Devil’s Reign #1 is published by Marvel Comics, written by Chip Zdarsky, art by Marco Checchetto, colors by Marcio Menyz, with letters by Clayton Cowles. Having ascended to the office of Mayor, Wilson Fisk holds sway over New York City. Now, suspecting that his old nemesis Daredevil has tampered with his mind, he chooses to use his authority to clamp down on the superhero community of NYC in a manner not seen since the Super Human Registration Act.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Anyone familiar with Marvel’s iconic 2006 event “Civil War” will instantly see some significant familiarities between it and the groundwork Devil’s Reign #1 lays for Marvel’s newest storyline. But while many of the trappings will feel similar, the means, motives, and objectives surrounding New York’s outlawing of vigilante heroes couldn’t be further from what they were 15 years ago. There is no Stanford Incident to incite public outcry, nor are there any voices speaking against heroes from a place of genuine concern for the public. As I read through this story, I couldn’t help but feel like the changes between this storyline and its predecessor mirror the larger changes many of us feel toward government. Where once we were willing to believe most were trying to do good, even if we didn’t agree with them, now we see only bullies, looking to flex their muscles at the expense of others.
Every element of Zdarsky‘s script for Devil’s Reign #1 leans into each aspect of its narrative to great effect and force. From Fisk’s blatant, manipulative lies about his motives for the superhero ban, to the fever behind the reaction to it by many of NYC’s most prominent superheroes, every line is written to hit as forcefully as possible.
Perhaps most impactful among the book’s many portrayals is the gleeful delight with which Fisk’s new Thunderbolt Units go about enforcing the new ban, often directly endangering those they are supposed to be protecting. The blatant disregard for their duties so they can take the opportunity to assault those they don’t like chills in today’s social climate.
The power within the panels of Devil’s Reign #1 is further driven by the fantastic artwork. Artist Checchetto pours as much energy into the art as the powerful writing could ask of him. From the emotion on the various characters’ faces to the perfect angles and panel layouts, Checchetto delivers a powerhouse performance laying the groundwork for the book’s visual delivery.
Building off of Checchetto’s lovely lines are Menyz’s colors. The colorist’s choices throughout this book never fail to enhance the weight and gravitas of the story. From the shining spire of the Baxter Building to the darkened streets of Hell’s Kitchen, every scene is enhanced with colors that fit both the mood and locale of each scene.
Wrapping up our look at Devil’s Reign #1 is the wonderful lettering performance by Cowles. Every speech, accusation, and scream is placed and delivered skillfully through the letterer’s work. Coupled with plenty of gorgeous sound effect designs, the letters do their fair share to elevate the mood and emotion of the story.
So, when all is said and done, Devil’s Reign #1 delivers an amazing opening chapter to this hard-hitting story. If Zdarsky and company can continue to build this narrative up to equal this opening chapter, this story could end up becoming one of the most impactful Marvel events in years.
Devil’s Reign #1 is available on December 8th wherever comics are sold.
Devil's Reign #1
Devil’s Reign #1 delivers an amazing opening chapter to this hard-hitting story. If Zdarsky and company can continue to build this narrative up to equal this opening chapter, this story could end up becoming one of the most impactful Marvel events in years.