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Exclusive Preview: Kingpin #5

Kingpin #5

(W) Matthew Rosenberg (A) Ben Torres (CA) Jeff Dekal
Rated T+
In Shops: Jun 14, 2017
SRP: $3.99

THE LIFE AND CRIMES OF WILSON FISK!
• SARAH DEWEY realizes there’s no turning back from the KINGPIN now…
• …but how much MORE is it going to cost her?
• WILSON FISK reestablishes his reputation with his biography…but what is his end game?

Review: Kingpin #3

Matthew Rosenberg is forging forward with his mission to humanize one of Marvel’s most notorious gangsters and he’s doing one hell of a job. Kingpin #3 digs even further into the mystery of what made Wilson Fisk into the Kingpin. There are more than a few shades of gray that run alongside the line that Kingpin rides making him neither pure evil nor pure good. Rosenberg gives us a glimpse into the mushy parts that make Kingpin a protector of the weak and a corrector of the strong and evil.

The third issue in the current solo story line still relies heavily on Sarah doing her journalistic due diligence but, Kingpin exudes a sense of omnipresence that casts his rather large shadow in every panel whether he’s in it or not. Rosenberg shows us some of Kingpin’s oldest friends, kids from his old neighborhood and, much like the last issue we are treated to some of Kingpin’s gentle side. We also get in on the ground floor of Tombstone’s inevitable pushback against Fisk and, see him using Sarah as a pawn in his game. There are some decent and memorable cameos in this issue and they fit nicely into the story that Rosenberg is committed to telling.

Ben Torres provides some good, old fashioned comic book line art that shows the grit and the grime of the NY underworld. The detail in Torres’ work also shows us the bleak situation that Sarah is in as a divorced alcoholic mother trying to regain herself and her children. Jordan Boyd gives the issue just enough color and makes sure that his palette choices match the mood of the panels. Boyd uses dark, muted & shadowy colors when showing Sarah’s life and on any panels showing the criminal underworld but, he’s talented enough to use bright 80s style colors when we are treated to the scenes that show the sweet and sensitive side of Kingpin.

This issue gives us more pieces to the Kingpin puzzle and reads like a really good comic noir. The creative team behind this issue made sure that the story and art was consistent with the issues that preceded it and, that this issue had a sense of stand alone cohesiveness. The story as a whole is tight, well written, beautifully drawn and colored, plus it makes sure that when you’re starting to feel overly sympathetic to Kingpin, you get a nice jolt and reminder that there is a monster lurking under his surface. We still don’t know all of Kingpin’s motives but, as a reader, this issue makes sure that you’re all in to find out what happens next and, see how the story unfolds.

My only problem with this issue is the cringeworthy moment in the diner where Sarah is sitting down with Kingpin and the subject of the slap she received at her ex-husband’s hand comes up. Sarah tells Kingpin that it was her fault for pushing his buttons, Kingpin does not agree with her assessment and for now it looks as if he won’t take action against her ex. But, even though that small portion of the story is cringeworthy, it’s still real and poignant. Most abused partners truly believe that abuse in any form is their fault, Kingpin seems to acknowledge that fact and doesn’t push too hard but, he also doesn’t white knight for her making the reader feel a sense of guilt for wishing he did. But, that’s the thing with Rosenberg’s writing, the world he created seems real, visceral and often makes it hard to disconnect with the characters which makes this story less of an escape and, more of an investment. The good news is that it is an arc worthy of becoming invested in and serves as a testament to the overall package.

Story: Matthew Rosenberg Art: Ben Torres and Jordan Boyd
Story: 9.1 Art: 8.8 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Kingpin #3

Kingpin #3

(W) Matthew Rosenberg (A) Ben Torres (CA) Jeff Dekal
Rated T+
In Shops: Apr 12, 2017
SRP: $3.99

BETTER THE DEVIL YOU KNOW!

WILSON FISK. People love him. Kids look up to him. His generosity and kindness make him a model citizen. This is the spin…but DAREDEVIL doesn’t buy it. As SARAH DEWEY tries to separate fact from fiction while on assignment to pen Fisk’s biography, will an OLD ENEMY’S plan to snuff out Fisk change the narrative?

