The Daredevil Problem

There was a lot to discuss and critique about Civil War #1 last week, including inconsistencies with characters and the forced-application of “real world” events to a fictional universe. That’s all fair game and everything. But my enjoyment of Civil War, and my assessment of Marvel, is hinging upon The Daredevil Problem.

Daredevil, in his own series, is in prison. But in Civil War #1, he’s at the superhero cocktail party, twirling a quarter in his fingers.

So let’s look at the possible explanations for this.

1. It’s Matt Murdock.
Either Daredevil exists outside of current Marvel time, and Civil War happens before or after the current DD series…or there was an editorial feeling of “Eh, it doesn’t matter, the readers will forgive us.”

If I’m going to accept this as a huge event, I need to believe that it’s really happening in the Marvel Universe in a way that affects the entire Marvel Universe. The fault I think we at the LOD see in Marvel big events is that they happen, but in the greater scheme of things, they didn’t really happen. They’re not really there. They’re essentially What Ifs or Elseworlds stories. This very site included Fin Fang Doom’s deconstruction of the “major impact” of the Decimation storyline.

So by putting Daredevil there, this suddenly isn’t a real story in the real Marvel universe. It becomes an exercise of “What would it be like in the Marvel Universe if this happened?”

But I don’t think it’s option #1.

2. It’s not Matt Murdock
We know from Daredevil that another guy in the Daredevil costume is running around doing the superhero thing. But we also know from Daredevil that the big guns in the Marvel Universe know Matt Murdock is in prison.

So any “secret” substitute is out the window. Captain America would know Murdock’s in jail. Luke Cage would know that’s not Daredevil. Wolverine would sniff him out.

Fin Fang tells me there are rumors that it’s Hawkeye or Taskmaster. Calvin Pitt makes an informed case that it’s Bullseye. Bureau 42 is on the bandwagon too. The history is there, and Daredevil’s quarter tricks definitely seem like a hint, but, as stated above, if Bullseye was hanging out at the party, somebody’d get him. I refuse to buy any excuse that, well, maybe in the tension dominating the scene, people aren’t as vigilant as normal or as sensitive to those things.

That’s ridiculous. If I’m in an important meeting with a lot on my mind and somebody farts, I still smell the fart. If Wolverine’s in a room talking superhero registration and Bullseye’s doing coin tricks in the corner, something’s going to happen.

Let’s say it’s Hawkeye, and some Avengers know, but nobody wants the secret out. Well man, at this point, when there are huge governmental actions threatening to change the way the world works, who is going to care about Hawkeye’s charade? The people who don’t know it’s Hawkeye, or whoever is secretly sanctioned to wear the costume, are going to say “What’s Daredevil doing here?”

It’d be a stupid plot twist that serves the audience at the expense of the story. And those are never good.

I’m keeping my mind open that there’s a good explanation for this. It’s possible. For his flaws and political heavy-handedness, I usually enjoy Millar’s ability to think out his stories. But right now, it seems like an oversight or a cheap gimmick, neither of which speak highly of the editorial direction at Marvel.

Civil War might end up as a good self-contained story, but ultimately it will be devoid of meaning if there isn’t a good solution to The Daredevil Problem.