Back Issues: Matt Murdock Defends Spider-Man and Peter Parker In Court

Spider-Man gets his day in court when blind attorney-at-law Matt Murdock, secretly the vigilante Daredevil of Hell's Kitchen, represents the wall-crawler — and his alter-ego Peter Parker — in the Marvel comics. In Spider-Man: No Way Home, an unmasked Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is accused of murdering Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) after The Daily Bugle's J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons) exposes Spider-Man's secret identity. With the webhead branded Public Enemy #1, it takes a really good lawyer to clear Peter of charges and untangle his legal troubles. In the comics, Murdock comes to the aide of a wrongfully accused Peter Parker — and in another case, Spider-Man — in the courtroom.

The Amazing Spider-Man #219, "Peter Parker -- Criminal!," lands Peter behind bars after using his spider powers to break into Ryker's Island prison. There to shoot an exposé that would force the prison to address its poor security, the Daily Bugle photographer gets locked up and his camera confiscated during a prison break attempted by inmates Jonas Harrow, Grey Gargoyle, and Armand DuBroth. 

(Photo: Marvel Comics)

In court, lawyer Matt Murdock makes his case for Peter Parker: a journalist not guilty of any offense more serious than trespassing. When DuBroth and the prosecution allege Peter is behind several breakouts, the judge orders Peter held for trial with a pending bail of $50,000. From behind bars, he asks Matt to find his camera containing photographic evidence that will clear Peter Parker's name.

Bailed out by Aunt May and her friends, Peter returns to Ryker's as Spider-Man and tracks down the film with photographic proof it was DuBroth — not Peter Parker — who conspired with the prison warden to engineer the breakouts. Murdock doesn't yet know Peter is Daredevil's superhero ally Spider-Man: he won't learn that secret until his superhuman senses recognize Peter's heartbeat in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #107. 

(Photo: Marvel Comics)

After Doctor Strange solves Peter Parker's identity crisis and makes the world forget Spider-Man unmasked during Civil War, Matt serves as Spider-Man's legal counsel during the Brand New Day storyline. 

In The Amazing Spider-Man: Extra #1, the masked Spider-Man pleads not guilty when he's charged with numerous felonies, including multiple counts of murder in the second degree and multiple counts of obstruction of justice. Framed for the serial "Spider-Tracer killings" and facing a lawsuit from a construction worker he saved from falling to his death, Spider-Man is the defendant in the civil suit threatening to publicly unmask the costumed crime-fighter a second time.

Challenging the law and the Superhuman Registration Act, Matt makes the case to keep Spider-Man's secret identity a secret — by putting the onus on the prosecution to prove who wore the costume on the day of the construction worker's near-fatal fall. 

(Photo: Marvel Comics)

Recalling how Spider-Man wore Matt's costume to get him out of a lawsuit against Daredevil (in Daredevil Vol. 2 #20-25), Matt's superhero friends pose as web-swinging, wall-crawling Spider-Men: the X-Men's Nightcrawler, Shang-Chi, Clint Barton, Patriot, Iron Fist, Araña, and Black Cat. With no evidence against his client, Matt gets the civil action against Spider-Man dismissed.

Case closed.

More Spider-Man: No Way Home Coverage

  1. Back Issues: Spider-Man and Daredevil
  2. Back Issues: Spider-Man and Doctor Strange
  3. Back Issues: Spider-Man's Identity Crisis
  4. Back Issues: Spider-Man vs. the Sinister Six

Spider-Man: No Way Home is now playing in theaters.