Born Again (comics)

Born Again (comics)
"Born Again"

Cover of Daredevil: Born Again  (1987).Art by David Mazzucchelli.
Publisher Marvel Comics
Publication date February – August 1986
Genre Superhero
Title(s) Daredevil #227-#233
Main character(s) Daredevil
Creative team
Writer(s) Frank Miller
Artist(s) David Mazzucchelli
Collected editions
Daredevil: Born Again ISBN 0871352974

"Born Again" is a Daredevil story arc written by Frank Miller, drawn by David Mazzucchelli and published by Marvel Comics. The story arc originally appears in Daredevil #227-#233.

The story details Daredevil's fall to insanity and destitution at the hands of the Kingpin, as well as his subsequent struggle to build a new life for himself.


Plot summary

Karen Page, the former secretary of the Nelson & Murdock law offices and girlfriend of Matt Murdock, had left the series years earlier to pursue an acting career in Hollywood. Her plans did not work out, and she became a star of pornographic movies and a heroin addict. Her addiction finally drives her to sell Matt Murdock's secret identity for a shot of heroin.

This information eventually reaches the Kingpin, who proceeds to test it. Over the next six months, he uses his vast influence to hound Murdock, causing his accounts to be frozen by the IRS, the bank to foreclose on his house and in general make Murdock's life increasingly unbearable. He even manipulates police lieutenant Nicholas Manolis into testifying that he saw Murdock pay a witness to perjure himself in a case. In the resulting trial, Murdock manages to avoid a jail term, but he is barred from practicing law.

The Kingpin skillfully ruins Murdock's life piece by piece, but Murdock cannot see his handiwork—instead, he is convinced that he is simply unlucky and that there is no enemy for him to fight except for his increasingly desperate and violent attempts to investigate this situation. The Kingpin eventually exposes himself when he has Murdock's house firebombed—a signature mob act.

Unfortunately, by now Murdock has become unhinged. He has trouble differentiating between his fantasies and the real world. He is homeless and destitute, and now believes he has no friends. He even thinks that his former girlfriend Glorianna O'Breen and his best friend and business partner Foggy Nelson are a part of a complex, all-encompassing conspiracy against him.

Meanwhile, Murdock's confidant, Ben Urich, the Daily Bugle reporter, is investigating his friend's plight and finds evidence of the Kingpin's involvement. Unfortunately, the Kingpin learns of this and has Urich's source killed and Urich's hand broken to intimidate him into silence. This cows Urich into keeping quiet and Murdock is left on his own.

The now delusional Murdock decides to attack the Kingpin directly and force him to return his life. On the way, he brutally assaults three would-be robbers in a subway train and then beats up a police officer who attempts to arrest him and takes the officer's nightstick. In his weakened and confused state, he is allowed to enter the Kingpin's office, where he is quickly and brutally beaten by the crime lord. The badly hurt and unconscious Murdock is drenched in whiskey, strapped into a taxi cab whose owner is beaten to death with the billy club Murdock stole from the cop, and the taxi is pushed off a pier into the East River. The Kingpin anticipates that, when the car is eventually found, Murdock's reputation will suffer the final blow. The Kingpin revels in the knowledge that he has completely disgraced, destroyed and murdered the only good man he ever knew.

When the taxi is finally found, there is no corpse. Instead of drowning, Murdock managed to smash the windshield and, in a supreme show of will, cut the safety belt with one of the fragments and swam to safety. Badly injured, Murdock stumbles through New York's Hell's Kitchen. An attempt to stop a robbery ends with Murdock stabbed by one of the assailants. He eventually ends up being rescued by his mother, who, having not been in Matt's life for decades, has become a nun at a local church. She nurses him back to health. At the same time, Karen Page – now hunted by Kingpin's men as part of Kingpin's orders to kill anyone who possessed knowledge of Murdock's secret identity—arrives in New York with an abusive drug dealer named Paulo Scorcese, intent on finding Murdock. She's unable to locate him, but meets up with Foggy Nelson, who takes her to his home in an effort to protect her from Paulo. Meanwhile, Urich manages to regain his courage and comes forward with his investigation, alerting his paper and the authorities of the situation.

In the meantime, the Kingpin becomes increasingly obsessed with finding Murdock. He arranges for a violent mental patient to be released from an asylum, dress up as Daredevil and kill both Nelson and Page in an effort to provoke Murdock into resurfacing. In the meantime, the nurse who killed Urich's source attempts to kill Urich as well. Murdock intervenes in both plots, defeats the nurse and the patient, takes the latter's costume and proceeds to save Page from both Scorcese and another hitman sent by the Kingpin. The two are reunited and Matt comforts Karen with the fact that he has moved beyond regretting losing his material possessions.

