Civil War II Kingpin #1

by H├ęctor A on July 09, 2016

While he had previously done a story for Secret Wars Journal #1, Matthew Rosenberg's Marvel debut in earnest comes in the form of Civil War II: Kingpin, a miniseries looking at Wilson Fisk's movements in the midst of the kerfuffle over young inhuman Ulysses. Kingpin #1 includes two stories illustrated by different teams, following Wilson Fisk and Janus, an Inhuman former associate who was recently exposed to terrigen mists.

Publisher: Marvel

Shouldn't Have Come Back”

Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Artist: Ricardo Lopez Ortiz
Colorist: Mat Lopes
Letterer: Travis Lanham

The Death & Birth of Janus Jardeesh”

Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Penciler: Dalibor Talajic
Inker: Jose Marzan Jr.
Colorist: Miroslav Mrva
Letterer: Travis Lanham

The book picks up with Fisk speaking to a posse of supervillains about the current state of the 616, with Ulysses' prescience disrupting criminal activities all across New York. Leaving the encounter, Kingpin is attacked by Bushwacker, he rushes to protect Janus and kills Bushwacker. Sam Wilson, Spectrum and Night Thrasher then confront Wilson Fisk back at his luxurious office but they do not seem to know about the crime that was comitted. We then see a flashback to (tracksuit-wearing!) Kingpin's return to New York and the events that led to him forming a partnership with Janus. The second story tells roughly the same chain of events from the perspective of Janus, a low-level crony working for Black Cat. He gets accidently exposed to terrigen mists and undergoes terrigenesis. He gets ignored by the Inhumans and pushed around by everyone as he struggles to discover what his abilities, until he encounters Wilson Fisk.


Janus could be seen as an analogue to Ulysses, their abilities drive the plot but while Ulysses' development has been somewhat frustrating, Janus' portrayal in this issue is fairly unique and it seems that this book will be about him as much as it will be about Kingpin. His feeling of inadequacy isn't too far from some of the “classic” Marvel superheros but his story (and in a sense the whole book) is weighed down with hopelessness. Thanks to Rosenberg's humour, the back-up story doesn't dwell on its grimness but like with 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank, there's a sense of inevitability to Janus' story.

Lopez Ortiz's art is a good fit for the story, his lines have a really manic energy. Even though his characters are all very rough, Cap's brashness and Hawkeye's overt confidence play really well off Kingpin's calm assurance. While his art could be described as cluttered, he uses negative space and uncoventional layouts to constantly highlight the title character. Lopes' uses pale colors for most of the story, the only brighter colors appearing along with superheroes, for example, a dark red that highlights Sam Wilson's anger and a warm orange for Clint Barton.


Talajic's art on “The Death & Birth of Janus Jardeesh” is not as idiosyncratic as Lopez Ortiz but he gives Janus a range of expressions that really make the story land, the panel where Janus tries to melt a chained fence . The terrigenesis spread has stunning colors by Miroslav Mrva but the color palette changes significantly from scene to scene, constantly spelling out the tone of the story.


Aside from Rosenberg's writing, Travis Lanham's lettering is the one constant in both stories. However he uses two very different styles in this book. For Lopez Ortiz's art he uses a similarly frantic font, highlighting everything from the rain to Hawkeye pouring sugar on cup of coffee. The use of varying colours for Lanham's sound effects. On the other hand, in the second story he uses a more solid font, colored in a beautiful bright pink by Mrva, during Janus' terrigenesis. Lanham is a veteran who's had a hand in some of my favorite series of all time, from the Secret Six to M.O.D.O.K. Assassin and Silk. His work in this issue is versatile and impressive as always.


The portrayal of Wilson Fisk is really solid here, but the true highlight of the book is how Kingpin #1 gathers some of the most distinctive talents currently working at Marvel and builds a very interesting character in Janus. Oh, and Kingpin wears a tracksuit.

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