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'Devil’s Reign' #1 is an efficient and entertaining opener
Marvel

Comic Books

‘Devil’s Reign’ #1 is an efficient and entertaining opener

‘Devil’s Reign’ may involve most of Marvel’s superheroes, but really it’s about Daredevil’s guilt.

Spinning out of Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto’s Daredevil, Marvel’s new six-issue event Devil’s Reign kicks off this week. Kingpin is now Mayor, and after learning his secret file on Daredevil is missing in Daredevil #36, he’s hellbent on figuring out his origin even if it means taking out every superhero in America. As the preview shows, Kingpin knows pressing Daredevil’s guilt is the only way to get what he wants, but at what price?

Don’t expect spoilers in this review save for what is in the preview, which does a great job of establishing the main conflict in the series. Kingpin is not pleased he can’t remember who Daredevil is under the mask and decides to use his New York mayor powers to make all superheroes who aren’t working for him illegal. It sounds strikingly similar to Marvel’s 2006 event Civil War, only this time superheroes are only illegal in New York City.

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By isolating this law in NYC only, Zdarsky effectively makes this less about the politics of being a superhero and more about Daredevil’s friends joining him in solidarity. This issue also reveals how unfair the law is by showing heroes saving New Yorkers’ lives only to be arrested immediately after. Kingpin is not playing around and he’s using his mayoral powers to do what he likes.

We’ve seen Kingpin use Thunderbolts as a kind of mini-army of his own, and he keeps that branding for his army of baddies to rein in superheroes. As you might guess, his Thunderbolt troops consist of bad guys like Shocker, Rhino, and Taskmaster. This adds another “evil” layer to Kingpin’s actions since most of these deputized-super-police should be locked up.

Devil's Reign #1

How far will Kingpin go to make Daredevil guilty enough to give him what he wants?
Credit: Marvel

There are other plots afoot by Kingpin which further isolate his actions in New York City as well as involve heroes who might otherwise avoid NYC to avoid conflict. Zdarsky is doing a good job establishing a plot that feels possible while also economically shifting around to check in with various heroes. This book has zero fat or filler and is doing its darndest to set up the game board for a major fight.

Checchetto draws you into every superhero’s perspective with a realistic style that’s a stone’s throw away from making this a live-action experience. Character acting, realism in clothing, environments, and perspective are all on full display. Marcio Menyz’s colors add to that realism, of course, and there are cool atmospheric effects at work too like the lights of police vehicles.

The only downside to this issue might be its lack of big action and splashy moments. There is action in the book, but it’s either short and more procedural than an event-caliber blockbuster. A full-page splash, a complicated fight scene, or something to inspire wonderment would go far in making this event feel bigger and extraordinary.

Devil’s Reign #1 is a good start to a six-issue event that may retread the idea of superheroes being illegal, but establishes its main players and plot so well you’ll be on board. The craft and care taken in this first issue is apparent from the very start with no filler or fat to be found. This is a hard-hitting and human character drama of a superhero variety rarely seen in street-level comics.

'Devil’s Reign' #1 is an efficient and entertaining opener
‘Devil’s Reign’ #1 is an efficient and entertaining opener
Devil's Reign #1
Devil's Reign #1 is a good start to a six-issue event that may retread the idea of superheroes being illegal, but establishes its main players and plot so well you'll be on board. The craft and care taken in this first issue is apparent from the very start with no filler or fat to be found. This is a hard-hitting and human character drama of a superhero variety rarely seen in street-level comics.
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
An efficiently told story with zero fluff or filler
Incredible art that's hyper realistic
A logical plot setup and an integration of heroes that's logical as well
For an event it doesn't feel larger than life or splashy, but instead a solidly set up street-level drama
8.5
Great

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