WRITER: CLAY MCLEOD CHAPMAN
ARTIST: MANUEL GARCIA
RELEASE DATE: JANUARY 19TH, 2022
REVIEWER: JAMIE ROBINSON
Although I am more of a DC fan, there’s something about the villain characters that always appealed to me, and the Kingpin is one of my favorite villains, as well as the Rhino. Right away, I noticed that this is intended to be a spoof of the “Heroes for Hire” title starring Luke Cage and Iron Fist. The title of this issue may serve as a reference to Iron Fist as well, “Fisk’s Fist”, with the Kingpin even referring to this team of villains as his “fist.” With that in mind, let’s dive in and take a look at Devil’s Reign: Villains for Hire #1 by Clay McCleod Chapman and see how this issue shakes out.
DEVIL’S REIGN: VILLAINS FOR HIRE #1 REVIEW
I found it kind of humorous that the issue opens with the MET Gala, the real-world event that earns the scorn of many critics and political pundits, mostly for the often bizarre fashion choices from the attendees. Chapman pokes fun at it by suggesting that in the Marvel universe, the attendees dress in their extravagant outfits as an attempt to pretend to be superheroes. Instead of superheroes, those who come in to save them from being attacked are a group of villains, nicknamed “The Thunderbolts”.
It is unclear whether they intend to be heroic or have ulterior motives. But as the title suggests, they answer to their employer. As far as the team itself goes, I was estranged from Electro and Agony, but I will say that despite my unfamiliarity with them, these characters added to the group’s dynamic extremely well. Plus, fans will get a feel for their personalities and how deadly they are. Additionally, I enjoyed seeing Kingpin in this issue and his command of the team is exactly what this event needed.
The artwork is very good and really captures the tone of the series as well as the personalities of the characters, particularly with Kingpin and Taskmaster. The only thing I noticed which could be improved upon, is Rhino’s horns appeared a bit shorter than previous depictions of the character that I preferred. However, that’s more a personal taste and nothing detrimental to the issue.
Devil’s Reign: Villains for Hire #1 gives a good set-up for the team but doesn’t really give a clear indication of what their motives are yet. Kingpin appears to be using them to intimidate people, but it is ambiguous whether this intimidation is against lawbreakers only, or perhaps superhero characters as well. I assume that they are merely used for anyone in Kingpins’ crosshairs.
Furthermore, I get the impression this team, although listed as villains, are being treated more as anti-heroes in this book, which is very intriguing. Based on the ending and a little of the beginning, I sense some potential political undertones. Now, these undertones may cause some readers to be uncomfortable, but as far as this issue is concerned, I thought it was done with good taste. And lastly, fans of villains, particularly Spider-Man villains, will certainly enjoy this comic.