Daredevil In Animation - A Retrospective

Daredevil In Animation - A Retrospective

Part One - Part Two - Part Three

Daredevil would make his final animated appearance in 1996 in a guest spot in Spider-Man: The Animated Series. The show had a plethora of guest stars in itís 65 episode run including the likes of Captain America, Iron Man and The X-Men but to me, Daredevil is clearly the best, probably because horn head fits in Spider-Manís world better than the aforementioned heroes.

The show had a very tight continuity and the episode references a hell of a lot of previous episodes and storylines because this is one of the big ones Ė after nearly three seasons worth of waiting, Spider-Man finally finds out that Wilson Fisk is The Kingpin of Crime! The whole plot of the episode revolts back to The Hobgoblin, Part One as Peter is offered a job at one of Fiskís companies as a reward for saving his life from The Hobgoblin. Things went pear shaped when the FBI realised that Fisk was selling government secrets, so Smythe devised a scheme that would make Parker the scapegoat whilst Fisk and his son Richard Fisk got off scot-free. So, Peter is framed and arrested for selling secrets and someone hires Matt Murdock as his defence. In an interesting twist, both Peter Parker and Spider-Man are framed as Spider-Man is seen freeing the fugitive Parker. It was of course The Chameleon in disguise, but Parker is freed by Daredevil who goes to town on Fiskís thugs before taking him back to Murdockís place and explaining to Peter how he lost his site in a very faithful retelling of Stan Leeís original story but with Stick added, which makes a hell of a lot more sense than Matt training himself.

We later cut to a pretty cool fight scene between Spider-Man and Daredevil. If youíre expecting Superman Vs Captain Marvel from Clash donít waste your time but I personally got a huge thrill out of seeing my two favourite Marvel characters on screen together. Whilst the fanboy in me questions why Daredevil wouldnít know that Spider-Man is telling the truth when he says heís been framed too, or the fact he smells the same as Peter Parker, I donít let it hinder my enjoyment of the episode.

The late Edward Albert voices Daredevil in these episodes and does a very good job with it. It didnít quite reach the perfect casting like Chris Barnes as Spidey, Robert Hayes as Iron Man or Cal Dodd was Wolverine, but for a guest spot, it was pretty spot on. Albert fits Daredevil a lot more than Bill Smitrovich ever did and manages to rise above some pretty cheesy lines in the second half of the episode. The design this time around is quite similar to his Fantastic Four look, only to be honest, itís just not as good. The shading on the suit doesnít quite live up to the FF and the colours donít pop as much. Spider-Man was usually hit and miss with itís models and unfortunately olí horn head falls somewhere in between. I think theyíve couldíve made it look a lot sharper if theyíd kept his boots and gloves red instead of adding the black rim lighted look to them.

The ending of the episode sees the writers tease the capture of The Kingpin perfectly before we realise itís actually The Chameleon in disguise. We then learn that Murdock and Daredevil then head off to Washington DC to try and obtain more evidence to get Fisk put behind bars. I always like this ending, but I could see why some thought it was a little cheesy. Included amongst them is the director of the Daredevil movie, Mark Steven Johnson. His thoughts on Daredevilís appearance in the cartoon.

"He was kind of a square, wasn't he? He was just like, [affecting a cheesy voice] 'Oh, Spider-Man.' and Spider-Man was kind of like hip and going, 'hey, Horn-head,' and Daredevil would always be like, [cheesy voice] ' Spider-Man. Justice will prevail.' He was a real stiff," Johnson said of DD's animated outing. "I didn't think it was that great. I loved it because it was just watching Daredevil move when you're a kid, but I didn't think much of the character. He didn't have much to offer. He was such a straight arrow. "

Like a lot of guest stars in the various Marvel cartoons of the 1990ís, Daredevil was later pitched to star in his own animated series. Apparently the pitch went to Fox and was supposedly going to be slightly darker than most of Marvelís cartoons and the show was rumoured to be Marvelís equivalent to Batman: The Animated Series. The show was put on hold until after Daredevil: The Movie was due to be released and nothing has been heard since. Thereís also the rumour that Marvel decided to go with The Silver Surfer rather than have a Daredevil cartoon.

God willing, weíll see Daredevil get his own animated series one day. Heís been strictly guest-starring material so far, but Iíd love to see him get his own show. However, there is more to Daredevil than comics and cartoons Ė in 2003 Ben Affleck starred in the aforementioned Daredevil movie. But would it give the devil his due?