Warning: contains major Daredevil season 3 spoilers.
Marvel’s Daredevil Season 3 has finally arrived on Netflix, and kids, it is spectacular. This is one of the best seasons in the entire Marvel Netflix pantheon, and even though it is (relatively) light on the Marvel Comics references, there is still plenty to unpack, and probably plenty more I’m going to miss on the first viewing.
So here’s how this works… I’ve tried to catch all the cool Marvel references in Daredevil Season 3, but there’s only so much I can do. I’m only one man trying to clean up Hell’s Kitchen, after all. Let me know anything I missed down in the comments, or hit me up on Twitter. If your catch checks out, I’ll update this with it. Together, we can make the most complete guide to Marvel Easter Eggs in Daredevil Season 3 out there!
One quick word of caution about all of this. While I will try not to spoil future episodes in the entry for a specific episode, sometimes speculation leads to spoilers. And while I definitely endorse everyone calling out what they spot down in the comments, I can’t control any Daredevil season 3 spoilers you might see if you’re down there, or if you scroll too far. Just be careful if you’re trying to remain unspoiled!
Fire up your Netflix machines, and let’s get to work!
Daredevil season 3 episode 1:
It’s not a spoiler to say right out of the gate that this season is influenced by several Daredevil comics stories, and one of them is Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli’s classic Born Again. But if you’re looking for an adaptation of Born Again, this season definitely ain’t it.
That being said, opening with Matt recuperating in a church while being cared for by Sister Maggie is straight out of Born Again. It’s the circumstances that are slightly different, though. Here, we kick things off because of the events from the finale of The Defenders, where a building quite literally fell on Matt Murdock. In Born Again, the church (and Sister Maggie) doesn’t appear until midway through the story, when Matt is already physically and mentally broken. And while a building didn’t fall on him in that story, he ends up in the church after his actual apartment building is blown to bits… so there’s a little bit of a parallel.
– Sister Maggie Grace, by the way, first appeared in Daredevil #229 (you guessed it…that’s a Born Again chapter). She’s also a prominent figure in Kevin Smith, Joe Quesada, and Jimmy Palmiotti’s Guardian Devil. The more sharp-tongued, assertive Sister Maggie we see here is slightly more reminiscent of the way the character is portrayed in that story.
– Another parallel with Guardian Devil is Matt’s generally shitty attitude and his crisis of faith. While the circumstances contributing to those in that story were drastically different, and supernatural in nature (that is most certainly not the case this season), it’s the closest parallel to this season’s dickhead Matt I can think of. In Born Again he was more just broken and mentally unwell. While that is the case here, it’s just manifesting differently.
– Nice to see the return of Ben Donovan in this episode. It’s a relatively small thing, but without Rosario Dawson’s Claire Temple to show up and link everything together, I rather like how these shows are now just letting minor characters weave in and out of all the shows, much the way they do in the actual Marvel Comics themselves.
– Ray Nadeem is not from the comics, nor, as far as I can tell, is he even loosely based on anyone from the comics. Don’t let that stop you from getting involved with this character, though. Jay Ali’s performance is terrific.
Otherwise, there aren’t a hell of a lot of actual comic book easter eggs this episode. Just lots of influences. Sometimes it’s better this way, and once again, it’s not a spoiler to say that I think everyone is going to enjoy the hell out of this season.
Daredevil season 3 episode 2:
– I feel like maybe once per season each of these shows allows themselves one „comic book style“ shot. The bit with Matt staring off into space in the basement of the church fading into Fisk looking the other way feels almost like a comic book split panel effect. Maybe this wasn’t intentional, maybe it was.
– The Mother Theresa back tattoo on that Albanian thug has nothing at all to do with the comics, but it’s an amusing touch, especially how the FBI guys jokingly refer to him as „Mother Theresa.“
– Is Fisk’s incident in the weight room the first time we’ve gotten an indication of JUST how strong he is? In the comics, it’s always pointed out that Kingpin isn’t fat, he’s “all muscle.” Here, he’s benching, what…315? Damn, Wilson!
– It took me until my second viewing to catch that Ray is a vegetarian.
