December 2021 ended the year by starting up Devil’s Reign, which had been brewing over in Zdarsky’s Daredevil series. The event itself was six issues along with an omega epilogue issue. If you start at the event, you should be able to catch up and understand the characters’ motivations. The main question is, how does this Daredevil-driven event stack up against previous showdowns between Matt Murdock and Wilson Fisk?
As an event, I found myself entertained, and there was a wild moment in each issue, but I also have a bias as I’ve been reading Daredevil for decades. Since Chip Zdarsky has taken over, I have been very excited about the monthly issues and have appreciated the build-up to this event.
Looking back at this event as a trade paperback, it definitely hits differently than it did monthly. The action was faster because I could read the issues in one setting instead of waiting for them to come out monthly. All in all, I read the six issues and omega epilogue in two sittings. I felt it was more connected, and if I were experiencing this in real time as a citizen of Hell’s Kitchen, then this would’ve been dynamite action across three days. It ties together better without the wait, and I felt Kingpin’s rage was more intense this way.
I felt that Zdarsky and Checchetto made sure to have a grand moment in each issue to stand out on their own, which they did perfectly. I think this event was a way better sequel to Civil War, as it was driven by a man mad with power. Wilson’s rage at being denied his memory of Daredevil’s secret identity was perfect hypocrisy from a man who has no remorse about stealing – we see that moment in issue #6. I liked how the heroes responded and felt that Miles Morales, Ben Reilly, Luke Cage, and Jessica Jones had wonderful moments that spotlighted them both as superheroes and people.
Devil’s Reign gave the Marvel Universe some great moments to showcase why we need heroes and also why they need to be able to operate as vigilantes, especially when we see how quickly the misused law takes them down. I like that no matter what, they don’t give up, and I have such high respect for how tremendous Susan Storm is, with or without powers. I can’t wait to see what Zdarsky would do on a monthly FF book.
As for the trade paperback collection itself, I am happy that Marvel included the Omega issue for the closure that it brought to the series. We get the standard array of covers, of which there are some amazing ones, and art pages before they are finalized. I believe this series was small enough that they could do an omnibus that collects the entirety of Devil’s Reign with tie-ins, but this trade and the Daredevil: Woman Without Fear sum up the event ideally, unless you want to follow a character that had their spinoff.
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