When Daredevil dies, a new one steps up to take his place, but he will be trained by the last person anyone expects: the Black Widow’s daughter!
When Daredevil dies, it is up to the Black Widow’s daughter to train his replacement. This shake-up of the Daredevil/Black Widow dynamic happens in Daredevil: End of Days written by Brian Michael Bendis and David Mack, with art by Alex Maleev and Klaus Janson. They unite to tell a story that is a deep dive into Daredevil’s world, and one that ultimately celebrates the character’s rich legacy, his relationship with Black Widow being part of it.
Daredevil and Black Widow share a long relationship, stretching back to Daredevil #81 in 1971, where she saves his life after an attack by the villainous Owl. The two shared more adventures together, and ultimately fell in love. Relocating to San Francisco, the duo fought crime together until they broke up, with Daredevil returning to New York City and Black Widow starting the first incarnation of the Champions. The two remained friends since and, despite the other romantic partners that have come and gone in their lives, they remain one of Marvel’s greatest couples. This story, part of Marvel’s “The End” line of comics, was originally supposed to be in mainstream continuity, but its canonicity has since become a matter of debate.
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Realizing that his time may be drawing near, Daredevil chooses a replacement: Tim Urich, the adopted son of Daily Bugle reporter Ben Urich. Daredevil also senses that he will die before completing Ben’s training, so he advises Tim to seek a “sensei.” Daredevil dies not long after, uttering “Mapone” as his final word. Ben takes it upon himself to investigate but dies in his son’s arms before he can. Tim, now working as Daredevil, takes up his father’s quest, and ultimately discovers that “Mapone” refers to Mapone Romanova, the daughter of Black Widow and Matt Murdock. Like her father, she is blind but possesses superior fighting skills. She tells him her real name, but says “everyone calls me Stick,” an allusion to the original Daredevil’s mentor.
This flips the script on the Daredevil and Black Widow dynamic. Before they were partners; now their daughter will train her dad’s replacement, each connected to one crucial aspect of the Man Without Fear. Daredevil: End of Days is a celebration of Daredevil’s legacy, and his relationship with Black Widow is part of that, but Matt Murdock is also a complicated person. Where all those who knew him as Daredevil believed that “Mapone” would be some reference to his costumed life or unfinished crime-fighting business, he was simply thinking of his daughter as he passed… and yet that still circled back around to his role as a hero. Matt is bound up in Daredevil just as Daredevil is bound up in Matt, and even at the end, neither can escape the other. Daredevil ends up leading his replacement to Matt Murdock’s daughter, creating a new relationship that mixes personal connection with vigilante purpose, echoing once more the huge impact Black Widow had on his life.
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