The latest issue of Daredevil exposes two more weaknesses of the King in Black and presents a potential problem in the overall story.

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Daredevil # 27 by Chip Zdarsky, Marco Checchetto, Mike Hawthorne, Adriano Di Benedetto, Marco Menyz, and VC’s Clayton Cowles, available now.

Daredevil comics frequently explore themes related to religion and mental illness, with Matt Murdock often struggling to reconcile his violent vigilante activities with his Catholic faith and to avoid succumbing to depression and other mental health problems in the wake of all the trauma you’ve experienced. These themes are generally handled gracefully, which is part of the reason that the Daredevil franchise is one of the most acclaimed in superhero comics, but the latest issue of the current one Reckless Ongoing makes a rare misstep with the way he chooses to incorporate these themes into the “King in Black” crossover event.

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Reckless Issue 27 features Matt’s Catholicism and Typhoid Mary’s mental illness as key plot elements, but does so in a way that could be construed as offensive to other characters and religions.

The current Reckless The story arc “Black Kitchen” is a link to the King in black event. In the previous issue, when Knull’s army of symbiotes invaded New York City, Elektra, the new Daredevil, began to fight them. Typhoid Mary, who has been acting as a bodyguard to New York Mayor Wilson Fisk, took on several symbiotes before being possessed by one. Matt Murdock tried to protect the prison where he is incarcerated, but he also became possessed. But in Reckless # 27 Matt and Mary were able to resist Knull’s control through unexpected means.

RELATED: King in Black: A Reckless Villain Who Just Joined Knull’s Symbiote Army

Matt’s internal monologue shows Knull trying to undermine his belief in the Christian God and concepts like heaven, but Matt stands firm. He does not submit to Knull’s will, and even uses the power of the symbiote to fight two other possessed people, although he still feels Knull’s influence. Finally, Matt is able to run to the prison’s electric chair and, with the help of another inmate, unloads himself, seemingly eradicating the symbiote. While teasing him in his mind, Knull told Matt that no one can fight forever. Matt responds by telling him that it is always easy if you have faith.

Typhoid Mary became obsessed with killing Elektra in the service of Wilson Fisk, and until she believed she did, she was able to ignore Knull’s orders. After Elektra faked her death, Mary was completely consumed by Knull. It is implied that Mary is able to resist Knull due to his mental instability. Matt and Mary’s abilities to resist Knull are potentially problematic, given the implications they have for other characters.

RELATED: King In Black: Elektra Tricked The Symbiote God With A Lethal Trick

Matt’s use of Catholicism on this issue is potentially offensive as it risks putting that religion on a pedestal above others. After all, Matt isn’t the only religious superhero in the Marvel Universe, and yet some of his peers who have equally strong beliefs in their respective beliefs have not been successful in resisting Knull. Both Ben Grimm / the Thing and Kamala Khan / Ms. Marvel, who are devoted practitioners of Judaism and Islam, respectively, have been possessed and have not yet been shown to be released.

Similarly, Mary is not the only Marvel character with mental health issues, but she is the only one who can use her problems to control a symbiote. The implication could be that their specific condition, dissociative identity disorder, is responsible for their resilience, but this would also be problematic. There is a long history of stories in many media, not just comics, attributing supernatural phenomena to DID, with the horror movie. Pull apart being a particularly well-known example. This leads to the creation of harmful stereotypes against real people suffering from the condition that Marvel would do well to avoid perpetuating.

It is quite possible that future numbers of Reckless will reveal that Matt and Mary possess other attributes that allowed them to resist Knull. Hopefully this will be the case, because if not, the bow risks denigrating other religions in favor of Catholicism and glorifying mental illness. Alternatively, if characters from other religions begin to show resistance to symbiotes, it could be successfully suggested that they have some sort of divine weakness, without being offensive. However, it is probably best to avoid doing something similar with other characters with mental illnesses, as it could influence harmful trends in media representation.

KEEP READING: Comic Legends: When did we learn that Daredevil was Catholic?

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