Review: Kingpin #2

Kingpin #2 is titled “Messes of Men,” luckily for the reader there’s nothing messy about this issue. Thanks to the writing talent of Matthew Rosenberg, the issue starts off with a genuine NYC scene, Sarah and Orlando hanging out on his front stoop enjoying a slice. Things move on to a fancy charity party that Fisk is throwing, Sarah makes an appearance and there’s a visit from an old criminal acquaintance of Fisk’s that turns the party on its head. For this issue Rosenberg decides to show off Fisk’s more charitable side mixed with just enough of the Kingpin to keep it interesting. You see all the good things he’s doing, but the way the story is written you know that there’s always a bit of the bad guy lurking in the cut. Rosenberg brings a bit of compassion to the character where the reader feels as if they can separate the man (Fisk) , from the monster (Kingpin). You feel like it might be one big act on his part but, you have hope that he’s turned himself around.

We also get more of a peek into Sarah’s life. We meet her kids, her brutish ex hubby, and we see her scold Fisk like a child and seemingly fire herself from the writing gig before it even starts. After a covert stalking mission Sarah and the readers are treated to see a softer side of Fisk. This issue ends with Sarah getting a surprise visit from one of Kingpin’s biggest foes. Without giving too much away, because this really is an issue you should read for yourself, I can tell you first hand that it’s more than worth a read. The writing is phenomenal, the story is insightful, and there’s some great credit to be given for someone who can give one of Marvel’s greatest villains a soul.

Ben Torres line artwork is amplified by Jordan Boyd‘s dark and ominous color job, making Kingpin #2 feel like an awesome comic noir. There’s this amazing panel where Fisk is having a talk with a man who calls him a a criminal and there’s so much detail in the close up panel. All you see is the size of Fisk’s fist, the darkness of his shadow with his sinister eyes staring down the man the back of the object of his intimidating head and shoulders. Fisk’s exaggerated fist size conveys more about what’s going on in that moment than any words could and it is brilliant!

Overall, this comic is an amazing leap into the world of Kingpin. It shows that the man he was is still alive in him and, we are treated to shades of man he was before he became Kingpin. I’m not sure where this arc is going but, I’m glad to be going along on this journey with Sarah. The material is rich, the characters are engaging and the art work is the perfect baseline for the overall mood of the comic. Boyd switches up his colors from dark and gloomy to bright and airy when showing Fisk interacting with children. He literally creates a bright spot in the sea of darkness that is Sarah and Fisk’s day to day life. Torres even seems to draw Fisk differently based upon his mood and who he’s interacting with. The slightest facial or body softness is highlighted to show the reader who they’re dealin with in the particular panel you’re reading. The only thing wrong with this issue is that we have to wait until April 12th to find out what the mysterious visitor to Sarah’s apartment wants and find out where this arc is headed next.

Story: Matthew Rosenberg Art: Ben Torres Color: Jordan Boyd
Story: 9.2 Art: 9.2 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a free copy for review

Review: Kingpin #2

Kingpin2CoverIs 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.

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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

Preview: Kingpin #2

Kingpin #2

(W) Matthew Rosenberg (A) Ben Torres (CA) Jeff Dekal
Rated T+
In Shops: Mar 08, 2017
SRP: $3.99

IF YOU THINK YOU KNOW WILSON FISK, THINK AGAIN!

WILSON FISK’s criminal past has tarnished his public image, but to move beyond it, Fisk must face the demons of his past…and convince the world he’s changed! Writer SARAH DEWEY has conflicted feelings about helping him turn over this new leaf…but is Fisk’s promise of complete transparency and a big (legal) pay day too good for Sarah to pass up? This is the Kingpin in all his brutal honesty…the man, the murderer, the criminal…and the good Samaritan?!

Preview: Kingpin #1

Kingpin #1

(W) Matthew Rosenberg (A) Ben Torres (CA) Jeff Dekal
Rated T+
In Shops: Feb 08, 2017
SRP: $3.99

WILSON FISK BUILDS A BRAND-NEW EMPIRE!

