Warning! Spoilers ahead for Daredevil #24
Daredevil’s trial has finally come for the Man Without Fear in the latest issue of Daredevil from Marvel Comics. In the days beforehand, Matt Murdock has been trying to do everything he can to prepare the borough of Hell Kitchen for his absence, taking steps to ensure its safety if he does indeed receive a prison sentence. However, he soon realized he’d have no choice but to fight for his freedom in court. Even so, the actual day of the trial results in Daredevil surprising the entire courtroom and readers alike.
In previous issues of Daredevil from writer Chip Zdarsky with art by Mike Hawthorne, Daredevil convinced Tony Stark to buy Hell’s Kitchen in order to keep it out of the hands of the equally corrupt and wealthy Stromsyns. If the Stromwyns were to get their hands on the borough, they’d completely destroy it and leave business owners and residents without their livelihoods and homes, jacking up rents and costs just to spite Daredevil and Wilson Fisk alike. Daredevil also sent a pretty intimidating message to New York’s crime bosses, warning them that just because he may be going to prison, that doesn’t mean they have free rein. He’d still be watching and waiting. Not only that, but he also has friends like Spider-Man to keep them all in line. His brother Mike will also be taking his place as Matt Murdock, seeing as how only Daredevil has been convicted.
The night before Daredevil’s trial in Daredevil #24, Tony Stark is prepared to bid higher than the Stromwyns at the property auction for Hell’s Kitchen. However, Tony was outbid out of the blue by a third party shell company, leaving it unclear if the Stromwyn’s bought Hell’s Kitchen or not. In despair, Daredevil realizes that he now has no choice but to fight for his freedom in court. He can’t go to prison, lest Hell’s Kitchen falls into chaos and ruin without him. As he walks into the courtroom the next day, Daredevil is ready to fight and plead his case, until he sees Elektra standing in the back. She whispers (so only he can hear), telling Matt that she was the one who bought Hell’s Kitchen (ironically with the money she stole from the Stromwyns in a prior issue). She did it for Matt, promising that the city will be safe with him gone. Relieved, Matt surprises the entire courtroom by pleading guilty to second-degree manslaughter.
Hell’s Kitchen being safe from the Stromwyns allows Daredevil the freedom to take responsibility for his actions and face the consequences. Not only does this provide Matt with a clear conscience, but he had made a deal with the prosecution in order to get a lighter prison sentence, meaning that he can get back to his city sooner once his time has been served.
Now, it’s an absolute certainty that Daredevil is going to prison for his crimes, taking ownership and responsibility for his mistake just like any hero should do. Hell’s Kitchen is now on a solid foundation to wait for Matt’s return, though it will be interesting to see if things get worse in his absence regardless. Not only that, but what will prison be like for the Man Without Fear, surrounded by criminals he himself had a hand in putting there? Marvel fans will just have to wait and see as Zdarsky’s Daredevil series continues.