The future of Marvel 2099 sees a new man take up the identity of Daredevil – but is he motivated by heroism, guilt, or something else?
Daredevil has had some twisted relationships with his villains in the comic books. More than once, a villain has stolen his identity and become a new version of the Man Without Fear. Usually, this is done to smear Daredevil’s heroic reputation, as Bullseye once committed multiple homicides in a Daredevil suit to make the public fear him.
Other times, however, villains have very different motivations. Take, for example, the Daredevil of the year 2099, who is not a descendant of Matt Murdock’s but that of his enemy, Wilson Fisk (aka the Kingpin). While this new superhero appears to be searching for redemption, it turns out he has some unique reasons for donning the red suit, and they’re not all noble.
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This future Daredevil is Samuel Fisk, the grandson of the original Kingpin of Crime. In Samuel’s time (which is a different future from the 2099 future timeline that heroes like Spider-Man 2099 or Ghost Rider 2099 hail from), mutants have been mostly eradicated thanks to a “cure” that eliminates the mutant gene and Sentinel robots that now patrol the streets as modern-day law enforcement agents.
Despite the drastic reduction in crime, muggings and street killings continue to be a problem, motivating Samuel to take inspiration from the stories his grandfather told him about his old enemy, the vigilante Daredevil (who the Kingpin claims to have beaten in their final battle.) Ashamed and disgusted by his family’s blood-stained legacy, Samuel decides to bring back the legend of Daredevil by becoming a new Man Without Fear.
Since Samuel does not have super-senses, martial arts training, or even a particularly athletic body, he over-compensates by purchasing an expensive super suit that enhances his strength, speed, and agility. Not only does the suit make this “wimpy Fisk” superhuman, it also does all the fighting for him as Samuel admits he only has to suggest certain movements for the suit’s battle programming to make him punch and kick. This Daredevil also uses non-lethal handguns (aided by a targeting program) since he’s too unskilled to use his billy clubs.
Samuel’s wife knows about his superhero activities, which estranges her from Samuel and drives her into the arms of another man. After learning of her affair, Samuel flies into a rage and tears apart a patrolling Sentinel simply because he wants to hit something. Admitting he still has the famous “Fisk temper,” Samuel reveals something even more unsavory about himself; despite his genuine desire to engage in heroics, his “day job” still involves him running the Fisk criminal empire as the new Kingpin. Although he has no real aptitude for the job, Samuel still takes advantage of his connections – notably when he has his cronies bring him his wife’s boyfriend just so he can shoot him in the head.
While Samuel Fisk appears to be a disturbing mix of crime lord and vigilante hero, at the end of the day, Daredevil 2099 reveals he’s actually a pathetic man play-acting as both mobster and superhero. Unlike Wilson Fisk or Matt Murdock, Samuel has no passion for either of his roles. He’s disinterested in the day-to-day operations of his criminal enterprise, yet is too dependent on its money to walk away from crime. At the same time, he admits the Sentinel program makes his superhero alter ego virtually unnecessary and that “Daredevil” is largely an excuse to fool himself into believing the lives he saves balance out all the lives he ruins as the Kingpin of the year 2099.
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