Devil's Reign #1 Review: A Terrifying Portrait of Wilson Fisk

Wilson Fisk has been mayor of New York City for a few years now, and the longtime Marvel baddie is finally making the moves that will grant him ultimate power. Devil's Reign is a mini-event from Marvel Comics that looks to follow Fisk as he abolishes superheroes, leading an elite police force to tear through the Big Apple and arrest whichever characters they can get their hands. On the surface, it's a premise we've seen all too often within the world of superhero comics. Marvel's Civil War epic was based on a similar idea and DC's Fear State will soon wrap up a comparable story.

Even then, Devil's Reign feels fresh and exciting, far from being some derivative redundancy.

A large part of that has to do with writer Chip Zdarsky's mastery of Matt Murdock and the Daredevil mantle. Despite this story largely focusing on Kingpin, it's clear Zdarsky's time with the Man Without Fear has given him the right tools to tackle this behemoth of a tale.

You see, Wilson Fisk isn't a gamma-fueled monster nor does he have a nano-tech suit that can propel him around the skyline at a moment's notice. He's a regular ol' human—just like you and me—and that's primarily what makes him so terrifying here. The best Daredevil stories often take place when Matt Murdock is having the internal battles against himself, his own worst enemy—and that's something Zdarsky adapted for this.

By the time we see Fisk in Devil's Reign #1, a plot thread leftover from Charles Soule's run is picked up as the villain works to find out Daredevil's real identity once again. Because his mind was wiped, we get a Fisk that looks to be deteriorating and unsure of his place in the world. As we all know by now, Fisk is most powerful when his confidence starts to falter, and that's the exact plot point followed through with this event.

This is a Marvel story that features the likes of Captain America and Iron Man, but it doesn't feel like a bombastic Avengers tale. It's honest and true to the Daredevil mythos, and looks to carve itself out as a classic street-level tale. What Zdarsky and artist Marco Checchetto accomplish here is a masterclass in humanizing superheroes, deconstructing them to their most basic of makeups. While some might find the premise tiring, this creative team pulls the right moves to make it something exciting—incredibly exciting, at that.

Published by Marvel Comics

On December 8, 2021

Written by Chip Zdarsky

Art by Marco Checchetto

Colors by Marcio Menyz

Letters by Clayton Cowles

Cover by Marco Checchetto and Matthew Wilson