Born Again - Top Daredevil Stories


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Born Again Story

Born Again is a famous Daredevil story arc in which the Kingpin attempts to destroy the life of Matthew Murdock after learning his secret identity.  It is considered to be by many the best Daredevil Story and one of the top Marvel stories ever.  It is thought that the story will heavily influence Daredevil Season 3 on Netflix.  The end of the Netflix Series the Defenders has a Matthew Murdock laying in bed being nursed to health by a nun.  This is a scene directly taken from the Born Again storyline hinting at where it could go. Another connection with the Netflix shows is that Nuke a villain used in Born Again was introduced in Jessica Jones Season 1.

 Born Again is made up of Daredevil #227 through #231.  Often time Daredevil 232 and 233 are added because they resolve some of the loose ends of the story, which makes it a 7 issue story.

The story is written by Frank Miller with art work by David Mazzucchelli.  The story that came out in 1986 featured the return of Frank Miller to writing the character.  Miller had taken a break from the character after making him one of the most popular characters at Marvel during his initial stint.The story is considered one of the best Daredevil stories ever and has even ranked as high as 11 on the all time best Marvel stories list by comic fans.


The Born Again theme of Christianity is heavily used throughout the story with much of the story being about Daredevil's Faith.  While being "Born Again" is generally considered to be a hallmark of some Protestant Sects (Notably Baptists)  the line actually is spoken by Jesus Christ.  It thus a part of all Christian sects with each having their own take on Baptism  In John Chapter 3:  Jesus is being asked about the afterlife by a man named Nicodemus.

Jesus says: "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born from above, or born again."

Asked by Nicodemus how an old man can be born again. Jesus reponds and clarifies:

"I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit."  In effect Jesus is saying that a person needs to be reborn spiritually to see the Kingdom of God.  This is one of major highlighted parts of the bible where Christians declare their faith and undergo the ritual of baptism.

The Born Again story uses the idea of a spiritual rebirth as well as creating parallels with the Easter Story of Jesus's death and resurrection with that of Daredevil.




Thematic Parallels between Born Again and Bible
Chapter 3: Murdock stumbles through Hellskitchen like Jesus's walk to Golgatha.  He falls three times to represent the 3 falls of Jesus in the stations of the cross.
Chapter 4: After being beaten Murdock falls into the pose of the crucified Jesus Christ.  Daredevil's broken body is cradled by his mother Maggie in a similar image as that of the iconic Pieta or Lamentation pose.  Maggie here takes on a parallel with that of the Virgin Mary.
Chapter 5: Daredevil is shown standing in a large splash page, like the risen Christ.

Another hallmark of this story is that Matt Murdock does not don the Daredevil costume until the very end.

Characters:

  • Daredevil
  • Kingpin
  • Nuke
  • Maggie


Born Again story summary:





Born Again begins with Karen Page falling into drug addiction.  Karen was the former girl friend and secretary of Matt Murdock and is one of the few people who knew his secret identity as Daredevil.  After leaving Nelson & Murdock she attempted to become an actress but after some early successes found herself unable to find work.  With her life in disarray she turned to heroine which plunged her even deeper into the darkness.  She eventually begins to make pornographic films in Mexico and eventually sells off Daredevil's secret identity.  The identity is sold up through an array of shady business men until it comes into the possession of the Kingpin.

The Kingpin sees this information as the ultimate way for him to break his foe.  He sets in motion a plan that sees IRS freeze Murdock's bank accounts, a bank foreclose on his appartment, a police lt Manolis testifies that Murdock brided a witness.  On top of all this Murdock's then girl friend Glorianna breaks up with him and begins dating his partner Foggy Nelson.

Murdock and Ben Urich begin to investigate Manolis to find out why the Lt would perjure himself to besmurch the name of Murdock.  They find that Manolis has a sick son and that he was bribed by medical treatments for his son.  Manolis is unwilling to give up who was behind framing of Murdock.

Part of the Kingpin's plan to get Daredevil arrested is foiled by spectatcular defense put up by Foggy Nelson however the Kingpin immediatly responds with violence and has the Murdock's appartment fire bombed.  He leaves the Daredevil costume in the wreckage revealing that his identity is know known by the underworld.  The Kingpin then orders for hits on anyone who knew about the Daredevil identity including Karen Page.  Karen barely manages to escape a hitman and ends up hitching a ride with an abusive porn fanatic.  Eventually, she is found and brought into safety by Foggy Nelson.

A homeless Murdock is hunted continually by Kingpin's men who give him constant updates on his mental state.  Finally this culminates in Murdock confronting Kingpin directly.  Kingpin beats Murdock to a pulp.  He then has him drenched in whisky, thrown in a stolen cab and pushed into the east river.  Murdock barely manages to regain conciousness and escape the car.  He stumbles through Hellskitchen and eventually collapses at the gym where his father trained.  This is where a broken Murdock his found by his mother Maggie.  Maggie is a nun at a local church and she brings Matt back and nurses him back to health.

The son of Manolis eventually succumbs to his illness and tells the Ben Urrich the truth of the Kingpin being behind the frame up.  However, a hit woman Nurse Lois kills Manolis so that Ben can hear the death on the other end of the phone.  Ben does not waiver and immediatly alerts the paper and the authorities.  The hit woman then tracks Ben but Daredevil intervenes and knocks her out and leaves her for the authorities.

Meanwhile the Kingpin has called on a super powered military killer named Nuke to kill Daredevil's friends while dressed as Daredevil.  Matt barely manages to get to Nelson's home in time to stop him from killing Foggy and Karen Page.  He thwarts the imposter.  Karen confesses to Matt that she sold his identity and begs for his forgivness.  Matt dismisses the need for forgivness saying he is beyond the need of physical possessions.  They move to an abandoned appartment and Matt helps her overcome her Heroin withdrawal while he supports them as a diner cook.

The moves of Ben Urrich and the capture of Nurse put the Kingpin temporarily on his heels. Nurse Lois agrees to testify against him but she is killed.



Unable to locate the hiding Murdock, the Kingpin sends Nuke to destroy the whole nieghborhood. He flies in on a Hellcoptier and begins shooting civilians and razing buildings. In the flames of the burning Hell's Kitchen, Matt redons the Daredevil costume and rises up to defeat the super powered assassin. Daredevil takes out the helicopter with a grenade launcher and then defeats Nuke.  The Avengers arrive and forcifully take Nuke into custody.  This angers Daredevil who was trying to extract a confession that the Kingpin was behind the attack.

Daredevil and Captain America both begin their own investigations into Nuke where they learn he is the last surviving member of a revived Project Rebirth. The Kingpin sends assassins after Nuke and he is killed just before Daredevil manages to reach him. Leaving Daredevil with no evidence to use against the crimelord. However Captain America finds one of the Hitmen sent after Nuke who confesses he was sent by the Kingpin. He also tells Captain America that the Kingpin was behind the assualt on Hellskitchen.

The Kingpin manages to fight off all charges but his public image is tarnished. Many of his managers and criminal leutenants begin to lose faith in him and leave his organization. Even though it was Captain America who brought him down, he still blames Daredevil and obsesses himself with the thought of killing him.

Murdock returns to life in Hell's Kitchen happy with his life. He resumes his relationship with Karen and his role as the protector of Hell's Kitchen as Daredevil.
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