– When Matt is out wandering outside the church, he’s kind of dressed like Stick, isn’t he? He’s already acting like his old sensei/frenemy, so may as well dress like him, too.
– Oh, do you think this cool fight in the backroom of the sketchy dry cleaner is this season’s answer to season one’s brilliant hallway fight? Keep watching…
– I’ll be honest, I’m not totally sure if Foggy had this kind of working class background in the comics, or if Theo Nelson ever appeared or was mentioned there. In the comics it turned out his actual mother was Evelyn Sharpe, a powerful, high-class attorney. I’d be shocked if they ever go that way here.
– Karen’s “there’s no proof of that!” when Foggy is trying to convince her that Matt is dead feels like a sideways nod to the old comic book logic that “if there’s no body, they can still come back.”
– Fisk’s “Love is the perfect prison” sounds like something Billy Corgan would have written circa 1996. Hell, ol’ Billy is looking a bit like Kingpin these days.
– Gosh, that one FBI agent sure is a hell of a shot isn’t he? Almost like they’re telling us something…
Daredevil season 3 episode 3:
– That full Ralph Ellison quote from Invisible Man, “Life is to be lived, not controlled, and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat“ feels both like what should be carved on Matt Murdock’s tombstone and…just a quote we all really, really need to hear right now.
– Fisk keeps referring to Vanessa having a bodyguard named Felix, but I don’t think this is from the comics. Please do correct me if I’m wrong.
– I’m pretty sure that Agent Poindexter is not and cannot be the sniper briefly glimpsed in Daredevil season 1 we all hoped was going to turn out to be Bullseye. A minor trade off for a great introduction to the character here. At this point, it’s not a spoiler to say he’s Bullseye, right? You all figured that out already. Plus, it’s in the trailers!
Bullseye is the closest thing to a „Joker“ Daredevil has in his rogues‘ gallery, and he’s been hitting targets of all kinds since he first appeared in Daredevil #131 back in 1976, where he was created by Marv Wolfman and John Romita Sr. Bullseye was played by Colin Farrell in the 2003 flick, but let’s try not to think too hard about that, as Wilson Bethel is looking like he’s going to be the definitive version of the character.
– Can someone help me out? Is Julie a reference from the comics? I’m stuck.
– Even via hallucination, it’s great to see Wilson Fisk in the classic Kingpin white suit. Matt hallucinating Fisk is a nice indicator of just how far gone he is at the moment, and again, while this isn’t straight out of any particular comics, it’s right in the spirit of both Born Again and Guardian Devil.
– I really appreciate the “stealth mode” fight in the parking garage. For all of Daredevil’s ninja training and roots, that’s usually focused on the actual ass-kicking elements of it, rather than the ninja’s crucial arts of stealth and deception. The fact that it takes place in a well lit parking garage is even cooler.
– Matt being a dick to Foggy is kind of like Born Again, too. Only there, it was because he had basically lost his mind to pressure and depression. Foggy would reach out to Matt by phone and Matt would pretend not to know (or maybe not actually know) who he is.
Daredevil season 3 episode 4:
– They establish here that Matt is 5’10, which I think is about right for Charlie Cox’s actual height. However, I’m pretty sure that in the comics (either via The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe or those awesome trading cards from the ’90s) it was established that Matt stands around six feet. Anyway, whatever, as a short dude I am totally here for more superheroes of average height.
– THIS is the hallway fight you’ve been waiting for. And you aren’t hallucinating, this long take fight goes on for nearly 15 minutes. No comic book easter eggs here, but…god damn it’s good.
– Pretty sure Jasper Evans isn’t from the comics, but please correct me if I’m wrong and I’ll update this!
– Kingpin is playing some very familiar mindgames with Poindexter. Pretty sure we’ve heard this kind of talk from a certain occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Yeah, yeah, yeah „keep politics out of your articles“ blahblahblah, I’ve heard it all before and I do not care. If you refuse to see the connections between art and the real world, that’s not really my problem.
– Sending Matt to a watery grave via checkered taxi is straight out of Born Again. All that did was make Matt even crazier.
