Joss Whedon and Michael Ryan send the Runaways back to NYC...and back in time!

Before Rainbow Rowell and Kris Anka’s RUNAWAYS launches in September, take a look at all of their major adventures as seen on Marvel Unlimited!

When series creators Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona announced they planned to leave RUNAWAYS with #24, fans clamored to find out who could possibly replace them. The answer soon came forth, surprising many: Joss Whedon and Michael Ryan.

Readers will remember that BKV and Alphona left the kids in a precarious position as they left, facing off against Iron Man and armored S.H.I.E.L.D. agents in the Hostel. As Whedon picked the story up, the kids sat in a fancy New York City restaurant waiting to meet with The Kingpin! 

Runaways (2005) #25

Runaways (2005) #25

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Playing off of Wilson Fisk’s respect for their parents, the kids agreed to do a favor for the Kingpin of Crime in exchange for room and board that would allow them to stay below the radar in a post-Civil War Big Apple.

That favor involved breaking into a secure location to steal a device that Chase’s parents actually built. In the process, they attracted the attention of the Punisher who didn’t take kindly to the Kingpin using children for crime. 

Runaways (2005) #26

Runaways (2005) #26

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Eventually, the kids decided to take the device and run, but Fisk figured on this move and revealed that he’d been hired to make all of this happen by an old woman and her giant, winged assistant Tristan. In making their escape, the Runaways hooked the object to Leapfrog and wound up back in 1907!

While there, they met a number of other young people with powers – dubbed Wonders back then – including a young girl named Klara with power over plants. And that’s not even mentioning the likes of The Sinners, the Mineola, the Merchant’s Trust and the Upward Path all of whom the Runaways get tangled up with in their search for a way home. 

Runaways (2005) #27

Runaways (2005) #27

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None of them actually hold a candle to the nova of surprise that came when Chase and Xavin met Gert’s time-traveling parents, the Yorkes, also working in the same era! 

Runaways (2005) #29

Runaways (2005) #29

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All of these elements bubble to a full-on boil as they explode into a street war. Thanks to some time-travel shenanigans on Chase’s part and Nico getting a power upgrade thanks to her great grandmother, the kids made their way back home with Klara in tow, but not Victor’s new flame Lillie because she had to stick around in order to hire Kingpin to get them to steal the device in the first place! 

Runaways (2005) #30

Runaways (2005) #30

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LOST & FOUND

Before returning to Los Angeles, the kids stuck around New York City to give Klara a chance to say goodbye to her home as seen in SECRET INVASION: RUNAWAYS/YOUNG AVENGERS #1-3. That leads to another meeting between the Runaways and their Young Avengers counterparts as the Skrulls lead into their full-on invasion thanks to both teams playing home to Skrulls in Xavin and Hulkling. That leads to more than one conflict with various green-skinned aliens, but ultimately a win for both squads at the end.

Terry Moore and Humberto Ramos launch a brand new volume of RUNAWAYS next week!

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Get ready to defend!

The Guardians flew back down, Spidey swung through again, and now the Defenders of Hell’s Kitchen return to Avengers Academy to battle a new threat in their neighborhood. Kingpin’s been imprisoned for nearly a year, and in that time Madame Gao stepped in to fill the power vacuum left in the criminal underworld of Hell’s Kitchen. The Defenders and the rest of the Academy students – with the help of a few new friends – need to dispatch Madame Gao and take back the neighborhood once more.

We grabbed a few minutes with Allen Warner, Lead Narrative Designer at TinyCo, to see what The Hand has in store for us at the “Marvel Avengers Academy”.

Marvel.com: The Defenders are making their way back to Avengers Academy! What’s bringing the team to campus once more?

Allen Warner: With the Kingpin imprisoned, Madame Gao has seized control of the Hand, and conquered Hell’s Kitchen.  The Defenders held her off as long as they could, but she countered by kidnapping some of their closest friends and allies, forcing them to regroup and call in reinforcements.  With a firm hold on Hell’s Kitchen, and the combined resources of both the Hand and Kingpin’s entire operation, Madame Gao sets her sights on retrieving a powerful artifact that Director Fury has locked away in one of his secret vaults, launching a full-scale assault on Avengers Academy.

Marvel.com: Will players be returning to Hell’s Kitchen with the new event district?

Allen Warner: Yes, we’ll be revisiting Hell’s Kitchen and all of its iconic locales like Alias Investigations, Josie’s, and the law offices of Nelson and Murdock.  We’ll also be bringing back the Academy Courthouse from our Daredevil event, and giving some new recruits fun courtroom animations.

Marvel.com: How will the Avengers battle Madame Gao and her Hand minions?

Allen Warner: The Defenders and Avengers will team up to battle Madame Gao and her special henchmen on campus, as well as traveling away from the school to stop the Hand ninjas from attempting to take over the world.

Marvel.com: As with the Guardians and Spidey events before this, will players once again be able to recruit Defenders heroes from the previous event?

