Marvel’s Daredevil 310 – Karen
Ah college…what a time filled with self-discovery, frat parties and versions of ourselves that seldom survive past the first few years after leaving the institution. Karen gives us a window into her past, laying the foundation for the woman we know her to be as well as providing some clues to what brought her from small town U.S.A. to the bright lights of the Big Apple. Diving into Karen’s past as opposed to continuing with Matt’s race against time to save her in the present is a curious narrative decision but one that adds layers to her character.
Seems that she’s always had a habit of working with and bailing out troubled men. From her drug dealing boyfriend to her stubborn father, Karen’s moves have never been her own until she’s given the chance to go to Georgetown. Like Matt and most of the characters she’s a prisoner of her lineage and the failings of her parents. Karen’s guilt, the driving force that kept her in the dead-end small town, also feeds the fear that keeps her from leaving and forging a new life.
What does her past have to do with the present? The strength she showed in standing up to Fisk and his thugs didn’t come out of thin air. Karen’s always been a fighter beating back the small time Fisks she’s encountered along the way. She’s been making amends ever since that fateful night on a lonely stretch of road in her hometown. There are some battles that can’t be fought on your own and others where there’s no point in fighting at all.
Karen, like Matt needs to forgive herself before she can truly help herself and those around her. The inner demons that consume them clouds their judgement at times and stifles their ability to forgive themselves. Both she and Matt though, go a long way to rehabilitating themselves when Pointdexter appears at Father Latham’s church to kill her.
Karen looks at the masks we all wear in a bid to hide the ugly sides of our true selves. Karen’s lie about the nature of her brother’s death is a cover to keep herself above reproach. Matt hides behind the new version of his original black outfit, casting aside the Daredevil suit as an act of purification. Ironically, by abdicating his former alter ego he’s allowed Pointdexter as Bullseye/Daredevil to truly be a manifestation of what Matt hates about the red suit. Giving in to one’s darker angels is never the answer and only when the ultimate sacrifice is willing to be paid can the tormented finally be set free.