The ending of Devil’s Reign #4 launched Marvel’s latest big event to a new level as Wilson Fisk was able to use Purple Man’s power to remember Matt Murdock is Daredevil. Now with boiling rage being unleashed with this knowledge relearned there is no telling how Wilson Fisk will use his powers as Mayor of New York City to eliminate all of Marvel’s heroes. Let’s not waste anymore time and get right into the next chapter of Marvel’s big event with Devil’s Reign #5.
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Marco Checchetto
Colorist: Marcio Menyz
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Now knowing that Matt Murdock is Daredevil Mayor Wilson Fisk sends out the full force of the Thunderbolts to retrieve Purple Man’s children.
As the Thunderbolts capture Purple Man’s children Jessica Jones leads the Champions to save the kids. The Thunderbolts number quickly overwhelm the Champions forcing the heroes to retreat.
Elsewhere Mike Murdock finds Butch planning a hit on Mayor Wilson Fisk. Mike tries to talk Butch out of the plan. When that doesn’t work Mike reveals the truth that he is not a real person. This pisses Butch off more and says he is now more motivated to take down his dad.
Underground, Mayor Fisk uses the power of his Purple Man staff to take control of Otto Octavius’ Superior Four of the Multiverse and orders them to capture Doc Ock. Mayor Fisk then releases Purple Man and orders him to use his powers to kill every hero in his way.
At the Avengers Mansion, Spider-Man (Ben Reilly) is able to build a Neural Disrupter to combat Purple Man’s power. The Purple Man’s son that is with the Avengers tells the heroes the only way to stop his dad is to kill him. Daredevil says they don’t kill and promises to stop Purple Man and Fisk.
Dardevil then gets a call from Kirsten McDuffie, who tells Daredevil about the uprising in the Myrmidon Prison and riots going on downtown.
In Downtown New York, the Thunderbolts and Superior Four surround Doc Ock. The Avengers and Champions suddenly appear to take down Fisk’s forces.
As the battle intensifies Purple Man shows up with an horde of people he has under his control and sends them all after the Avengers and Champions.
Over at Matt Murdock’s apartment, Wilson Fisk throws Mike around believing he is Matt Murdock. Mike tries to say he is not Matt but Fisk does not believe it. Fisk then proceeds to beat Mike to death just as Kirsten walks into the apartment. End of issue.
The Good: As Devil’s Reign has progressed Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto have shown they have a strong grasp of how each issue of a big comic book event needs to escalate. Devil’s Reign #5 is a great example of that. Everything in this issue builds on all of the big things that have happened in the previous four issues of Devil’s Reign to make what is going on here feel as epic as possible.
Right away Zdarsky and Checchetto establish that there is no more messing around. It is time to get right into the final stage of Devil’s Reign as Wilson Fisk uses the full force of the power he has accumulated to put an end to things. What made the opening page even more chilling was the tone that Zdarsky and Checchetto were able to strike with Fisk mobilizing the Thunderbolts to go after Purple’s Man children. Fisk was a man that was unleashing all of his anger after remembering Matt Murdock is Daredevil to no longer hold back. Whatever was holding Fisk back from doing this before is no longer there and you really got a sense of that with how Zdarsky wrote and Checchetto drew Fisk throughout Devil’s Reign #5.
The way that the Avengers and Champions were overwhelmed by the Thunderbolts and Superior Four further pushed this part of the narrative around Wilson Fisk forward. Even when Fisk was in a scene his rage was felt. The full force of the Thunderbolts gong after the Purple Man’s children was all that was needed to show this. Everything else that happened just added to how dangerous Fisk currently is as Zdarsky and Checchetto really got him over as the final boss of a big event.
With how unleashed Fisk was throughout this issue it made him turning the Superior Four against Doc Ock an even bigger moment. Doc Ock was still fully confident that Fisk could not touch him. It wasn’t until the Hulk version of Doc Ock that Otto realized he messed up by continuing to poke and prod at Fisk every time they met before this happened. Even though Fisk is the villain of the story Doc Ock has been established as a villain you love to hate that seeing him get his comeuppance was actually satisfying.
Given how Fisk escalated things on his end it made the Avengers and Champions actions to continue to be the heroes they are stand out even more. They aren’t just waiting to get into action. We see that with Jessica Jones leading the Champions to attempt to stop the Thunderbolts from capturing Purple’s Man children. Even if that did not end up working out it did further push the fact that the heroes needed to be prepared to fully combat Fisk’s forces since they are so outnumbered.
At the same time, we see that while they could try to just end Fisk at any time they will not resort to deadly force. Daredevil telling Purple Man’s son this reinterated the fact of killing is not an option for their side. Rather, they will use their own strategies to overcome Fisk current powers. How this ends up working out for them as Fisk has unleashed Purple Man to turn a portion of New York citizens into a zombie horde puts a lot of questions into the air for how things will end.
Speaking of the ending, while it was predictable that Mike Murdock would end up being killed off the ramifications of this action by Wilson Fisk is huge. Especially considering that Kirsten McDuffie arrived just in time to witness Fisk beating Mike to death. This completely changes the game as Kirsten is someone that could use this information to turn what is left of New York City against their current Mayor. Because of that Fisk is now placed in a spot where he could become even more unpredictable once he realizes he didn’t actually kill Matt since Daredevil is fighting alongside the Avengers.
The Bad: The one aspect of Devil’s Reign #5 that just does not connect as intended was the subplot with Butch as Kingpin. The character just does not add anything to the story as his father-son conflict with Wilson Fisk is the least compelling aspect of Devil’s Reign. It all just comes down to the fact that Butch isn’t that interesting of a character and I would much rather see his page space be given over the more intriguing developments going on at Myrmidon Prison.
Also, as previously mentioned, Mike Murdock’s death at the hands of Wilson Fisk was the least surprising development there could’ve been. The lack of shock of this isn’t helped by the fact that last week’s Daredevil: Woman Without Fear #3 already spoiled this ending ahead of the release of this issue. Once you hear that its been made public that Wilson Fisk killed “Matt Murdock” the immediate place I went to is this is how Zdarsky finally ends the Mike Murdock sub-plot. The entire story around Mike Murdock ran its course a long time ago and seeing him killed off was just something that was needed as the character was going nowhere.
Overall: Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto took the ending of the previous issue to make Devil’s Reign #5 the most intense chapter of this event thus far. Throughout this comic book you felt the rage that Wilson Fisk was unleashing onto New York and Marvel’s superheroes. The ending, while predictable, sets up the final chapter of Devil’s Reign to have serious ramifications for the Marvel Universe however the chips may fall at the conclusion of this event.