When it comes to comic book villains, I’m from the camp that likes bad guys bad.
I don’t like tragic figures, misunderstood monsters, or anti-heroes. I like motivated, organized, methodical meanies who plot and scheme to do terrible things to all kinds of people, places and things on a regular basis. So — for example — I’ll take Lex Luthor over the Lizard and Dr. Doom over Black Adam.
Yes, I’m all for the humanizing of super baddies; I mean, it never hurts to add multiple dimensions to any character. But once attempts to humanize a villain make that villain “less bad,” then we’re headed for trouble.
That’s sort of what happened to the Kingpin.
The Kingpin, aka Wilson Fisk, used to be this ultra-hardcore mobster who mercilessly plagued Daredevil, and other Marvel heroes, in a number of legendary tales. But in recent years, he went from a dude trading blows with super-strong Spider-Man to a grief-stricken sissy who was easily spanked (in like 2 pages) by Daredevil not too long ago.
Needless to say, I haven’t been enamored with the “Kingpin of Crime” in recent years. But hidden within the latest issue of Daredevil lies the hope that perhaps the evil, sadistic Fisk I love to hate might be making a comeback.
The title of DD’s current story arc, “Return of the King,” sort of says it all.
In the storyline, the Kingpin returns to New York after dealing with some tragedy of his own in Europe. His goal is to bring some pain to the ninja group known as the Hand, who are currently running around the city doing ninja-type things (like disemboweling people).
Issue 116 depicts Fisk going head-to-head with an army of ninja. In issue 117, writer Ed Brubaker shows the mafia boss throwing his ample weight around against lesser criminals who now run the tatters of his former organization. By the end of the comic, the Kingpin makes an unholy deal with DD himself — a deal that promises to have buckets of blood running throughout Hell’s Kitchen. All that said, while I’m not sure what exactly lies ahead for Fisk in this storyline, it appears that things are getting back on track.