Ben Urich

Ben UrichAnd here we are, ready for the second character who appeared in the last trailer for the upcoming Daredevil tv-series. There’s a man, in the trailer, who uses playing cards to draw a map of the criminal underworld, and who remarks that in his experience there’s no hero nor villain, just people with different agendas: that’s reporter Ben Urich, portrayed by Vondie Curtis-Hall (yup, another ethnicity swap: we should get used to it). In the show, we know Ben will investigate on the Kingpin, trying to expose his secret identity, much like as he did in the comics. He also appeared in the Daredevil movie, played by Joe Pantoliano: this time, he was a reporter for the New York Post obsessed with the urban legend regarding Daredevil: when he finally can demonstrate that the vigilante really exists, and even finds out his secret identity, he decides not to publish his article out of good heart. Meh. Hoping that the Netflix’ version of Urich will be closer to the source material, let’s see who he is in the comics.

Ben Urich grew up with his brother Arnold in New York City. He always had a passion for writing, and when he came of age he attended New York University and obtained a degree in journalism. Looking for a job, he got the attention of editor J. Jonah Jameson, who hired him at The Daily Bugle. Jameson was old school, and believed that a true reporter had to reach the top starting from the bottom, so Urich’s first job was the one of a press boy. Ben accepted the challenge, and actually managed to become an investigative reporter as he had always dreamt of: one benurichcomics1of his first scoops came from an unexpected source, the brutal vigilante known as The Punisher, who told him he had killed the Kingpin, the legendary boss of the entire NY’s criminality. Urich published the story, but it was a lie the Punisher spread to cause a massive gang war between criminals, so that they killed each other: the vigilante’s plan succeeded, until the real Kingpin brought everything to order again, and Urich learnt an important lesson on how and when to trust a source, especially after the war started by the Punisher’s lie brought to a remarkable amount of civilian victims. Ben abandoned the trail of the Punisher, and started investigating on another new vigilante, Daredevil. Suprisingly enough, Urich managed to collect enough information on the hero, on his habits and on his moves, figuring his real identity out: the blind lawyer Matt Murdock. Instead of publishing the news pronto, Urich chose to confront Murdock, telling him what he had on him. Matt in turn decided to trust the reporter, and told him everything about his origins, about his father and his crusade, and entrusted Urich with all his life: he told him that if he chose to publish the article on Daredevil, he couldn’t have been a hero again. Ben ultimately burnt all his papers, and decided to keep Daredevil’s secret identity a secret. This was the beginning of a strong friendship between Ben and Murdock.

Keeping Matt’s secret identity safe wasn’t an easy job, especially after, following his friend’s hints, Ben started investigating on the Kingpin’s real identity. When he finally arrived to Wilson Fisk, Urich was approached by one of Kingpin’s hired killers, Elektra, who stabbed him. Miraculously Urich survived the encounter, but chose to continue to collect evidence against Fisk. All his sources and witnesses, however, got killed one after the other, often in front of him as intimidation, and another enforcer broke his fingers as a warning; Ben didn’t stop, not even when benurichcomics2his wife Doris was almost killed by another hitman. Finally, with the help of both Daredevil and Captain America, Ben used the public turmoil caused by a killer hired by Kingpin, Nuke, to win all resistance and publish his article: he succesfully exposed “honest” businessman and philanthropist Wilson Fisk as the most dangerous and vicious gangster of the entire West Coast, delivering a massive blow to the Kingpin’s empire. From that moment, Ben Urich became one of the most succesfull and respected investigative reporters in New York, but he didn’t want to stop yet. With the help of his nephew Phil, who worked for the Bugle as well, Urich found one of the new Green Goblin‘s lairs, and he also discovered that the lair in question had been used by Harry Osborn. Further investigations led Ben to discover that Harry was just a second, deranged Goblin, while the original and evil one was his father, the respected businessman Norman Osborn, recently deceased. Ben published all of his discoveries in a book, Legacy of Evil, exposing not only Osborn’s illegal activities as Goblin, but also the psychological torture he had submitted his son to. There was still one information Ben “forgot” to make public: during his investigation on the Green Goblin, he had made important discoveries about the maniac’s nemesis, Spider-Man, and he now knew that under the hero’s mask there was his friend and coworker Peter Parker. This time, however, he didn’t even tell Peter himself: he knew that, in order to be heroes, some people needed to keep the secret on who they were without their masks, and he would have been loyal to them.

Ben Urich is a street-smart man, with an impressive investigative talent that brought him to discover many secrets regarding even supervillains and superheroes (among all, the identities of Kingpin, Daredevil, Spider-Man and two Green Goblins, and Iron Man‘s plans for the opposers to the Superhuman Registration Act). Ben puts his work above anything else, and he’s not exactly the best husband for his wife Doris; there’s only one thing he values more than publishing a story, and it’s his moral code, that sometimes even prevented him to make some important stories public just because keeping it secret was the right thing to do. Stubbornly loyal to his friends, his sources and his informers, Ben Urich prefers to be killed rather than to betray someone who trusts him…and more than once he’s been near to prove it for good.

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7 Comments

  1. […] Cherryh had already took possession of the incriminating checks. Daily Bugle’s reporter Ben Urich was still investigating on Cherryh, and when the Councilman knew it, first he had a meeting with […]

  2. […] to cover his boss’ tracks, but it was too late: Daredevil, Captain America and reporter Ben Urich investigated on Nuke and on the new Project: Rebirth, and publicly denounced Fisk’s […]

  3. […] Mackenzie contacted the Daily Bugle and revealed the whole story to their top reporter, Ben Urich. When Luke Cage was wounded by unknown attackers following his involvement in the Latveria […]

  4. […] The two, in fact, clashed more than once, the first time being when Elektra targeted reporter Ben Urich. Eventually, Kingpin gave her the order to kill Foggy Nelson, a lawyer who was messing with his […]

  5. […] teaming up with the new Spider-Woman Jessica Drew, with the hero Speedball and with reporter Ben Urich managed to save Mattie. After that, Jessica just couldn’t deny Malcolm the job he was asking […]

  6. […] entered the target of The Punisher. After sending away Norah Winters, a journalist working for Ben Urich, Clemons came back to the hospital, where the bride, Rachel Cole, had regained consciousness. […]

  7. […] Liz saved her son thanks to the intervention of her brother Mark, of Spider-Man and of reporter Ben Urich. Kidnapped by her own husband along with Normie, Liz was obviously deeply traumatized by the event, […]


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