Devil’s Reign, the true urban dimension of the Marvel Universe

Devil’s Reign, the true urban dimension of the Marvel Universe

Devil’s Reign

Marvel and New York have always had a symbiotic relationship. Either because the headquarters of the House of Ideas is in the center of the Big Apple, or because most of its first characters took their first steps in the streets of the most famous metropolis in the world. The reasons may be various, but it is undeniable that New York's streets have been the scene of the most beloved adventures, of the great tragedies of Marvel's heroes, especially when we go to touch the context of urban heroes, those superheroes strongly linked to their territoriality. Characters who often remain in the shadows, while readers get lost in the great galactic sagas such as Secret Wars or in epochal events such as Secret Empire or Civil War, but who have recently been the absolute protagonists of Devil's Reign, a maxi-event that right in the New York dimension has its essence.

When it comes to urban heroes, Cornetto, dear old Daredevil, leads these heroes. Since his birth, Matt Murdock has been rooted in his Hell's Kitchen, which remains so in his heart even now that urban redevelopment has renamed that Manhattan Clinton quadrilateral, hoping to erase its slum past. It is not surprising, therefore, that Devil's Regin is developed precisely on the figure of Daredevil and, of course, of his historical nemesis. Understanding how fundamental this sense of belonging is for the Guardian Devil and how much it is for the Kingpin, albeit in a different way, is essential to better understand the essence of Devil's Reign. Both sons of popular and proletarian neighborhoods, the two have always seen the protection of their neighborhood as a task close to the crusade, against crime for Cornetto, against criminal rivals for Wilson Fisk, reaching the conquest of the summit at any cost. While one struggles in the alleys, the other makes his way through the bad, with violence or corruption, until the final move: to become mayor. It seems impossible? No, indeed the construction of this event has been studied not only by relying on the recent history of Daredevil and the Marvel Universe, but also on the complex relationship that New Yorkers have always had with their mayor.

Devil's Reign is the maxi event of Daredevil that shows the strength of the urban dimension of the Marvel Universe

Urban Heroes and New York, a symbiotic relationship Road to Devil's Reign Devil's Regin is not only Daredevil

Urban Heroes and New York, a symbiotic relationship

Carlo del Grande makes a precise summary in his introduction to the volume Devil's Reign: Fisk's Fist, where he explains with particular accuracy this relationship of dependence between New Yorkers and the mayor, recalling figures such symbols of revenge in difficult times. And who better than a symbol of hope, of strength in dark times, can become the strong name to lead the city? Question that becomes the force with which Wilson Fisk, after the events of Secret Empire, in which he guided citizenship in his own way through a dark moment (literally!), Using the presence of the false Cap as proof that the superheroes, his eternals rivals, are actually a danger. Having reached victory by becoming mayor, he wasted no time in transforming super-criminals into criminals, with a series of laws that undermine their operation, with a particular target: Daredevil.

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Added to this is Daredevil's role as a lawyer, who in his daily identity of Matt Murdock is a lawyer. Intriguing combination, aggravated by his morality strongly influenced by the rigorous Catholic education that led him to develop a particular relationship between guilt and punishment, between the need to intervene and a sense of responsibility. All elements used to the best by Zdarsky in pulling the strings of the last years of the editorial life of Daredevil to give life to his Devil's Reign.

Road to Devil's Reign

During his stay in San Francisco, during the Samnee run, after everyone has known for some time that Daredevil and Matt Murdock were the same person, Matt understands how his double identity so public is a danger to people close to him, thus accepting an offer made to him. from the Purple Children: making everyone forget that Daredevil is Matt Murdock. The end of a cycle, which you can read in the volume A devil in San Francisco, which takes us back to a status quo ante, where the good Matt returns to his New York, starting a career as a district attorney, guided by the pen before Charles Soule (who has a real history as a lawman!) and then as Chip Zdarsky. Hard period, in which Matt has to deal with the rise of Kingpin as mayor of New York, thanks to the aforementioned leading figure of the city exercised during the Secre Empire, moving in a delicate balance between compliance with the laws and the desire to circumvent them in order to be able to use what discovered thanks to his role as a vigilante, such as the presence of electoral fraud. The last two years of Matt's life, however, have been characterized by moments of great emotion, such as the construction of a new crime formed by the absence of Fisk as Kingpin, and some unconvincing passages, such as the appearance of the fake brother Mike. Murdoch, legacy of an old Cornetto era brought back to life with a questionable deus ex machina. All while Fisk embarked on his own crusade against New York superheroes.

The memories of Civil War remind us that it is not the first time that being a metahuman has become complex for superheroes. Contrary to the story of the Registration Act, here the urban dimension involves only the urban heroes, who find themselves having to face a no less lethal threat, considering that Kingpin does not hesitate to involve its own team of authorized agents, the infamous Thunderbolts, in charge to capture the recalcitrant heroes. But how does citizenship stand? Here Fisk apparently performs a miracle, coming to convince how superheroes are actually a threat, because they have always been irresponsible for their actions, an insistent voice that, thanks to past events, finds fertile ground, especially if a small incentive is used, such as the 'Purple Man.

Yet, the heroes decide not to give up. Despite recent personal hardships, Daredevil does not intend to give up, aided by his friends who try an unexpected plan: to run Cage for mayor, against Fisk. A fight on two fronts, political and heroic, a brilliant idea by Zdarsky who manages to find the right compromise to bring about a closure of a cycle for Daredevil and impart a compelling freshness to the Marvelian urban context.

Devil's Regin is not just Daredevil

Although we cannot deny the pre-eminence of the figure of the Cornetto in the events of Devil's Reign, the event orchestrated by Zdarsky is a choral story in which the personal story of the Devil Custode is a key element to highlight a more complex dynamic. This is evidenced by the presence of two parallel publications, such as La Donna Senza Fear (a mini in three parts dedicated to Elektra in the role of a Daredevil sui generis) and Devil's Reign - The Fist of Fisk (in which some short stories help to better understand this event complex). The importance of Zdarsky's cycle lies in having created the first urban maxi-event, in which an often ignored side of Marvel's comics, that is the city's root force linked to New York, finally finds full vitality. Skilfully exploiting what Soules previously told, the construction of a dimension that was more linked to the juridical and social nature typical of Daredevil, it was decided to concretize these different narrative lines sketched previously, leading them to a conclusion that it was both the end of a cycle, which a potential starting point not only for Daredevil, but for all urban heroes.

Which despite the defeat of Fisk they have not really won, considering that despite having become mayor of the Grande Apple, Luke Cage still has to live with a legal system that enormously limits superheroes on city soil. The legacy of Devil's Reign is not only a new future for Daredevil, who embarks on a crusade against the Hand alongside his beloved Elektra, but also a new city order that represents an interesting insight into how the lives of New York Marvel heroes could change. .

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