Matt Murdock is a man with many talents. In addition to being an experienced lawyer, he defends Hell’s Kitchen from villains such as Kingpin and The Hand by patrolling the night as Daredevil, The Man Without Fear. He has developed quite the reputation under this alias.
Since making his comic debut over fifty years ago, Daredevil has developed an array of powers and abilities, many of which stray on the border of being superhuman. But make no mistake, Matt Murdock is merely an average human with enhanced abilities and minor superhuman powers, many of which are listed below.
Even though Marvel has been publishing Daredevil comics for decades, and despite the fact that he’s already received a movie and, now, a popular Netflix TV series, there is much audiences still don’t know about the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen. Here are 15 Superpowers You Didn’t Know Daredevil Has.
15. He can read by passing his fingers over the ink on a page
In the real world, if someone is blind, the only way they can read something (other than listening to an audio version of said book or document) is by passing their fingers over Braille characters (named after its French inventor Louis Braille), which are small rectangular blocks known as cells that contain several variations of raised dots. We’ve seen Matt Murdock read legal documents by using Braille-printed copies, but the thing is, he doesn’t even need them.
One of Murdock’s most intriguing abilities is his superhuman touch, which allows him the ability to read anything by simply passing his fingers over the ink on a page. However, there is a limit to this ability; if the page he’s attempting to read is laminated, he may not be able to feel the ink; therefore he would not be able to read it without Braille characters. But that doesn’t mean it’s not possible — he’d just have to read it slower than usual.
14. He can identify someone by listening to their heartbeat
Matt Murdock’s superhuman hearing is virtually unmatched in the Marvel Universe, especially amongst characters who are not considered to be strictly superhuman but are rather enhanced with peak human traits. Fans of both Daredevil comics and Netflix’s Daredevil TV series are aware of the character’s superhuman hearing, but we’re sure that many people will be surprised to find out just how extensive his abilities truly are.
An average human speaks at a level of 70 decibels, and the lowest we can hear is at a level of 20 decibels. In comparison, Daredevil can hear at a level of seven decibels, allowing him to hear someone’s heartbeat from over 20 feet away. He uses this ability to not only identify someone by listening to the fluctuation in their heartbeat, but also utilizes the ability as a form of sonar sense, which we’re sure comes in handy when you’re blind and you’re dealing with multiple opponents in close-quarter combat.
13. Human lie detector
As we just mentioned, people who have read Daredevil comics or seen Netflix’s Daredevil TV series are already aware of Matt Murdock’s ability to hear the heartbeat of those around him. And while we know that he uses this power to identify people, we also know that he can use this talent to tell whether someone is lying or not. In fact, he has occasionally used the ability to determine whether someone was lying by listening to their heartbeat over the phone.
Since Murdock is a lawyer, and a good one at that, he tends to utilize this power during interrogations (which he is an expert at conducting) by listening to minor fluctuations in the client’s heartbeat. However, if the person in question has a pacemaker, the artificial heartbeats can throw him off, similarly to how people can cheat polygraph tests. While it’s improbable to fool Daredevil, it’s certainly not unheard of.
12. Super smell
Daredevil may not have a variety of superpowers like his fellow Marvel heroes, but he does have a few intriguing superhuman abilities, such as super smell. While such an ability may be considered laughable, Matt Murdock has employed the ability to his advantage, using it in a variety of situations.
For one, Daredevil is able to identify someone by their unique body odor and remember it for future use — even using the power to determine the difference between twins. He can also use a person’s body odor to track them for days, even weeks. His abilities in this particular area are virtually unparalleled in terms of Marvel superheroes.
However, as with many of his other powers, Daredevil’s heightened sense of smell is not without vulnerabilities. One of the most effective ways to immobilize the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen is to use a powerful odor to overpower his senses. The hero has been left in a daze on more than one occasion when his heightened sense of super smell left him overwhelmed.
11. Super taste
By now it should be clear that the remaining four of Matt Murdock’s senses are all heightened to peak human levels following the radioactive accident that blinded him, thus allowing him to accomplish extraordinary feats. In addition to having superhuman touch, hearing, and smell, the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen also has the incredible power of super taste. This nifty little trick was one of the first Daredevil exhibited when Marvel introduced the character in 1964.