Allen Warner: Yes, this is a similar structure where players will be given another opportunity to get characters from the original Daredevil event, as well as some other characters who weren’t part of that event, but make sense to be involved with the Defenders.  Players will have a chance to get Iron Fist, Daredevil, Hellcat, Elektra, Misty Knight, Punisher, Luke Cage, and Jessica Jones.  They may also have an opportunity to get some characters who you wouldn’t associate with the Defenders TV show, but who have been part of various Defenders teams in the comics.  We’ll also be resurfacing all of the outfits from the Daredevil event, including what might be my personal favorite Avengers Academy outfit of all time, Lawyer Loki.  We learned in the original Daredevil event that Loki has a gift for lawyering, and a fondness for lawyers and the profession, and that will continue in this event with some fun results.

Marvel.com: While those who missed out will be excited to try for all those returning favorites, what new faces join the mix?

Allen Warner: A cool and diverse group of characters who are often thought of as supporting players, but who will take center stage and show their heroic sides during this event: Foggy Nelson, Colleen Wing, Stick, and Claire Temple.  They each bring a really unique and fresh perspective to not only the events at hand, but the Avengers heroes and Avengers Academy traditions.  Our awesome art team did some really great and brand-new things with their various visual levels, and their animations are really fun, and play to their unique occupations, personalities, and talents.  I’m really excited about this group from a narrative perspective because there is so much unexplored territory.  These characters typically only interact with the characters in their respective spheres, so there’s a ton of opportunity to do things that no one has ever seen before.  Foggy will form relationships and go on adventures with Loki and Captain America.  Claire Temple will go on an intergalactic rescue mission with Cosmo the Spacedog.  Stick will butt heads with J. Jonah Jameson.  Madame Gao will match wits with Mephisto, and so on.  One of my favorite things about the world we’ve built in this game is having the opportunity to reimagine and expand upon existing characters and Marvel lore, and this event and this group of recruits provided an awesome opportunity to do a lot of things that have never been done before.

Marvel.com: What new ways will our heroes suit up to dispatch the Hand threat?

Allen Warner: In addition to the resurfaced outfits from the previous Daredevil event, there will be new outfits and stories for Hulk, Punisher, Elektra, Iron Fist, and Misty Knight.  We love coming up with new looks for our characters that are unique to the world of Avengers Academy, but we decided to take a different approach this time around and only include outfits that have appeared in the comics.  Some are very recent looks that fans may not even be aware of, while others are iconic looks that have been around for decades.  They all look incredible, are completely different from the characters’ usual outfits, and add a new angle to their personalities and powers that make for some really fun animations and stories.

Marvel.com: As excited as we are to dive back into Hell’s Kitchen and dispatch Madame Gao, there’s always one eye on the horizon. Can you tease anything coming down the line for the Academy and its heroes?

Allen Warner: One of our frequently teased schools will finally have to come out of hiding, and they’ll be bringing more recruitable characters with them than ever before.

For all the latest on “Marvel Avengers Academy,” stay tuned to Marvel.com and @MarvelGames on Twitter!

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Kingpin takes advantage of social tensions to steal a major artifact!

Celebrate the Wall Crawler’s return to the big screen in “Spider-Man: Homecoming” by heading back to school with these adventures available on Marvel Unlimited!

Trouble rumbled through the pages of 1969’s AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #68 by Stan Lee and John Romita. The issue kicked off with Kingpin learning of an ancient clay tablet on display at Empire State University that he wanted, even if it meant throwing down with Spider-Man once again. Meanwhile, Spidey swung around after his battle with Mysterio, grumbling about not snapping any pictures of the fight. He got home only to find that his roommate, Harry Osborn, had locked the window!

The next day Peter Parker went to school on the E.S.U. campus and met Robbie Robertson’s son Randy. Moments after, a fellow student named Josh asked the young scholar about his thoughts on an on-campus issue; apparently the powers that be at the school intended to close down the exhibition hall and turn the building into rooms for visiting alumni. Josh represented a group that wanted the administration to turn that space into low-rent housing for students with financial difficulties.

Things looked up for our hero after he ran into Gwen Stacy and had a nice visit with Aunt May, but we readers learned that the latter had received some bad news from the doctor that she didn’t relay to her nephew. Back on campus the next morning, a protest had begun in an effort to convince the school to turn the hall into cost effective student housing. Josh wanted to take the building by force if necessary which did not sit well with Mr. Parker who pushed away from the group and went inside the hall to look at the tablet.

With enough of a crowd listening to him, Josh called for everyone to rush the hall. Kingpin saw this on TV and realized it would be the perfect distraction to steal the artifact. For his part, Peter also took advantage by snapping pictures of the demonstration. At dark, the villainous crime lord and his crew showed up and used an explosion to draw focus away from them as they ran into the not-so-secure location. Inside, Wilson Fisk actually came face to face with Peter Parker for a moment. As the Kingpin of Crime made his way to his goal, our hero ducked into a corner and changed into the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #68

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #68

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In the chamber holding the artifact, Spider-Man and Kingpin finally battled, with the well-dressed crime boss reminding the hero that his white jacket hid muscles galore. During the fray, Randy ran in and got smashed into a wall by the villain. Spidey grabbed him and escaped as part of the hall came crashing down and Fisk made off with the tablet. In the next issue, the police questioned Randy and Josh, assuming they had helped Kingpin with his plot. Meanwhile, out in the world, the villain allowed Spider-Man to find them, but the Wall-Crawler didn’t fall for the trap. The pair battled fiercely until Fisk’s cane gun backfired on him.

