Civil War II: Kingpin #1 Review

Civil War II: Kingpin #1
Writer: Matthew Rosenberg 
Artist: Ricardo Lopez Ortiz & Dalibor Talajic
Colors: Mat Lopes & Miroslav Mrva
Letters: Travis Lanham
Publisher: Marvel

A new Inhuman has emerged and is in the spotlight, his name is Ulysses and he seems to have the ability to predict the future.  While the verdict on the extent and reliability of his fortune-telling powers is still under deliberation, heroes led by Captain Marvel(Carol Danvers) have cracked down hard on crime.  Arresting would-be criminals before they even commit the crime.  However the superheroes of the Marvel Universe are starting to divide over the morality of these actions.

With the difficulty to make an, “honest living” increasing at a rapid pace along with the heroes starting to become distracted with their own schisms, one man sees opportunities. Wilson Fisk, A.K.A the Kingpin, is back in the Big Apple after a brief stint as a crime boss in San Francisco.  Sticking to what everyone loves about the character, writer Matthew Rosenberg has executed an issue where we see the Kingpin taking advantage of other people’s predicaments to get his way.

The issue opens with a nice little speech Fisk gives to some of the scummiest criminals in town.  After cementing his authority, we’re introduced to a new player named Janus who holds the secret to Marvel’s favorite crime boss’s success.  I would have preferred Rosenberg withheld revealing the powers and origin of Janus in a later issue, keeping his talents in the shadows would have kept the intrigue there.  However it’s still effective and keeps the story engaging.

There are quite a few top-notch scenes in this book.  One for instance involves Wilson having a run in with Sam Wilson Captain America, Spectrum, and Night Thrasher in which he totally degrades them.  Fisk knows exactly how to get under their skin and seeing him talk down to them makes the Kingpin all the more fascinating.  Another highlight scene involves Armand, a coffee shop owner and old friend of Fisk’s.  Rosenberg is able to color the character with shades of grey when Armand comes to him for help.  Forcing the reader to really question his intentions as well as the heroes when Hawkeye makes a quick cameo.  However the Kingpin transitions right back to villainous intentions when he makes a discovery that’ll change the game.  Rosenberg has portrayed Fisk as an opportunist, sympathetic at times, and a bit of an underdog that you feel bad rooting for.

Artwork in the main story of this book, “Shouldn’t Have Come Back” is done by Ricardo Lopez Ortiz and his style has a vibe that oozes crime noir.  Making it a perfect fit for the story and character.  It’s a bit too sketchy at times but his Kingpin has a towering presents to him, making everyone who stands against him look helpless.  Ortiz also gives NYC an atmosphere and sense of danger lurking around any corner.  The second story in this book, “The Death & Birth of Janus Jardeesh” is depicted by Dalibor Talajic and it’s competent but is a downgrade from Ortiz’s work.  There’s nothing particularly bad about it, it’s just that the previous story had a great sense of tone and atmosphere and to go from that to somewhat standard artwork is a bit of a let down.

Final Verdict

The Daredevil Netflix series has been a massive success for Marvel and one of the standouts in that show was Vincent D’Onofrio’s portrayal as the Kingpin.  So it makes sense that he’d get his own mini-series in which ties itself to Marvel’s summer event.  The fact that it’s good is greatly satisfying considering that the majority of the Civil War II tie-ins have largely been a miss.  Matthew Rosenberg has taken a strong idea capitalizing off the constant infighting amongst our heroes, which is becoming excruciatingly tiresome, and created an intriguing story with memorable and engaging characters.  If this issue is an indicative of what’s to come, then this is the Civil War II tie-in to be reading.

Score: 4 out of 5

Review by Eric Bradach

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