Greatest Rivalries- Daredevil and Bullseye

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As for the last entry of Unintentional Daredevil Week, I’d like to point out a major character that got no love in the Netflix series, yet is undoubtedly a fan favorite. I’m not complaining that Bullseye didn’t make an appearance or even get a mention; there’s no need to rush things.

But all the same, since I’ve been on the topic, it’d be cool to go over what makes Daredevil and Bullseye such great enemies. I’ve boiled it down to three main reasons.

Bullseye has always been a villain that’s tough to control. If you don’t know much about him, he’s an assassin that works for money but it’s really more because he loved killing people. He’s got perfect aim, a skilled martial artist and while he may or may not have come from an abusive home, would it surprise anybody if he had?

He’s a character whose plans aren’t like the Joker’s, where destruction and chaos are the purpose of his work. Bullseye’s evil is taken as far it can go (We’re talking about comics here, Superboy Prime once punched a dead Robin back into existence) but it’s a sort of white collar evil, where it’s all about the money and who cares what happens to grandma’s pension? And naturally, after not caring for a while and making enough money, it eventually becomes more about the violence than it does the job, and the job just makes it easier to do those things.

Then you’ve got Daredevil, whose life pretty much sucks. On one hand, who wouldn’t take the abilities he has…but then add in that you would have to be blind to take them and people aren’t so sure anymore. Daredevil’s dad has been portrayed as abusive in the past as well and Matt’s mentor Stick wasn’t much better in that sense. But over time, through a lot of misery, Matt’s made his life ultimately better by using his “handicap” and turning it into his greatest strength.

So when the two meet, they’re bound to hate each other.

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Why? Physical equals, mental opposites.

Bullseye’s perfect aim is countered by Murdock’s ability to sense where an object will be thrown. The guy has practically dodged bullets before using this, playing cards probably aren’t much harder after that. But that doesn’t mean Bullseye hasn’t adapted to that before and hit DD anyway. For every thing one of them does, the other has a comeback. Their fights are like the end fights in The Raid movies. Bloody, vicious, where you’re certain at least one of them isn’t gonna make it.

It’s not like Batman and Joker where, once Batman finally gets ahold of Joker then the fun is all over. It’s usually Bullseye being the one to keep DD from getting to Kingpin or some other bigger goal he has to accomplish. No, it’s Bullseye that will be Matt’s greatest obstacle. Imagine trying to help an old lady across the street and suddenly, some guy thinks it would be really funny to push her out in front of a truck. Daredevil is confused by why this guy is taking such an interest in killing him and his loved ones for practically no good reason.

And that’s the thing about Bullseye- he really is just doing it all for fun while Daredevil is trying to accomplish something for the good of the city, for his family. And that seems to be what Bullseye hates the most- Daredevil is just as good as he is (or better), but doesn’t adhere to the same sick philosophy. “How can this guy be better than me but not be me?”

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Daredevil is just trying to survive and Bullseye wants someone to die. Preferably Daredevil.

And for every time that Matt has utilized an opportunity to do good, Bullseye has used his chances to ruin and kill. They’re enemies for a reason. There’s a reason Daredevil’s opponents aren’t usually superpowered thugs in bright costumes trying to rob a bank. They’re mostly ninjas, assassins, mob bosses and other low-level scum that will do the nastiest things to people sometimes just for fun.¬† And because of this, nobody in their fights ever really wins.

For Daredevil, he wants the murdering and chaos to stop. It’s that simple. For Bullseye, he doesn’t want it to stop until it ends in the deaths of his opponent and even his loved ones. Obviously, Daredevil can’t allow that, so the two will fight until one of them is dead. It’s never ending, Victory is different for both Daredevil and Bullseye, yet they have to fight to achieve that victory.

Daredevil’s goal now is to bring Bullseye to justice for all the murders he’s committed while Bullseye has found victory in killing more than one of Daredevil’s girlfriends. When does that ever happen? Two! And both times were with a huge dumping of irony attached. Bullseye kills Elektra with her own sai and then he kills Karen Page with Daredevil’s own billy club. The weapon that was meant to protect the innocent (Not that Karen was completely innocent) has now become an instrument of death.

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And it’s because of this nobody ever wins. As long as Bullseye is around, that is a loss. Someone else is being hurt or killed for no reason. As long as Daredevil is around, it means that somebody is better than Bullseye. But once one of them dies, it’s not as though some void will be filled, the losses will still be there. It’s an interesting, neverending dynamic few characters have with their enemies. With Kingpin, once he’s imprisoned, even for just a short time, things take a break. His empire won’t have the same grip without it’s mastermind at the helm and things come to a standstill. There’s a reason he’s even called the kingpin.

But with Bullseye, once the fight is over, Daredevil’s life isn’t the same. It’s rarely ever been a “Well, glad we dealt with that psycho!” *Dusts off hands*

It’s more about reeling from the aftermath of this psycho that didn’t want to take over the world or make it a better place through violent means. He just wanted to hurt and often times he’s not even getting paid for it.

So because of this, they’ve reached the point where rivalry becomes hatred. It’s not about wanting to murder necessarily. Being archenemies wouldn’t necessarily mean you have to hate each other. But at some point along the way of their constant battles, collateral damage, and damage control, the two will eventually come to see each other as no one else in the story sees each other.

Bullseye once went crazy and started killing random people in the street hallucinating that they were all Daredevil.

Bullseye once went crazy and started killing random people in the street hallucinating that they were all Daredevil. That’s some hate.

Spider-Man views the Goblin, Octavious and Venom like he does no other. Because in one way or another, they’ve all been in his head. Green Goblin has a similar position in Spidey’s life as Bullseye does to DD. Octavious has literally been inside of Parker’s head, and Venom was Spidey’s freaking suit for a while. That’s pretty personal.

And Bullseye plays that role. After so many fights, taunts, murders, if these two were still alive after all this in the real world (assuming age didn’t kill them either), you would have nowhere else to go. If someone killed your loved one and never really paid a price for it, how else would you feel? Forgiveness only makes them hate you even more and it’s only a matter of time before they’re back to finish the job. And all this under the pretense that it’s their job? Yeah, that would piss you off a little.

All in all, what we’ve got is one of the greatest rivalries in fiction. Two guys that can’t ever really get the leg up on each other no matter what they do. When you’ve got that and some theatrics thrown in for good measure, there’s no telling how deep the storytelling can go. It’s really just a matter of whether or not you can stomach it.

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Check out our podcast on rivalries from last year. It’s okay, I guess.

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