Similar to the Batman and Catwoman dynamic in DC Comics, Marvel’s Daredevil and Elektra have an infamously complicated relationship. As fans would expect, this has been contradictory at times, with Elektra fluctuating along the moral spectrum.
The Netflix TV series helped bring these characters more into the mainstream and showed fans the best live rendition of this relationship with Charlie Cox and Élodie Yung in their respective roles. However, given their long history in the Daredevil mythos, there is much of the romance of the two that comic book fans have followed.
Elektra started out as a supervillain
Frank Miller is responsible for many of Daredevil’s best comics, and he is also the writer / artist responsible for creating Elektra in 1981. At the time of Miller’s run on daredevil, Elektra was primarily a supervillain character as well as a complicated girlfriend from Matt Murdock’s past.
In her brief role in this corresponding story arc, she fought one of Daredevil’s archenemies, Bullseye, to find out who would be the Kingpin’s best assassin. This led to his death by the hand of the psychopathic assassin, but as is often the case in the comics, hardly anyone ever stays dead.
Creator Frank Miller didn’t intend for her to resurrect
Shortly after Elektra was killed by Bullseye in daredevil # 181, entitled Last hand, she was brought back from the dead as a result of The Hand’s cult rituals. Miller didn’t intend that to be the case, but Marvel Comics quickly took the opportunity to bring the character back.
Despite his villainous role in its introductory arc, Elektra and Matt’s romance touched them both deeply. When the first died of her wounds inflicted by Bullseye, she dragged herself to Matt’s apartment and died in his arms. This is one of the worst things that has ever happened to Daredevil in the comics, and it was almost the last time the two would be together.
Their complex romance is what kept Elektra from killing Foggy.
Before Elektra’s brutal death, she was New York’s best assassin before Bullseye’s intervention. Initially, she was tasked by Wilson Fisk / Kingpin with intimidating journalist Ben Urich before being arrested by Daredevil himself. Subsequently, he was given a much darker task.
Fisk tasked Elektra with murdering Matt Murdock’s best friend and business partner, Foggy Nelson. She almost did, because Foggy was completely at her mercy. But once he recognized Elektra as Matt’s ex-girlfriend, she couldn’t go through with it. The idea of ruining Matt’s life like this forced a change of heart, making Elektra’s romance with him the only thing that saved Foggy’s life.
Matt’s romance with Elektra in college ended differently
The MCU’s Daredevil in the series has some differences from the comics, but largely pays a tasteful homage to the source material. Season 1 of daredevil hinted at their relationship in a college flashback with Foggy, while Season 2 gave fans their live-action origins together. In the comics, Matt and Elektra are dating, but the initial break in their romance happened differently.
Elektra’s father, Hugo Natchios, was Greece’s Ambassador to the United States, and about a year after Elektra and Matt’s relationship began, she and her father were kidnapped by terrorists. Matt tries to save them, but the hostage situation worsens, resulting in the death of Hugo Natchios. This tragedy makes Elektra cynical and jaded, leading her to drop out of school and train in martial arts in China.
After his death, Daredevil purifies his soul by the will
While Elektra’s story arc on character creation is sure to be tragic, Miller writes a spiritually resonant ending that gives it some closure. Daredevil, Black Widow, and Stone (a member of Stick’s organization, The Chaste) fight The Hand to prevent them from reviving Elektra as a sinister weapon.
The team of heroes does this, Daredevil purifying Elektra’s soul with her sheer strength of will. For an arc characterized by tragedy, this ending was a heartfelt demonstration of Matt’s love for Elektra, while simultaneously allowing him to grow as an individual character beyond all odds. Of course, Matt won’t find out until later that Stone has completed what The Hand began by reviving her after the hero cleanses Elektra’s soul.
Elektra became Matt’s new “stick” by recycling his lost skills
Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto’s current run in the series is both excellent and a great starting point for the new Daredevil Fans. While there are some ties to earlier story arcs, it presents a great new premise with some real stakes that involve Matt and Elektra dynamics as well.
The Fearless Man removes Daredevil’s cloak to his dismay, as his skills and blunt senses have claimed someone’s life. However, feeling compelled to find a way to bring good to Hell’s Kitchen beyond his legal profession, he accepts Elektra’s invitation to guide him. She effectively becomes his staff, and the two begin to rekindle their dormant romance in the process.
Daredevil first revealed his increased abilities to Elektra
As some fans would expect, the first person Matt ever revealed his abilities to was Elektra. It’s definitely not because the hero doesn’t have other trusted loved ones in his life, as Foggy Nelson has been Matt’s best friend and emotional anchor since they met. What Foggy does for Matt is akin to what Alfred does for Bruce Wayne, but Elektra brought Daredevil to someone he both loved and few could relate to.
Both characters were demolished and hardened by their dark pasts, although their backgrounds and the way they treated them differed. It makes sense to see how he came to open up with Elektra, because revealing his radar sense and martial arts prowess to people like Foggy would put the latter in danger more than anything else.
Hugo Natchios’ death was Matt’s first attempt at heroism
Although Elektra’s loss of her father was a failure, trying to save them both was Matt’s first attempt at heroism. Hugo’s kidnapping with Elektra was messy and ended in loss due to a disastrous misunderstanding. The proto-Daredevil saves Elektra, but after kicking one of the terrorists through a window, a policeman outside mistakenly shoots in panic, resulting in his father’s death in the crossfire.
While his grief is understandable, his sudden departure left Murdock confused and heartbroken. It would be a rude awakening to what the life of a well-meaning superhero would entail. Not all rescues would be successful, and not all parts of Matt’s life would exactly fall into place.
Stick initially warned Matt to stay away from Elektra
This is another difference comic book fans will recognize from the Netflix series, but both versions performed well-written versions of Daredevil and Elektra’s initial relationship regarding their separate universes. In the MCU, Elektra truly fell in love with Matt, but it was initially for ulterior motives.
Stick trained a young Elektra similar to Matt, sending her on a mission to win him back to The Chaste. In the comics, Elektra didn’t train on Stick until she was an adult. As related in The fearless man, Stick spontaneously appeared to warn Matt to stay away from her. Stick considered her too dangerous, but, like any troubled and deeply in love young man, he rebelled against his surrogate father.
Elektra takes over as daredevil in Matt’s absence
In one of the most shocking events, Matt Murdock voluntarily goes to jail (legally as Daredevil) for accidentally killing a thief at the start of Zdarsky’s run. After Elektra trained Matt to return to his best form, it was revealed – to her frustration – that she had used him somewhat to fund his and Stick’s efforts against The Hand, as well as to convince Matt to to recover.
But when she sees Matt’s true intention to atone for his mistakes and divert stolen funds from the Stromwyn crime family to support Hell’s Kitchen, Elektra takes inspiration from what the Daredevil mantle does for the city. In return, she becomes Daredevil while Matt serves a sentence. It also shows that deep down Elektra believes in Matt’s core mission.
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