The Kingpin has gathered dirt on all of the Marvel heroes and is ready to use it to keep them at bay – just like the boys in their comic book of the same name.
Warning! Spoilers for Devil’s Rule # 1 vouch!
Marvel’s new series Reign of the devil has revealed that Wilson Fisk, formerly the gang boss known as the Kingpin and now the mayor of New York is determined to kill the superheroes (including his longtime enemy, Daredevil) with a new strategy. He has accumulated filth on them for years and is ready to reveal their filthiest secrets to the public. This approach makes him very similar to the Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson title team for their series The young.
Recently converted into a hit TV series by Amazon Studios, The young is a comic book published in 2006 by DC’s Imprint WildStorm. After 6 issues, DC canceled the series because it was uncomfortable with its signature anti-superhero tone, and the rights were taken over by Dynamite Entertainment, who released it through 2012. The story is about a team put together by the CIA to watch over the community of superheroes (called “supes”) who are spied on and, if necessary, blackmailed if they step out of line. Supes are portrayed as corrupt, self-obsessed and depraved who are only interested in money and fame as they are used as a marketing tool by mega-corporations. The boys take advantage of the Supers’ vices against them and are also ready to get their hands dirty if necessary. Now, Marvel Comics appears to be using a very similar concept to show how a superhero community can be kept in check.
Kingpin shows in Reign of the devil # 1 by Chip Zdarsky, Marco Checchetto, Marcio Menyz, and Clayton Cowles that the mayor of America’s largest city (and the one with the most superheroes) could be the most dangerous superpower a villain has ever had. In a press conference, Fisk announces the Powers Act: Any person who shows superhuman strength or acts of “Destructive vigilantism” will be billed immediately as a threat. However, in order to compete against the heroes, Kingpin needs the support of the public. He wants to do this by reversing the popular notion that “heroes save people”. In his public address, Fisk mentions the many times New York has been attacked or destroyed, including the recent Symbiote invasion King in black and the attack by Malekith forces during War of the rich. He has learned that the original alien symbiote Venom was originally brought to Earth by Spider-Man, and the connection between Thor and the hordes of trolls and frost giants that invaded New York is pretty straightforward. Heroes attract more problems than they solve is Kingpin’s message, and that kind of overt criticism of the core concepts of superhero comics got the job done The young so fun and successful. The similarities don’t end there, however.
The Marvel heroes are sure to respond to Kingpin’s attack, but the Kingpin is ready to take them on. Not only does he have an army of (supposedly) Reformed supervillains under his command, he has accumulated years of records as an underworld information broker. Promotional material for Reign of the devil has shown that this can affect all heroes, even supposedly “untouchable” ones like The Avengers. The concept that no superhero can be really “clean” and they simply hide their worst secrets from the public is at the heart of The young. In fact, one of the show’s key moments is when protagonist Hughie learns that his girlfriend, the hero Starlight, who is constantly portrayed as one of the “good guys” throughout the comic, has accepted to do sexual favors in order to make it into the top superhero Team The Seven (a parody of DC’s Justice League).
Finding out what idolized heroes like Captain America or The Fantastic Four have been keeping hidden over the years is sure to be one of the top selling points for The reign of the devil. The mature portrayal of superheroes in The young had a huge impact on the industry. While Marvel (and Kingpin) will go to the same extremes shown in Ennis and Robertson’s work Reign of the devil Still promises to be a once in a lifetime event.
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