Devil’s Reign #1 Review

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This is a spoiler-free review of the first issue of the latest Marvel event, Devils’ Reign. Spinning out of the current Daredevil series, Mayor Winston Fisk has had enough of Daredevil and has decided to make all vigilantes and other costumes superpowered heroes illegal in New York. Fisk uses every favor and/or threat as the former Kingpin to make Homeland Security provide him the tools AKA a Thunderbolts like army, to enforce the law by capturing heroes.

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If this sounds slightly familiar, you’re not alone. Besides the obvious connection thematically to Marvel’s famous Civil War event, this story plot was actually touched on recently in the Charles Soule Daredevil run. In the Soule series Fisk as mayor outlaws vigilantes from New York. To be fair the Devil’s Reign series appears to be taking the story in a much larger epic event than the Soule story.

Getting back to Civil War, that story had a tragic opening, the Stamford massacre, that created public support for the government to create the Superpowers Registration Act. In Devil’s Reign, so far it appears like The Mayor is just mad at Daredevil and out of the blue decides to create a law banning Superheroes. Like as a recent former President of the United States learned, being the head of Government is very different than being the head of a private corporation or, as in Fisk’s case, the head of organized crime.

The Mayor of New York is not a King(pin) and can’t just create whatever laws they want. Not without political pushback or repercussions. Why and how Fisk got the law passed and how he created an army to enforce it is quickly glanced over. There is brief lip service given to Fisk calling in every favor he has. He quickly seems to have an army of villains deputized to take out the heroes that defy the law.

Iron Man, Captain America, and the Fantastic Four were some of the characters most affected by the Civil War. Yet when they appear in this first issue they put up some fight, but not as much I would have expected. As well they make no mention of what they went through before and how it relates to this new law.

Tony Stark’s solution seems like Marvel just trying to set up a status quo change rather than what I would assume would make more sense for him, using his wealth to send Fisk’s law to never-ending courtroom delays. I will say one highlight was seeing Luke Cage and Jessica Jones take out a group of villains working for the government. Luke’s speech on camera makes me wonder if he’ll be the rallying hero Captain America was in Civil War.

It is possible that this is all a smokescreen and Fisk is just using the chaos he’s created for some other purpose. I hope so. Since Frank Miller left his mark on the Kingpin, Fisk has always been far more scary and dangerous as the villain behind the scenes. The one that seems in control of everything around him. So far with Devil’s Reign #1, we are not getting that Kingpin.


The art by Checchetto continues as it did during his Daredevil run. It is darker and grounded. Fans of the Netflix Daredevil series will like the overall look of this book. Even appearances by other heroes don’t seem out of place.


Devil’s Reign #1 feels like a stripped-down version of Civil War. Considering this new event spins out of Daredevil it’s odd that they are expanding on something that was dealt with only a few years ago in a previous Daredevil series. Considering the large scope this new event seems to be having, with tie-in-one shots and mini-series covering almost all the Marvel Universe, it’s possible that Zdarsky plans to go in a totally different, and hopefully more interesting, direction. Unfortunately based solely on the first issue, Devil’s Reign feels like a retread.


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