Saturday, February 18, 2006

PSA: Your Bendis/Maleev Daredevil timeline!

Yes, it's Friday night, the wife is watching a "What Not To Wear" marathon, and I just finished re-reading Daredevil #26-81. One of the things I liked about it was Bendis showing that time actually passes. So I began to wonder what a Daredevil timeline would look like. So I decided to sketch it out, because I don't like "What Not To Wear" (Clinton and Stacy piss me off!). It doesn't hold together as well as Bendis wanted it to, but it's still pretty fun.

Warning: as you can probably tell, this will be a truly geeky, continuity-obsessed post. I rarely do these, but occasionally, as with Brian translating the language of the Sheeda, it must be done! So hold on to your nerd hats! The number in parentheses is the issue number in which the event is mentioned.

February 1946: Alexander Bont (who is about 37 at the time, as he says he's 93 in the present) kills Defender and becomes kingpin. How do we know so specifically? His girl mentions that the Feds deported Lucky Luciano, an event which took place in Feb. '46. (66)

Mid-1960s: Daredevil busts Alexander Bont (66). Obviously, this is impossible, but it's still pretty clear it's the 1960s. The cars, the styles, and the fact that Bont looks to be in his late 50s or early 60s speak to this. I don't care too much about the time discrepancy in this regard - Bendis and Maleev are evoking the early days of Daredevil, and that's fine, but it's a point people have made before about superheroes not aging - you can't refer to stuff that has happened to them in the past, because it will screw everything up. Especially with what Bendis tells us about ...

1981: Young Sammy Silke and Richard Fisk see Wilson Fisk and Sammy's father kill a man (30). It explicitly says, "20 years ago." See what I mean about tricky?

1989: Matt and Elektra are in college (37). Again, a comic from 2001 says "12 years ago." Matt must have used a time machine to bust Bont.

19 July 2001: The White Tiger thwarts a robbery and gets arrested (38, but the date is given in 39). This is one of the few dates given in the book. The prosecutor specifically mentions that Hector Ayala was arrested on 19 July. It has to be 2001, for reasons discussed below.

20 July 2001: Luke Cage and Danny Rand get Matt to take the White Tiger case (38).

July 2001: Matt and Foggy visit Hector in prison; Luke Cage and Danny Rand visit the punks who know something about the cop-killing (38).

January 2002: Sammy Silke arrives in New York, meets Wilson Fisk, and is denied permission to kill Matt Murdock (29). Later, he meets Richard Fisk, who looks nothing like the Richard Fisk who was The Rose (27).

February 2002: Sammy Silke thinks about taking down Fisk (29). Later, Richard tells Silke that Matt is Daredevil (30).

March 2002: Silke begins plotting and puts a bounty on Matt (30).

7 April 2002: Matt and Foggy win a huge case; Nitro explodes on the courthouse steps (26). Matt later confronts Fisk, who has no knowledge of the bounty (27).

13 April 2002: Matt finds out more about the bounty and confronts Fisk about it, but he again denies knowledge of it (29).

14 April 2002: Issue #26, which is when this issue came out, came out in October 2001. However, no date is given, so I used the date in issue #32 (see below) to date this. Anyway: Silke confronts Fisk and stabs him (26). Ben Urich is informed of the attack (27). Elektra sends a note to Matt about the bounty and is attacked by Shotgun and Boomerang (28). Vanessa learns of Fisk's "death" and flies to America (29).

15 April 2002: Vanessa arrives in New York (assuming it took her overnight to get there from Switzerland) and plots revenge (29). Matt talks to Urich about Fisk's death, while Vanessa gets Fisk out of the country but stays herself (30). Urich tells Matt from where the hit originated, and Matt goes to Falzone, whom Vanessa has already killed; Vanessa kills her son Richard and orders Dini to kill the rest of the conspirators; Silke escapes and goes to the FBI (31).

16 April 2002 (midnight - 3:11 a.m.): Silke gives up Matt to the FBI, but the director says no one is to use the info (32). That night, one of the agents sees Natasha at Matt's brownstone (33).

17 April 2002: The agent, desperate for money, calls the media (33).

18 April 2002. This is the Zero Point. It's clearly marked on the cover of issue #32, so I have to build the timeline around it. Anyway: The Globe breaks the story (32), the media descends on Murdock's place and Foggy tells him it's time to retire (33). At some point during the day, Nick Fury visits Matt in his office (65). Urich and Peter Parker tell J. Jonah Jameson it's not true (34). Mr. Hyde shows up and attacks Matt's brownstone, and Spider-Man helps out (35).

