Comic Review: Kingpin #1

Back during the 90's, if I didn't have anything going on after school, you could be sure that I would try to watch three cartoons. The first was Batman the Animated Series, the second was X-Men, and the third was Spider-Man. One of the most prominent villains throughout that series was Wilson Fist: The Kingpin. Spidey would make fat jokes as Alistair Smythe sent his "Spider-Killer" robots after the wallcrawler. He was the quintessential corporate crime boss in comics. He became the crime boss archetype; even more than DC's Lex Luthor because he, unlike Luthor, has never really been reinvented over the years.

Hopefully that will still be the case, but Marvel has been drastically changing things of late, and maybe Fist will be the next causality of "All New, All Different."

The story starts in a boxing ring. Sarah Dewey is trying to reinvent herself as a sports journalist. Ringside in a Hell's Kitchen boxing gym, she is approached by a man working for Wilson Fist. Unwilling to hear him out at first, she relents when the promise of money is offered for simply hearing out the fresh out of prison crime lord. 

Fist knows all the right things to say to get Miss Dewey's interest perked. She agrees to accompany him to a gala the following day. She arrives home where to find two dresses in her size were left at her apartment. She accompanies Mr. Fisk throughout the evening meeting important people from the former governor to several other prominent Manhattan socialites, until she is ignored during a round of dueling ego's, where she bumps into Matt Murdoch: the cities District Attorney by day and vigilante crime fighter Daredevil by night. She rudely excuses herself from his gnawing questions seeking out solitude, which she cant seem to find at a party (go figure). 

Fisk eventually notices that Miss Dewey left, and tracks her down at her apartment. He somehow convinces her that she needs to hear him out one last time on his business proposition. He wants her to write a biography on him. A book that will showcase to the world that he has trully changed.

On the walk back to her apartment, Fisk and Dewey are asked by a drunk for some money. Fisk gives the man a twenty from a fat roll he pulls out of his jacket. Seeing this, the begger turns into a mugger a knife. Fist shields Miss Dewey and gives the man his money as well as his watch. After the incident he explains to his would be biographer that he can always make more money and that the guy that robbed them needed more than he did.

Maybe Fisk really has changed. 

Miss Dewey needs to make a phone call to her ex-husband, but her cell phone has been turned off so she finds a pay phone which still seems to exist in Hell's Kitchen. While talking to the father of her kids, she has to cut the conversation short when some police officers discover the body of the man that robbed them. He seemingly overdosed after their previous encounter. 

There is allot going on in this book despite it's strait forward nature. 

Our protagonist's character isn't marked with a great deal of cognitive dissonance. For somebody who is a sports reporter (with a focus on boxing too boot) and who has a classic "type A" bombastic conversation style (as evidenced with her conversation with Matt Murdoch), she doesn't strike me as the type who would complain about "too much testosterone." Hell, she seeks it out (as pointed out by Gavin Boyce at the bar). She has lost custody of her kids and her home in a divorce and is a disgraced foreign affairs journalist. She has a drinking problem. She is destitute. 

That is a whole baggage that Wilson Fist can use to manipulate her. It's amazing we get so much information about Sarah Dewey through small pieces of dialog. It would be quite a feat for an author to pull off if the dialog wasn't so stilted and schlocky. I might have liked it more if Matthew Rosenberg has committed more to a "noire" tone, but it's like he realized mid way through that it wouldn't work in the 21st century and then he goes the opposite direction with having Miss Dewey go to a donut shop in her pajamas. Maybe this is in keeping with her previously described "cognitive dissonance," but it just ends up being hokey.

Ben Torres art is good, but doesn't really do anything to make it stand out from the other great artists working on similar villain centered series. If your going to tackle a non-traditional character in a comic, then you should have an art styling that highlights that. Marvel got this right in Thanosbut not here.

Despite these short comings, the story still interests me; albeit just barely. I will probably pick up next months issue to see if any of this worth pursuing and I'll let you know if you should forgo this series or maybe wait for the trade paperback, because I'm not recommending you buy this issue... yet.

Rating: 6/10 Call Girl References