December 2's Daredevil #25 is poised to change everything for the Man Without Fear, as Daredevil himself heads to prison while Matt Murdock remains free, courtesy of a special deal with the legal system and some help from his twin brother Mike Murdock.
Guiding these changes are writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Marco Checchetto who, along with just-added rotating artist Mike Hawthorne, will take Daredevil into the depths of the New York City prison system, where his enemies are waiting.
Newsarama caught up with Zdarsky and Checchetto ahead of Daredevil #25's release to talk about what these changes mean not just for Matt Murdock and his cast, but for the creative team as it expands and moves into the next phase of Zdarsky and Checchetto's extended run.
Newsarama: Chip and Marco, you've been working together on Daredevil for some time now, and Daredevil #25 puts Matt Murdock in a new status quo. How has the journey to this point been, as a creative team?
Marco Checchetto: Fantastic. I love Chip's scripts, it's a pure joy to work on his pages. Every page is like: 'Oh wow! That's great!' Chip raises the bar with every issue and I want my art to live up to it.
I'm sure Chip will complain that I always ask him to put Spider-Man in Daredevil, but come on, in this series he wrote one of the best Spider-Men ever.
Chip Zdarsky: Ha! I'd never complain about more Spidey!
Honestly, this has been one of the most satisfying creative partnerships in my career to date. Marco is a powerhouse of an artist to start with and he just keeps getting better and better! We feel incredibly in sync. And yeah, he draws a great Spider-Man!
Nrama: It seems Matt's going to jail for murder. What will that mean for his career as Daredevil?
Zdarsky: Oh, is he? I'll just say this: whether inside a prison or out, he's still Daredevil. His mission has never been clearer.
Nrama: Matt's been to prison before, but this is different. What's at stake as he goes behind bars this time? What's his mindset?
Zdarsky: Well, he's apparently at peace with going to prison. There's some dissociation there as it's 'Daredevil' in the legal system and not 'Matt Murdock,' but reality will come crashing down on him at some point.
All of what's happening could irreparably change the way superhero vigilantes operate. Just because you have powers doesn't mean you're above the law.
Nrama: Chip, 25 issues in, what do you see as the core of who Matt Murdock is? How do you plan to challenge that?
Zdarsky: Matt's core is his struggle between his faith, his moral compass, and the legal system. All three inform who he is and while there can be overlap, there can also be conflict between them. So the challenge post-25 is which of those rises to the top? How do you reconcile them?
Nrama: Marco, prison is a very different environment from Hell's Kitchen. How are you adjusting to this setting, and to this take on Matt? How do you sell the 'Daredevil' of it all when you're dealing with a situation that's so removed from his usual superhero stories?
Checchetto: Hell's Kitchen will continue to be a star in the series even without Matt.
The scenes set in prison will be very dark and black. There won't be many stunts and jumps given the tight spaces, but there will be a fair amount of violence.
Zdarsky: Heh. Marco hasn't seen the script to issue #29 yet…
Nrama: On that note, what's the biggest challenge Chip has put in a script so far?
Checchetto: Every one of Chip's pages is a challenge and I like when he writes "Ok Marco! A talking heads scene." When I read that, I know I can breathe for a couple of pages. [Laughs]
Issue #19 and #20 were difficult. The entire battle and the rendition of the 'new' radar sense were very challenging… but I know where we are going now and those issues are just a drop in the sea in comparison.
Zdarsky: I feel guilt with every word I type!
Nrama: Chip, same question in reverse: what's your favorite thing Marco's put on the page so far?
Zdarsky: That's incredibly hard to answer as almost every page makes me cheer when they come in!
I will say that no one has ever made Stilt-Man look cool and dangerous until Marco drew him. The page in issue #19 of the car smashing into his leg is just amazing.
Nrama: How will Mike Murdock factor into Matt's apparent conviction? Is there a chance we'll see Mike taking up as Daredevil while Matt's behind bars?
Checchetto: Chip will love this question. Just a minute, I'll get my popcorn.
Zdarsky: [Laughs]. Well, let's just say Mike is settling in nicely to a life as 'Matt Murdock.'
Nrama: Who will Matt run into while he's in prison? He's put away his fair share of criminals.
Zdarsky: Well, we'll be meeting some new characters, and some with ties to Matt. It's definitely going to get complicated.
Nrama: On that note, what's going on outside in Hell's Kitchen? #26 brings in King in Black – how does Daredevil tie into that?
Zdarsky: Hell's Kitchen is in the middle of rebuilding after the events of 'Inferno,' so an alien invasion is not incredibly welcome right now. And it's especially not welcome in a prison, except maybe to some prisoners.
While one of our cast is going to prison, we have a lot happening outside of prison as well.
Mayor Fisk's just getting started, Typhoid Mary is at a crossroads, Kirsten McDuffie is back in Daredevil's life, Elektra is plotting. And then there's Wilson Fisk's son...
Nrama: Marco, how has your perspective on Daredevil changed over the course of this run? How has your visual concept for him evolved?
Checchetto: I'm trying to reflect in my art what Chip writes about Matt. He is a broken man and always on the edge, fighting his demons.
He is not a clean and invincible hero, so I always like to paint him with a face full of bruises, an unkempt beard, and a dirty costume (when he has it).
Nrama: What's ahead for Matt – and for this creative team? What can you each tell us about what comes next?
Checchetto: If I speak I die ... but I can guarantee that the developments for the series will be great and that I am already looking forward to drawing what lies ahead.
Zdarsky: I'm really excited to show everyone what we've been cooking! The next year is going to be huge for Matt and the cast, and I can't stress this enough: regular readers should tell their shops to put issue #25 aside for them so speculators don't snatch them up.
Just trust me.