This week's Daredevil Annual #1 from writer Chip Zdarsky and artists Manuel Garcia, Le Beau Underwood, Chris Mooneyham, and Rachelle Rosenberg takes an off-beat piece of Matt Murdock's history that's been building for the last few years and puts it in a new light – potentially changing Daredevil's life forever.
Spoilers ahead, so stop here if you don't want to be spoiled!
Daredevil Annual #1 – appropriately titled 'One More Day,' a reference to a story that magically altered Spider-Man's life forever – brings Matt Murdock's increasingly less fictional brother Mike Murdock into full form, magically imbuing him with a real history and fully creating him in the real world as Matt's flesh-and-blood brother.
What does that mean? Well, it's a little complicated, given Mike Murdock's evolving nature.
Mike Murdock was first introduced in the Silver Age as a fake alternate identity that Matt Murdock occasionally employed to hide his secret identity as Daredevil, telling people his twin brother Mike was the protector of Hell's Kitchen – at least until Matt faked 'Mike's' death, explaining that he had trained a new Daredevil before passing away.
Matt Murdock would occasionally employ the identity of Mike Murdock over the years after killing his fictional brother off – but in Charles Soule's 2018 Daredevil run, the writer brought Mike Murdock into the Marvel Universe as a human being ... sort of.
When the Inhuman known as Reader, who has the power to manifest his thoughts into reality, was reading about Mike Murdock, he accidentally created a "fragment" – a shell of a person that acted like a real human, but who is ultimately a false construct with fake memories and a manufactured personality.
Though Mike and Matt Murdock first clashed, Matt chose not to allow Reader to get rid of Mike's "fragment," letting Mike live on and escape.
Unfortunately for Matt, Mike took up with his arch-enemy the Kingpin, eventually falling in with the magically-powered villain the Hood. That's where Daredevil Annual #1 comes in.
In the annual, Mike and Parker Robbins (a.ka. the Hood) pull off a heist using Mike's resemblance to Matt, whose face has become known throughout New York City since Matt briefly served as its Mayor.
In the aftermath, Mike steals a Norn Stone – a reality-altering Norse artifact that the Hood once used – and uses it to perform a ritual to make himself fully human, inserting Matt Murdock's twin brother Mike Murdock into his history, showing a newly revised life story for Matt Murdock that involves dealing with his brother's criminality even into his life as Daredevil – including Mike's potential involvement in their father's death.
Following his spell, Mike is left weeping on the floor, feeling, perhaps for the first time, the full emotional weight of being a real human being.
The story continues in Daredevil #22, due out September 23.
Chip Zdarsky spoke to Newsarama about what this all might mean prior to Daredevil Annual #1's release. As for how Mike Murdock's introduction could affect the title, there's already one planned change ahead, with artist Mike Hawthorne joining the creative team in November.