Examining the 10 greatest creative runs with the Man Without Fear
4. Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev
"Daredevil" Vol. 2 16-19, 26-81 (2001-2006)
Brian Michael Bendis had the unenviable task of following Kevin Smith as regular writer of the book. But not only did he rise to the challenge, Bendis changed the way Marvel comics were written. Bendis did not just mimic Miller and Smith, he expanded the roles of Daredevil, Kingpin, Elektra and Bullseye in the Marvel Universe, with a voice unique in comics. He outed Murdock as Daredevil, forever changing the way the vigilante operated; he had Kingpin beaten seemingly to death; he gave a sense of resolution to the Daredevil/Bullseye conflict, with Murdock carving a bulls eye shaped scar on the assassin's head -- and he did it all through the reader's point of view character, Ben Urich. Daredevil was operating in a dirty, nasty, noir world, something new and different to Marvel readers.
Joining Bendis was artist Alex Maleev, whose masterful pencils gave an even sharper edge to the proceedings as each character was rendered hyper-realistically, giving the book a sense of true danger. Elektra was as dangerous as a coiled snake, Typhoid Mary burned with fever and every bruise and scratch was evident on the body of Matt Murdock.
Bendis proved himself as a writer unafraid of change, conflict or controversy, and many of the changes he made are still in effect today. This kind of daring storytelling made Bendis the narrative center of the Marvel Universe as he went on to guide the legacies of the Avengers, and now, the X-Men. Bendis' Murdock was a hero who would never stay down, no matter what kind of pounding he took, and Bendis often pushed the blind her to his breaking point, proving in the process that Daredevil is one of the most inspiring and resilient characters at Marvel.