that he could even “read” a newspaper by feeling the ink through his fingertips.
Radar Sense: The Unique Perception of Daredevil
But those are not the only powers Daredevil has. Most new readers wonder: how does Daredevil see? The reason is his most valuable asset, his acquired “radar sense”.
Daredevil’s radar sense is a unique and extraordinary ability that sets him apart from other superheroes. It compensates for his blindness, granting him an incredible form of perception that goes beyond the regular human senses.
What can Daredevil see? Imagine Daredevil as if he were surrounded by a constant symphony of sound and vibration. This “radar” acts like an all-encompassing sonar system, allowing him to perceive his environment in a way others can’t even imagine. Every object, person, or obstacle emits distinct sound waves, and those waves bounce back to him, forming a detailed mental map of his surroundings.
This sensory map allows him to “see” the world around him without relying on his eyes. He can detect the smallest movements, sense the presence of others from a distance, and even “see” through walls or obstacles. This exceptional radar sense provides him with an almost supernatural awareness, making it incredibly difficult for anyone to catch him off guard.
Combined with his heightened hearing and sensitive touch, Daredevil’s radar sense makes him a master of combat and evasion. Amid battle or navigating through a complex urban environment, this extraordinary ability grants him a significant advantage.
Does Daredevil see?
As much as his heightened senses can help him compensate for his handicap, Daredevil does not see. He can read a magazine by feeling the ink on the page with his fingertips, but if you show him the page a foot away from his eyes, he cannot tell you what it says.
Daredevil can’t see colors, watch TV, or see a billboard across the street.
Moreover: rain might affect Daredevil’s radar sense, making it more difficult to distinguish the shapes around him. And strong sounds and smells affect him more deeply than they would affect a normal person.
That’s the beauty of it, what makes Matt Murdock more of a hero. The fact that Daredevil has many limitations, and even then, he copes with them. Even when he can’t see the face of his enemies, he rallies and jumps from buildings to face them anyway. He’s actually a man without fear.
Stick: the man who turned Matt Murdock into Daredevil
Life wasn’t easy for young Matt Murdock after the accident that made him blind. He initially struggled to control and understand his newfound abilities. However, he found guidance and mentorship from a mysterious and skilled martial artist named Stick.
Stick was a blind sensei and member of the Chaste, a secret order that fought against the evil organization known as the Hand. He recognized the potential in young Matt and took him under his wing, training him rigorously in martial arts and honing his newly enhanced senses.
Under Stick’s tough and demanding tutelage, Daredevil learned to harness his radar sense, heighten his reflexes, and develop impressive combat skills. Stick’s training helped him not only to cope with his blindness but also to embrace his unique gifts and use them for the greater good.
While their relationship was complex and sometimes strained, Stick played a significant role in shaping Daredevil’s character and abilities. He taught him the value of using his powers responsibly to protect the innocent and fight against the forces of evil.
Why did Matt Murdock become Daredevil?
After the tragic accident that blinded him, young Matt found himself in an environment plagued by crime and injustice, particularly in his neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen.
His father, “Battlin’” Jack Murdock, was a skilled boxer trying to provide a better life for his son. But Jack found himself in the mob’s way, and they manipulated and pressured him to throw a boxing match.
Unable to bear the pressure and wanting to protect his son, Jack ultimately refused to throw the match. As a consequence, he faced brutal retaliation from the mobsters, which killed him on his way back home.
This devastating event had a profound impact on Matt, reinforcing his strong sense of justice and determination to stand against crime and corruption. It became a turning point that inspired him to use his unique abilities and become the masked vigilante known as Daredevil.
Driven by a desire to protect others from suffering the same fate as his father, Daredevil devoted himself to defending Hell’s Kitchen and fighting against those who would harm the innocent.
Where can I find Daredevil’s origin story?
The origin story is told in Daredevil (1964) #1. You can find that issue collected in the Daredevil Epic Collection: The Man Without Fear. This volume collects the first 21 issues of Daredevil, and most of the more important supporting characters are presented here: Foggy, Nelson, Karen Page, the Owl, Purple Man, Stilt Man, Mr. Fear, along with many guest stars as Matt Murdock alternates between his court career and his crimefighting. A great showcase of silver age comics!
However, as usually happens in comics, the origin story gets expanded a couple of times. The origin story is retold by the master Frank Miller in Daredevil (1964) #164, as a Hulk-beaten Daredevil tells his story to reporter Ben Urich.
Stick makes his first appearance in Daredevil (1964) #176, and his relationship with Matt is clarified one issue later, in issue 177. If you want to read these stories by Frank Miller, I sincerely recommend you to buy the Daredevil by Miller & Janson Omnibus. I know it’s expensive, but it’s a great way to have these great Daredevil stories collected in one volume. These are not only great Daredevil stories, but it’s one of the most EPIC comics of all time!
Frank Miller beautifully retells the story in Daredevil: the Man Without Fear, written by Miller himself and penciled by John Romita Jr. It also explores more the relationship with Elektra and his origins related to her story.
If you want to check some of the best Daredevil comics stories ever told, go check our article by following the link. You won’t be disappointed.
Daredevil: the Man Without Fear
Now that you know how did Daredevil become blind, and how he turned into the hero he is, you might share with us that Daredevil is one of the best superheroes from comics. Daredevil’s extraordinary powers and perception offer a fresh perspective on what it means to be a superhero. He has become a symbol of hope and determination through tragedy and resilience.
Daredevil is a disturbed character, often divided by his sense to bring justice and his vigilantism. So, the next time you pick up a Daredevil comic, remember the complex and captivating world that lies beneath the surface.