The KINGPIN has done bad things. Deplorable things. He has cheated the law. He has blackmailed rivals. He has killed. But that’s all in the past. The Kingpin is back in the city that he loves and ready to make his mark as a titan of legitimate industry, but needs to rekindle his public image. When Wilson Fisk makes disgraced journalist SARAH DEWEY an offer she can’t refuse, the spiraling saga of crime and betrayal begins anew. Don’t miss the start of Kingpin’s ongoing series, written by breakout writer MATTHEW ROSENBERG and illustrated in the heavy noir stylings of BEN TORRES, as Manhattan’s criminal mastermind returns to the Big Apple with honorable intentions, but no one in his circle remains pure on his climb back to the top.

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Review: Kingpin #1

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*Spoiler Warning*

“Born Against” has Hells Kitchen’s favorite mob boss back in action. After watching her boo get pummeled in the ring Ms. Sarah Dewey has been summoned via a $2,000 enticement to the home of Wilson Fisk to help him write his biography. The promise of a Kingpin backstory already has my eyes ready to read the tale that writer Matthew Rosenberg is going to tell even if I have to wait a few issues to get to to the meat of it all. Rosenberg has been on my favorites list for a while because of his work with Black Mask Studios’ comics and I expected so much from him taking the reigns for the Kingpin story. He doesn’t disappoint in the story setup or keeping true to the character at hand.

After the initial encounter Sarah decides to show up to a fancy party in Park Slope to get to know more about Kingpin up close. But, after a misstep on one of the parties guests part, she bumps right into Daredevil in his day to day form and the party continues to go downhill for her from there. Later that night she gets to spend a little more time with Fisk, I call him that now because there is some softening to him. Rosenberg seems to give him a soul of sorts and he’s somewhat endearing. There are moments where I expected him to be the rage monster that he is when he’s the villain but, he seemed to keep it together and be even tempered and somewhat likable in his interactions with Sarah. That kind of writing is the kind I like, the ability to turn a long time villain into just a person. There was a moment of hope in the interaction with a would-be mugger who holds a knife on Sarah and Fisk on their walk, where he lets things go and complies with the muggers demands with what seems to be genuine compassion. But, this is the Kingpin we’re talking about and the way the issue ends makes sure to remind us  and Sarah, of that very real fact.

There’s a panel in the story where Ben Torres has Sarah sporting a Spider-Man shirt and it was a lovely nod considering that besides Daredevil he is one of Kingpins biggest adversaries. It was also kind of cool that she kept that shirt on during her night-time diner donut run with Fisk. The juxtaposition of that iconic image with Kingpins looming and larger than life presence was a real visual treat. The style is hella old school which I love, it was like reading a Daredevil comic when I was a child. I loved the throwback graphics.

The issue as a whole is flawless. It’s a nice, well written, old school issue complete with the foul language,  drug use, alcohol consumption, and danger. There were no pop colors and happy upbeat feelings, it’s grimy NYC rage in readable form. The panels and backgrounds were part of the story and kept the tone of the words that were on the page perfectly.

Story: Matthew Rosenberg Art: Ben Torres
Story: 9.8 Art: 9.6 Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel comics provided Graphic Policy with a free copy for review

Kingpin, Bullseye & Elektra are Running With the Devil This February!

Marvel has announced “Running With the Devil” beginning this February! A brand new initiative, “Running With the Devil” spotlights a brand-new story arc beginning in the pages of Daredevil as well as the launch of three major titles for his closest friends…and deadliest foes!

It all starts in Daredevil #17, as secrets will be revealed! Blockbuster creators Charles Soule and Ron Garney team to answer the question on everyone’s mind –  just how did Matt Murdock regain his secret identity?! Then prepare to delve into the mind of two vile villains in Kingpin #1 from Matthew Rosenberg and Ben Torres and Bullseye #1 from Ed Brisson and Guillermo Sanna.  Finally, Sin City is about to get a new player in Elektra #1 from writer Matt Owens and artist Alec Morgan! How long can Elektra escape her past when she runs afoul of Arcade and his new Murderworld?!

The table is set and the pieces are on the board. As Elektra, Kingpin and Bullseye set off on their own paths, how long before all three come crashing back in to Matt Murdock’s life?

Kingpin #1 features a cover by Jeff Dekal, Bullseye #1‘s cover by Dave Johnson, and Elektra #1 cover by Elizabeth Torque. There’s also a connecting variant for the three series from Marco Checchetto.

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