Living in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of New York City, Matt Murdock is blinded by a radioactive substance that falls from an oncoming vehicle. While he no longer can see, the radioactive exposure heightens his remaining senses beyond normal human ability. His father, a boxer named Jack Murdock, supports him as he grows up, though Jack is later killed by gangsters after refusing to throw a fight. After donning a yellow and black, and later a dark red, costume, Matt seeks out revenge against his father's killers as the superhero Daredevil, fighting against his many enemies including Bullseye and the Kingpin. Daredevil's nickname is "the Man Without Fear".
Elektra is a kunoichi – female ninja assassin – of Greek descent. She wields a pair of bladed sai as her trademark weapon. Created by Frank Miller, Elektra first appeared in Daredevil #168 (January 1981). She is a love interest of the superhero Daredevil, but her violent nature and mercenary lifestyle divide the two. She has also appeared as a supporting character of the X-Men's Wolverine and in other series and mini-series as well as adaptations for the screen. In the 2003 film Daredevil and its 2005 spinoff, Elektra, the character is portrayed by Jennifer Garner. Elektra was ranked 22nd in Comics Buyer's Guide's 100 Sexiest Women in Comics list. Miller initially based the character's appearance on Lisa Lyon, a female bodybuilder.
Luke Cage first appeared in Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #1 (June 1972). A streetwise youth, the man called "Lucas" was sent to prison for a crime he did not commit. In exchange for parole, Lucas clandestinely underwent an experimental procedure, originally intended to generate immunity to all illness; instead, it inadvertently granted him steel-hard skin and heavier, enhanced muscle. After escaping Seagate Prison, he forged the identity of "Luke Cage" becoming a "hero for hire," a sort of super-enhanced private detective—although Cage commonly refused money, or simply received none, for cases gone awry (a fair portion, for the unlucky Cage). Later, he formed a business partnership with the martial arts hero known as Iron Fist in the series Power Man & Iron Fist.
Daniel Rand was born in New York City, the son of American businessman Wendell Rand, a wealthy entrepreneur who discovered the mystical city of K'un-L'un as a young boy. During his time in K'un L'un, Wendell saved the life of the city's ruler, Lord Tuan, and was adopted as Tuan's son. However, Wendell eventually left K'un L'un and became a wealthy entrepreneur in the United States. He married socialite Heather Duncan and had a child, Daniel. When Daniel was nine, Wendell organized an expedition to again seek out K'un L'un, taking his wife Heather, his business partner Harold Meachum, and Daniel. During the journey up the mountain, Daniel slipped off the path, his tie-rope taking his mother and father with him. Meachum, who also loved Heather, forced Wendell to plunge to his death but offered to rescue Heather and Daniel. She rejected his help, preferring to journey without him or die.
Heather and Daniel come across a makeshift bridge that appears out of nowhere and are attacked by a pack of wolves. Heather throws herself on the wolves to save Daniel and is killed even as archers from K'un L'un attempt to save her. The archers take the grieving Daniel to see Yü-Ti, the hooded ruler of K'un L'un. When Daniel expresses his desire for vengeance, Yü-Ti apprentices him to Lei Kung, the Thunderer, who teaches him the martial arts. Daniel proves to be the most gifted of Lei Kung's students. Rand conditions his fists by plunging them into buckets of sand, gravel, and rock to toughen them. At 19, Daniel is given the chance to attain the power of the Iron Fist by fighting and defeating the dragon known as Shou-Lao the Undying, which guarded the molten heart that had been torn from its body. During the battle, Daniel throws himself against the scar of Shou-Lao, which burns a dragon tattoo into his chest. Having killed Shou-Lao, he enters its cave and plunges his fists into a brazier containing the creature's molten heart, emerging with the power of the Iron Fist. It is later revealed that there have been many Iron Fists before Daniel, making him the modern member of a long lineage of Iron Fists.
The Punisher is a vigilante who employs murder, kidnapping, extortion, coercion, threats of violence, and torture in his war on crime. Driven by the deaths of his wife and two children, who were killed by the mob during a shootout in New York City's Central Park, the Punisher wages a one-man war on the mob and all criminals in general by using all manner of conventional war weaponry. His family's killers were the first to be slain. A war veteran of the U.S. military, Frank Castle is a master of martial arts, stealth tactics, guerrilla warfare, and a wide variety of weapons.
