Friday, May 8, 2015

Final Reckoning!

There was a time when the Kingpin used to take Spider-Man for quite a ride:

The Kingpin emerged in both the pages of Amazing Spider-Man and Daredevil to be the crime boss of all crime bosses--ruthless in his dealings with not only his competitors but also those costumed folk who attempted to interfere with his profit margin. But an effort was also made to make him a physical threat--particularly if he was going to have to confront a super-strong character like Spider-Man. Obviously, the Kingpin wasn't going to be an agile fighter; so the emphasis was placed on his unexpected speed and, of course, his considerable bulk, which he described as being all muscle rather than fat. That assertion is probably mostly wishful thinking on his part, though I'm not going to be the one to bring it to his attention; suffice to say that, in those early stories, the Kingpin could hold his own--as well as, apparently, wall-crawlers.

And that brings us to another gripping

Marvel Trivia Question

Was Spider-Man ever able to defeat the Kingpin, one-on-one?

During the time when Spider-Man's identity as Peter Parker became known due to his decision to register himself in accordance with the Superhuman Registration Act, the Kingpin ordered Peter to be assassinated while Peter and his family were most vulnerable. Peter managed to save both himself and his wife, Mary Jane, from the gunshot, but his Aunt May was hit and critically wounded, her life hanging by a thread. And so Peter hunts down the man who gave the shooter his marching orders, which happened to be our very own Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin.

Fisk, currently in prison and knowing Peter's intent to come after him, arranges for a confrontation with Spider-Man, probably thinking that this encounter will be like many of the other times they've had brawls. Fisk, an intimidating and confident opponent, has generally regarded Spider-Man's abilities as tricks and delaying tactics--and while he perhaps concedes that Spider-Man may excel him in strength, Fisk likely feels that his bulk gives him the edge, and a match between them could go either way.

This time, he would be wrong.

As far as Peter is concerned, Fisk has crossed the line, and Peter is consumed with sending a message--both to the Kingpin, and to anyone else who would attempt to reach him by threatening his family. The network to send that message stands all around them; but while the Kingpin might feel motivated to put Spider-Man down, as a matter of pride as well as reputation, Spider-Man's terms are very different. So different, in fact, that tonight Peter discards those parts of his costume that identify him as Spider-Man, a hero who wouldn't take a life; or, put another way, tonight he's taking off the gloves.

With the Kingpin almost immediately on the ropes in this one-sided fight, writer J. Michael Straczynski at last lays out the realistic prospects of a matchup between the Kingpin and a powerhouse like Spider-Man. It took 500 issues to get to this point, yes--but after this issue, there will no longer be any doubt whatsoever that Spider-Man outclasses his rotund opponent, and really always has.

His point more than made, Peter realizes the opportunity here to truly hurt the Kingpin, as he's never been hurt before. Fisk, and likely everyone in this "arena," already understands the consequences of pushing Spider-Man beyond his limit; and while Fisk's death would serve Peter's purpose here, enough of the hero remains in him to take the higher road. That said, Peter nevertheless makes it crystal clear that Spider-Man is a deadly threat--and, should his aunt die, the Kingpin will pay in kind.

This is a powerful issue, which takes place before the infamous "One More Day" storyline which would reset the life of Peter Parker and render these events null and void; so for all intents and purposes, the Kingpin has his final reckoning with Spider-Man here and now, and Peter is never faced with the choice he would have had to make had the demon Mephisto not intervened. For what it's worth, we can probably assume that the Kingpin would be delighted at knowing that Peter had paid a far higher price than the crime-lord did this night.

Amazing Spider-Man #542

Script: J. Michael Straczynski
Pencils: Ron Garney
Inks: Bill Reinhold
Letterer: Cory Petit


Anonymous said...

I've always wondered if The Kingpin's son was ever seen or mentioned again after he unmasked himself as The Schemer.

Doug said...

Comicsfan --

Drop me an email at the BAB address (bronzeagebabies AT yahoo DOT com), please. I have a small offer.



Comicsfan said...

Colin, yes--Richard Fisk went on to have a fling as the Supreme Hydra, before going on to become the crime lord called the Rose (whom I liked much better than the Schemer). His allegiance toward his father constantly wavered, until finally I think he met his end courtesy of the Kingpin's wife, Vanessa.

Warren JB said...

This is something that's crept into modern comics that I just don't like. Starts off well enough - of course it's ludicrous that someone who's 'just' a big guy is a match for someone who can bench-press ten tons. But that's over and done with quickly, and the rest is Parker being a sadistic, near-murderous jerk. Seems these days that villain monologuing has given way to 'hero' monologuing - it's 50/50 which one will be manically gloating about their superiority and their opponent's inevitable defeat.

You could argue that he needed to put on a show so that no-one would come after his family again, but really: who's fault was that in the first place, Mister Press-Release Parker?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...