Devil's Reign: Why the Kingpin Is an Avengers-Level Threat

The Kingpin has a decades-long history making life miserable for Daredevil and Spider-Man. But what happens when Wilson Fisk sets his sights higher? Can this ruthless crime boss take on the combined might of Spidey, the Fantastic Four, the Avengers and two Daredevils? That's what we're about to find out in the upcoming limited series Devil's Reign.

IGN can exclusively debut a new preview of Devil's Reign #1, which features writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Marco Checchetto building on the backbone of their ongoing Daredevil series. Check out the new images in the slideshow gallery below, and read on to see Zdarsky tease what's coming and why Devil's Reign isn't really a Daredevil story at all.

Zdarsky has made waves with his Daredevil run several times already. For example, in issue #1, a weary Matt Murdock committed manslaughter, and later in issue #26, Elektra took up the mantle of Daredevil after Matt turned himself over to the police. In Devil's Reign, Matt is now free again and sharing the mantle with Elektra. But with Wilson Fisk more powerful than ever, both devils will need a lot of friends to survive the coming days.

Zdarksy revealed that Devil's Reign isn't a Daredevil story so much as it is the culmination of Fisk's recent journey in the Marvel Universe. Since becoming the duly elected mayor of New York City, Fisk has been quietly amassing both political power and an underground army of supervillains. Now, he's ready to use both in order to rid the city of its costumed vigilante problem.

"From the beginning I had Fisk's catalyst figured out, the thing that propels him to, well, lose it," Zdarsky told IGN. "But the fallout and what it meant for New York was something I worked on in the background as the series went along."

Zdarsky continued, "Part of what shaped the story is the fact that, when I pitched the Daredevil storyline to the Marvel editors and writers, the feedback kept making it bigger. Like, originally it was a big Daredevil story, and then it was suggested we make it a mini event and then when I submitted the first outline it became clear this is much bigger than Daredevil and the street-level heroes, so it got the green light as a big ol’ event!"

Devil's Reign features a wide cast of New York-based heroes, including the Ben Reilly version of Spider-Man and members of both the Fantastic Four and Avengers. That might seem like an impossible force for a non-superhuman like Fisk, but Zdarsky teases the Kingpin has more than a few aces up his oversized sleeve. For one thing, he'll be spearheading the newest incarnation of the Thunderbolts as a source of added muscle. For another, he'll be fighting the heroes in the court of public opinion, bringing to mind Marvel's more politically topical crossovers like Civil War and Dark Reign.

"He’s trying to sway the public using cherry-picked examples of various incidents, Matt’s recent troubles being one of them," Zdarsky said. "He’s a politician and he’s actually pretty good at it, which is a problem for our heroes. But, beyond that, he has some aces up his sleeves that are definitely not about politics."

Zdarsky continued, "What makes Fisk an elevated threat is his mind, not his fists. That’s always been the case. Sure, Thor could turn him into paste, but Fisk knows that and has planned for it. And Marvel superheroes aren’t about to overthrow democracy."

Naturally, with so many heroes and villains involved in this conflict, Devil's Reign is being treated as a full-fledged crossover event with tie-in issues and companion books. To date, December's Spider-Woman #18 is the only confirmed tie-in issue, but it's safe to expect plenty more Devil's Reign content in early 2022. Though Zdarsky reassured fans the scope of the crossover won't grow too large.

"There are tie-ins—it’s an event after all—but we’ve kept it tight. One of the things that’s been stressed in my calls with Marvel is that we want to make sure there are stories to tell here that really spring out of the event and what Fisk does. I’ve seen scripts for a couple of them so far and they’re fantastic."

As the preview art reveals, Fisk's real motive is his desire to finally uncover Daredevil's secret identity. For those who might not have been following the monthly Daredevil series lately, Matt managed to make the entire Marvel Universe forget his secret. That includes Fisk, a man who once used that information to drive Daredevil over the edge in the iconic 1986 storyline Daredevil: Born Again.

Whether or not Fisk recovers his lost knowledge, Zdarsky stressed Devil's Reign won't be the end of his ongoing Daredevil saga.

"I have a much bigger story for Elektra and Matt on the other end of this! We now live in a world with two Daredevils, and they have plans," he said. "And weirdly, they’re not the focus of Devil's Reign. It’s Fisk’s story and Matt and Elektra are doing their best to save the city from him. They’ve made mistakes and those mistakes have caused this calamity. So, you know, classic Matt Murdock guilt."

Devil's Reign #1 will hit stores on December 1, with issue #2 following two weeks later on December 15.

Jesse is a mild-mannered staff writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter.

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