Trust cannot be brought cheaply – Wilson Fisk
Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Artist: Ricardo Lopez Ortiz
Colors :Mat Lopes
Editor: Will Moss
So I loved the last issue of this series. As comic readers we have all seen great first issues only to be let down by a sophomore slump. How does this team go on their second outing? Lets find out
Kingpin and Janus silhouetted over a map of New York. It is basic but it works. It is also far more relevant to the story than last issues cover. I did find that on a crowed comic store shelf this image did help the issue stand out from across the room at my comic shop
Despite the fear of the Heroes precog Wilson Fisk is back in New York and is thriving. He has taken the ‘Inhuman precog immunity key’ Janus under his wing and is teaching him how families run things in New York. Though hesitant at first, Janus becomes more comfortable in his role as kingpins apprentice. Following a close call with Spider-man Janus collapses. Unsure of what happened to him thanks to Fisk’s ability to keep a secret Janus is forced to recover at Fisk’s home. Fisk is loosing money and is forced to head to a business meeting without Janus but as he exits his home leaving Janus inside his car explodes narrowly missing Kingpin.
Mob movies have a certain flow to them. Last issue we saw the rise to power, this issue we see the golden days. It is a period in Mob movies when most things are going well, money is being made and our antiheroes are on top of the world. Here we see Fisk making a statement in front of all other crime bosses he is in charge and isn’t scared of the inhuman precog when he turns a shield agent over into a double agent. This is showing us the Wilson we know is back. Having a nervous Janus kill the other agent gives us a great mentor apprentice moment between Fisk and Janus. It serves as a way of entering Fisk’s world and motivations from a story telling aspect but it also serves to make Wilson likable. Not only are we watching Kingpin return to glory but we also seem to be watching a friendship evolve. Kingpin may keep Janus around as a tool to do business with but he is also taking him under his wing. Think about when Paulie took Henry Hill into work for him as a kid in Goodfellas.
Most of the issue is a montage of Janus progression into being Fisk’s second hand man. By the end we see what in the beginning might be a clone of the dark knight pool cue scene. Crime master was killed, believing it to be a certain three thugs, Janus and Fisk track them down to a card game. Fisk offers to let one take the Crime Master’s share of the business if one can kill the other two and provides them a gun. Unlike dark knight the hoods flip the table pointing the weapon at Fisk. Fisk is a step ahead having the gun contain no ammo and all three are shot by one of kingpin’s men. All to teach Janus the lesson that men who can be brought cheaply are not trust worthy.
The scene is broken with Spider-man (unseen) crashing the party leading to the escape scene where Janus collapses. I love that Fisk isn’t scared of Spider-man physically but has great concerns to what this means to his business. So far heroes don’t even realise Kingpin is fully back in operation and it’s a close call between Spidey and Daredevil as to who has messed with Kingpin’s schemes more. It is logical that Fisk would prefer to remove himself from the area than face Spidey. (Plus no fat man in the basement this time )
I like that Kingpin hires AIM to care for Janus. This does give that great feeling of a connected marvel universe. Kingpin finds out what is wrong with Janus but for unknown reasons is keeping it a secret. It would appear to be a result of being inhuman but at this stage the reader is just guessing. I assume what ever is happening to Janus was will be catalysed bythe end of the series.
Before the explosion we are treated to another montage of Kingpin caring for injured Janus. Sure kingpin has reason to see him on his feet so its not entirely good natured but we also see Janus starting to take Fisk for granted and get the idea all is not well in Denmark. One wonders is Janus is not making a play for himself? Maybe he took out the crime master? Before we get a chance to question it to much the issue is over and we a teased with Frank Castle’s appearance next issue signifying the golden days are nearly over
Personally I don’t see Janus surviving all four issues of this book just as I don’t see Ulysses surviving Civil War. But that doesn’t matter as I do love how this story is playing out and I want to see what happens. Will Kingpin’s kingdom crumble now someone is making a play for it? is it Janus? or does Wilson have more unseen tricks up his sleeve?
Art by Otiz is stellar again (at least in my humble opinion). It is as mentioned before very stylized so mileage will vary but compared to last issue it is more toned down here so this issue probably will have more mass audience appeal.
I want to draw attention to the way Ortiz does the eyes of his characters. There is always something extra special going on behind them. Be it thought or emotion.
He is also great at conveying story with simple camera placement. The washing of the blood of Janus hand camera placement and positioning real sets the scene for where these characters are as we start the issue.
All in All
Another great issue. I had high expectations coming in to this issue and while they have been meet here I wasn’t unexpectedly blown away either. This is a short review. Not a lot happened in this issue thematically. It was a lot of lingering character moments which I did enjoy. I don’t know who these days would pick up this issue by itself but you might find it lacking if you did. As a part of a larger story however it is yet another great chapter.