Premiering in 2015, Daredevil was a new take on the Marvel Comics favourite. Matt Murdock, who was blinded as a young child, resulting in heightened senses, is a lawyer by day and the crime-fighting Daredevil by night. The series ran for three seasons, and saw the introduction of Frank Castle, or Punisher, who would eventually have his own series a few years later.
Gritty and dark, Jessica Jones starred Krysten Ritter as the titular character, an ex-superhero with superhuman strength who opens her own detective agency. While Marvel’s films can often be sad, they hold a lightness that was missing from Jessica Jones, which touched on darker themes such as assault and post-traumatic stress disorder. The series also introduced us to Luke Cage, whose own series came along next.
Just like Jessica Jones, superhero Luke Cage also has superhuman strength and unbreakable skin, two powers he uses to fight crime and corruption after his time in prison. Luke, played by Mike Colter, was a soulful and intelligent superhero, a far cry from the often-bombastic characters given to us by Marvel. Luke Cage aired around the release of The Defenders, the miniseries that brought all these characters together.
Starring Finn Jones as Danny Rand/Iron Fist, Iron Fist came onto the scene in 2017. A billionaire Buddhist monk and martial artist, Danny has the ability to inhabit the mystical power of the Iron Fist, giving him superhuman abilities. The series begins with Danny returning to New York after 15 years spent presumed dead. While he hopes to reclaim his family company, threats in the city leave him choosing between the company and his duties as the Iron Fist.
An eight-part miniseries, The Defenders brought Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist together to fight their common enemy, The Hand. An order of mystical fighters who are involved in organised crime in New York City, ‘The Defenders’ had to join their forces to bring down The Hand.
The Punisher, while still part of the MCU, was not involved in The Defenders, even though Punisher himself did appear in Daredevil. While Punisher’s alter ego, Frank Castle, doesn’t have any ‘superpowers’ as such, his determination to fight crime by whatever means necessary gives him anti-hero status. In the two-season series, Punisher uncovers a conspiracy related to the loss of his family, and in the second, he is drawn to the mystery surrounding an attempted murder.