DEVIL’S REIGN #1 / Story by CHIP ZDARSKY/ Art by MARCO CHECCHETTO/ Colors by MARCIO MENYZ/ Letters by CLAYTON COWLES/ Published by MARVEL COMICS
I’m a few years behind on Daredevil, having bailed on the series somewhere in the middle of Brian Michael Bendis’ run. I’ve heard enough over the years to feel justified in the decision, though I have always had a fondness for The Man Without Fear, along with most of Marvel’s street-level heroes. Thankfully, the first issue of Devil’s Reign caught me up on things, while setting up what promises to be a fantastic crossover event.
The past few years have seen Wilson Fisk become Mayor of New York City and he apparently just married Typhoid Mary. Despite this, Fisk isn’t happy, having determined that someone has altered his memories so that he no longer knows that his archenemy Matt Murdock is Daredevil. To that end, Fisk declares war on New York City’s vigilantes and empowers a new squadron of Thunderbolts to take them down.
It would be fair to say this sounds suspiciously like the plot of Civil War. The chief difference, however, is that Chip Zdarsky’s version is far more plausible. This is largely due to the changes wrought by FIsk’s Powers Act being limited to NYC. More importantly, the characters act as one would expect in this situation, in marked contrast to the story driving the characters, as in Civil War. Despite a good deal of the issue being devoted to conversation, Zdarsky keeps things moving and conveys all the needed exposition in a natural way that establishes the characters and the new status quo for the benefit of new readers.
The artwork is equally involved and soulful. Marco Checchetto has a tremendous eye for detail, yet simultaneously presents images of amazing clarity, free of grit and excessive line-work. The color art by Marcio Menyz further enhances the depth of the finished art. And Clayton Cowles’ lettering is, as always, wonderful.
While some fans may find it derivative, Devil’s Reign is a welcome entry point into modern Marvel Comics. Time will tell if the rest of the series will match this first issue. As it stands, however, this is a promising start to something big.