Daredevil Month: Matt Murdock v. The People

Posted: April 8, 2015 in Comic Book Study
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Image taken from marvel.wikia.com

WARNING: Spoilers will follow.

Welcome back to Daredevil Month everyone. After yesterday’s review of the Trial of the Incredible Hulk movie, I decided to start taking a closer look at the courtroom side of DD’s life for at least the next day or two. To kick this off, I decided to talk about some of my old Daredevil back issues from 2004. Issues #38, #39, and #40 focus on Murdock’s attempts to save the superhero White Tiger from trumped up charges.

The Plot

Image taken from marvel.wikia.com

The three part story begins with two men stealing from a hardware store in the Bronx. After a cop busts in and attempts to take them down, one of the men kills the cop before fighting a just arriving Daredevil. When police reinforcements arrive, the find the male version of White Tiger, Hector Ayala, standing near the body of the dead cop and holding a TV.

Murdock initially refuses to take Ayala’s case, but eventually relents after a visit to see the man at Ryker’s. Meanwhile, Luke Cage and Danny Rand are investigating the cop killing on their own. They start to put together a few of the pieces by the time Murdock and his friend Foggy Nelson are preparing their case. Issue #38 ends with Murdock and his rival lawyer exchanging words before going their separate ways.

Issue #39 starts the trial of Hector Ayala, with both the prosecution’s lawyer and Murdock making their opening remarks. Witnesses are then called to the stand, including police officers and forensics scientists, all of whom were admittedly well written witnesses within the confines of the story. By the time the story shifts to Murdock, Foggy, and Ayala in the latter’s cell, the case seems pretty evenly matched.

The next day, Murdock begins to call in superhero witnesses, including Reed Richards, Stephen Strange, and both members of Heroes for Hire, in an attempt to appeal to the public’s trust in super humans. The prosecution gets desperate enough to make a personal dig at Murdock by calling for Daredevil to appear on the stand, before Ayala is called to the stand.

Although he makes a strong case for himself initially, even stating that the police seemingly arrested him without trying to find out if anyone else could have been responsible for the crime, the prosecution makes a case that Ayala became White Tiger that one night just to make a quick buck. The questioning drives Ayala’s wife out of the room in tears before growing increasingly hostile. The issue ends with Ayala finally breaking and shouting at the prosecution, leaving Murdock looking troubled.

In issue #40, we see the lawyers making their final remarks before the jury reaches their verdict. On the charge of first degree manslaughter, Hector Ayala was found guilty. As he was being dragged away by bailiffs, Ayala fights them off before going on a mini rampage. Getting ahold of a gun, Ayala, sobbing, holds Murdock at gunpoint while crying about how he lost. He then tries to leave the courthouse, only to be gunned down by officers from inside the courthouse.

Daredevil visits a hooded figure who had been sitting in on the case, revealed to be one of the burglars at the beginning of the story, and convinces him to confess to the crime.

My Thoughts

This three part story was nothing short of amazing. Truthfully, I’m not the biggest fan of courtroom dramas, so I honestly didn’t go into this story with any kind of preconceived notions about what should happen, or who should appear. This ultimately made the story way better for me, because I didn’t expect anything and therefore didn’t have a bar set for this story.

The writing is superb all throughout each comic. Not a single character seems awkward or out of place, and the entire situation honestly will keep you on the edge of your seat.

I honestly can’t describe this anymore. Truth be told, I’m sorry for leaving such a spoiler heavy review on these issues, because I really want new readers to go into this with a fresh set of eyes. Go out and read this storyline as soon as possible. I promise you won’t regret it.



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