Devil’s Reign – August Graphic Novel of The Month

Spinning out of Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto’s Eisner nominated Daredevil run is Devil’s Reign, one of Marvel’s top events of the year. Wilson Fisk has risen from Kingpin of Crime to mayor of the biggest city in America. Now he’s going to bring his full criminal and political power to bear on the superheroes who call NYC home! The man who once destroyed Daredevil has targeted the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Captain America, Spider-Man, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and more with an army of supervillains at his command.

As a largely street level focused storyline, this is a Marvel event that bucks the trend of the more cosmically driven events that have been released in recent years. It is also a direct continuation of Zdarsky and Checchetto’s Daredevil run, serving as a bridge between the previous volume and the upcoming new series. Any long-term Daredevil readers should know that they’re in for a treat.

The Kingpin has always been a thorn in Daredevil’s side, but he has now reached a previously unheard level of power. Furious at his discovery that his previous knowledge of Daredevil’s true identity has been removed, Fisk – using his power as mayor of New York – has outlawed vigilantism. This first and foremost allows Zdarsky to delve deeper into the history between Fisk and Daredevil and bring new layers to their hated rivalry. He does a tremendous job of not only building on his own run but also calling back to the recent stellar work from Mark Waid and Charles Soule. In addition, we get to see the heroes of New York placed in troubling situations with, the Fantastic Four stuck in prison and Luke Cage resorting to running for mayor against Fisk.

Zdarsky also uses this story arc to explore the significant others of both Matt Murdock and Wilson Fisk. Elektra in her new role as Daredevil is finding it hard to adjust to the more compassionate approach Matt takes as a vigilante, whilst Typhoid Mary’s relationship with Fisk takes several steps forward in intensity which leads to a predictably violent clash.

The Daredevil series has long had a gold standard when it comes to creators. On the art front, Marco Checchetto continues to drive that point home. He has always been a strong fit for the character as he seems to be particularly at home with the more street level Marvel characters. But he continues to show his versatility with some of the best work of his career in this series. Action and drama are as strong as always, but it’s the intensity and brutality that he brings that really makes the art standout. The world Daredevil operates in is very gritty and not nice to look at sometimes, and Checchetto never loses sight of this.

This is one of the best event series to come from Marvel and is also a strong continuation of Zdarsky and Chechetto’s Daredevil run. With Daredevil now very much in the public eye with his upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe appearances, Devil’s Reign is a brilliant excuse for new readers to delve into the world of one of Marvel’s standout characters.

Devil’s Reign is out 23 August from Marvel  (9781302932848, p/b, £31.99)

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