There aren’t two brands with more cultural cache for creating high-quality entertainment right now than Marvel and Netflix, which makes the first partnership between them as hotly anticipated as it gets. The two companies have agreed to create a total of four series–plus a miniseries to come in early 2016–and the first up is the most television-ready property in Marvel’s stable: the Batman-meets-Law And Order superhero Daredevil.
The tale of a young man who, by dint of an accident while saving an old man from an accident, lost his eyesight and gained enhanced radar-like senses, Daredevil is one of Marvel’s oldest properties (the character first appeared 51 years ago, just a year and a half after Spider-Man), and one of its most beloved. A-list comics creators from Frank Miller to Kevin Smith to Brian Michael Bendis to Mark Waid wear lengthy runs on the title as badges of pride, and for good reason: The dark groundwork laid by Miller during his seminal ’70s run transformed blind lawyer Matt Murdoch from a less fun version of Spider-Man into a tortured, complex noir figure of deep moral ambiguity.
That’s something that appears to be front-and-center in the Netflix version of Daredevil, as the just-released first trailer for the series makes clear: It opens with Murdoch in the confessional booth, asking forgiveness for the violence he’s about to commit, and draws heavily on the imagery from Miller’s 1994 collaboration with artist John Romita Jr. on the character, The Man Without Fear.
Based on this first glimpse, Daredevil captures several elements of the storied comic book series that previous interpretations of the character–from the 2003 film version in which Ben Affleck donned a red bondage suit to the 1989 TV movie The Trial Of The Incredible Hulk, which featured pop singer Rex Smith as the masked hero–had largely ignored: The tortured Catholicism, the quest to attain justice for his father’s death, the hero’s tendency to get beat up a lot. Daredevil is a beloved comics property, and in Netflix’s hands, it looks like the avenging devil of Hell’s Kitchen is finally getting the treatment he deserves.