Devil’s Reign has pushed our heroes to a the edge as Wilson Fisk has taken his role as Mayor of New York City to the next level by introducing a new law that outlaws all forms of vigilantism in NYC with the Powers Act. Fisk war against the heroes does not just end with what he is doing in NYC as he is aiming to take this new law to the rest of the country. With Fisk already showing that he means business by having his Thunderbolts squad arrest Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, Iron Fist, and Spider-Man how will our heroes respond? Let’s find out with Devil’s Reign #3.
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Marco Checchetto
Colorist: Marcio Menyz
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: A severely beaten up Spider-Man (Ben Reilly) is interrogated by the NYPD as his fingerprints aren’t recognizable. The Thing and Human Torch show up and help break Spider-Man free.
Elsewhere, Luke Cage announces his candidacy for Mayor of New York City with Foggy Nelson and Jessica Jones by his side
Over at Myrmidon Prison, Kirsten McDuffie talks with Sue Storm that with the current situation in New York City there is negative sentiment around the superhero community around the country. Hearing all this Sue says she’s heard enough, secretly taking a paperclip from the documents Kirsten showed her.
Underground, Wilson Fisk speaks with Purple Man, who reveals that he can feel that his children were the ones erased the memories of Daredevil’s true identity from everyone’s mind. Fisk calls Doctor Otto Octavius to talk about gathering Purple Man’s children to amplify the power of the Psycho-Prism. Doc Ock says he is busy but will help with powering up the device when Fisk rounds up Purple Man’s children.
Over at the Baxter Building Dock Ock recruits versions of himself who took over the bodies of the Wolverine, Hulk, and Ghost Rider of their respective universes to assemble the Superior Four.
In the Avengers Mansion Spider-Man (Miles Morales) thinks they should focus on taking down Fisk in legitimate ways. Daredevil (Matt Murdock) says that is what Luke Cage’s Mayoral candidacy is for. She-Hulk says she doesn’t think Fisk’s Powers Act is a bad thing which causes an argument with Daredevil.
Jessica Jones then recognizes mental manipulation going on as she can sense Purple Man’s power being used on her and the others. Hearing this Daredevil says Fisk is using Purple Man’s power to mentally control people so they have to stop him tonight. Captain America says they should be certain about this but Daredevil isn’t willing to wait.
Elsewhere the Purple Man’s children are found by an old lady and given the opportunity by her for a safe place to stay outside the Thunderbolt agents watch. The Purple Man’s children decide to go with her as they continue to plan how they will kill their father.
Later that night, across the street from New York City Hall, Daredevil, Spider-Man, Captain America, She-Hulk, and Iron Man continue to discuss what to do with Fisk and Purple Man. They don’t get very far as Doc Ock’s Superior Four attack the heroes.
Iron Man is the first one taken down by the Superior Ghost Rider. As the fighting goes on Captain America goes to check on Iron Man and is shocked to find its not Tony Stark in the armor but the Chameleon. Doc Ock reveals that he planted Chameleon as Tony in order to get him to be his proxy candidate to go against Wilson Fisk. He goes on to say that since that planned failed with the heroes deciding to go with Luke Cage as the candidate they back Doc Ock is taking things into his own hands for control of New York City.
Doc Ock then summons an army of drones to assist the Superior Four in completely overwhelming the heroes. Seeing no other option Captain America says they need to retreat.
Over at Foggy Nelson’s office Foggy is attacked and severely beaten by men in suits. End of issue.
The Good: There isn’t a ton of plot progression in Devil’s Reign #3. This issue was more about moving the chess pieces into place for bigger things that will be going on in this event. That is not at all a bad thing as the developments in Devil’s Reign #3 have a lot of great character moments.
By far the star of the show in Devil’s Reign #3 was Doctor Otto Octavius. We already knew from the previous issue that Doc Ock had his own motives for working with Wilson Fisk beyond just teaming with another villain. Chip Zdarsky does an excellent job using the concept of Superior Spider-Man to elevate Doc Ock as a villain with how he brings other versions of himself that took over the bodies of Wolverine, Hulk, and Ghost Rider from the Multiverse. The fact that this Superior Four team is the same as Spider-Man’s teammates for his time on the Fantastic Four added to the rivalry with Doc Ock. It all helped to position Doc Ock as a massive wild card for Devil’s Reign.
