A gentrification fighting superhero?

A superhero who fights the “evils of gentrification.” That’s how the New Republic describes the new Netflix series “Daredevil,” which is loosely modeled on a long-running Marvel Comics series by the same name. 

Jeet Heer, of the New Republic, writes:

Daredevil is perhaps the pre-eminent urban superhero. Unlike Batman of Gotham or the Flash of Central City or Green Arrow of Star City, Daredevil doesn’t zip around in an imaginary metropolis. Rather, Daredevil leaps from rooftop to rooftop, in a civic space that has a storied real-world history: Hell’s Kitchen in Manhattan.

This real-world setting of “Daredevil” gives the series—now available in 13 binge-ready episodes on Netflix—a special resonance. The Hell’s Kitchen of “Daredevil” is a formerly cohesive, white, working-class neighbourhood under pressure from a larger-than-life developer with glamorous redevelopment dreams. The real-life Hell’s Kitchen, has, like much of New York, experienced skyrocketing rents which have priced out the traditional inhabitants—working-class Irish immigrants.

“Daredevil,” adapted from the long-running Marvel comics franchise, is a superhero show about the evils of gentrification—a politically engaged work which is energized by debates about urban inequality. These debates are salient not only in the era of Mayor Bill de Blasio but also have roots deep in the city’s history.

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[Vinnie Rotondaro is NCR national correspondent. His email address is vrotondaro@ncronline.org.]


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