"Guardian Devil" is an eight-issue Daredevil story arc originally published by Marvel Comics in Daredevil (vol. 2) #1-#8. It features the hero suddenly caring for an infant that may be either the Messiah or the Antichrist. The issues were written by filmmaker Kevin Smith and illustrated by Joe Quesada. The 1999 graphic novel combining the eight issues into one collection features an introduction by Ben Affleck, who portrayed Daredevil in the 2003 feature film adaptation (in which Kevin Smith had a supporting role).
The story features strong Catholic themes, which came from writer Smith's own experiences.
The love of Matt Murdock's life, Karen Page, has just left him forever, claiming that she needs to determine who she is without him in case their feelings were just based on surviving everything thrown at them so far. The Man without Fear is angry and vulnerable. The only thing left for him to believe in is his Catholic faith, something he has not fallen back on for years.
A 15-year-old girl (who knows of his secret identity) leaves her baby with Daredevil, claiming that the baby was born without her having ever had sex. As he tries to discover more about the child's origins, he is contacted by a man called Nicholas Macabes, who claims that the child is actually the Antichrist, leaving Daredevil a small cross as a 'calling card'.
Matt is visited by Karen, who reveals that she apparently has HIV from her time as a porn star, just as his partner Foggy Nelson is accused of murdering a wealthy divorcee, with whom he was having an affair, after she seemingly turned into a demon. Rosalynd Sharpe who is their boss and Foggy's mother fires Foggy to avoid having his arrest affect the financial future of their law firm and her cold-hearted devotion to her career causes Matt to quit the firm out of disgust. Daredevil asks for assistance from the Black Widow, but then attacks her, apparently convinced of Macabes's tale. Although he contemplates throwing the baby off a roof, he stops himself from killing the child.
After a meeting with his mother, Sister Maggie—who left him and his father to work in a nunnery—and a brief talk with Karen—who has been contacted by Macabes, who claims that the child is responsible for her HIV—Daredevil goes to ask Doctor Strange about the possible coming, during which it is revealed that the cross Macabes gave Murdock 'infected' Daredevil with an associative-responsive drug (which Daredevil couldn't detect due to the drug being devoid of taste and smell) which made him hostile whenever someone suggested that the child was innocent, accounting for his attack on the Black Widow; Strange is able to purge the drug from his system. Summoning Mephisto for information, Daredevil and Strange learn that Christ hasn't come back—indeed, the Savior is meant to return as a man rather than as an infant to pass judgment on humanity rather than working to reform them as before—, but Mephisto also reveals that the church where Murdock left the baby is under attack. Daredevil arrives back just in time to confront Bullseye, who has murdered several nuns and injured Maggie, but is unable to stop his old enemy from killing Karen and stealing the baby.
Although he briefly contemplates suicide, Matt's memories of Karen give him the strength to go on, and he tracks Macabes to his headquarters, fighting his way through various hired fighters to the final stronghold, where Macabes reveals his real identity; Mysterio. About a year ago, Mysterio was diagnosed with lung cancer and an inoperable brain tumour from the gases he used in his crimes, but his resolve to go out on his greatest scheme against his greatest foe was cut short as the current Spider-Man was only a clone (Ben Reilly), so Mysterio instead turned his attention to Daredevil, whom he'd once fought after the apparent death of the Avengers. His reasoning was, as he put it, who better to face a second-rate villain than a second-rate hero? After purchasing information about Daredevil from the Kingpin, Mysterio created the whole elaborate scheme, using artificial insemination to impregnate the girl, drugging Nelson and feeding the 'divorcee'—really an actress with a drug habit—bad drugs to make it appear that she'd been killed, posing as Karen's doctor to fake the HIV diagnosis ("Maybe she was, maybe she wasn't, you'd think she'd at least have gotten a second opinion"), and subsequently hiring Bullseye to lure Daredevil here for the final round.
After this denouncement, Mysterio / Quentin Beck believed that Daredevil would kill him upon discovery, which in his eyes, was a "grand way to end his final show". However, Daredevil denied him this, dismissing Mysterio's scheme as a basic 'B-Movie' plot and calling Mysterio a 'human xerox', incapable of having an original thought in his life; not only are all his plans essentially variations on the ideas of others, but even in his most recent scheme, the Kingpin had already attempted to drive Daredevil insane once, and he had used the 'supernatural intruding on our world' idea in a previous attack on J. Jonah Jameson. Despondent, Mysterio frees the baby, and then—noting that his last move is stolen from Kraven—shoots himself.
After Karen's funeral, a conversation with Spider-Man leads Daredevil to realize that the infant he'd saved represented something positive that has come of the whole affair, even amid all the other lives lost in his clash with Mysterio. His faith renewed, he gives the baby up for adoption to a couple in New Jersey. Before he leaves, Matt names the baby after Karen, and hopes that her new parents will allow the occasional visit from her 'Uncle Matt'. Matt also visits the Black Widow, and though angry for his actions from earlier, upon learning the truth, Nastasha suggests that other than just the drug, Matt's own inner turmoil was also part of the reason for his earlier disruptive behavior. After Foggy is released from jail, he and Matt visit the site of their old office, and Matt suggests that he use Karen's money—left to him in her will—to re-open their own practice.
|Format||Title||Material collected||Pages||Publication date||ISBN|
|Trade paperback||Marvel's Finest: Daredevil||Daredevil (vol. 2) #1-3||86||January 1999||978-0785107156|
|Trade paperback||Daredevil Visionaries: Kevin Smith||Daredevil (vol. 2) #1-8||192||September 1999||978-0785107378|
|Hardcover||Daredevil Visionaries: Kevin Smith||Daredevil (vol. 2) #1-8; Comes with CD-ROM that includes #0 and #1/2 and other special features||192||August 2000||978-0936211558|
|Oversized Hardcover||Daredevil, Vol. 1||Daredevil (vol. 2) #1/2, 1-11, 13-15||392||April 2003||978-0785110156|
|Oversized Hardcover||Daredevil, Vol. 1 (reprint)||Daredevil (vol. 2) #1/2, 1-15||392||September 2006||978-0785124016|
|Premiere Hardcover||Daredevil: Guardian Devil (10th Anniversary Edition)||Daredevil (vol. 2) #1-8||232||September 2008||978-0785134381|
|Trade paperback||Daredevil: Guardian Devil (10th Anniversary Edition)||Daredevil (vol. 2) #1-8||232||April 2010||978-0785141433|