April 2001: Matt meets Captain America in Central Park (65).

4 May 2002: Matt tells Urich they can't be friends anymore (35).

5 May 2002: Matt holds a press conference (35) and tells the world he's not Daredevil (36).

26 May 2002: Natasha, disguised, visits the office, where Luke Cage and Jessica Jones are already bodyguards (36). Presumably, later that same night, Matt has dinner with Vanessa, who gives him the name of the FBI agent and tells him she's sold everything and is leaving the country. Elektra meets Matt because Natasha called her (36).

After this, time may stretch a bit. Bendis doesn't give us many clues as to when things happen, but I have a feeling that the parts in issue #37 follow soon afterward. Let's give it a few days, shall we?

1 June 2002: Mr. Ingersol, the lawyer of Mr. Rosenthal, the owner of The Globe, visits Matt and tells him to stick it; Daredevil visits the FBI agent, who promptly disappears (37).

2/3 June 2002: Rosenthal settles, then takes it back (37).

Summer 2002: Jury selection for the White Tiger trial (38); the trial and death of Hector Ayala (39-40).

At some point in the summer of 2002 but before 3 September, Wilson Fisk visits Mary on the set of her soap opera and turns her back into Typhoid Mary (46) and also goes to Bolivia and kills his former lawyer, Dini, who helped Vanessa kill Richard (46). The dates for September 2002 are approximate, obviously, based on when Matt married Milla.

1 September 2002: Matt rescues Milla and the Owl tries to take over Fisk's territories (41).

2 September 2002: Milla talks to Lori about having a crush on Daredevil; Matt stops a MGH transaction and busts in on the Owl; the Kingpin kills Rosenthal; Milla meets Matt; Luke and Matt argue; Matt and Milla's first date (all of this from 42-43). At the end of their date, the cops come to Matt's place and take him into custody over Rosenthal's murder (44).

3 September 2002: The Owl finds out about Matt and the murder (44). Fisk kills Silke (45). The FBI, with help from Daredevil, shuts down the Owl (45). Typhoid Mary and Fisk break up an intrusion by Sano and the Yakuza (47).

4 September 2002: The FBI visits Fisk at Josie's Bar (47).

5 September 2002: Milla goes to see Matt; Typhoid Mary attacks him on the street (46). Matt, Luke, and Jessica beat up Mary. Soon after Agent Driver visits Matt, while Bullseye goes to Fisk and offers to kill Matt (48).

5-6 September 2002 (night): Bullseye attacks Milla, but Daredevil beats the crap out of him (49).

10 September 2002: Daredevil beats Fisk and declares himself the new Kingpin (50).

Early 2003: Matt for mayor? (56)

4 May 2003: Matt marries Milla. This is another hard and fast date - unfortunately, there are two of them. In issue #58, Milla tells Urich that she got married on 4 May - "about four months ago" - which jives with the Kingpin going down in September 2002, because it's been a year, and September is four months after May. In issue #61, the annulment papers clearly state 23 July as the date of the marriage, but that makes no sense, so I'll ignore it.

6 September 2003: Luke Cage, Reed Richards, Stephen Strange, and Peter Parker meet Matt and berate him (56). This is a strange date. It is clearly just before Sano and the Yakuza attack Matt, but it seems weird that they would meet Matt after a year of playing Kingpin. In issue #65, Bendis says it was soon after he became Kingpin, which makes more sense, but it's clearly incorrect, because it doesn't match up with the attack by Sano.

6 September 2003: Sano and his Yakuza attack Matt (56-57).

7 September 2003: Urich meets Milla (56). It has been "almost a year to the day" since Matt took down the Kingpin. So I say it's the 7th.

8 September 2003: Urich talks to Foggy (58).

9 September 2002: Urich visits the Night Nurse and finds Matt (58). That same day, Sano is released and kills Agent Driver (59).

18 September 2002: Matt and Milla reunite. Matt, Spider-Man, Luke Cage, and Danny Rand bust in on Sano and take him out (59-60). Milla leaves Matt (60).

After this, again, the dates get a bit fuzzy. I'm going to give the Black Widow story less than a week after the conclusion of the last one. Milla thinks Matt only married her because he had a nervous breakdown, and she wants an annulment. This has to follow closely on the end of issue #60, when she leaves him, but give her long enough to have the annulment papers drawn up. That's my rationale, at least.