When the cops showed up, Kingpin lied and said that he and Spider-Man were actually allies. So, when the police saw Spidey him later, they opened fire. Peter wound up with the tablet in his possession until AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #71 when he gave it to Captain Stacy right after proving the kids didn’t have anything to do with Kingpin’s crime.

A Tangled Web

Thanks to Peter’s pictures of Kingpin’s attack, Randy Robertson avoided an unjust prison stay. Afterwards the two became friends, but Randy eventually met a woman named Mandy and the two got married. After they split up, the younger Robertson returned to New York City and started rooming with Parker. Years later, Dan Slott brought him back in the pages of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. He started a relationship with Front Line reporter Norah Winters which didn’t sit well with Phil Urich, who doubled as The Hobgoblin. The two broke up after the events of Spider-Island when Norah made more of an effort to cover the story than to save Randy’s life!

Next time, tragedy strikes Peter Parker once again when Green Goblin and Gwen Stacy have a date with destiny in the pages of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #121!

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Matthew Rosenberg makes the case for a change in Wilson Fisk!

Three issues in to the new KINGPIN series, Wilson Fisk seems to be nicer than ever.

Wait a sec, did you say nicer? Yes, I did.

The Kingpin has returned to New York City under the direction of writer Matthew Rosenberg and he’s determined to be fair and honest in all of his dealings this time around. But can we trust him? We spoke with Matthew who told us that Kingpin certainly deserves a fair shake and moreover, could be viewed as a super hero from a certain perspective.

One of the most violent characters in the Marvel Universe a noble super hero? Continue on to read the compelling case in favor of Fisk!

Marvel.com: Were three issues into Fisks solo series and all signs point to him genuinely wanting to turn over a new leaf. Why should we trust him all of the sudden, especially after his actions during Civil War II?

Matthew Rosenberg: How can you not trust that face? He’s just a sweet old businessman. But seriously, I don’t want to tell the reader who to trust and who not to trust here. Wilson Fisk has done a lot of bad things, and he is honest about that. He is a man asking for forgiveness, and that is a personal thing. I hope every reader, like the characters in the book, will weigh whether or not he deserves it. And maybe some won’t think he does. The story works in that case too, I hope. Fisk genuinely wants to accomplish big changes in his life and go down a different path. Personally, I hope he can.

Marvel.com: Youve go on record saying you wanted to portray Fisk as more of The Godfather than Scarface. What was the process like of separating the more volatile Kingpin weve seen and known before with the more patient and methodical one we see in this arc?

Matthew Rosenberg: The Kingpin who throws men out windows, zaps them with laser beams, or cuts their heads off with car doors is great. He is terrifying, and fun, and exciting. But he is a man who can only go so far in the world. Admittedly, it’s pretty far. But it’s not as far as he’d like and it’s not as far as I’d like. He’s a smart man though. He understands that if you leave bloody footprints everywhere you go there are a lot of places you won’t be allowed in. But the violent and impulsive Kingpin we all know and love, that’s his true nature. So it’s not so much that I am dismissing the man who beats people to death with his bare hands, but Wilson Fisk himself is doing whatever he can to suppress that man. And it’s a struggle for him on the page. There are a lot of people whose heads Fisk would love to remove, but he has bigger plans and eventually that gets in the way. But if movies have taught me anything, you can always trust a violent man to go back to his violent ways at some point.

Marvel.com: In the past hes used extortion, murder, and blackmail among other methods to achieve his ends. How hard is it for him to go straight after years of bending and breaking the law to his will?

Matthew Rosenberg: He has always used those tactics for sure. But he’s also run legitimate businesses as well. And he is nothing if not smart. Obviously hanging people out of windows gets things done faster than negotiating, but if Fisk is determined to walk the straight and narrow he knows how. It’s just a question of patience and the world not getting in his way too much. But the world has a way of doing that.

Marvel.com: Do you think were there times in the past when Wilson Fisk was simply misunderstood? Has he always just been misunderstood?

Matthew Rosenberg: Yes. 100%. If you look at Kingpin and who he is, where he comes from, he has all the makings of a great Marvel super hero. He is smart, determined, and exceptional. But he was always different and he had to face a lot of adversity. Now he has a love of his city, a strong desire to make it better, and a firm belief that he knows the right way to do that. It’s no different than Daredevil or Spider-Man. The only differences are that he kills people, but so does The Punisher, and he personally profits from what he does, but so does Iron Man. It’s all a question of scope. While Spider-Man and Daredevil spend a lot of time fighting in alleys, Kingpin wages his war across the whole city. He wants a better class of crime, less dangerous for the average person. He wants a generally safer city and he is willing to get his hands dirty to get there. And just because Spider-Man and Daredevil don’t agree with Kingpin’s tactics doesn’t mean they are right and he is wrong. It just means for years they have had people like [writers] Dan Slott and Charles Soule telling their side of the story, making them look good. And now Wilson Fisk has me.

