Joseph Manfredi is the son of Silvio Manfredi, a powerful head of one of New York’s Maggia families. However, when he first appeared, it was as the costumed animal trainer Blackwing, a recent addition to the Circus of Crime. Before his first outing, the Ringmaster hoped the Circus would eliminate Daredevil in order to make Blackwing’s robberies go off without a hitch. But when the team failed to do this, the Circus performed anyway. Blackwing used his trained bats to steal from the audience the Ringmaster hypnotized. As predicted, though, Daredevil burst onto the scene, foiling the Circus’ plans, and Blackwing escaped.
In fact, Blackwing was a division leader of HYDRA when it was under the leadership of Silvermane, and he retreated to HYDRA’s secret base. When the organization arranged the kidnapping of Foggy Nelson, at the time one of New York’s District Attorneys, Daredevil tracked the culprits to their headquarters. Silvermane revealed his role as Supreme Hydra, and his son tried to stop Daredevil but was unsuccessful.