During his time writing Daredevil in the 2000s, Brian Michael Bendis often received letters from fans asking why he hated the Marvel Comics character, taking the writer to task for not giving him a break and wondering why he put the blind superhero through so much stress and hardship.
Starting in September, Daredevil will at least have some backup.
Bendis is adding Daredevil to his New Avengers lineup in Issue 16, out Sept. 14, to be teamed with such old friends as Spider-Man, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and others, some of whom haven't forgotten his actions during the recent Shadowland debacle.
"He's got a lot to answer for and a lot to deal with," Bendis says. "He is a fish out of water on the Avengers, and that's uncomfortable and damn fun to write."
This fall also will finally see the release of Bendis' Daredevil: End of Days miniseries, a The End story written by him and David Mack with art by Klaus Janson, Bill Sienkiewicz and Alex Maleev. Bendis has been quiet in it because it didn't match what was going on in Shadowland, "so we put it on the backburner," he says. "It's really, really beautiful."
While other solo heroes have joined Avengers lineups over the years — most notably Spider-Man recently — Daredevil has guest-starred with them, jumped in to help in certain situations and even told Captain America to stick his shield where the sun doesn't shine. But he has never been officially part of the group, according to Bendis.
He had thought about including the hero when he first launched The New Avengers in 2005. It was toward the end of Bendis' run on Daredevil (which lasted from 2001-06) and he knew he'd miss the character, but the story he was going to tell didn't jibe with what new Daredevil writer Ed Brubaker had planned.
Over the years, Bendis kept an eye on what Daredevil and his unmasked self, Matt Murdock, were up to. The aftermath of Shadowland and his dealing with those events, all hell breaking loose in Matt Fraction's Fear Itself event series, and the relaunched Daredevil book by Mark Waid gave Bendis the opening he needed to make him a team player.
"Daredevil, particularly — and I'm to fault for this as anybody — is never really involved in any of the big events," Bendis says. "His story line just never lines up with Skrulls or whatever the hell else we're doing. It was nice to get him in line for an Avengers team, but at the same time have him involved in some of this crazy mishegas we've got going on."
During Fear Itself, the New Avengers are dealing with the Worthy's all-out blitzkrieg on New York City, and Daredevil comes to the rescue as Avengers Mansion comes under siege with Jessica Jones and Luke Cage's little baby inside. "That opens his eyes to maybe this is a good place for him to be right now," Bendis says.
"He needs to rediscover his relationships with the other Marvel characters, and the New Avengers team is filled with a lot of characters he has a lot of history with — some good history and some bad history, and that makes for what we writers call 'awesome drama.'"
Bendis looks forward to writing banter between Daredevil and the likes of Luke Cage and Doctor Strange, whom he has that familiarity with. And then there are the new women in his superhero life.
"Let's not forget that he is one of, if not the, Marvel horndog of all time — no pun intended," Bendis quips. "He does always find a way with the ladies, and we do have a house full of ladies for him to do his extrasensory hitting on that he does. Look forward to some of that!"