Marvel.com: How do his nemeses, both heroic like Daredevil and criminal like opposing crime bosses, feel about his new outlook on getting ahead in life? What about his associates?

Matthew Rosenberg: I don’t think anybody likes it or particularly trusts it. But your nemeses aren’t supposed to believe in you.

Marvel.com: The art style by Ben Torres in this series has been described as heavy on the noir influences, a genre known for its morally ambiguous characters and machinations. Can you tell us how the noir-ish overtones factor into Fisks motivations over the course of this arc and its underlying themes?

Matthew Rosenberg: Yeah, for sure. First of all, Ben is amazing. His art speaks in a language I think both avid comic fans and casual readers will get. I see a lot of Frank Miller, Howard Chaykin, and Eduardo Risso in his work, and that just screams “noir” to me. But for folks not familiar with that stuff, I think the heavy shadows, the brooding characters, the worn look of the characters and world, they tell a story beyond the one I tell. As for the noir-ish elements of the story? For starters it’s not just about Fisk. Sarah Dewey, a down on her luck reporter, is one of the leads and this story is about their relationship. So Fisk’s operating in morally grey areas, his schemes, all of that plays a big part. But more than that it’s about how damaged people survive and what effect they have on each other. Nobody in this story comes out as the shiny hero, that’s not Fisk’s world. Everybody is a little broken and Fisk uses that to his advantage. Wilson Fisk is a dangerous man; a dangerous man to be enemies with and a dangerous man to be allies with. And he knows that. So watching him pull people into his circle, or watching them put themselves there, it has an ominous feeling. There are good things, but nothing good will stay.

Marvel.com: If you had to make a compelling case of why Kingpin should be given a fair shake in a sentence or two, what would you say?

Matthew Rosenberg: He’s a smart, passionate, and deeply flawed person, but he wants forgiveness. And there is no greater feeling than offering forgiveness to someone who wants to do right. Come forgive The Kingpin.

Judge for yourself in KINGPIN #3, available now, and issue #4, coming May 10!

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Wilson Fisk seeks to better understand himself!

Wilson Fisk is an adult male of immense size. He presents as composed and tightly wound, as though he were constantly holding something back. In a case of history repeating itself, he arrived at the office after hours, paid off the rest of the remaining staff to go home, and demanded this writer see him. He seemed aware of this writer breaking confidentiality following our last meeting, stated neither I nor anyone else I cared about was “in danger,” and assured me there would be no such needs to invoke Tarasoff after this session.

Interestingly, there did seem to be a shift in his presentation as the session continued—in comparison with both last time and with his demeanor at the start of session. He seemed far more interactive and far less didactic. Unlike the last session, he did not demand the writer’s silence but invited comment.

That said, there were moments were it was very clear to the writer that a line had been briefly crossed. Despite Fisk’s self-control, his body language often would give him away, showing a kind of coiled anger whenever he felt disrespected or the writer touched upon what could perhaps be best labeled “off-limits” areas—for example his relationship to his deceased wife Vanessa.

Throughout the session, however, this writer had a difficult time shaking the idea that the client was doing this session in a performative manner; as if he wanted someone else to see his willingness to attend therapy. When he left, I saw a woman with him who clearly was not part of his “muscle” nor resembled any of his former woman assassins—Elektra, Lady Bullseye, Typhoid Mary. Perhaps she was the audience?

His session also seemed to be a subtle form of intimidation despite his insistence neither I nor anyone I cared about was in danger. This was particularly evident when, as he left, he paused at the door to ask, “I respect that you are a man of principles who follows the rules of his craft regardless of personal risk That said, I trust there will be far less…phone calls that need to take place after this session?” His manner did not seem merely inquisitive.

In terms of therapeutic content, there was a shallowness to it. He spoke mostly of a desire to push back against his reputation, to find acceptance amongst the New York “elite,” and to help kids like him—raised in near poverty but still with too much income to access many city, state, and federal supports—improve their lives. He largely avoided discussions of his criminal activities beyond vaguely citing “cycles of violence” and absolutely rejected any discussion of the street vigilante Daredevil.

At the end of session, he did request further sessions. Given our prior relationship, I argued that it would most likely be counterproductive to continue to work with me. He accepted this recommendation and a referral to the offices of Doctors Matthew Rosenberg and Ben Torres on April 12 and May 10. Those referrals can be found in the KINGPIN #3 and KINGPIN #4 files, respectively.

Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens is a Staff Therapist who reminds you that just because he is a man of size with a shaved head does not mean he “looks exactly like that Kingpin guy.”

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Wilson Fisk takes advantage of a Spider-Man-less New York City in his first appearance!

