LawyerOff 2K7: Matt Murdock v. Phoenix Wright

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:



Advantage: Murdock



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:



Advantage: Wright



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:



Advantage: Draw



Trial Part Four: Live-Action Versions





Phoenix Wright:



Advantage: Wright



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, 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.

35 thoughts on “LawyerOff 2K7: Matt Murdock v. Phoenix Wright

  1. “criminal mastermind and noted pie enthusiast” is how I want to be described as someday.

    Chris Sims- you’ve made lawyers cool.

  2. Chris, you already sold me on this game with your last few references. I’m currently up to the fourth trial and loving it, despite the Grand Canyon-sized logic holes.

  3. That was funny, but I’ve got to say, modern colouring techniques do not fit Miller/Janson’s DD work if the Hogman scan is any indication of what the rest of their reprinted work now looks like.

  4. Now, to be fair to poor Mr. Wright, he does have to defend clients under a legal system where apparently not only is there no such thing as “reasonable doubt,” but in order to prove your client innocent you must ALSO prove someone else guilty.

  5. I could have sworn it was the Perry Mason principle, not the Matlock principle. Other than that, another awesome piece.

  6. “Nich Says:

    Now, to be fair to poor Mr. Wright, he does have to defend clients under a legal system where apparently not only is there no such thing as “reasonable doubt,” but in order to prove your client innocent you must ALSO prove someone else guilty.”

    But he also has the advantage of being able to take any piece of evidence from forensics (or having it photocopied), witnesses or suspects, regardless of how few people can corroborate its authenticity, and use it as legal evidence in court. He could just as well submit a piece of paper on which he wrote in front of the jury, “I killed the victim, not the defendent – the suspicious witness” and have the whole thing over with in seconds.

  7. Mmmh.. Associates-wise, is really “Mystic” Mia Fey such an advantage for Phoenix Wright? Maybe if all juries were male-only… But, how good is she, precedent-wise?

    If Nelson brings the old Stoelting Vs. West sentence (that Philosopher’s stone of Law Precedents), even Mia Fey’s two prominent assets can’t win over a sentence: Nelson’s awesome precedental wisdom wins the race anytime!

  8. Murdock does occasionally mess up in court though. I wonder how he’d do if there was a strict system of having your client thrown in jail if you make the mistake of asking a few questions too many.

    Being played by Ben Affleck should also cost him millions of points forcing Matt to become a street lawyer settling disputes between hobos over sandwich halves found in the garbage.

  9. Considering that Phoenix Wright is in Japan, it really should be far easier for HIM to fight ninjas. The fact that he does not seriously weakens his argument.

    I find no fault with the testimony of Mr. Murdock.

  10. “Because, you know, Japan,” will be the way I explain many things weird about Japan from now on.

  11. ““Because, you know, Japan,” will be the way I explain many things weird about Japan from now on.”

    Every time I see something completely ridiculous on the internet, my first response is generally “God dammit, Japan”. Because somehow, it’s their fault.

    … well, unless it’s Bob Kanigher’s.

  12. But where does Jennifer Walters fall on this schema of fictional lawyers, Chris? Where? I demand a Harvey Birdman VS. Jennifer Walters follow-up!

  13. If anyone wants a look at the full membership of the superhero bar, take a look at William A. Hilyerd’s “Hi Superman, I’m a Lawyer” which came out in the Brandeis Law Review over the summer. It sucks a lot of the awesomeness out of superhero lawyers but contains a LOT of information. Let the Phoenix Wright fan-fic team-ups commence!

  14. I think the Because Bob Haney defense counters all others related to physical evidence, eyewitness identifications, and the laws of probability, but when it comes to motive, Because Japan trumps all.

  15. Coming in late with this one, but I’m surprised no one’s mentioned it.

    How exactly was Matt able to comment on Wright’s suit? Was he being sarcastic? Did Wright just not notice that the guy is blind? Because you’d sort of expect a lawyer to be a bit more observant that way.

  16. How exactly was Matt able to comment on Wright’s suit?

    Heightened senses. Each dye used in the manufacture of clothing has a distinct smell.

    Was he being sarcastic?

    Of course not! Given that they wear virtually the same outfit, Murdock obviously thinks it’s stylin’.

    Did Wright just not notice that the guy is blind?

    This is entirely possible. Phoenix Wright is many things, but “perceptive” is not generally on the list.

  17. Chris Sims, by having an entire article dedicated to Phoenix Wright (And Daredevil) you ahve truly magical, wonderful person. And for that I crown you new king of bloggers.

    Of course, you didn’t include a catchphrase and battle pose section which would have put Phoenix barely in the lead; and for that you will are penalized.

    And I expect some comment from you when the third game comes out in 23 days.

  18. Excellent post sir! You have gained a month added to the death calendar countdown.

    The Alzheimer’s countdown calendar is not affected.

    The Negro Has Spoken!

  19. OBJECTION! Matt Murdoch can’t claim to have fought ninjas without giving away his super sekrit identity!

    The clear victor in a court of law would be Phoenix because of his uncanny ability to reveal the truth! The best Murdoch could hope for would be to settle out of court to make Phoenix keep his trap shut when he inevitably figures out that Murdoch is Daredevil.

  20. Hello. Very nice Post. Not really what i have searched over Google, but thanks for the information. Can you email me back, please. Thank you.

  21. Screw the ninjas Phoenix has spiky hair!
    Haha Feenie is number 1!

    But still this was funny as hell. “Live action Phoenix Wright”? XDD