WARNING: If you haven’t watched all of Daredevil and are worried about spoilers keep away.
WARNING: Strong language WILL be used. I have warned you.
I am coming at this from the perspective of having read very little about Daredevil as a kid. The Avengers and X-Men were pretty much my Superhero bread and butter with Matt Murdock making the occasional appearance. However, I am lucky enough to be married to a comic book aficionado who has been able to give me some great insight into the print version of Daredevil.
Daredevil is preeeeeetty interesting for a lot of reasons.
1. They totally blow Marvel’s weird unspoken rule of classy superhero violence and show Matt Murdock getting his ass royally kicked with him ending up being a beaten piece of street-meat the same way any of us would if we had some cool martial arts training but no X-gene or Super Serum healing factor. I appreciate that for a lot of reasons which we can discuss in another post.
2. Matt Murdock suffered a lot of trauma as a kid but you don’t see him wangsting around like a certain pointy eared flying rodent from the other side of the comic book section. Matt Murdock owns who he is and he owns his anger.
3. The Villains are TASTY! They are complex characters with foresight, good aim and loyalty. We see friendship, compassion and respect.They even have goals, faults and fancy penthouses which don’t get destroyed or bear the mark of the “villain” trope with nary a barbaric or perverse hobby to indicate that the characters who oppose the heroes are anything other than humans with opposing ideals.
A lot of villains that get thrown around these days have a few character flaws, a couple of triggers and the occasional piece of bad romance. Very rarely do you see a set up, especially in a TV/Film superhero world, where the villains are as complicated and as well written as the star(s) of the show.
And this is where my love affair with Vanessa Marianna (Fisk) begins.
Okay, so the first time I fell in love with Vanessa was when I watched her interact with Fisk – she knew right away that he was dangerous. It would take a very naive person to mistake Fisk’s stumbling and sweating flirtation for simple shyness. Vincent d’Onofrio does an amazing job of being intimidating and unsettling and I have to say, Ayelet Zurer understands his characterization and is strong enough in her interpretation of Vanessa that we can see her assess Fisk, make a decision and engage with him on her own terms. That in and of itself tells the viewer that she’s at least Fisk’s equal.
The second time I fell in love with Vanessa is when she goes to dinner with a man she now knows is dangerous for a lot of reasons with a .22 in her clutch. She knows that he knows that she has a gun and the moment that Fisk realizes that she knew he would know – well….You can see the hearts in his eyes.
Tied into the second time is when Vanessa demands that he be completely honest with her. She knows he’s dangerous but she wants to hear it from him directly and damned if she doesn’t get it too. We find out later in the show that Fisk has a LOT of tricks up his sleeve and is a master of social illusion. However, he bares his soul to Vanessa on their second date while our heroes puddle around with teenage angst and stunted relationships.
The third time I fell in love with Vanessa is when I realized that she and Wilson Fisk were truly in love, that they care deeply for each other and that they would burn the world down for each other. She knows he’s a crime lord. She understands that his ideals are fucked up. AND SHE DOESN’T CARE because she loves him.
She loves him so much inb the show that she doesn’t even second guess becoming his crime queen and much to my joy my husband informed me that there are a couple really solid Vanessa-being-a-badass story arcs which compliment her ruling his empire by his side as his equal as we see in the TV show –
- Tears his empire out from under him and runs it herself when he pisses her off
- Runs the empire in his absence with her draconian intelligence and natural genius for business
I do not know how to adequately explain the fan-gasm I had over Vanessa.
She isn’t Fisk’s trigger, she isn’t his arm candy or “the mother of his child”. She has her own agenda, she is powerful and uses her power over Fisk when she needs to. She is brilliant and she is a Queen among Marvel characters. She OWNS Fisk and he knows it and he is totally devoted to her. She loves him so she doesn’t try to run his business for him or to interfere. She doesn’t have a fit of the morals when they have a son in the comic. They raise their son while Fisk remains fully engaged the crime-world.
Matt, Foggy and Karen have false starts and broken hearts.
Ben has the love of his life.
What Fisk and Vanessa have is true love and THAT my dears is some pretty spectacular characterization that doesn’t have to do with the heroes.
It’s also one of the few stories that doesn’t make me want to puke glitter. They have love, honesty, devotion and a lucrative crime empire to run while they leave a bloody swathe of their enemies in their wake. What else could a girl ask for?