Kingpin #4

 Title: Kingpin
 Posted: 2004
 Staff: John Edathil (E-Mail)


Wilson Fisk, the rapidly ascending Kingpin, continued on his path to running New York by aligning himself against the Five Families mayoral candidate and with the opposition, Senator Miles Clennon, the ex-husband of...

Portia Clennon, who nursed Fisk's former lieutenant, Lou Rocko, back to health. Her agenda: get back at her husband by publishing a book on New York's underworld, a book that requires Rocko as a source. His agenda: revenge on Fisk for leaving him to die at the hands of Fisk's uber-gang.

Mired in all of this intrigue is Spider-Man, New York red and blue, waiting in the wings to take Fisk down.

Story Details

  Kingpin #4
Summary: Spider-Man Appears
Editor: Warren Simons
Writer: Bruce Jones
Pencils: Sean Phillips
Inker: Klaus Janson

The issue opens with Mayoral Candidate Myles Clennon addressing the rise in crime and promising to take back the city. When asked about the political link to Cosa Nostra, Clennon turns it around on opponent Tony Biancho, claiming he doesn't appreciate that ethnic sterotype.

After throwing out one of Rocko's floozies, Portia looks at a photo of Jersey crime patriarch Don Jimmy Sanguino and his late nephew, Carlo. Rocko states his intention to align himself with Don Sangiuno, offering information on Fisk in exchange. After all, it's not who does the hit, it's who initiates the contract.

Clennon is propositioned by reporter Candace Chung, and then walks back into the stable, where he finds his ally, Wilson Fisk. Fisk requests one million dollars to kidnap the son of Clennon's political opponent, Tony Bianco.

Don Sangunio, after Sunday services, is offered the condolences of the other families. He gets a call on his cell phone (!) from Portia, who dangles the possibility of inside information. Her bath-mate, Rocko, is enjoying champagne with her.

At the Bugle, Peter Parker asks Robbie for information regarding the Kingpin. Robbie claims that the idea of the "Kingpin" is just a old gimmick used to sell newspapers and that the five families are the ones who run the show.

Fisk calls Clennon, who's at a party, encouraging him to advance the money for the kidnapping, claiming it will bury Bianco politically, who would seem unable to keep tabs on his son, let alone an entire city. At the party, Clennon sees two people about to make love, while Fisk and his lieutenant, Gino Ferzini, murder Candace Chung.

While in bed with Rocko, Portia gets a call from her stablehand informant, Burke, that Fisk and Clennon are allies. At the crime scene, a crooked cop calls Don Sanguino and tells him it was a pro hit, as we find out the reporter was a one of Sanguino's spies. Rocko recommends that they go to Sanguino with the information so he can put hits on Fisk and Clennon.

Back at the Clennon Stables, someone shoots Burke, the "deaf" stablehand."

Gradon Bianchi, son of the mayoral candidate, sits reluctantly with his father's gangland cronies and bodyguards, when someone shoots the driver from a distance and the car crashes into a tree. The other bodyguards are killed, when Fisk rips the car door off its hinges and extends his kidnapping hand to his target.

General Comments

Here's where it gets baffling. Not the story, mind you, it semms pretty simple once you read it a couple of times. What confuses the issue are the holes in what seems to be a by-the-numbers crime story.

The cell phones totally confused the issue of the time frame of this story. Suddenly, a tale that fit well into the 60s is forced into at least the 80s. Even if the story is supposed to be atemporal, this development alone is jarring to the flow of time in the story. Just how much time has passed since the start of the story? It didn't seem that long at all.

And Candace Chung identifies herself as a newspaper reporter, but is talked about as a television reporter? Which is she? Even if she's both, I guess it doesn't matter as her character is quickly offed without any kind of reaction from the reader.

The Kingpin character is still written fairly well, as the rising underworld leader who's three to ten steps ahead of his competition. But everyone else seems to be some sort of mob stereotype. The young buck out for revenge, the femme fatale/Mrs. Robinson, the stereotypical politicians, etc. What previously seemed innovative and new now seems someone stale and overexposed.

The art still looks good, though, I'll give it that.

Overall Rating

Sounds about right. Bruce Jones has lost track of all of his details as well as the time setting of his story. Politics as usual and crime by numbers do not an interesting story make.

 Title: Kingpin
 Posted: 2004
 Staff: John Edathil (E-Mail)