23 September 2003: Milla wants an annulment. Madame Hydra is captured in Bulgaria (61).

24 September 2003: The Bulgarians want the Black Widow, and Nick Fury warns Natasha about it (61).

25 September 2003: Natasha shows up in New York (61). She and Daredevil beat up Jigsaw (62).

26 September 2003: The papers have the news about Daredevil and the Black Widow in action (61). The director of the CIA puts out a hit on Natasha. Jigsaw makes bail and visits Matt, who kicks him out. Later that day, Quinn shoots at Matt and Natasha during lunch (62). Jigsaw breaks into Matt's brownstone that night (63).

27 September 2003: Quinn is beaten and Fury takes him away (64). Bendis gives us a tiny clue, at least to the season. When Natasha leaves, the leaves are clearly falling around her and Matt. It's been a while since I've lived in the Northeast, so maybe the leaves fall a bit later. If we want to push this whole story into October 2003, I don't mind.

28 September 2003: Natasha arrests the Red Guardian (64).

Issue 65 is the big 40th anniversary issue. At the end of the issue, Bendis makes a HUGE mistake. On the dossier Del Toro receives about Alexander Bont getting out of prison, it says the date is 7 May 2005. That's wrong. I could accept the year, but he didn't get out in the spring. He definitely got out in the winter (see below).

27 November 2003: Bont gets MGH in prison (69).

1 December 2003: Bont gets out of prison (66). It's snowing, so it has to be winter. That's why the date of 7 May doesn't work. Strange screw-up by Bendis.

8 December 2003: Bont kills the fat dude (66).

9 December 2003: Del Toro investigates the murder (67). Bont visits Melvin and blackmails him into helping get Matt (69).

10 December 2003: Del Toro visits Matt and asks about the White Tiger amulet (68-69).

11 December 2003: Matt gets captured by Gladiator (67, even though the event technically occurs in issue #70). Del Toro rescues him, and Bont dies (70).

Now we get to the final two story arcs, which unfold in straight chronological fashion and after all the others. The "Decalogue" story (issues #71-75) appears to take place during the "lost year," especially because at the very end, Matt seems to have given up being Daredevil, which is what Urich told us happened back in issue #56. It could also take place after "The Golden Age." I think we should put it in the winter of 2002-2003. But that's just me.

Finally, "The Murdock Papers" definitely take place in the spring. Since it's the final story arc, I would put it in the Spring of 2004. The weather is nice, the trees are in bloom, but there are still some trees with bare branches. March/April 2004? Why not? Again, it's fairly straight-forward and doesn't occur over any significant amount of time. And then Matt's in prison at the end, setting the stage for Brubaker and Lark.

Although Bendis doesn't always succeed, it's kind of nice that he gave his run on Daredevil a sense of time moving forward. It's kind of cool, and it gave his run a feeling of relevance and, ironically, immediacy. It's the kind of thing I'd like to see more writers do.

So. How geeky am I?

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Blogger Jake said...

Pretty geeky.

But I like it. Of course, the Golden Age arc really screws things up, but I'll ignore the weak parts.

2/18/2006 03:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Decalogue takes place in the gray area between the Matt and Milla's surreptitious hitching and King of Hell's Kitchen. Plus, Agent Driver, killed in KOHK ("*#&@ing ninjas." Why did Bendis kill him? Driver kicked ass - he's played by Ron Livingston in my imagination), makes an extended appearance, so there.

2/18/2006 03:50:00 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

Anonymous - I wasn't sure if that was Driver (I don't think they referred to him by name), but I figured it was. That's why I leaned toward late 2002/early 2003.

2/18/2006 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Geeky, but transcendently and Airwolfily so.

Verification word: Agnqdexg, which I think appeared in Morrison's Doom Patrol.

2/18/2006 11:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought the "#%@&ing ninjas" line was the tipoff - I read it as a reference to the scene in Hardcore when Driver confronts Matt meditating on his pain.

-Same Anonymous

2/18/2006 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger gorjus said...

This is a fantastic summary of what happened. I don't find it ironic that it gives the comic a sense of immediacy; we can FEEL this comic unfolding as we read it. Each issue--whether it time-hopped or not--kicked in another piece of what became a very intricate, and fantastic, saga.

Great job on tracking it all down!

2/20/2006 06:36:00 PM  
Blogger Vitamin Steve said...

I work on What Not To Wear!

Sorry, I just had to say it.


2/20/2006 11:40:00 PM  
Blogger Bret Taylor said...

So... Matt's been in prison for two years now?

2/27/2006 11:17:00 PM  
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