While not nearly the clotheshorse his brother-in-arms Spider-Man may be, Daredevil still enjoys a good look as much as the next super hero. As with Spidey before him, I’m running down and ranking Daredevil’s various looks over the years. Enjoy my keen mind for fashion, won’t you?
The Man Without Fear’s Looks
Secret War Costume- Utterly forgettable. It’s not bad, but I can’t remember one on panel instance of it being showcased well. I’d definitely be up for seeing it again, perhaps in focus with better lighting next time.
Shadowlands Costume- The inky black and the bladed wrist gauntlets are a nice visual cue that Daredevil has changed in some fundamental ways, but overall it is just sort of a…non-design. The more stylized horns and the altered interlocking DD logo are different, certainly, but they do not convey much by that difference. Perhaps it is because SHADOWLANDS proved such a disappointment—Daredevil gets his own big crossover moment and fumbles it badly—but I have a difficult time raising much enthusiasm for this costume.
Too little changed in service of a storyline that was mostly disservice to DD (the original plans were similarly dark but more dramatically robust; the accompanying companion limited series and random crossover issues tended to be much better than the main storyline) makes this edition one I am fine with being exiled to the trashpit of bad costumes, never to be seen again.
Black Sweats- Even lower tech than the costume sported by Daredevil in the Netflix TV series, this is literally just a matching black sweatsuit with black gloves, white high tops, and a black bandana covering the top of Matt’s head, including his eyes.
A great design to showcase the spur of the moment nature of the costume—and the endeavor—and striking as rendered by John Romita Jr, especially with the bandana erasing any sense of Murdock’s eyes Still, it is ultimately just a black sweat suit.
Current Costume- Given my feelings on the Shadowlands costume, I will grant you that my opinion here should run roughly the same. The fact it does not is…confusing.
Party may be, as I noted earlier, that the Shadowlands costume comes from perhaps the most disappointing “era” of DAREDEVIL since the Marvel Knights relaunch back in 1998. However, a larger part, I think, is owed to artist Ron Garney and colorist Matt Milla. When rendered by others, the current costume is a bit of a snooze, a red/black palette swap and little more. When rendered by them, what can I say, I really like it. Dynamic, gritty, and just different enough to catch my eye.
Three Piece Suit “Costume”- Ok, it is goofy as hell. A red three piece suit, head to toe, complete with DD belt buckle and sans mask, accented by a black pocket square, belt, and shirt is not the best attire for court or the back alley. And I love it anyway. I wish I could afford the look and then pull it off because it would be my new convention attire.
The Armored Costume- Underrated! Yes, the early 90’s was a time of excess and armored costumes were a part of that excess. I submit to you, however, that this is the source of most of the ire and distaste directed at Hornhead’s armor and that, ultimately, it has almost nothing to do with the look itself.
Ok, ok. Maybe not nothing. But still, way worse rep because of the general dislike of that era’s choices than an actual evaluation of the costume. I personally quite like it. The design, the coloring, the way it changed Daredevil silhouette without rendering it unrecognizable.
Yellow Costume- The first costume Daredevil ever appeared in in “real world” continuity, its premiere slot has been usurped in universe by the Black Sweat from MAN WITHOUT FEAR.
However, as its in universe stock has dropped, my personal opinion of it has risen. I would never recommend it for the status of ongoing costume, but I’ve grown to like the design. The yellow arms and legs creating contrast with the dark red nearly brown torso, the yellow horned mask…it’s a neat look. Especially as rendered by modern artists and colorists.
The Red Costume- Classic. Perfect, I’d argue. The symbol on his chest, the solid red throughout, the use of the red lenses, hinting at the reality of his sight…all of it works for me. I might have the least to say about this one and that’s because it just works. The diversions—the current black costume, the armor—can be fun and great designs in their own right, but they just cannot overthrow the champ.