In a major misstep, the Kingpin uses his military connections to procure America's super soldier, Nuke, whom he sends to assault Hell's Kitchen. In a climactic battle, dozens of civilians die while Matt responds as Daredevil for the first time since the destruction of his home. Nuke uses heavy weaponry against Daredevil, who is plagued with not only the challenge of fighting an inhumanly formidable opponent, but the awareness through his enhanced senses of the casualties caused every time Nuke's weapons are fired. In the end, Daredevil defeats Nuke and, in an uncharacteristic move to stop the slaughter, uses Nuke's weapon to destroy an assault helicopter that supported Nuke and further threatened civilians, thereby killing the pilot. The Avengers arrive at the scene and take Nuke into custody.

Captain America, however, is not pleased with the situation. Although the authorities claim that Nuke is a terrorist, the Captain is not convinced, especially after a discussion with Murdock, who tells him that the assailant's body was heavily enhanced. As America's original super soldier, the Captain is appalled that a violent, musclebound, insane man with little regard for the lives of civilians like Nuke may be the country's latest super soldier. Unsatisfied with the evasive answers given to him by Nuke's superiors, he breaks into the base's computer files to discover more about Nuke. He turns out to be the only surviving test subject of a severely flawed attempt to recreate Project Rebirth, the same project that originally enhanced the Captain's own body.

Enraged by the treatment he is receiving in the media, Nuke breaks free from custody in the same base and runs amok in an attempt to attack the offices of the Daily Bugle. He is stopped by the Captain, but is subsequently shot and injured in an attack by the military. Daredevil comes to help and, while Captain America covers his exit, he attempts to get Nuke to a hospital, but Nuke dies in transit. Daredevil then takes Nuke to the offices of the Bugle, as irrefutable proof of the Kingpin's widespread influence in the military.

In the end, the Kingpin's public image as an honest and respectable businessman and pillar of community is shattered, although he manages to avoid imprisonment while he plans for his revenge on Murdock. For his part, Matt Murdock accepts and enjoys a new, different but apparently fulfilling life in Hell's Kitchen with Karen Page and expresses no regret over the loss of his previous lifestyle as a successful lawyer.


The first issue of this storyline was voted 11th of the 100 Greatest Marvels of All Time by fans in 2001.

The nightstick with which Fisk had the cabbie beaten with makes a brief reappearance in a later story. In Daredevil #300, the climax of "The Fall Of The Kingpin" story, the tables have turned for Fisk -- Murdock is now the one systematically destroying Fisk's business and image, while Fisk struggles to hold on to whatever he has left. As an act of desperation, he goes to the New York Port Authority Terminal, where he had the nightstick -- complete with the blood stains of the cabbie and Murdock's fingerprints -- stashed away. In a flashback to the scene where Murdock is in the cab being pushed into the river, Fisk claims that it's good to hold on to such incriminating evidence, as someone might want to resurrect Murdock's fallen image.

Daredevil tracks Fisk to the terminal. Fisk, seeing Daredevil behind him, loses his composure and smashes his way through protective glass to retrieve the nightstick. He then flees through the terminal in a chase photographed by Peter Parker, who is confident enough that his friend has the situation well enough in hand to not interfere. Daredevil follows Kingpin to a nearby lot where some homeless are warming themselves over a fire they started in a barrel. Daredevil manages to wrest the nightstick away from Kingpin and toss it into the fire, causing any incriminating evidence that Kingpin might have used against Murdock to be destroyed.

In an ironic twist, the story ends with Kingpin confronted with a low-level mob contact who feels the time is ripe to take Fisk for whatever he's worth left -- including having Fisk retrieve his laundry for him. Fisk, enraged, smashes the man's skull in with his cane, walking off with a renewed sense of purpose. Much like Murdock, he intends to fight his way back from insanity and homelessness through sheer willpower. Meanwhile, Murdock is readmitted to the bar and resolves to continue his protection of the innocent as Daredevil.

The Avengers are portrayed as noticeably more godlike and less human, Iron Man shown to be far more of a perfect killing machine, Thor as a force of nature and Captain America as the embodiment of American idealism.

Live action film

A sequel to the Daredevil film is in development, and is expected to use the Daredevil: Born Again storyline. Director Mark Steven Johnson showed interest in returning to direct with the Born Again storyline. Michael Clarke Duncan stated strong interest in reprising his role as the Kingpin. Johnson stated that villains Mr. Fear or The Owl are strong possibilities to appear for the sequel.[1]

In March 2011, Variety reported that David Slade would direct a Daredevil reboot.[2] In June 2011, it was reported that Fringe writer Brad Caleb Kane would be adapting the Born Again storyline for the film.[3]


  1. ^ Daniel Robert Epstein. "Mark Steven Johnson, director of Daredevil (Fox)". UGO. Accessed May 1, 2009.
  2. ^ Abrams, Rachel; Graser, Marc (March 15, 2011). "David Slade to direct next 'Daredevil' pic". Variety. 
  3. ^ "Fox's 'Daredevil' Relaunch Hires 'Fringe' Writer Brad Caleb Kane". June 7, 2011. Retrieved June 14, 2011. 

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