Review: Kingpin #2
Is Wilson Fisk a man or a monster? Is he the crime lord Kingpin, or a philanthropist that funds a children’s hospital and gets genuinely emotional when they pass away. The answer that Matthew Rosenberg, Ben Torres, and Jordan Boyd give us is a bit of both. Kingpin #2‘s most shocking moment is Wilson beating up Tombstone and Hammerhead in a sequence that Torres makes into an old school monster mash with huge, ugly bodies whaling at each other while colorist Boyd adds distinct effects for color and blood. However, later, there’s an adorable series of panels where the huge Wilson has a couple sick kids jump on his back like he’s a human jungle gym. Kingpin is full of contradictions, but that’s what makes it one of Marvel’s more fascinating books.
Even though the book bears the name Kingpin, the down on her luck journalist and single mom Sarah Dewey is the true protagonist that we’re meant to feel for. At this point in her story, her life doesn’t revolve around Wilson Fisk, and she is still writing about and following the up and coming boxer Orlando Perez around. They’re friends too as evidenced by the friendly hug she gives Orlando when he tells her that he has a big match against a contender. Orlando also listens to Sarah when she talks about her terrible ex-husband, who slept with their babysitter and shows his real colors later on when he manipulates her busy journalist schedule to make her miss her visitation. Sarah’s life is really in a downward spiral and maybe swallowing her sense of ethics and writing what could end up being a hagiography for an old gangster, who claims to be retired, is her only way out.
The battle between is definitely raging in Kingpin #2, but with less punching and kicking and more manipulation of language. From his days of avoiding the law as Kingpin, Wilson has known his share of smooth mob lawyers, who could get him off on any charge. He puts these skills to good use deflecting questions about his criminal past from Jessica and saying that he took on the Kingpin name to protect himself personally. The influence from Vincent D’Onofrio’s performance in Daredevil can definitely be heard in Matthew Rosenberg’s writing of him. You almost believe Wilson when he says that he opened a hospital not out of guilt, but so no sick child would be a burden on their parents like Wilson was to his father. But, in the artwork, Torres draws a hulking, powerful Wilson Fisk, who could probably kill Tombstone with his bare hands if he didn’t want money for his hospital from NYC’s richest and most powerful. Except this larger scale can also be used for light, slightly ironic humor like a panel of Kingpin playing with a Spider-Man toy with one of the kids at his hospital.
Jordan Boyd’s funereal color palette (The hospital and the fundraiser for it look almost the same), Ben Torres’ unhesitating look at human pain and suffering through intimate close-ups, and Matthew Rosenberg’s pitch perfect writing of Wilson Fisk’s double talk and Sarah Dewey’s determination and vulnerability ensure that Kingpin #2 doesn’t suffer from a sophomore slump. And a final page cameo throws the moral order of this comic into even more imbalance.
Story: Matthew Rosenberg Art: Ben Torres Colors: Jordan Boyd
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy
Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review