Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto got off to a hot start with the latest Marvel blockbuster event: Devil’s Reign. Wilson Fisk wasted no time using his powers are Mayor of New York City to enact his version of the Superhuman Registration Act in the form of The Powers Act. Rather than drawing lines in which side they chose all the superheroes look to be united this time against Wilson Fisk new law he is implementing against them. But with things already in place for The Powers Act to be a thing can the Marvel’s heroes united front be enough to bring down the government-backed Wilson Fisk? Let’s find out with Devil’s Reign #2.
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Marco Checchetto
Colorist: Marcio Menyz
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Luke Cage calls Danny Rand to recruit him to work with the other heroes. Before Danny can suit up he is attacked at Rand Corporation by Crossbones and an army of Thunderbolt agents.
Over at Wilson Fisk’s home Daredevil (Elektra Natchios) confronts Fisk to tell him his plan won’t work. Fisk reveals that he has amassed a large file on everyone including Elektra and has already sold that file to an eager party looking to challenge “The Great Elektra” by meeting where she tried to recruit the original Daredevil a long time ago. Realizing what secrets Fisk discovered where about her betrayal of Matt Murdock Daredevil takes off to find the person with her file.
Outside the decommissioned Avengers Mansion Captain America, Iron Man, Daredevil (Matt Murdock), Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Spider-Man (Miles Morales) wait for the other Spider-Man (Ben Reilly) to meet up with them. As Luke convinces some kids that spotted them to keep their location a secret a child of the Purple Man watches the Avengers from afar.
Near the Daily Bugle building Spider-Man (Ben Reilly) goes to the Daily Bugle as the staff is being held hostage. Spider-Man goes in and fights Taskmaster and Whiplash but is eventually overwhelmed. Taskmaster places a power dampening collar on Spider-Man and throws him out the window. Spider-Man is unable to save himself with his webs in time and crash hard on top of a car.
Over in Myrmidon Prison Reed Richards and Sue Storm are interrupted by other prisoners looking to kill them. Sue and Reed respond by knocking out their would be attackers. The Thunderbolt agents then show up to take Reed and Sue away.
In the sub-basement within City Hall, Wilson Fisk checks on Doctor Octopus progress to create the technology Doctor Doom used to control Purple Man’s power in order to coerce the people of New York City to Fisk’s side. Fisk is confident his plan will succeed.
In an unknown forest Daredevil (Elektra) looks for who has her file. Unknown to her she is being hunted by Kraven The Hunter.
Inside Avengers Mansion Tony Stark goes over his plan to defeat Fisk by winning the election. Luke says that it would be better if he runs. Captain America and Daredevil (Matt) back Luke as the one who should run against Fisk. Tony begrudgingly agrees.
Over at the Baxter Building Doctor Octopus has used Reed Richards Interdimensional Gate to create his own Superior Four with Superior Four other versions of himself as the Hulk, Wolverine, and Ghost Rider. End of issue.
The Good: With any good event you need to feel a sense of escalation with every passing issue. With the beginning of an event already hitting major highs this can be difficult to pull off. But that is where Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto truly shine with Devil’s Reign #2. Everything is building towards something bigger than we’ve already seen take place.
What’s most impressive about what Zdarsky and Checchetto pull off with Devil’s Reign #2 is that there really isn’t big extended action sequences. The action we do get in this issue is relatively short. So the majority of this issue becomes a lot of talking heads. But that does not matter because what each character that appears in Devil’s Reign #2 says or thinks is incredibly important to what is taking place. You understand right away that these character interactions are not to pump the breaks on the story. Rather its about pushing forward onto one of the may roads our heroes and villains can take that’s open to them in this event.
There are many example of this throughout Devil’s Reign #2. The best of them being the discussions between the Avengers. This is a great example of how you show rather than tell through dialogue why certain decisions are made. We see with how Tony Stark was going to try to bribe the kids to not give away the Avengers decision that he would just be another rich guy in power. Whereas with Luke he is someone that can inspire people through both his words and actions. That has been shown in both this and the first issue of Devil’s Reign. Which sets up a good reason why Captain America and Matt Murdock’s Daredevil would back Luke over Tony when it comes with defeating Wilson Fisk through the election.
At the same time, Zdarsky leaves himself enough room to keep Tony in play in case things go south. Which given the plans that Wilson Fisk has in place that is very likely to happen. Leaving room open to be flexible with each part in the Devil’s Reign story allows more room for our heroes and villains to evolve their impact on the overall event.
What the heroes are doing elevates how much in control Wilson Fisk has over New York City. Every thing Fisk does in this issue further pushes the narrative that in his current form he is unstoppable. From the files he has collected on all his enemies and allies to now having control over Purple Man’s powers you understand how untouchable he is.
You see that with how he turns things on Elektra as he quickly uses her dark secret to take her off the board so she can’t help the Avengers. Add that in with how he used the Thunderbolts to also capture Ben Reilly’s Spider-Man and Iron Fist to join Reed Richards and Sue Storm, who were sent to prison, and Fisk has already accomplished a lot to make sure he wins. This is how you build up credibility for a villain who even though doesn’t have superpowers is able to take command in other ways to become the end boss of an event.
The set-up with Elektra’s dark secret now taking her off the board is an interesting one. This is likely a way to set-up her mini series tie-in over in Daredevil: Woman Without Fear. Though the way it was teased we do see how whatever secret Elektra is trying to protect will be very important for her and Matt’s arc in Devil’s Reign. It’s a good way to sell that mini-series and keep a focus on the two Daredevil’s since they are the ones who have been involved in the lead up to this event.
The capturing of Spider-Man and Iron Fist also show how with each individual loss our heroes grow weaker while the villains grow more powerful. Seeing how many heroes are off the board already it made the final moment of Devil’s Reign with Doctor Octopus creating his own Superior Four with alternate versions of himself a strong way to end this issue. That moment just created greater concern for our heroes and the city if Fisk accomplishes his endgame.
All of that said, by far the best moment of Devil’s Reign #2 was Reed Richards and Sue Storm showing all the prisoners in Myrmidon Prison they are not to be messed with. Adding in the fact that they did not need to have access to their powers just made them both even more badass. It hopefully is a sign that Reed and Sue are being built to be key characters in ultimately stopping Fisk.
Marco Checchetto once again brings the heat with excellent artwork throughout Devil’s Reign #2. His work on Daredevil was already stellar and he has been on another level in his work here. Every page and panel feels like you are witnessing a big event in the Marvel Universe take place. The various conversations between characters is elevated in importance because of how they are drawn. The brief action scenes we get with Iron Fist and Spider-Man do a good job at showcasing how we will have big action set pieces throughout this event as the story progresses.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto take what they built in the first issue and elevate it to another level with their work on Devil’s Reign #2. The sense of escalation in Marvel’s latest event is being handled extremely well. Ever scene in this issue is given a sense of importance to the narrative of Devil’s Reign. It all leads to a final page where you are left even more hyped to find out what happens next.
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