Devil’s Reign #5 is an event comic published by Marvel. Written by Chip Zdarsky, art by Marco Checchetto, colours by Marcio Menyz and letters by Clayton Cowles. This is part 5 of 6. Kingpin declared being a superhero in New York illegal, using an army of super-villains to enforce the law. He has been using the Purple Man’s abilities to control minds and hunting Killgrave’s children whilst the Avengers and heroes are underground or in jail. Last issue, Fisk used the Purple Man’s powers on himself, remembering that Daredevil is Matt Murdock.
In this issue, Kingpin enacts revenge on a man he’s hated for years. The heroes try to protect the Purple Children even as the Thunderbolts rain down fire on them.
In this plot, everything begins to go wrong, in a good way. The feeling of mounting pressure is almost unbearable as the powerful revelation from last issue begins to take effect. We are left uncertain as Kingpin’s plan is not clear, but the slow, methodical nature of his moves have stopped now. Devil’s Reign #5 is open war. The battles are intense, enormous in their scale and stakes. And at every point, things are made more difficult for the heroes. Some of Zdarsky’s long-standing seeds reach their fruition, raising mind-boggling questions about how long he has been planning these moments. The heart drops when the realisation of what is about to happen unfolds. But also the sheer level of power is increasing in this event. Magic and extremely powerful figures are beginning to get involved.
The characters are superb in this issue. The new inclusion to Thunderbolts is a frightening prospect and puts everyone in danger, whilst the most terrifying possibility is made real as Kingpin lets someone lose. This is another chapter in what feels more like Kingpin’s event, and Zdarsky writes him perfectly. He is much different to how he was even at the start of the series, unpredictable and enraged. Now, any care or consideration for the safety of his citizen is gone. This is pure vengeance. His mind was tampered with and knowledge was removed. For him, there is nothing more egregious. The dialogue in this issue is dramatic and scary, beautifully written.
The art continues to be stunning. The realistic style that Checchetto enlists means that there are details added to characters that give a different perspective on them. For example, hanging straps from U.S. Agent’s helmet, or the individual hairs on Daredevil’s beard. These figures look like real people, breathing life into them. Even if they are monstrous, inhuman beings, the detail is incredible. Another great implementation from Checchetto is the various scales of characters, showing just how big some of the heroes and villains can be. The fight scenes are epic, beautifully choreographed. There’s a huge amount of bodies involved and the eyes can spend ages absorbing it all. The fury in Kingpin’s face is haunting and sends chills down the spine.
The colours are also fantastic. Menyz superbly adapts unnatural characters into this natural-looking world just as well as Checchetto does. The Purple Children and Killgrave’s skin is unnerving, but it isn’t overpowering in the panels. The purple is important in another way as it alerts us when someone is under the influence, showing just how important the colourist can be to the storytelling.
The lettering is great. Cowles alters the size of the text to match the tone, i.e. if someone is whispering and desperately trying to not be heard. Or the word balloons have shakier lines if a character is weaker. And if Kingpin issues a controlled command, the text turns purple to really illustrate what is happening.
Devil’s Reign #5 shows that this event gets better in every issue. It’s a hectic comic, filled with action and dramatic changes. Even with the chaos and the larger than life characters, Zdarsky keeps the dialogue grounded and moments of quiet remain heavy. The book has reached a tipping point as everything starts to fall apart and every final page of this series has shown that things can get even worse still. There is a lovely balance between the blockbuster nature of an event and the intricate storytelling of the Daredevil comic.
Devil’s Reign #5 is available where comics are sold.
Devil's Reign #5
Devil’s Reign #5 shows that this event gets better in every issue. It’s a hectic comic, filled with action and dramatic changes. Even with the chaos and the larger than life characters, Zdarsky keeps the dialogue grounded and moments of quiet remain heavy.