Every Friday we use the powers of Marvel Unlimited to look back at the very first appearance of a major character, place or object that made waves this week.

Wilson Fisk might be trying to go straight in the first issue of his new series KINGPIN, which launched this week from Matthew Rosenberg and Ben Torres, but he certainly didn’t start out that way.

Though mostly associated with Daredevil, Kingpin actually debuted in the book of another New York-based vigilante: Spider-Man! And in a strange way, he actually convinced Peter Parker about his important as a hero. 1969’s AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #50 not only marks the Kingpin’s first appearance as a major Marvel villain, but also the landmark story titled “Spider-Man No More!”

Written by Stan Lee and drawn by John Romita, the issue started off like many others with the Web Head taking on four would-be robbers. With the baddies firmly ensconced in a door, Spidey swung off to ruminate about how J. Jonah Jameson has completely ruined his reputation with Daily Bugle editorials.

Upon Pete returning home, his roommate Harry Osborn told him Aunt May has had another attack, so our hero rushed to her side. Once there, he wondered why he spends so much time helping people who fear him, especially when it takes him away from his loved ones. Fed up, Peter threw his Spider-Man costume in the trash, where it’s found by a kid and taken to JJJ who considered the act a victory. As the news went live, we then cut to a shot of Wilson Fisk overlooking the city telling an underling that he, The Kingpin, planned on taking over all crime in NYC!

With Kingpin taking over the mobs, crime ran wild. The man himself explained his plan: “The underworld will now be run like a business—and the chairman of the board will be – the Kingpin!”

Meanwhile, things moved along pretty nicely for Peter Parker. With Spider-Man out of his life he could focus on school, family and even dating his lady, Mary Jane Watson. Still, he heard about the crime wave and even stumbled upon an assault that he stopped. Remembering that his inaction led to the death of Uncle Ben, Peter pledged to continue fighting to help innocents. He then broke into JJJ’s office, got his old costume back and got back in on the super hero action.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #50

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #50

  • Published: July 10, 1967
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: John Romita
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In the following issue, after waging a one-man war on crime against the Kingpin, Spider-Man finally met his new foe leading into a multi-page fight between the two. Not only did Fisk prove faster and stronger than he looked, but also well-equipped with items like a gas-shooting pendant. Kingpin followed that up in issue #52 by tying the unconscious Spider-Man to Jameson and putting them in an air-tight room filling with water. Spidey made a protective bubble out of webbing, knocked out the goons and made his way towards another altercation with Fisk.

Once again, Kingpin used a trick—this time a secret passageway in his office—to escape from Spider-Man, but the two would cross paths many times. Not one to make friends in the hero community, Kingpin also lists Daredevil and Punisher among of his more regular adversaries.

Flash Forward

Before launching KINGPIN, writer Matthew Rosenberg wrote Fisk in the series CIVIL WAR II: KINGPIN. Upon returning from San Francisco, Kingpin learned that a former minion named Janus Jardeesh exhibited an interesting Inhuman ability: he essentially became invisible to the future-seeing Ulysses at the center of Civil War II. As you might expect, Kingpin used this to commit all kinds of crimes. With all that success, though, he attracted ill will from criminals outside his organization and even dissent from within. Fisk fought tooth and nail to save everything he’d built in a four issue series that displayed Rosenberg’s deep understanding of the character!

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Matthew Rosenberg sends Wilson Fisk down memory lane!

Students of psychodynamic psychotherapy have long held that the solution to the problems of now lie in discovering the wounds of the past. For Wilson Fisk, that theory will be tested on March 8 in KINGPIN #2.

We spoke to the man sharping the #2 pencils for the exam, writer Matthew Rosenberg, about the importance of revisiting the past in preparation for the future.

Marvel.com: KINGPIN #2 is oriented around you beginning to explore Wilson Fisk’s past. As a writer, what is important about delving into this material? Creatively, how do you find it fulfilling?

Matthew Rosenberg: I think the true joy of working on Marvel Comics is that you get to rely so much on these amazing stories that came before you. We don’t have to keep telling origin stories. We don’t have to keep explaining certain aspects of the characters. It’s already been told way better than I ever could.

And for a character like Kingpin, who has been a favorite of mine since I first learned to read, I think it’s nice to go back and nod to that history. Kingpin is so rarely the lead that we really get a chance to explore who he is, who he was, and who he wants to be in a big way with this series. This is just a chance to spend a little more time with everyone’s favorite giant gangster.

Marvel.com: When the solicits promise to explore his past, how far back into Fisk’s life are you planning to go?

Matthew Rosenberg: Kingpin is trying to move forward in New York’s elite social circles. In order to do that, he has to confront some of his past. He wants to get out ahead of it. He wants to control the narrative on who he was and what he did.

In order to do that he is going to have to address some dirty deeds. But it’s filtered through his perspective. So we are going to revisit some dirty deeds throughout the series, but maybe not the way readers have [seen] them before. And pretty much anything is fair game. If he was old enough to remember doing it, it might come up.

