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August 4, 2009 9:19 AM   Subscribe

Calling all Marvel readers! I've got a question about Daredevil's origin that my own Marvel nerdiness has failed to answer!

Okay, so everyone knows the basic Daredevil origin story - young Matt Murdoch is nearly struck by a truck carrying hazardous, radioactive chemicals and is instead struck blind when a barrel of these chemicals comes loose and splashes him in the face. In time, Murdoch discovers that this accident has also granted him preternatural sensitivity in his four remaining senses. As an adult, these senses allow him to operate as the urban vigilante Daredevil.

My question regards those chemicals - to your knowledge, has any Marvel comic ever addressed what chemicals were involved, where the truck was going, where the truck came from, who or what created those chemicals in the first place or what became of the rest of them once the truck got where ever it was headed?

I'm aware that some versions of the Ninja Turtles origin story tie the Turtle's mutation pretty closely to Murdoch's accident, in kind of a tongue-in-cheek fashion, but what I'm curious about it how and if this truck and its cargo have been addressed in 616 Marvel Universe canon. Has Marvel ever tackled this? And if so, in what comic? Which issues?

Thanks, True Believers!
posted by EatTheWeek to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Jessica Jones' origin involved what's implied to be the same truck, though I don't recall that any more info was given than that it was a military truck.
posted by Zed at 9:25 AM on August 4, 2009

I'll be overly nerdy. Technically there was nothing in the toxic waste that gave him his powers; it only blinded him. When Frank Miller took over the book in the 80s he retconned DD's origin story so that his heightened senses were within anyone's capabilities if they trained properly (as young Matt Murdock was trained by the mysterious martial arts Stick).

But to answer your question, before that retcon I don't believe the substance was ever identified as anything other than as toxic waste.

On a sidenote, it took me far too long to realize that not only was the Ninja Turtles' origin was a tongue-in-cheek reference to Daredevil's origin but that even their master (Splinter instead of Stick) and their main enemy (the Foot instead of the Hand) were slight sarcastic takes on Frank Miller's DD run.
posted by jaybeans at 11:04 AM on August 4, 2009

If we're talking about original recipe Daredevil (in yellow), I think we're dealing with just your basic Silver Age collection of Radioactive Chemicals (with capital R and C), drawing upon the societal residue of Better Living Through Chemistry that pervaded America in the 1950s. Not everything drought to you by Dow and Dupont is well and good, see? Sometimes it makes you go blind, and then you will have to decide. Will you accept your fate or will you overcome the loss of one sense by training up the other, now irradiated four?

Of course, it is important to remember that young Matt would never've been splashed if he hadn't pushed a stranger out of the path of aforementioned truck. Add another check in the "Heroes that are heroes before they're Heroes" origin checkbox.

(Of course, at other times (and at another publisher), a splash of lightning-charged chemicals will leave you with super-speed.)
posted by grabbingsand at 11:28 AM on August 4, 2009

I seem to recall that the radioactive goo was retconned into something the Kingpin was, through various cronies and shell corporations, illegally transporting through the city. Can't find a reference to that, though.

In the movie, of course, there's an entirely different reason the accident occurs.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:46 AM on August 4, 2009

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