By Matthew Rosenberg, Ben Torres, Jordan Boyd, Travis Lanham, and Jeff Dekal.
The Kingpin is back! This self-titled series is a great look into the psyche of Wilson Fisk as he assumes the throne of his empire in New York after his absence in California. Kingpin #1 takes shape as Fisk asks journalist Sarah Dewey to write his autobiography. He has hopes to improve his public image while also rising to the top of his empire, but this time with legitimate businesses. With Sarah a little apprehensive about taking the gig, we get to see Fisk wine and dine her, showing her the more swanky part of his life, hoping to cloak some of the more evil parts.
Rosenberg (Civil War II: Kingpin, and 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank) gets to cuddle up again with everyone’s favorite kingpin of crime in this new series that will lead into a Daredevil crossover “Running With The Devil”. Rosenberg starts this series off with great dynamic brewing introducing Sarah Dewey, the disgraced journalist looking for a big break, and Wilson Fisk. She covers boxing profiles, but used to cover US foreign policy. We can assume from bits and pieces that her life recently fell apart. She is divorced, a recovering alcoholic, and lives in a shitty neighborhood. Her path to redemption has the potential to run parallel with Fisk’s as he wants to establish himself as a legitimate businessman, and her credibility as a reporter it is a perfect pairing.
The book introduces the reader to both Sarah and Wilson with their first appearance in the book engaged in a fight, which is very telling. Sarah is covering a fight for a profile, sympathizing with the boxing star hopeful who gets demolished. Meanwhile, Fisk is first shown taking on multiple big men with weapons, and he takes the down easily with his own hands. Rosenberg is indicating this book will have a lot of violence right from the start, and it will be interesting to see which side Sarah and Wilson wind up in future issues when a fight breaks out. The book is timed perfectly, starting with each character in such graphic situations, and then retreating to a formal party and casual meet-ups, but the end panel brings the entire issue back full circle. It leaves the reader wondering how much has Wilson Fisk changed if at all, and does Sarah Dewey have a clue?
Kingpin #1 shines with the crime noir art style from Ben Torres, colors from Jordan Boyd, and letters from Travis Lanham. The entire book broods with deep rich colors, dramatic shadowing, and lots of character reaction shoots that fill entire panels. The use or intentional non-use of color really lets the characters pop off the page and allows the reader to focus without having a lot of noise in the background. The design of Wilson Fish is a little less intimidating and a little friendlier. His blue eyes shine bright against a more chiseled face, he still appear larger than life, but a little more approachable. This is a new look for Fisk that goes along with his new and improved approachable persona he wants to create. Torres has some fun when a familiar face runs into Sarah Dewey at The Mantauk Club, allowing shadows and colors to give away the true intentions of the unwanted guest.
Rosenberg and Torres have an opportunity to tell the story of the Kingpin everyone has wanted to hear, but has never been delivered. Well, at least in his own series. The character has always been an intriguing foil to the beloved Daredevil and he now has all the space to shine. This first issue has a lot of promise to it; there are a lot of places this story arc can go with Fisk trying to turn over a new leaf, while also keeping his place at the top. The story from Rosenberg is greatly complemented by Torres’s art style. If these two can continue their pace of well versed storytelling with engrossing art, this will be a tremendous book.