Marvel.com: Without spoiling things, can you give readers an idea of where an exploration of Fisk’s past might take them on the globe? What kind of people—or recognizable characters—might he be encountering and interacting with?

Matthew Rosenberg: Well, we are staying in New York City for the most part.

Fisk has big plans and he wants to make sure NYC is at the heart of them all. But this book that is being written about him will dig up some dirt that he prefers would stay buried. Going forward Fisk is going to have to come face to face with people he’d rather be done with on both sides of his past: Tombstone, The Owl, Hammerhead, and maybe even a horned hero. And figuring out how to beat these demons from his past once and for all is the major driving force for Fisk now.

Kingpin #2

Kingpin #2

Marvel.com: How does Ben Torres’ art help realize the worlds that Wilson moved in and through in his past? How does it enhance you script from creating the atmosphere you are striving for?

Matthew Rosenberg: Ben is amazing. His art reminds me of the feeling I had when I first discovered Frank Miller, John Romita Jr., or Eduardo Risso. It is just so cool to look at that you lose yourself in the page.

But I think the key for making the book work is feeling the menace that isn’t necessarily in the dialogue or the action. Fisk, Daredevil, Tombstone—these men are barely contained violence walking around in fancy suits. So while Fisk plays nice with others, we need to know that there is always danger just below the surface. And I think Ben captures that perfectly. His Kingpin is scary even when he is eating cereal in the morning. And watching characters like Sarah, who feel real and human, get sucked up into that world is the real thrill.

Marvel.com: If you had to give fans one bit of information re: Wilson Fisk’s past you think would grab their attention immediately, what would it be?

Matthew Rosenberg: I think the one thing I would say is that Fisk is confronting his past so that he can move forward. This isn’t just a fun nostalgia trip for him. Where he is going and where he came from are very related. And if his plans work, if he can move forward, the whole Marvel universe is going to take notice.

Take a journey through the past of Wilson Fisk on March 8 with KINGPIN #2 by Matthew Rosenberg and Ben Torres!

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Matthew Rosenberg gives Wilson Fisk’s opinions on his allies and enemies!

Long has Wilson Fisk stood above Manhattan and observed the heroes, the villains, the petty criminals, and the everyday citizens. Long has he watched and considered and passed judgment on them all.

Now, thanks to his representative, KINGPIN writer Matthew Rosenberg, we can learn the Kingpin of Crime’s opinions about some of the most famous individuals of the Marvel Universe who have ever been a thorn in his side in advance of the first issue of his ongoing series coming February 8.

Daredevil
“Daredevil is Wilson Fisk’s most persistent nuisance,” Rosenberg confirms. “He is that unreachable itch. On his more generous days Fisk might admit that Daredevil is almost a worthy adversary, but more often than not he is just another of the many obstacles that truly great men must overcome. Someday Wilson Fisk will kill Daredevil and that is the last time he will ever think of the Man Without Fear.”

Punisher
“A true sociopath, but at least he is a man with conviction,” points out the writer. “History is written by people who understand that some things are more important than the rule of law. The person willing to do whatever needs to get done will usually win out. It is reasons not rules which make us stronger. Unfortunately for Frank, his lack of respect for the rule of law is coupled with a true lack of reason. There are a lot of things that should drive a person, revenge is one of the [pettier].”

Spider-Man
“A ridiculous clown,” dismisses Rosenberg. “Next question.”

Echo
“Tragic,” the writer states. “Echo was a beautiful and gifted girl, as close to family as you can get. What happened to her father was tragic and Fisk did everything he could to prepare Echo for the real world. But sometimes people just go astray. Becoming a vigilante is not what anyone wants to see happen to the people they care about.”

The Hand
“Fisk has a lot of respect for the Hand,” reveals Rosenberg. “It would be dangerous to not. Their discipline, their traditions, their skills are all beyond admirable. Obviously the world would be better off with a lot fewer ninja in it, but it is foolish to think the Hand will be going anywhere any time soon. And when an adversary is so steeped in tradition and ritual, there is something comforting in that. They are reliable.”KINGP2017001-cover

HYDRA
“Wilson Fisk has no time for terror or political ideologues,” the writer argues. “They are men who would rather see the world burn than see it not reflect their own beliefs. They are naive. But, they are also a very smart organization run by men of means. While it can’t be denied that they are wasting everyone’s time with their silly wars, they are also useful people to know. They have power, influence, and money, and that should always be respected. They just lack vision. And that can be exploited. Carefully.”

Richard Fisk
“There is something inherently tragic about the relationship between a father and a son,” posits Rosenberg. “The father wants a better life for his son, and the son knows one day he will replace his father in the world. Wilson Fisk would have gladly given everything for his son, if only his son hadn’t tried to take it from him. Richard is a character ripped from Greek tragedy, he is a cautionary tale of why one shouldn’t love too much. And Richard Fisk isn’t half the man his father is.”

Black Cat
“Felicia used to be a charming and eccentric nuisance,” Rosenberg recalls. “But too much time with Spider-Man, too much time not understanding that she was a punchline, has given her delusions of grandeur. She is a bit player who’d love to see herself thrust into the spotlight. She is far more likely to wind up in a grave if she continues to play in a world she wasn’t meant for.”

