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‘Devil’s Reign’ (review)

Written by Chip Zdarksy
Art by Marco Checchetto
Published by Marvel Comics


Devil’s Reign held the promise of having the repercussions of the never-ending battle between Matt Murdock and Wilson Fisk reach out into the Marvel Universe, or at the very least all of the New York City heroes based there.  While it manages to be an entertaining series, there is the feeling that it does not completely work. The feeling that individual parts of this series work better than the whole.

Wilson Fisk has had in his possession a file that promises to reveal Daredevil’s secret identity, but the contents are gibberish. Feeling as if something as been stolen from him, Fisk goes on a rampage. Using his powers as Mayor of New York, he outlaws superheroes and vigilantism. He recruits the likes of Doctor Octopus, who has his own schemes, and the Thunderbolts. This forces heroes like Spider-Man and Captain America to hunker down and prepare to battle Fisk’s forces.

Meanwhile, Matt Murdock weighs his responsibility in the events that have occurred. How responsible is he for the backlash from Fisk?

Things come to a head as Kingpin brings in Zebediah Kilgrave, the Purple Man. The discovery of Kilgrave’s children being the cause of every one having forgotten Daredevil’s identity heightens the stakes as both heroes and villains are in pursuit of the children. All this, and we get a run for Mayor from none other than Luke Cage.

Devil’s Reign does give us some conclusions to some character arcs. I never felt that Mike Murdock becoming an actual character separate from Matt Murdock actually ever worked. We get a satisfying conclusion to his story. Wilson Fisk’s son gets elevated. Matt Murdock appears ready to move on from his traditional adventures.

Devil’s Reign provides an opportunity to realize the awful unintended consequences of Matt Murdock being Daredevil, but it being an event servicing so many other characters, it never goes in too deep. There are too many moments that get a page or two and a reminder to see what happens next in some other spin off. Some events are well served by their main series and you can skip the side tales, this one felt incomplete and choppy without them. As an event series, it was heavy with too many characters. For example, if you take Doctor Octopus out, does this series change in anyway.

Chip Zdarksy and Marco Checchetto have worked together on the main Daredevil title, and it has been a pretty solid run. I tend to believe that Daredevil has never really had a bad run. Some better than others, but never outright bad. This Daredevil would rank in the upper half for me. While Devil’s Reign is essential to Daredevil, and maybe Luke Cage, I can’t call it a must read. It is certainly action packed, but not required reading.

Devil’s Reign #1-6 are available now.  You can pre-order the trade collection HERE.



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