Coming off the latest volume of Daredevil, expectations are set pretty high for Devil’s Reign. Paying off those expectations would be pretty difficult, and it’s easy to see where this story both succeeds and falls short.
The first issue of this event is a lot like many others, and draws parallels with many other Marvel events. It’s a tough one to look at from just this issue. The issue comes from Chip Zdarsky, Marco Checchetto, Marco Menyz, and Clayton Cowles.
Mayor Wilson Fisk has discovered that Daredevil is keeping a secret from him- a secret he once knew but has now somehow forgotten. As payback, he has made superheroics in New York City illegal, and deputized supervillains to enforce it. Naturally, the city’s costumed citizens are not happy…
This issue definitely suffers a bit from event-itis. There are places where too much is happening, pages where it’s a bit hard to follow. It doesn’t feel bloated or worn out, but it’s teetering right one that line. It does take a similar core of conceit as Civil War, but provides a clear cut villain, and removes a lot of the “both sides” philosophy that bogs down the seminal event.
Unfortunately though, a lot of the character dialogue (which is expertly put on the page by Cowles), is incredibly forced, especially outside of Daredevil himself, and extremely cringey in some places. Zdarsky’s Luke Cage practically a parody of himself, and his Iron Man just feels out of place. Additionally, some of the political story elements are awkward at best, and outright mishandled at worst. The villains-turned-Thunderbolts are great though.
For the art, the linework is great. Checchetto’s characters are as bold and dynamic as ever. His action sequences are the best part of the issue, and elevates a story that sometimes falls short of the mark. Menyz struggled through the issue though, especially with characters of color. Luke Cage’s skin tone is all wrong, and others feel off. It’s a much too common problem at Marvel that they need to correct.
The series is off to a rough start, but it definitely shows potential. Even with those frustrations, I’m interested to see where it goes next.
Devil’s Reign #1 is available now from Marvel Comics.
This event debut has a lot of promise. Unfortunately, clunky dialogue, awkward plot points, and some bad coloring overshadows that promise.