Elektra
“Elektra is another case of how we want the world for our children and they always let us down,” asserts the writer. “She is talented and smart, ruthless and meticulous. But she lets matters of the heart come into play in a world that has no room for emotions. She could be one of the greats. She could be someone to truly fear in this world. Instead she’s a pincushion.”

Turk
“A good employee is a reliable one,” Rosenberg says. “Turk is a bit of a fool, a hopeless opportunist, and often a desperate man. But in that, there is reliability. Fisk can trust Turk to look out for himself above all others, and because of that he can be used to great effect. Turk’s sense of self-preservation is astounding; he is the cockroach of the New York underworld.”

Matthew Rosenberg continues to open up Wilson Fisk’s world in KINGPIN #1, coming February 8!

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Writer Matthew Rosenberg discusses Wilson Fisk and the expanding Daredevil Universe!

Wilson Fisk bows to no man. But that doesn’t mean he does not mean he will not grab a good deal when he sees it, even if it does have someone else’s name on it.

And so, the upcoming KINGPIN series coming in February enters the DAREDEVIL section of the Marvel Universe alongside BULLSEYE, ELEKTRA and more. It may look like Murdock’s show but writer Matthew Rosenberg and Editor Mark Paniccia tell us that Fisk has that long game in mind.

Marvel.com: In handling Kingpin during Civil War II, you’ve dealt with a Wilson Fisk that has been oriented around pursuits very separate from Daredevil and his supporting cast. With KINGPIN and Fisk being pulled into this sub-universe how does that change the tone of the book and the attitude of the character? How does having Daredevil more present in Kingpin’s life change him?

Mark Paniccia: Kingpin is in NYC and he’s hatching a new plan that will widen his scope of power in a way he’s never done before. It’s going to be fun watching him strategize and manipulate his grand scheme and I’ll admit readers might cringe a bit at what happens to some of the supporting cast.

Matthew Rosenberg: Well our focus is on telling stories about Fisk and how he sees the world. He is a very driven and determined man, but he is a businessman. All of his work is about setting ambitious goals and then figuring out ways to overcome the huge obstacles that come with that. So whether it’s labor laws, zoning regulations, tax codes, the crime prediction powers of Ulysses, or Daredevil’s relentless harassment, they are all just problems to deal with.

Daredevil may be Fisk’s most persistent problem, and his biggest, but that’s all he is. So with Daredevil becoming more of a focus in the ongoing series it just means that Fisk needs to find ways to beat Daredevil at every turn. And that’s what our series is. It is a study of Fisk’s most ambitious plan to come out ahead of all the self-appointed heroes who harass him. It’s bigger, nastier, and more ambitious, but it’s still just business.

Marvel.com: In general, how do you view the relationship between Matt Murdock and Wilson Fisk? How do they influence and push one another?

Matthew Rosenberg: I feel like the real problem, and what drives them both, is that they don’t view things the same way. They don’t have the same perspective. It’s a misunderstanding in some ways, but Murdock is looking at the city from the streets and seeing the problems up close, and Fisk is watching from a penthouse, seeing the bigger picture.

Murdock is an absolutist. He sees things Fisk does, he judges them to be wrong, and he takes it on himself to stop them. And when he can’t, he takes it personally. For Murdock, Fisk is a villain because he has killed people and profits from crime. But Fisk is not the villain of his own story. He loves New York, loves what the city is, and loves the idea of what it can be. He is working to make it better, but he sees a bigger picture that Murdock can’t see. It’s not personal. It’s a war to save the city and Fisk understands acceptable losses and that bad things have to happen for good outcomes sometimes.

He is a general while Murdock is a soldier. Murdock puts on a uniform and tries to save the city one alley at a time. It’s the small picture. Fisk would love to not have to stoop to Murdock’s level, but Matt is persistent and annoying. Sometimes even generals have to pick up a gun and join in the fight. So while Murdock may dwell on Fisk and see him as the endgame, Fisk just sees Murdock as another pawn on the board.

Marvel.com: In general, as a writer, what excites you about being a part of this creative endeavor? We already know you are excited for writing KINGPIN, but does this extended playground of sorts enhance that experience for you?

Matthew Rosenberg: My god, yes!

Writing Marvel comics, the shared universe, there is almost nothing like it in all of art. We are telling our own stories, making our own way, but it is built on the foundation laid by some of the best people to ever make comics. It is a story that began before I was born and will continue long after I am dead. You look at this huge tapestry of what The Kingpin is—from Stan Lee and John Romita Sr.’s creation, onto amazing work by folks like Frank Miller, David Mazzucchelli, Klaus Janson, Brian Bendis, Alex Maleev, Ed Brubaker, Mark Waid, and on and on. Those are the people who made me want to write comics. Knowing that our work, even if it’s just a blip, will be another mark on this amazing tapestry is surreal.

