Kingpin (2003-2004) by author Bruce Jones and Illustrators Sean Phillips and Esbad Ribic
I typically read Kingpin as a Daredevil opponent. I think he makes a lot of sense as a foil to the vigilante/lawyer. DD tries to take him down at night, Matt Murdock takes him down during the day. For a criminal mastermind this type of hero makes a lot of sense to me.
However, he is also a canonical Spiderman villain. Spiderman is a wisecracking kid who seems out of place next to the very serious Kingpin. In this 2003-2004 run Spiderman appears to be brand new on the scene and is never given any reason that he has targeted the up and coming crime lord. They have no history together and Kingpin isn’t even infamous yet so what’s Spidey doing?
The entirety of this 6 issue mini is uneven and seems to be missing some important details. For example, it never explicitly says that it takes place in any time other than modern day but many of the characters talk in some sort of 1940s slang. It’s completely out of place with the setting and attire so it was mostly just confusing. It seems that the editor didn’t put much thought into plot holes or correcting anything on this one.
Kingpin is new to the Hell’s Kitchen scene but he is ambitious and ruthless. He’s not even the King yet but he is already double crossing and murdering like he’s at the top of the food chain.
Other than the clueless Spiderman his only opponent is the ex wife of a politician who has turned journalist in her free time. She finds a gangster with a grudge and attempts to expose this Kingpin for all that he’s hiding in order to strike a huge book deal.
This brings me to the strange quality of the women in this book. Specifically, they’re all kind of slutty.
That’s the aforementioned journalist sleeping with her only source. But there is also a casual sluttiness in even the most minor female characters:
It detracts from any legitimacy these characters had to offer. Turns them into props in this story and I disapprove.
The story lacks focus and seems to see the journalist as the main threat to Kingpin but then the team was told they needed a Marvel hero in the book so they slapped Spiderman onto a few pages and called it a day. Spiderman himself doesn’t seem to know what he’s doing in this book and Kingpin really doesn’t.
All in all, this comic book is yet another failure to flesh out a character. There are better Kingpin standalones out there and I recommend you read those instead.
2/5 Kings of Hell’s Kitchen 🤴🤴
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5 thoughts on “Kingpin (2003-2004) – Comic Book Review”
I haven’t read this mini-series and it sounds like I haven’t missed much. Have you read Kingpin’s original appearances in early issues of Amazing Spider-Man? Despite being written in the 60s, they’re some pretty good stories and probably make more sense than this stuff.
As for the casual sluttiness, this was probably around the time when the Comics Code was dropped and comics were finally allowed to depict sex; creators at the time seemed to go overboard with it, swinging from the one extreme of “no sex” to the opposite of “sex all the time!”
Haha that seems like an unavoidable over correction then!
i love the cover art
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