Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Penciller: Ben Torres
Colorist: Jordan Boyd
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Release Date: 3/8/17
There are an abundance of new ongoing series being churned out by Marvel in 2017. Some of these feature previously villainous characters — like Kingpin — attempting to do something that would be moral-adjacent. For these characters, it might even be charity. One of the difficulty in reviewing these books is that only the author and series team know the true intentions of our villains. The readers are left to take their best guess and just go with the age-old assumption that “nothing is what it seems.”
Despite Matthew Rosenburg’s early efforts, right now the best parts of Kingpin reside within the supporting cast of characters, most notably disgraced reporter Sarah Dewey. There’s a very Al Capone-like approach to the portrayal of Wilson Fisk so far; he’s charitable within his own community, but bad guys who cross him have a mysterious way of ending up dead. The reader is left to draw a lot of their own conclusions of the character and how this book plays out depends on whether or not you are a fan of journalism-driven arcs that Marvel has used to varying degrees of success over the years.
Plot: The primary plot of this issue is the continued back and forth between Dewey and Fisk over whether or not she will take the job of writing his biography, which he promises will be given to her “warts and all.” The aim of said book is to endear Wilson Fisk to the community he alienated through his many and often vicious attempts at running the underworld of New York. While Dewey had been taking an ethical approach to arriving at her decision, actions by her ex-husband are likely to expedite the relationship between her and Fisk.
Story: The story given to Dewey by Rosenburg is, at present, the most interesting aspect of an otherwise cliche storyline. That’s not to say that cliche can’t work; it does all the time in Hollywood and with books, which are often the inspiration for Hollywood. It’s not hard to relate to Dewey, who is very flawed but obviously loves her children and is dealing with an ex-husband in no mood to play games or in every mood to play games and make her life difficult. This is one of the carefully crafted subplots that Rosenburg has worked into the overarching story and I’m very curious to see how this plays out. I’m not convinced the husband is for long in this universe.Where the story comes up a little lacking is in the Kingpin department. It’s impossible to know where they will take this, but right now Fisk could stand to be a bit more dynamic than “good guy by day to ill-tempered guy by night.” Fisk is a character with a lot of potential and it’s unfair to judge a story when the author is only on their second book, but it’s also the only the I’ve had to read. It’s enough to keep me coming back, but will play a significant role in my desire to stick around later on. There are moments when Fisk is supposedly pouring his heart out to Dewey and my B.S. detector is flashing red. The story is good enough, it just doesn’t have enough genuine moments for a story that is meant to be built around them.
Art: Ben Torres’ art is a fantastic compliment to the story. Kingpin can take some getting used to, but the worlds and environments created around the characters is rich with detail and allows the artist to play with a couple different styles if they did a one-shot What If? Down the line. Torres is fond of shadow work and doesn’t mind leaving a couple dark corners in scenes. Daredevil looks outstanding, as well. The art almost has a noir look to it, very 1920’s modern. Yeah, I think that’s a thing. If not, I just made it a thing.
Verdict: Kingpin has a lot of potential and the the fact that it’s connected with a larger Daredevil universe leaves for great potential crossovers down the line. Much in the way that I felt Bullseye had some flaws coming out of the gate, I feel that Kingpin suffers from a number of the same issues. The biggest elephant in the room with these two characters is what their intentions are moving forward. Are they trying to become anti-heroes? Is this simply a great thrill ride? Will we see enhanced character development and a sense of believability coming from either character? Who knows, but they are fun and interesting along the way, sometimes that’s all you need to convince people to stick around and give you time to build a universe they can support — JW
Rating: 3.75/5 Stars