About the Daredevil post, you mentioned in there how some of the hits look like they could kill, and in other posts how it’s difficult to do disabling blows without risking either killing the person or not doing enough damage. But do you think because of Matt’s senses this wouldn’t be a problem? He can monitor his opponent’s heartbeat, breathing, and any internal damage so he knows exactly what kind of shape they’re in. At the very least he could choke someone out safely. Thoughts?

Nah, Daredevil’s whole shtick in the comics is that he’s riding the line between becoming a killer and staying clean. You should always worry that he’s going to cross that line. It’s one of the main themes of the character and it’s present in both seasons. Much as Daredevil gets presented as the “Marvel Batman”, Matt is not Bruce Wayne. Bruce Wayne’s schtick is that he’s a control freak. Matt Murdock’s is that he’s always on the verge of losing that control.

The temptation is always there and the threat for him is that he always could, even on accident. It’s important to remember that he’s accidentally killed people in the comics and done so in the Frank Miller run that the writer’s are pulling heavily from. We even see him ascribing Nobu’s death in Season 1 to being an accident because he burned to death rather than killing him with his bare hands. He even says at the end of the season that nobody died, meaning he didn’t kill anyone because he held himself back from the temptation of killing Fisk and chose to count Nobu’s death (in which he was a participant) as an accident which was not his fault.

This is actually very important to understanding Matt Murdock’s personality and how he deals with the consequences of his actions. Matt is someone who is driven by his concept of morality, but underneath the surface he is also a masochist. He beats people up because he enjoys it and he feels guilty about enjoying it, but covers that by saying he’s doing the right thing. Essentially? He’s weaponized his Catholic guilt.
And we haven’t even gotten to the Daredevil villains who really put Matt Murdock’s “No Kill” policy to the test.

Which, considering he’s always on the edge of breaking it 90% of the time, is actually very impressive.

There will be villains that he should kill, that the audience will want him to kill, that he’ll desperately want to kill, but he won’t because his principles are more important to him than the reality. He’ll be made to suffer for that choice over, and over, and over again.

That’s just Daredevil though.

He accidentally kills the random mooks and goes on to spare the villains that will never change their ways. He’s much more likely to take care when he’s in the company of someone like Elektra or the Punisher.
He’s a hypocrite like that.

At the very least though, we can say the hypocrisy is thematic and part of his personality. It’s something he’s called out for, often by other characters in the comics and in the show. Matt is supposed to be a hypocrite, paving the road to hell with his own good intentions, and the narrative knowing that makes it about 1k times better than similar narratives where they never acknowledge it. Matt is not not a protagonist ordained by the story to always be in the right. The question of whether or not he should even be a vigilante in the first place is one one of the driving themes of his story. Is he any better than the bad guys? Sometimes, he becomes the bad guys. (But, I hope we can all agree that the arc where he becomes the new Kingpin is stupid. Though to be fair, everyone around him thought it was stupid too.)

With Daredevil, it’s never a question of what he can and can’t do. It’s what he will and won’t do. He could do what you’re suggesting, if he’s paying attention and doesn’t get caught in the rush. Which…

There’s a difference between what the powers allow and the personality in play, and Daredevil is a character who is remarkably human. One who is prone to mistakes. He’s a fantastic character and part of that character is the part where he’s a mess. One who is working out his inner demons by taking out people who he perceives as threats to the safety of his neighborhood. Due to all his flaws, foibles, failings, Daredevil is one of the most human characters in the Marvel universe. He’s not very good at keeping a handle on his secret identity, so quite a few of his enemies figure it out and use it against him. He doesn’t have superhuman resistance to damage, he just keeps getting back up. Much of what he does is, in large part, on his own willpower.

I think, really, this is what makes Daredevil such an interesting character and one really worth looking at when setting up your own characters who fight. There’s a nasty habit when it comes to conforming a character’s personality to their fighting style or have their knowledge alone dictate their actions.

There’s what they know and what they’ve learned, then there’s who they are, and that all comes back to direct how they fight.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with a character making choices that directly contradict their own morals, their own best interests, and which fly directly in the face of everything they’re supposed to know how to do.

What is most important here is that choice on the part of the character, rather than just assuming it’s right. At heart, Matt Murdock is a character who is extraordinarily self-destructive. It’s part of who he is as a person and as a superhero. It’s part of his character. He makes bad choices.

He tries, but he also sometimes fails.

And that is what makes him interesting and compelling as a character.

Not the choices themselves but the logical reasoning behind them, the part where who he is becomes the driving factor. Ultimately, when we talk about organic writing we’re discussing characters making choices that are in line with who they’ve shown themselves to be. Even when it’s unfortunate or we disagree with those choices, we can ultimately be content with them because it fits with what we’ve seen them do within the story itself.

The short answer is: Matt’s powers could make his combat safer if he were a different person, but that isn’t who he is and it isn’t how he fights. He’s much more reckless, he gives into his emotions, and is much more inclined toward brutal beatings than controlling his environment. We can joke about the Daredevil helmet and “seeing red”, but it is a very true statement when it comes to Matt Murdock.

The Punisher is, ironically, better at disabling shots than Daredevil. He’s just choosing not to use them and focuses on efficiently killing his opponents instead.

-Michi

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