And that’s just Kingpin. Throw in Daredevil, Punisher, Elektra, Spider-Man, and all these other characters that we may interact with? It is a terrifying level of responsibility, but I feel honored every day to be a part of this.

Marvel.com: How is it as a writer to be working in closer concert with not just your artist but other creators like Ed Brisson, Charles Soule, Ron Garney and so on? How, at all, does it inform your process?

Matthew Rosenberg: It’s amazing. I feel like I have a real support network in them, but also a real level of competition that is making my work better. I want to make sure my work is good enough to stand alongside them.

Charles and Ed were both writers that were immensely kind and generous with their time when I was starting out in comics. I love their work. I studied it, picked their brains for advice, and stole more than a few things to put in my own books. And I still come to both of them for advice and help all the time. I am probably pretty annoying. But to be able to work alongside them, get advice and ideas, is invaluable.

And that extends through the whole process. Mark Basso and Mark Paniccia, my editors, have really helped make this book something I am proud of. They are incredibly insightful and good editors. [Marvel Editor-in-Chief] Axel Alonso has given me a ton of amazing advice and notes. I am doing things I never thought I could do in a comic because Axel pushed me to be better.

And Ben Torres, who is drawing the book, is definitely doing a ton of the heavy lifting here. It has been a really tremendous experience so far. We all are trying to make books people will love and care about for years to come, and that is a team effort that extends beyond me and Ben, beyond KINGPIN. It’s a really cool thing to be part of.

Come back tomorrow as BULLSEYE takes a turn Running with the Devil!

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Take a trip down memory lane to remember Maya Lopez!

Even amongst Matt Murdock’s rather unusual dating history, Maya Lopez, aka Echo, sticks out. And if he had managed to forget her—well, DAREDEVIL ANNUAL #1, coming June 3 from writers Charles Soule and Roger McKenzie and artist Vanesa Del Rey will definitely remind him.

We get the jump on that process of recalling by putting together this primer on Lopez’s life and times.

A Surrogate Dad Unlike Any Other

Willie “Crazy Horse” Lincoln tried to be a good dad to his daughter Maya, a responsibility that motivated him to seek employment with Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin of Crime. Inevitably, he let Fisk down and Kingpin felt he had to kill Lincoln. As he died, Crazy Horse managed to convince the crime lord to raise his about to be orphaned daughter.

A Deceptive Death

Kingpin, however, had no interest in telling Maya that particular tale. Instead, when the time came, he did exactly what you would expect Fisk to do: he blamed Daredevil. So as soon as Lopez could wonder who killed her dad, she had a target to focus her rage on.

A Prodigy

While initially assumed to be developmentally disabled, perhaps because of her deafness, Lopez quickly showed her adopted dad she possessed gifts. Through observation, she could do anything from learning to play an incredibly complicated concerto to executing a physically demanding series of gymnastic maneuvers.

Despite the Odds, Love Found

Knowing Matt Murdock’s alter ego, Kingpin sent Maya to him, encouraging her to discover if he can be considered a good man. Despite Fisk’s warnings to her, Lopez finds herself thinking Murdock does indeed seem good. Moreover, she discovered herself falling in love with him and he with her.

Alter Egos Clash

While Murdock and Lopez fell in love, Echo hunted Daredevil. Having studied footage of fights including DD and Bullseye battles, the young woman quickly asserted herself as the Guardian Devil’s hand-to-hand combat equal. That, combined with her element of surprise, more than gave her the edge.

Worlds Collide

With Matt’s double identity revealed by their fight, Maya hds to confront the reality that the man she spent years thinking killed her father did not and the man that told her that did. Despite knowing the truth, she could not bring herself to stay with Murdock, so she shot Kingpin and ran off to be alone.

Nothing Stays the Same

Feeling back in control of herself, Lopez returned to NYC to find Matt involved with Milla Donovan and Kingpin still very much alive. Realizing she came back too soon, Maya underwent a vision quest, finding that her spirit animal looks a whole lot like a certain short, ill-tempered Canadian mutant.

An Avenger in Disguise

At peace and ready to be a hero, Echo gladly joined the Avengers after Daredevil recommended her, becoming the first person to don the Ronin identity and costume. In this new guise, she aided the Avengers in exposing the Skrulls hidden amongst the population and helped end the Secret Invasion.

Go West Young Lady

At some point after, Lopez made Los Angeles her new home, a choice that put her in the path of a Moon Knight who appears to be actively hallucinating that Spider-Man, Captain American, and Wolverine have also joined him in a team-up to take down Count Nefaria and his west coast gang. Despite her concerns with his mental state, she broke her cover and aligned with the lunar warrior.

A Life Interrupted

Eventually the Count could not ignore Moon Knight and Echo any longer. Confronting and attacking them as they cleaned out yet another one of his hideouts, he gave them no choice but to fight. A momentary shift in the battle exposed Lopez and Nefaria took advantage, seemingly killing her before MK’s very eyes.

But if she died then…who’s reminding Hornhead of her in DAREDEVIL ANNUAL #1? Find out June 3!

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