Though they may seem like opposites (at least in demeanor), The Amazing Spider-Man and Daredevil, The Man Without Fear have enjoyed a fruitful partnership dating back to 1964. Despite coming from widely different backgrounds, the superpowered duo is much more alike than they are different. Both have powers centered around incredible agility along with remarkable perception and senses. Each have experienced the loss of a father and teacher. They’ve attempted to balance love, life, and fighting crime, and they both even feature red as the primary color in their costumes. It’s really no wonder that Daredevil and Spider-Man have teamed up to protect their home turf of New York and beyond.
The two crimefighters have enjoyed a great partnership at several junctures in Marvel Comics’ history over the decades. Marvel fans were also delighted to see this potential hinted at in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, when Charlie Cox‘s Matt Murdock of Netflix fame helped Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland) with some huge legal trouble in Spider-Man: No Way Home. Because this brief cameo is likely pointing to the two working together in the MCU’s future, it’s not a bad time to take a look at some of the best occasions that the duo joined forces throughout comics history.
This particular run for the Marvel Knights imprint found Daredevil and Spider-Man as close friends forced to protect a man they never expected: The Kingpin of Crime. At this point in the duo’s careers and relationship, they know nearly everything about each other, including each other’s secret identities. However, Spidey and Daredevil’s partnership takes on a new dimension as they attempt to protect the dastardly Wilson Fisk from the likes of Stilt-Man, the Gladiator, Copperhead, and the Owl. The arc ends in an interesting, macabre horror conclusion that pushes them to the psychological edge as well, which is quite the undertaking for the duo. Despite their struggles, the two’s bond comes out stronger in the end, with the two agreeing that despite their differences, they’re both still very much alike.
This series also features cover art from Alex Ross, one of the greatest (if not the greatest) photorealism comic book artists of all time.
Spider-Man: The Animated Series (1994)
Speaking of Kingpin, Web-Head and Hornhead teamed up in the 90s to take him down in one of Spider-Man’s most beloved animated runs. Not only is Daredevil’s origin story explored in this cartoon medium, but the persona of Matt Murdock is significantly at play as well. When Peter Parker is wrongfully imprisoned for selling secret defense plans by Richard Fisk, son of Kingpin, J. Jonah Jameson believes that Parker is innocent. He hires Hell’s Kitchen’s own Matt Murdock to represent Peter as his defense attorney. This inevitably leads Murdock to don his Daredevil costume and investigate the situation further.
Although this team-up does end with the two battling Kingpin to clear Peter’s name, the duo also notably butt heads in the animated series. Since neither initially know the other’s identity, Daredevil and Spider-Man come to blows while attempting to find evidence. After escaping an explosion at Fisktronics, the two agree to work together while still keeping their identities concealed.
You know, if they’d both revealed their identities at that point, they likely would’ve realized that they were already working together outside of crimefighting, but that’s dramatic irony for you.
Daredevil Issues #305-306
The original series of Daredevil comics ran from 1964 until 1998, and Spider-Man jumped in during issues #305 and #306 for a quick team-up. Although the issues can be considered a little campy due to being released in 1992, their villain is anything but. Known as the Surgeon General, the antagonist of this short team-up was a woman who would harvest the body parts of men that she lured in romantically. The superhero duo tries some unorthodox tactics to catch their killer, as one panel showcases Peter Parker sporting a fake mustache and using himself as bait to tempt the Surgeon General.
However, the tone of the issues soon takes a very dark turn, as a battle between heroes and villains leads to the Surgeon General harming civilians in a crowded nightclub in order to slow Daredevil and Spider-Man down. As she racks up her kill count, the sequence concludes with a fast-paced chase that shows the two heroes’ excellent teamwork.
Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #27-30
This particular story in Spider-Man’s history is a bit goofy but allows the wall-crawler to experience what Matt Murdock must have experienced before developing his Radar Sense. After being blinded by the Daredevil villain known as The Masked Marauder, Spider-Man is left to fend for himself without his vision. Although Spidey’s senses are vastly improved, a lack of vision is still a considerable hindrance. While Spider-Man’s Spider-Sense is working just fine, detecting danger is much harder to do without his sight. Fortunately, a certain blinded crimefighter is waiting in the wings to show Peter Parker a thing or two.
As Spidey fumbles in his attempts to battle criminals and stop the Masked Marauder, Daredevil does his utmost to assist him in how to battle and traverse the city without sight. Spider-Man’s vision does slowly return, but this particular story is a fun and interesting role reversal featuring the New York superhero duo.
