Comics Reviews

Marvel’s Kingpin Is Stealing Lex Luthor’s Best Move


Kingpin is seeking the Presidency, but instead of running fair like Lex Luthor, he’s using mind control to do it.

Kingpin for President. That has a certain ring to it, doesn’t it? No?

Given this is comics, implausible doesn’t mean impossible. In Marvel’s four-color world, Wilson Fisk has as much a chance of becoming President as Reed Richards. Honestly, the crime boss probably has an even higher probability of rising to America’s highest office. He’s held office already and has executive experience, after all. What’s Richards going to say? “I once nearly killed the people closest to me with an unauthorized space mission” doesn’t feel like the best slogan.

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Still, Fisk seems to agree that his chances of victory are thin. Despite confidently striding into the political arena and already securing the most famous mayorship in the country, the Kingpin remains unconvinced of his odds. So he’s going to “fix” those odds with the help of Killgrave, the Purple Man.

Killgrave’s unique abilities allow him to control the thoughts and actions of others. Some victims retain an ability to have independent thoughts, but even they can do little more than give in to the eggplant-hued puppet master pulling their strings. That kind of power can undoubtedly prove a tremendous resource in a political campaign. Even one doomed to fail suddenly becomes a genuine possibility with Purple Man handling your get-out-the-vote committee.


If Kingpin pulls off his gambit, it’ll be impressive. However, it will not be the first time a super villain has ascended to the leader of the free world. In recent history, Lex Luthor became President of DC’s United States. And unlike Wilson Fisk, Luthor did it the old-fashioned way: party platforms, mudslinging, leaked ad hominem attacks, and the occasional misleading statement to the press.

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The difference in their approaches has more to do with just confidence in the results either. While both egos of monstrous size motivate both, their aims differ drastically. For all of Luthor’s hatred of Superman and desire to be above the law, a belief that he could improve things drove his Presidential bid. Yes, he also wanted to profit and grind his enemies under his boot. But Luthor’s particular vision of himself is as a hero of humanity, and being President was to be an extension of that proverbial brand.


Fisk, by comparison, seems to have little in mind beyond punishing those he hates. His plan to become President is born of the same drives that led him to become New York City’s most feared and most powerful crime lord. Kingpin has always hungered for control and respectability, often in equal measure. Luthor validates his craving for power by wrapping it in a false belief about his ability to elevate humanity. Fisk doesn’t delude himself, but he’d like everyone else to think he’s doing it for the right reasons.

Kingpin’s campaign promises belie this reality. Luthor’s run was built off a truly good thing. While no doubt motivated by his own twisted desires, Lex was instrumental in Gotham City becoming recognized as part of the United States again. While the previous administration had left the City for dead when it declared it excised from the country, Luthor had publicly provided tremendous funding to help rebuild it from its No Man’s Land rock bottom.


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On the other hand, Kingpin has already demonstrated his campaign revolves around one big vendetta. After Daredevil erased everyone’s knowledge of his secret identity — with the help of Purple Man’s children — Fisk has been left with an empty file to mock him. He knows it once contained the truth of DD’s alter ego, but now its blank pages are an ongoing reminder that the Man Without Fear outmaneuvered him.

To hurt Hornhead in the same way, Fisk plans to use the Presidency so, in essence, outlaw all super heroes. While he talks a great patter about why this is necessary — the cost of rebuilding after superpowered throwdowns, the risk to citizens — no part of Fisk actually cares. This is a Presidential bid motivated by selfishness and spite.


If Luthor’s time as President ended in scandal and disaster with an illegal intergalactic arms deal and Lex shooting himself full of a Kryptonian steroid, imagine where this Presidency could go. That super villain Presidency with some small measure of interest in making things better imploded so disastrously. Will the United States survive one fueled by mind control that only exists to settle old scores?

KEEP READING: Marvel’s Kingpin Proves Once Again Why The Most Dangerous ‘Superpower’ Is Politics

Nightwing, Bruce Wayne, Superman, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman star on this week's DC Comics covers.

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