This works even better for the fact that it gives Wilson Fisk time to continue working in the shadows as Doc Ock unintentionally helps him out. You see that this was unintentional with the fact that Doc Ock was trying to have his own puppet Mayor of New York City in the form of Chameleon taking on Tony Stark’s identity. While the heroes were able to discover this thanks to a tactical error by Doc Ock it did not take away from the fact that Otto was almost successful.
Given the fact that our heroes were already on shaky ground given that Wilson Fisk is in complete control of what is going on in Devil’s Reign this defeat at the hands of the Superior Four isn’t helping. It all worked to just further exemplify how truly unprepared the heroes were to take on the greater plans Fisk had been long playing. This added to how while our heroes are trying to work together there is no unified plan as everything Daredevil, Captain America, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Spider-Man, and She-Hulk are doing is on the fly. That certainly won’t work, especially since the heroes are missing many heavy hitters due to other events going on at the same time as Devil’s Reign.
At the same time, Zdarsky does show that not all our heroes are rushing into things like Daredevil wants to. We see that Miles Morales’ Spider-Man and Luke Cage understand that Fisk can’t be taken on in normal superhero means. Fisk has to much power to treat this like another superhero event. This thought process clashing with Daredevil’s impatient of having dealt with Fisk for years that he is tired of the current status quo made the heroes side of things much more interesting.
With the heroes unprepared, it all further drove home how Wilson Fisk through his time being Mayor of New York City has been able to come out ahead. He has used his governmental power to his full advantage so that now that we are in the middle of Devil’s Reign you do get a sense of hopelessness for our heroes side of things. Which works well against the origins of Fisk motivation behind everything he is doing in Devil’s Reign centering around his hatred for Daredevil and having his memories erased of Daredevil’s identity. Showing that clear motivation for Wilson Fisk’s character makes him a much more layered end boss for this big event.
The ending of Devil’s Reign #3 works well to bring things back to at its core this event is another chapter in Daredevil vs Wilson Fisk. Things are so deeply personal between the two that Fisk is going to target anyone that he sees as opposition. Which makes possibly killing Foggy Nelson something that will end up further motivating Matt Murdock to take down Fisk even more.
That said, the story around the Purple Man and his children is the most interesting because their roles in Devil’s Reign can push the end results one way or another when all is said and done. Because we do see that while Purple Man is able to figure out his kids played a role in Daredevil’s identity being erased from peoples minds we don’t know what role the children will ultimately play. All we know is that Purple Man’s children are motivated to kill their father. That could lead to either Wilson Fisk using them to enhance his plans to manipulate everyone’s minds or something completely unknown to happen. Which ultimately makes the Purple Man elements of Devil’s Reign the biggest wild card of them all for this event.
Marco Checchetto artwork is once again stellar. With the last third of Devil’s Reign #3 being action heavy Checchetto absolutely delivered. His Superior versions of Wolverine, Hulk, and Ghost Rider works well with how Doctor Otto Octavius took on being Superior Spider-Man years ago. It made the action work even better as Superior Wolverine, Hulk, Ghost Rider, and Doc Ock were all fighting in much more brutal ways. Checchetto also made great use of facial expressions to get over the subtle moments like the tease that Chameleaon was Tony Stark before the reveal and Sue Storm taking the paper clip at the end of the meeting with Kirsten McDuffie.
The Bad: The only scene that did not work in Devil’s Reign #3 was the opening with Ben Reilly’s Spider-Man. The tone of the interrogation to show the NYPD were in Wilson Fisk’s pocket books didn’t hit as intended. The Thing and Human Torch recklessly breaking Spider-Man free would’ve possibly worked better if we saw them regroup with the rest of the heroes at Avengers Mansion. But since they didn’t the scene just felt like an advertisement for one of the Devil’s Reign tie-in comics instead.
Overall: Devil’s Reign #3 was a end to the first half of this event. Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto upped the intensity with the developments around our heroes, Wilson Fisk, and Doctor Otto Octavius. While the overall plot didn’t move forward a ton the things that did take place in this issue did create a lot of intriguing questions for what could happen in the second half of Devil’s Reign.