We Need More Karen Pages Sep25

We Need More Karen Pages...

What defines a strong female role model? A woman who fights for what she believes in? A woman who won’t give up? A woman who isn’t defined by a man? A woman willing to make sacrifices for others? If it’s all of the above, then Karen Page from Netflix’s Daredevil fits the bill. Karen’s character is introduced in the first Daredevil comic in 1964. She is a classic damsel in distress, secretary to the firm of Nelson and Murdock, and a love interest to various suitors. Eventually becoming an adult film star with a drug addiction, she cleans up her act but ultimately dies saving Daredevil. Karen of the Daredevil TV series, however, is different. Though she is a secretary and a love interest, those things do not define her. Karen can’t always punch her way out of situations and though she could very much use her sexuality as a weapon, she doesn’t. In comparison to other heroines from Marvel shows on Netflix, many wouldn’t describe Karen Page as a badass. She doesn’t have the physical power of Misty Knight, Jessica Jones, or even Madam Gao. Yet that’s the very reason she is strong, because she still manages to fight for what she believes in under the harshest of pressures. With the rise of female-led shows and movies like Jessica Jones and Wonder Woman, I’m hungry for more heroines. Yet, people keep limiting their definition of “empowered” to characters like Arya Stark, Harley Quinn, and Colleen Wing without considering the immense strength of Sansa Stark, Lois Lane, and Karen Page. It took me years to redefine my understanding of strength. Growing up in an Indian Malaysian household meant I was exposed to the wonders of Indian Cinema in all its splendour and, yes, these...

Mutually Assured Punishment Jun24

Mutually Assured Punishment...

There are two things the Punisher doesn’t waste: words and bullets. “Bang.” The Punisher’s first and only word in his Daredevil debut tells me everything I need to know about him. He’s already blown away a bar full of Irish mobsters and most of a hospital security team, barely pausing to reload, and now I know he doesn’t blink in the face of a superhero. While the Punisher lives in a world full of heroes with colourful costumes and catchphrases—do-gooders who want to save the world—the dark paladin pretty much has one solution to any problem: murder it. And it’s when he and Daredevil start trading blows that things get really interesting. Daredevil is steeped in a Catholic ideology of law and order—he refuses to kill because he believes that judgment is better left to God or the law. The Punisher sees the broken system laid out before him and decides his justice is better than none, so he will be judge, jury, and—most notably—executioner. The Punisher subscribes to a theology of redemptive violence. He doesn’t believe what he’s doing is “good” or “right,” only that it is necessary. When Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson lead the Punisher’s defense in court, they try to leverage his military service to the jury and explain his murderous rampages as a form of PTSD, but the Punisher wants no part in it. The idea of taking justice into your own hands and righting wrongs on your terms is very attractive. He has no delusions about what he’s doing. He tells Daredevil, “You hit them and they get back up; I hit them and they stay down.” Daredevil believes if he takes the high road long enough, the world will take notice and shape up. It’s a fairly...

The deep dark of Daredevil Jun02

The deep dark of Daredevil...

Daredevil is one of Marvel’s darker heroes because he is ultimately not defined by his superhuman ability to sense the world around him without seeing it. With Daredevil, Marvel took a chance on a new kind of character by painting a darker picture than they ever have before. Daredevil is the guardian of Hell’s Kitchen: a hero who fights street-level crime. While Spider-Man and The Avengers are off challenging supervillains, aliens, or angry celestial beings, Daredevil stalks the rooftops between Eighth Avenue and the Hudson River, fighting drug dealers, human traffickers, and angry crime bosses. Unlike many superheroes, Daredevil never feels invincible. Whether he’s fighting  a powerhouse enemy like Nobu, or a hallway of nameless thugs, I’m never sure Daredevil is going to walk away the victor. And win or lose, he ends up bloody and bruised far more often than not. “You have to feel for what’s not there as much as what is.” His vulnerability increases when Daredevil takes off his mask and tries to go about his day job as the lawyer Matt Murdock. Murdock is possibly even a more interesting character than Daredevil—if you can separate the two. His job in the courtroom is a stark contrast from his evening gig. His struggle to appease his Catholic guilt, his desire to see justice done and his feeling of responsibility to use his abilities for good are far more complex emotions than most heroes deal with. While he’s learning to read braille, Matt Murdock tells his father, “you have to feel for what’s not there as much as what is.” Daredevil doesn’t wrestle with his code of not murdering criminals. He struggles with himself when he knows he really wants to kill one. What he’s not doing tells us a lot more about him than what...