Monday, April 13, 2015


Marvel’s Daredevil premiered on Netflix last Friday. All thirteen episodes of the first season are currently available, but I didn’t have the desire or time to binge-watch them. As a former writer of the character and a fan of many (but not all) incarnations of Matt Murdock, I want to enjoy these episodes over the next two months. The hardest part about that decision will be avoiding spoilers on the episodes I haven’t seen yet.

My son Eddie and I watched “Into the Ring” - the debut episode - on Saturday night. We both liked it a lot. I have some notes to share with you with the warning that will almost certainly be a spoiler or two included with them.


I love the confined nature of the series. Daredevil defends Hell’s Kitchen. There are nods to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe in which big chunks of New York were trashed in Marvel’s The Avengers, but those nods do not distract from the street-level intensity of this series.

I like Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock, the good and often charming man with a devil inside him. Cox does a terrific job with the duality of his character.

I love Eldon Henson as Foggy Nelson. He is near perfect as Matt’s best friend and partner. His easy and sarcastic manner adds needed levity to the show without turning Foggy into a clown.

I’m cool on Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page. Maybe it’s the fault of the writing, but she hasn’t made the character interesting. Maybe she’ll improve in future episodes.

The opening scene of the show was an emotional kick to the gut. I was impressed by the heart-rending drama that young Skylar Gaertner and John Patrick Hayden brought to the moment when Matt loses his sight while in the arms of his father.

Cut to the present with Matt in a confessional seeking forgiveness for what he’s about to do. In a brilliantly-written and performed monologue, we learned everything we needed to know about Matt and Jack Murdock. Kudos to Cox, writer Drew Goddard and director Phil Abraham for a great scene.

Next came Daredevil’s battle with human traffickers. This was the best action sequence of the episode. A later one-on-one fight with an assassin wasn’t as impressive.

The easy banter between Foggy and Matt is another highlight of the episode. Jokes that would be off limits to almost anyone else are, instead, indicative of how well these two men know each other and the strength of their friendship.

The episode introduces us to an assortment of criminals and crooked cops. Most aren’t as interesting as Daredevil, but I think they are mere placeholders for the coming of the Kingpin.

I was disappointed with Bob Gunton’s performance as the Owl (Leland Owlsley). His delight in his evil enterprises was too off-the-top for my liking.

Toby Leonard Moore as Wesley, who I presume is the Kingpin’s right-hand man was a little excessive as well. However, it worked better for that character than for Owlsley.

There are two truly chilling scenes in an end-of-episode montage of the criminals going about their business. A college student comes home to find that her prison guard father, who has been blackmailed into trying to kill Karen Page, has apparently committed suicide. In another scene, the scary Madame Gao (played by Wai Ching Ho) is supervising a warehouse-full of blind workers preparing cocaine for sale. These end scenes show the magnitude of what Daredevil will be battling as the series continues.

Daredevil’s opening credits featured a welcome “created by Stan Lee and Bill Everett” credit and a dozen “executive producer” credits. Apparently, Hollywood hands out that particular credit like it was Halloween candy.

There was a credit card thanking comics creators who have worked on Daredevil and other contributory titles: Brian Michael Bendis, Gene Colan, Archie Goodwin, Klaus Janson, Alex Maleev, Roger McKenzie,  David Mazzucchelli, Frank Miller, John Romita Jr., John Romita Sr. and George Tuska.

There were dozens of easter eggs in this episode. I caught the name Crusher Creel, who is the Absorbing Man in the comic books and the Marvel’s Agents of  S.H.I.E.L.D. show. An online friend pointed out the “Atlas globe” that could be found on Marvel comic books of the pre-hero era of 1940s and 1950s. There were many other easter eggs I missed, but Simon Gallagher of What Culture graciously compiled a list of them. You can read his piece here.

Daredevil was very well-written and mostly well-acted. The look of the series felt right to me. I liked this first episode a lot and I look forward to watching the rest of the first season episodes in the weeks to come. I’ll probably write about them from time to time in future bloggy things.

That’s all for now. I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2015 Tony Isabella


  1. I'm not a binge watcher myself, so I'm watching one episode a day. As of this writing, I've seen the first three. The first two were good, but the third was amazing.

  2. I'm on episode 6 and so far the _least_ interesting character is Daredevil. He punches people in the dark and... well, that's about it. But this may also be because all the secondary characters are so darn good. I won't name names for fear of spoilers but I wasn't all that impressed from the start, buit it's getting better.