From Denny Crane to Harvey Birdman, pop culture is rife with lawyers, to the point where their appeal as characters allowed for the inexplicable stardom of a lurking, post-Clash of the Titans Harry Hamlin in the mid-80s. Me, I’ve always enjoyed a good bit of courtroom drama mixed in with my entertainment–which dates back to my childhood, wherein I set the record at age six by being the youngest human being to actually enjoy Matlock–but lately, my attention’s been grabbed by two in particular.
Yes, as readers of the ISB will no doubt be tired of hearing by now, I’ve spent the majority of the last few weeks re-reading back issues of Marvel’s Daredevil and playing through Capcom’s Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, and with all that lawyerin’ going on, I’ve found myself wondering just how the verdict comes down in a trial to decide just who has more chops in the legal arena. And since their last encounter proved inconclusive, I think we all know what that means.
It’s time for a good old-fashioned ISB Match-Up! LawyerOff 2K7 starts now!
Pre-Trial Hearing: The Basics
The son of a boxer who told him not to fight, Matt Murdock was blinded as a child in an accident that left his remaining senses heightened. After his father’s murder, he dedicated his life to justice and graduated with honors from Columbia University Law School, defending the innocent as an attorney by day and by night as the vigilante called Daredevil, the Man Without Fear!
He enjoys boxing, hitting people with sticks, and making incredibly disastrous relationship choices.
Named for his uncanny ability to rise from the ashes of a seeming defeat, Phoenix Wright was inspired to practice law by a mock-trial in the fourth grade where he stood accused of stealing a fellow student’s lunch money. While significantly less impressive than being blinded by radioactive isotopes and learning karate, this origin was no less inspiring and he now fights to clear the most desperate defendants alongside his spirit-channeling sidekick with a skill that has earned him the title of Ace Attorney!
He enjoys sleeping in public, playing poker, and has an intense dislike of clowns.
Trial Part One: Methodology
In order to judge the innocence of his clients, Matt Murdock often uses his super-senses as a sort of human lie-detector, judging the honesty of his client by the slightest change in their heartbeat:
Additionally, his activities as a costumed vigilante allow him to gather evidence outside the law, taking down criminals with sharp wits and the occasional savage beating.
Wright, on the other hand, can also tell if someone is lying, but only if he’s got his magical psychic keychain, because, y’know, Japan. Additionally, he also lives in a world that has nothing even remotely resembling the Fourth Ammendment, which means that he can wander around stealing pretty much anything that catches his eye to present in court.
Also, due to the fact that he doesn’t actually appear to be a very good lawyer, Phoenix will occasionally rely on what fans of The Practice will recognize as “Plan B”: Wildly casting suspicion on anyone and everyone involved in the case in order to buy more time to investigate. Fortunately, in accordance with the Matlock Principle, the real culprit is always someone who ends up confessing on the witness stand.
Really, though, he mostly just relies on pointing and shouting:
Trial Part Two: Associates
Matt Murdock’s best friend and law partner: Franklin “Foggy” Nelson:
Phoenix Wright’s best friend and law partner: “Mystic” Mia Fey:
Trial Part Three: Nemeses
Over the course of his crime-fighting career, Daredevil has faced such villainous luminaries as The Owl (who looked kinda like an owl), Stilt Man (who was recently killed due to a rocket propelled grenade to the junk courtesy of the Punisher), and The Enforcers, who exist simply to make anything better by their very presence.
His most prominent and persistent foe, however, has been criminal mastermind and noted pie enthusiast Wilson Fisk, The Kingpin of Crime:
Aside from Redd White, the blackmailer who has him framed for murder in his first solo case, Phoenix Wright’s opponents are not, in general, actual super-villains. Rather, his greatest battles are against the prosecutors who face him in court, including the sinister Manfried von Karma, his whip-weilding daughter Franziska, and of course, the terminally awesome Miles Edgeworth:
Trial Part Four: Live-Action Versions
And so, with a crushing two-to-one lead, the ISB has clearly determined that the superior lawyer is, of course–
. . .
Yes, Mr. Murdock? Is there a contradiction in this testimony?
I’m sorry, Mr. Wright, but that is logic that not even I can argue.
Your Winner: Dardevil’s Alter Ego, Matt Murdock!
Special thanks to Court-Records.net, a great Ace Attorney fan-site that provided the resources for a solid half of tonight’s images. More of the pretty fantastic Phoenix Wright cosplay–including totally sweet guitar moves–can be found here.
And yes: Occasionally, I just write things solely for my own amusement.