April 12th, 2021
Since the beginning of superhero comic book storytelling, a recurring theme, explored over and over again, has been the hero’s apparent entitlement over what the rest of us recognize as vigilantism.
Sure, in general, superheroes are here to protect and serve.
But shouldn’t they be held to the same rules and laws as the rest of us?
Or are they above them?
In Chip Zdarsky’s current and absolutely brilliant run of Daredevil, he takes the idea even further: after Daredevil, while on patrol, accidently kills a man he considers just another thug, he turns himself in. Matt Murdock, his alter ego, is a lawyer who is constantly reckoning with what he does as Daredevil and what he believes is morally right, as a lawyer and a Catholic and a human.
Daredevil (to protect his identity, the superhero is the one on trial) is charged for his crime and is, to this day, serving his time in prison.
And still he questions if it’s not enough or if it’s too much.
Daredevil, unquestionably, is a hero. He has saved countless lives and has one of the strongest moral codes in comics.
Matt Murdock, unquestionably, is a human, who makes human mistakes and acts, by all accounts, like a human does.
I’m not talking about this lightly today.
We live in a society in which death is used as a currency. If you’re willing to sacrifice your life for any reason, you’re automatically considered a hero, regardless of what you do with your life. Conversely, if you’re willing to take life, a different kind of value is placed on you entirely.
My take has always been that no life is worth more than another’s. Every human has one right, and that is the right to be.
And if one is to enforce any rule or law, then one must also be beholden to it — if not in comic books, then in our very real world.