While the ability can be used to identify the many ingredients in a recipe — as long as there are at least 20 milligrams of said ingredient in a food or drink — doing so is merely child’s play for the Marvel superhero. He can use super taste to recognize a drug if one of his enemies was attempting to disrupt his senses, similar to how he uses his super smell ability. Unfortunately, having the power of super taste doesn’t amount to much, but it can still be a cool party trick (if Matt Murdock went to more parties).
10. Expert marksman
Everyone knows that Daredevil is blind, and although it’s considered his primary shortcoming, it’s also what makes him such an intriguing superhero. Despite being blind, Daredevil is a master in hand-to-hand combat and has a variety of superpowers, many of which are named in this list. However, of all the unusual things Daredevil can do, there is one thing people simply wouldn’t expect him to be good at, let alone an expert: marksmanship.
Daredevil is known for using batons, which are his primary weapon of choice, and something he learned to handle while training under Stick. However, he is also skilled in a variety of other projectile weapons, including throwing knives, shurikens, and, surprisingly, firearms. He is an expert marksman with sniper rifles and he has been known to be skilled in archery. While we may never see Matt Murdock utilize such weaponry on Netflix’s series, it’s something we’ve seen him do several times in the comics.
9. Master Acrobat and gymnast
As evidenced by the comics, the movie, and Netflix’s TV series, Daredevil is a master martial artist, something we’ve seen him exhibit countless times fighting folks such as Bullseye, The Punisher, and The Hand, amongst others. While his accident amplified his senses and provided him with certain mystical powers, Matt Murdock became a warrior by training for years under his mentor, Stick. It’s with Stick that Murdock became a master acrobat and skilled gymnast.
The Marvel Universe is brimming with experienced warriors like Captain America and Iron Fist, but not many of them are on par with Daredevil in terms of acrobatics and gymnastics, which The Man Without Fear utilizes to traverse rooftops and track enemies throughout Hell’s Kitchen. It has been said that Daredevil’s proficiency in gymnastics rivals that of Olympians — but that’s not to say that he can’t be defeated. Daredevil is a master of many things, but even he has limits.
8. Superhuman balance
As previously mentioned, Daredevil is a master martial artist. He has studied aikido, jujitsu, judo, aiki jujutsu, stick fighting, and more, which he mixes with his knowledge of traditional American boxing (something he takes after his father, Battling Jack Murdock). His training has allowed him to achieve prowess over his body and, thus, mastery over balance. However, since all of his other senses have been amplified as a result of his radioactive accident, so has his sense of balance.
Though not a traditional sense, balance is actually known as a vestibular sense, which essentially allows people to perceive body movement and adjust their stance accordingly. This enhanced form of balance is typically associated with another New York City crime-fighter: Spider-Man. But Daredevil has demonstrated an extraordinary sense of balance when fighting enemies such as Bullseye and The Hand, so not only is he a highly skilled fighter, but with this ability, it’s virtually impossible to take him off his feet.
7. He can sense body heat from people nearby
Daredevil relies on an array of senses to compensate for his lack of eyesight. He listens for nearby heartbeats, he smells nearby body odors, and he utilizes his unique radar sense to identify folks in his general vicinity. However, if all of his other senses were overloaded, Daredevil would require other means of detecting nearby people so that he could continue fighting.
And for that, he uses his superhuman touch. The same superpower that allows him to read by simply passing his fingers over the ink on a page allows Matt Murdock to sense the body heart of people who are within approximately five feet of him. The average human can feel the body heat of nearby people, but not to the extent that Daredevil can.
Five feet may not seem like an extensive range, especially considering that Daredevil can hear the heartbeat of people over 20 feet away. Still, when you typically fight criminals at close-range, knowing exactly how many people are right next to you can make all the difference.
6. Minor telepathic abilities
Perhaps one of the most intriguing and relatively unknown superpowers of Daredevil’s is that he has minor telepathic abilities, which he’s developed primarily due to the many years he trained under Stick. In the Marvel Universe, there are several heroes and villains who are telepathic, and many of them are capable of reading the minds of others (e.g. Charles Xavier and Jean Grey). Therefore, it’s understandable for other characters, namely Daredevil, to want to develop ways to counteract such mental attacks.
X-Men villain Magneto wears a helmet that prevents telepaths from infiltrating his mind. Daredevil, on the other hand, has found different ways for managing telepathic attacks. While at Chaste, an enclave created by Stick for learning and practicing mystical martial arts, Daredevil learned to not only harness his minor telepathic abilities to prevent psychic invasions, but to a degree, he also learned to communicate with others who also had telepathic abilities.