Born in Chicago, Illinois, Marc Spector is an American rabbi's wayward son. As an adult, Spector spends time training to be a heavyweight boxer, a U.S. Marine, and a mercenary. He becomes a skilled combatant and befriends the French pilot Jean-Paul DuChamp, whom he calls "Frenchie." While the pair work for the African mercenary Raoul Bushman in Egypt, the group stumbles upon an archaeological dig whose crew includes Dr. Peter Alraune and his daughter Marlene. The dig had uncovered an ancient temple where artifacts included a statue of the Egyptian moon god Khonshu. Intent on looting the dig, Bushman kills Dr. Alraune. In response to Alraune's murder, Spector challenges Bushman to personal combat but is beaten nearly to death and left to die in the sub-zero temperatures of the desert night.
Roaming Egyptians who worship the ancient Egyptian gods find Spector and carry him to their temple. Helpless before the statue of Khonshu, Spector's heart stops. Khonshu appears to him in a vision, offering Spector a second chance at life if he becomes the god's avatar on Earth. Spector awakens, wraps himself with the silver shroud that covers Khonshu's statue, and again confronts Bushman. He defeats Bushman and returns to America with Marlene Alraune, Frenchie, and the statue of Khonshu. Deciding to become a crimefighter, Spector creates a silver cloaked costume, based on the silver shroud, and becomes the Moon Knight.
Tyrone "Ty" Johnson (Cloak) and Tandy Bowen (Dagger) met in New York City as runaways. Tyrone was a 17-year-old boy from Boston, Massachusetts, with a debilitating stutter. He ran away to New York City when his speech impediment prevented him from stopping his friend from stepping in front of a moving vehicle. Tandy was a 16-year-old girl from a privileged upbringing (born in Shaker Heights, Ohio) who ran away because her multi-millionaire supermodel mother was too busy with her career and social life to spend time with her daughter. When they met, Tyrone considered stealing Tandy's purse, only to be shamed when she kindly offered him money. A thief stole the purse and Tyrone retrieved it for her. Afterwards, they had dinner and became fast friends.
When the naïve Tandy accepted an offer of shelter from some strange men, a wary Tyrone went along to protect her. The two teens were soon forcibly delivered to a criminal chemist named Simon Marshall, who was developing a new synthetic heroin for Silvermane and the Maggia, testing it on runaway teens with fatal results. Johnson and Bowen somehow survived injections of the drug, and they fled. During their escape, the drug turned them into superpowered beings. Tyrone found himself engulfed in darkness and seized by a strange hunger which eased in the presence of Tandy, who was glowing with a brilliant light. Trying to hide his newly shadowy appearance in a makeshift cloak, Tyrone began absorbing Marshall's thugs into his darkness while Tandy struck them down with daggers of light. The two teens dubbed themselves Cloak & Dagger and declared war on drug crime in combating drug-dealers and helping runaway children.
The fourth White Tiger is Hector Ayala's niece and ex-FBI agent Angela Del Toro, who inherited her uncle's Jade Tiger amulets. Angela quit the FBI to understand the amulets, and was trained in the use of their powers by Daredevil. Using the amulets' power to foil a robbery, she was touched by the overwhelming gratitude from the shopkeeper. Angela actually saved Daredevil from a crime lord and his bodyguard, using the amulets to give herself cat-like speed and fighting abilities. Realizing the powers she now possessed, she assumed her uncle's identity as the White Tiger. She was stabbed by Lady Bullseye and resurrected by the Hand, under their thrall until being healed by Black Tarantula.
Paladin is a mercenary and private investigator, whose past is largely unrevealed. When first seen, he sought Daredevil while engaged in an assignment to track down the Purple Man, and battled Daredevil. He clashed with Daredevil a second time after the crime fighter inadvertently interfered with Paladin's search for the Purple Man. Paladin allied with Daredevil in battle against the Cobra, the Jester, and Mister Hyde, who were under control of the Purple Man. Paladin once took down Daredevil with a sniper rifle from a helicopter at a great distance. He did so for the FBI, in exchange for getting his record expunged. The hit, while serious, was not fatal; Paladin's sniper attack led to Daredevil's arrest.
Paladin was a main character in the 2006 Heroes for Hire series, although as Misty Knight said he was just there for the money. As it turns out, he was a traitor to the group, only using the Heroes as a means to hunt down Captain America for S.H.I.E.L.D. as part of the Civil War. He single handedly defeated Captain America and the entire Heroes for Hire team, with the exceptions of Tarantula, and Orka, who weren't present when the fight took place, with a special gas weapon that affected the nervous system.
A cousin to Dr. Bruce Banner, Walters once received an emergency blood transfusion from him when she was wounded, which led to her acquiring a milder version of his Hulk condition. As such, Walters becomes a large powerful green-hued version of herself while still largely retaining her personality.
She-Hulk has been a member of the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, Heroes for Hire, the Defenders, Fantastic Force, and S.H.I.E.L.D. A highly skilled lawyer, she has served as legal counsel to various superheroes on numerous occasions.