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Comic Review: Kingpin #1

Kingpin #1 (Marvel Comics) index

Last week I reviewed Bullseye, so it’s only fitting that I review the next installment of Marvel’s “Running With The Devil” imprint, Kingpin. Of all of these books, this was the one I was most intrigued with, since the Civil War II miniseries featuring the character was one of the few great tie-ins for that event. With rising star Matthew Rosenberg writing the book, I had pretty high hopes for this series, and so far, I’m pretty intrigued.

Kingpin presents the titular character in a way that I wasn’t expecting. Instead of focusing on Wilson Fisk’s criminal empire, Matthew Rosenberg’s script focuses more on Fisk trying to convince disgraced journalist Sarah Dewey to pen his biography. He showers her with gifts and attention, and while Dewey slowly starts to warm up to him, things start occurring that make her think that Wilson Fisk isn’t as removed from his criminal ways as he lets on. But he’s doing things to protect her, is that a bad thing?

This take on Wilson Fisk is one we’ve seen before, most recently in the Netflix Daredevil series, but Matthew Rosenberg finds interesting ways to make it work and seem fresh again. By focusing more on Dewey, it allows us to see Fisk through someone else’s eyes, and show how charming Fisk can be when he needs to be. Rosenberg had a similar framing device in his Civil War II: Kingpin miniseries, and it’s good to see that trend continue here. It adds to the myth of the character to get implications of how far his empire spreads, as opposed to seeing it play out before us.

Ben Torres is the artist for this series, and his style fits the tone of the book perfectly. An interesting mash up of Frank Miller and Eduardo Risso, Torres’ is able to capture the brutal and dark world that Dewey is being drawn into and make it vibrant and engrossing. His Wilson Fisk is intimidating, but not the cartoonish hulking giant that we’ve seen in the past, and while there isn’t a lot of action in this opening issue, the few moments that are here are handled exceptionally well.

If you’re looking for a crime book set in the world of superheroes, then Kingpin will be the book to grab. Rosenberg and Torres are crafting a murky tale that has shades of crime stories you’ve seen before, but everything here is so well done that you don’t mind if it feels a little repetitive. I know it’s a cliché line, but I kind of have to use it: for crime fans, Kingpin is an offer you can’t refuse.

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