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Opinion A question of identity spices the superhero pot

Kadeem Simmonds on comics

AS WE get to grips with the ending of The Defenders Season 1, Marvel continues to lead the way in regards to entertaining television shows and superior storylines in the comic world.

Those who star in The Defenders, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron First and Luke Cage have some of the better stories around.

But, over the last 18 months, Daredevil has been most spectacular.

The theme of secret identities has me gripped at the moment. Many comic plotlines have toyed with the idea of superheroes revealing their alter egos, though that’s not the case with Cage and Jones — their identity isn’t really an issue so they don’t wear masks. The world knows who they are.

Others protect their secret with how they lead their lives apart from Clark Kent, who believes that the wearing of glasses is enough to fool everyone that he isn’t Superman.

But Peter Parker told the world he was Spiderman in Civil War and the Marvel universe has played with that idea for most of their characters.

Daredevil did so recently but for him it was slightly different. Matt Murdock is a lawyer and once the world found out he was Daredevil it ruined his practice. He struggled with being both a lawyer and superhero.

But the cat was out of the bag. A superhero’s secret identity is everything. It protects those they love from being targeted by villains as well as allowing them to lead a normal life — or as normal as one can be when in your spare time you are swinging from rooftops or shooting lasers out of your eye sockets.

It all got too much and the Purple Children managed to help the world separate Murdock and Daredevil once again.

However, Murdock still wasn’t feeling right with the two worlds being apart, especially as they were so intertwined.

He fought crime in the courtroom as well as the streets. And it was difficult to get convictions in both.

Every hero has struggled with the concept of putting criminals behind bars, only to see them released days or weeks later due to a lack of evidence or their lawyers arguing that they were victims of an attack by a superhero.

For me, the most iconic pictures in a comic book are those of villains left tied up outside police stations with messages of “just for you” — or something along those lines — left on their bodies.

This wasn’t enough for judges though. You can’t prove someone was guilty just because they were left outside a police station bound with ropes.

A hero can tell the police exactly what happened but it came down to their word against the villains. With no CCTV footage or other witnesses, they were able to walk free.

So Daredevil came up with a plan. He put himself on the stand. If he pulled it off, it would change the world of every crimefighter. They could catch the criminal, hand them off to the police and then be a witness at their trial. Criminals would actually stay locked up — until they eventually escaped.

However, the judge rightfully pointed out that we have no idea who was underneath the costume. Anyone can pull on a Daredevil outfit, take the stand and say the person on trial tried to rob a bank.

In order for this to work, the judge said, Daredevil would have to reveal himself.

So once again Murdock had a choice. Come out again as Daredevil or force the judge to take his word.

The judge allowed Daredevil to take the stand in costume but, as the story continues, I’ll be fascinated to see how this ends.

Will superheroes finally be used as witnesses in crime cases?


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