5. Peak Human Fitness Levels
Matt Murdock may not be a mutant, an Inhuman, or a traditional superpowered being, but that doesn’t mean he’s not capable of superhuman feats. In fact, due to his years of martial arts training, Murdock has developed a mastery over his central nervous system, which has allowed him to increase his strength and agility to peak human levels.
According to the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, a character who can lift more than 800 pounds is automatically considered a superhuman. But, in order to reach peak human levels, one must be able to at least lift more than double their own body weight, not exceeding the 800 pounds limit. Daredevil is able to lift up to 450 pounds, though it’s conceivable that he could lift even more.
In addition to peak human strength, Daredevil has peak human speed and reflexes, which he’s gained from years of training and sensory adeptness. These are all things we see the hero exhibit in the comics as well as in Netflix’s TV series.
4. He can sense atmospheric disturbances
By now, it should be painfully obvious that Daredevil’s senses have been heightened as a result of his radioactive accident, and that opened up a world of new possibilities for him. For instance, we know that Matt Murdock has the ability to identify people by listening to their heartbeat and smelling their body odor, but his senses are capable of more than just that. One of the most interesting uses of his superhuman senses is being able to pick up on nearby atmospheric disturbances.
In layman’s terms, Daredevil can determine where a teleporter will appear moments before he or she actually does, due to his unique radar sense. Similar to sonar and echolocation, in which someone can detect nearby objects by listening to sound waves given off by said objects, Daredevil’s radar sense is one of his most utilized powers. While his accident allowed him to gain the ability quicker, Daredevil had to learn to develop the skill like everyone else under Stick’s tutelage.
3. Encyclopedic memory
Daredevil has some extraordinary powers , but perhaps one of the most important abilities Matt Murdock possesses is his natural encyclopedic memory. Murdock may not be the most intelligent being in the Marvel Universe, but his capacity to remember virtually anything he hears or reads is one of his greatest strengths, and it’s one of the main reasons why he’s such a successful lawyer. He has thoroughly memorized and comprehended all of New York’s city, state, and federal laws.
Unlike all of the other powers and abilities on this list, Murdock didn’t receive his gifted intellect as a result of (or following) his radioactive accident, which heightened all of his remaining senses — he was skilled from the very beginning. Along with his extensive knowledge of law and crime-fighting mastery, Murdock is an expert detective, who some consider to be the Marvel equivalent of Batman himself. That may be why people like to compare the two characters so often.
2. Immunity to fear toxins
We know that Matt Murdock’s superhero identity is Daredevil, but ever since his debut issue in 1964, he’s also been known as The Man Without Fear. As many would assume, that probably means that he’s fearless, brave, and daring. While the latter two descriptives are correct, Matt Murdock most certainly feels fear. That is something we’ve seen him experience countless times throughout the comics and in Netflix’s TV series. However, instead of letting that fear take control of him or pretending like it doesn’t exist, Murdock embraces it.
But that’s not the only reason why he’s known as The Man Without Fear. Somewhere along the line, Daredevil developed an immunity to a variety of fear toxins as well as mystical spells that attempt to incite fear. This is one of the most nuanced differences between the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen and the Dark Knight, someone whose rogues’ gallery is filled with fear-inducing villains — namely Dr. Jonathan Crane aka Scarecrow.
1. Accelerated healing
Being a superhero in the Marvel Universe (especially one that doesn’t have very many true superpowers) and fighting the most vile of villains can take a toll on a hero’s mental and physical state. As evidenced by the first two seasons of Netflix’s TV series, the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen manages to be on the receiving end of several cuts and bruises, which he usually has tended to by his nurse pal Claire Temple. However, he doesn’t always need her help to get back in fighting shape.
As previously mentioned, Matt Murdock has developed a mastery over his body, which has allowed him to perform extraordinary acts. And because of this, he’s also capable of forcing his body to heal faster. Judging by all the fights he gets in every night, and how often he has to make excuses for his beat up appearance, Murdock should probably learn to do this on the show sooner rather than later. Still, he probably shouldn’t lose Claire Temple’s phone number anytime soon.
Did we forget any of Daredevil’s best superhuman abilities? Let us know in the comments.