Daredevil season 3 episode 5:
– Fisk deciding to ruin Matt Murdock’s life is perhaps the biggest parallel to Born Again we’ve seen so far. While he has certainly been suspicious of Matt since their brief chat during season two, if he isn’t 100% clued in to the fact that Matt is Daredevil right now, he sure will be soon. In any case, he loathes Matt enough to want to destroy him, and making that happen via apparently „legitimate means“ is the most Kingpin thing ever, and right in line with Born Again.
– Felix Manning is from the Born Again story. He first appeared in Daredevil #230. There, he was responsible for outfitting someone with an authentic Daredevil costume. Hmmm…
– Keeping all of the flashback materials in an Airwalk box is a nice touch.
– The logo of Poindexter’s old baseball team is very much the Bullseye logo from the comics. The black and white of the scene only drives that home further.
– In the comics, Bullseye’s history with baseball has been explored a couple of times. The first was in Bullseye: Greatest Hits by Daniel Way and Steve Dillon. There, Bullseye was a promising minor league pitcher, and he demanded to be taken out while he was in the midst of a perfect game (not the differences between what happened on the show). His coach asked him to get one more batter out, and Bullseye obliged, by killing the batter with a pitch.
The other was in the really interesting and fun Bullseye: Perfect Game by Charlie Huston, Shawn Martinbrough, and Lee Loughridge. That tells the tale of how Bullseye took a year off from supervillainy to become a Major League Baseball pitcher. His intention was to take a hit job on a problematic opposing player. Instead, the two got into an incredible pitchers‘ duel. If you can track this down, it’s totally worth a read, especially if you’re a baseball fan.
Daredevil season 3 episode 6:
– Ahem…you will note that Karen Page and Matt Murdock most certainly do not have coffee together in this scene. Symbolic? I mean, Luke Cage kinda ruined that beverage for any character pairing for the entire Marvel Netflix Universe, didn’t he?
Here’s an amusing thing Deborah Ann Woll told reporters while this season was filming:
„You know what happened? On our Marvel shows, we are no longer allowed to just actually literally go for coffee as characters because of that euphemism. We’ve literally had scenes where, I’m like, ‚alright, well let’s go get some coffee.‘ Literally let’s get coffee, and they’re like, ’no you can’t say that because people will read into it.‘ Isn’t that too bad?“
– Every time Karen Page is in a sketchy situation, or even in the vicinity of drugs, it makes me think of (you guessed it) Born Again. While the show has long been building a very different kind of tragic backstory for Karen, and at this point I don’t think the comics version would ever work here, it’s still a little unnerving, considering how attached we’ve all become to this character.
– Poindexter’s increasing derangement as he feels his world unraveling almost feels a little like one of Bullseye’s earliest appearances, during the early days of Frank Miller’s legendary tenure on the Daredevil comics. At one point Bullseye had a brain tumor and it affected his perceptions and his already shady behavior pretty dramatically. I don’t think they’re going there (and certainly not so soon), this just felt like a little bit of a reminder.
– Welcome to the first proper Daredevil and Bullseye fight. And while it had already been well established that Poindexter is an almost supernaturally good shot, this is the classic “can use anything at all as a weapon” Bullseye from the comics. This is truly a spectacular action sequence, and the fourth in four episodes. And we’re not even halfway through the season yet!
There are two massive parallels to the comics here. One involves Bullseye, the other doesn’t.
In Born Again, Fisk hired an unbalanced person to masquerade as Daredevil. In the case of this show, that unbalanced person is actually Bullseye. BUT…
…Bullseye did spend some time in the Daredevil costume himself, during Ann Nocenti and Lee Weeks’ underrated period on the character. Hell, Bullseye ended up convincing himself he was actually Daredevil for a while. It’s easy to imagine how that could end up playing out here the rest of the season. The fact that he introduces himself with an „I’m Daredevil“ would almost seem to play into this, so I’m curious to see how it plays out as the season continues.
Spot anything I missed? Drop it in the comments or hit me up on Twitter and if it checks out, I’ll keep updating this!