One of the things I liked best about the first season of Marvel's Daredevil is that it allowed anyone with a Netflix account to audit the class, whether or not they had done the reading.
But the Marvel universe is relentless and ever-expanding, and as Daredevil returns to Netflix on Friday with 13 new episodes, Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) isn't quite as much at the center of even his corner of that universe as he was.
He's still a blind lawyer by day, kick-ass vigilante by night, but his Daredevil persona's challenged by another, more brutal version known as Punisher (Jon Bernthal, The Walking Dead), a comic-book character with a more than 40-year history of which I know nothing beyond what I've read on Wikipedia.
Let's just say Bernthal's character has issues. Massive issues. Matt's dark side pales in comparison.
Worse, Daredevil now lives in the same universe as Marvel's better Netflix series, Jessica Jones.
When Jessica's name came up in in one episode, I was instantly transported to a place where Krysten Ritter and Luke Cage (Mike Colter) might be taking down a roomful of thugs, allowing me to escape the one where a masked Matt too frequently gets punished for his efforts.
Call me crazy, but although I admire Daredevil's fortitude, I prefer my superheroes to be a little more super. Or at least concussion-free.
The return of an old girlfriend, Elektra (Elodie Yung), gives us what may be an important glimpse into Matt's past but also adds a second character who's more colorful (if more annoying) than Daredevil.
Happily, the seven episodes I've seen also deal with Matt's daytime life and the struggling law firm he's running with his friend Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson) and their peerless (and fearless) assistant, Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll, True Blood), two characters I might watch even if they didn't hang out with a tortured hero.