REVIEW: ‘Devil’s Reign,’ Issue #2

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Devil's Reign #2 Review

Devil’s Reign #2 is published by Marvel Comics. The issue is written by Chip Zdarsky with art by Marco Checchetto. The colorist is Marcio Meny and the letters are by Clayton Cowles. This is the second part of the Devil’s Reign event.

Angered after learning that Daredevil had wiped his identity from everyone’s mind, Kingpin retaliated in force. Mayor Fisk introduced a law that makes being a superhero within New York illegal. An army of villains has been brought in to take down those that are now rogue. Captain America, Daredevil, Iron Man, and others go underground. Reed and Sue Richards are sent to prison. Doc Ock has been installed within the Baxter Building. Kingpin brutally beats Purple Man and steals his abilities.

In this second chapter, the cabal of heroes that are now criminals search for shelter. More heroes are targeted, including those that have retired. Spider-Man is attacked at the Daily Bugle by Taskmaster and Whiplash. Tony Stark has a plan to run for mayor to oppose Fisk, but not all of his friends agree with the idea. And Elektra pays Kingpin a visit.

Zdarsky issues a statement that says no one is safe, no matter what deals they had set when they wore a costume. The pace of Devil’s Reign #2 moves very much like a Daredevil issue. There are multiple subplots and machinations taking place at the same time. The structure ensures that the plot is easy to follow. But most importantly it is exhilarating. There is high tension in every aspect of the comic, with famous safe havens now in the hands of villains. Each scene brings power with an excellent script. And as different heroes get drawn out and isolated, there is a feeling of important characters getting picked off one by one.   

The criminalization of superheroes is not a new concept and Zdarsky has not tried to hide that fact. Civil War and Outlawed have been mentioned in the first issue. What makes this event different is the motives behind it. Civil War, and to a smaller extent Outlawed, went with a moral argument regarding the reason why heroes had to fall in line. Here, Fisk is petty and angry. We are in the endgame of his plan for New York, and taking the heroes away from the board is the next step. This crossover has more involvement from the villains now in charge. The ending adds a new threat to the story that was unexpected.

What also changes the circumstances of this story is the person writing it. Zdarsky is a phenomenal character writer. There is a large cast within Devil’s Reign, yet they are all treated brilliantly by the writer. The community of heroes within New York is a fantastic element of the Marvel Universe. One of the excellent factors that could be seen in the Daredevil series leading to the event is the various characters appearing in it to lend a hand in situations. It helped show the connection they have, as well as detailing just how close they are to each other. Many of them are getting individual story arcs, highlighting that this book is not just a Daredevil comic. And the other exciting part is that there are many yet to appear. 

On the opposite side of the coin are the villains. There appears to be no limit on who is available for use, with the enemies from many heroes to enlist in the Thunderbolts. With each addition is another ego. At the head is Kingpin, smug after his victory.. The fact that he enacted this plan out of anger shows that terrifying emotional state that he is able to access. When he considers himself in control, having leverage above the heroes posturing against him, he is very frightening. But Doc Ock may have something to say about the attempts to manipulate him. The possibility of who, good or bad, we see next is a delightful quandary. 

The art is fantastic. Checchetto brilliantly captures the magnitude of the comic whilst also understanding when to shrink the scale of the area. There are some iconic locations featured in Devil’s Reign #2, including Avengers Mansion and the Baxter Building. But inside we are tight to the characters.  The design of everyone featured is superb. Many characters are unable to reach their armour or their costume, so are in disguises or partial uniforms. Twinned with Checchetto’s stunning and specific brand of a realistic style, they do look like normal people. The fight scenes are epic as unusual matchups are made between the deputized villains and the outnumbered heroes, with awesome layouts and brutal injuries

The colors are tremendous inside this issue. Menyz makes lighting appear so natural in a scene. With a lot of shadows involved in the comic, where the light source comes from can affect everything in the panel. Even if the light comes from a superpower, the awareness of the consequences on the tones around it is superb. The colors on all of the costumes are vibrant and brilliant whilst fitting into the dark setting. The desire for the art style to look realistic is mirrored by the textures and the shades added by Menyz. 

The lettering is very good. Cowles excellently controls the intonation of volume through the word balloons, making the text smaller when people are whispering. This works really well in a book where stealth and secrecy are important.

Devil’s Reign #2 is an outstanding second issue. Zdarsky and Checchetto maintain what made their Daredevil run great but expanded it to envelop the entirety of New York.  It should be stressed that having a knowledge of that story isn’t crucial to enjoying this crossover. There are so many heroes and villains included that it has ascended past just Matt Murdock. All of New York’s guardians coming together has a classic feel to it, in addition to some of the Marvel Knights storylines coming to mind. It is clear that the ego of several characters is what could bring an entire city to its knees. 

Devil’s Reign #2 is available where comics are sold. 


Devil's Reign #2
5

TL;DR

Devil’s Reign #2 is an outstanding second issue of a fantastic event so far. Zdarsky and Checchetto maintain what made their Daredevil run great but expand it to envelop the entirety of New York. But it should be stressed that having a knowledge of that story isn’t crucial to enjoying this crossover.