Spider-Man/Kingpin: To The Death (1997)
Someone is gunning people down, and they appear to be none other than The Amazing Spider-Man. Peter Parker, though, clearly hasn’t turned his coat to join the side of criminals. The media goes into hysterics over Spidey taking a Punisher-esque approach to fighting and a group of heroes (including Captain America, The Fantastic Four, Luke Cage and the X-Men) even attempt to bring the real Spider-Man in for his alleged crimes. After he manages to escape, Daredevil offers to help clear Spidey’s name. As expected, the trail leads to superdrug-induced criminals posing as Spider-Man, and who else would orchestrate this scheme other than Spider-Man and Daredevil’s most common enemy, the Kingpin of Crime.
Bringing together the talents of Stan Lee, John Romita Sr., Tom DeFalco, and Dan Green, this collected volume is a tale of desperation and Daredevil/Spider-Man doing the utmost to save each other while also stopping calamity. It’s a bonafide superhero team-up classic.
Daredevil Volume 5 Issue #9 (2016)
Even though this is only one issue, it accentuates all of the best beats between Spider-Man and Daredevil’s relationship. Spidey, the wisecracking optimist, and Daredevil, the brooding cynic pair up once again to pull off a casino heist. Sporting a new black costume reminiscent of his Shadowland days, Daredevil finds a way to remove knowledge of his secret identity from the world’s consciousness (in a strangely similar way to Spider-Man: No Way Home, but utilizing The Purple Children) and plans to continue his crime-fighting crusade. In a bid to bring down several of New York’s most notable local villains, Daredevil enlists the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man to steal a highly-coveted briefcase collecting all of the villain’s information. The two dash through locations in Macau and Hong Kong before coming to a significant impasse.
Since Spider-Man doesn’t recall that Daredevil is indeed his friend Matt Murdock, he’s reluctant to hand the briefcase over without understanding Daredevil’s intentions. Although Murdock originally intends to lie, the struggle for how to best combat crime and keep true to his moral compass gives way. He tells Spider-Man his plan to take down the major players in New York, and also explains that regaining his secret identity and keeping it obscured is part of his plan. Spider-Man hands over the case, but remarks on his way out that Daredevil should be careful with the “black costume phases,” as they never end well for heroes.
Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #110 (1986)
On the topic of bad phases with black costumes, arguably the greatest Spider-Man/Daredevil moments come as Peter Parker is struggling with letting his emotions overtake him. The duo pursue a murderer known as the Sin Eater, who our favorite wall-crawler discovered is actually his friend Detective Stan Carter. When the villain remarks that he and Spider-Man aren’t so different, Spidey goes into a fit of rage due to Carter’s betrayal and senseless taking of lives. As Spider-Man savagely beats Carter, he comes dangerously close to killing him for good. Fortunately, Daredevil intervenes and attempts to calm his longtime friend down.
Unfortunately, Spider-Man isn’t so easily persuaded and refuses to calm down. In a last-ditch effort to prevent Spider-Man from becoming a murderer, Daredevil puts himself between his friend and the murderous Sin Eater. Spider-Man’s rage continues, leading to him and Daredevil battling on New York’s streets. All the while, they argue over crimefighting philosophy and morality, the core of two characters who have both been dangerously close to the point of no return as heroes. Though the fight continues, Daredevil’s senses eventually prove to give him the upper hand while Spider-Man fights inhibited by his anger. Daredevil manages to knock Spider-Man out, and worries about the Sin Eater’s effect not only on his friend but himself as well.
Later, at Ryker’s Island, a prison riot breaks out that includes the Sin Eater. Daredevil dives into the fray to stop the riot, but Spider-Man initially refuses to help. However, Daredevil is soon overcome by the sheer number of opponents, and Spider-Man’s heroics instincts overcome him, jumping in and saving both Daredevil and the Sin Eater (who was at the risk of being choked to death). Daredevil deduces that Spider-Man is Peter Parker, and then confesses to him out of trust that he is Matt Murdock. The two return to Peter’s home out of costume and further debate how criminals should be treated. Murdock believes that even the worst of the worst deserve a fair trial by their peers, which Peter struggles to agree with.
Fortunately, a well-timed call by Peter’s Aunt May brings the heroes to an understanding. Her tenant Ernie has shot three men in a panic, worried he was going to be mugged. Matt Murdock offers to provide all legal help possible, and Peter Parker finally understands his fellow hero’s angle. Peter resolves to put his faith in the law and believes he can instill that same confidence in May.
This story touches the utmost depths of these characters. It separates them by their moral contrasts but brings them together due to their poignant misery over a terrible situation. Though they don’t come together until the very end, Spider-Man and Daredevil never let their differences get in the way of saving lives. At the end of the day, that’s what these heroes are both about, and this issue emphasizes it like no other while providing plenty of action and cooperation between The Big Apple’s most steadfast heroes.