Published November 21, 2017

Defenders: Reaching for the Throne

Run down a speculative list of the potential next Kingpin of Crime!

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New York City has been rocked by the unexpected election of Mayor Wilson Fisk. And, as seen in DEFENDERS, the criminal world has already witnessed the bloody consequences of the power vacuum left in his quest to go legit.

On December 20 in DEFENDERS #8, writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist David Marquez line up a host of crime bosses and villains to take Fisk’s place on the underbelly throne of the Big Apple. And as more bad guys join the fray, the situation becomes more explosive every moment.

To potentially help defuse this budding gang war, we have collected a list of potential Kingpins who may be worthy—or just insane enough—to take the mantle.

Black Cat
Felicia Hardy—after long playing both sides of the law—has firmly tipped over into the bad side in recent months. Besides being driven by a deep desire to humiliate the Wallcrawler because of Doc Ock’s actions as Superior Spider-Man, Black Cat has also been grooming herself as a gangland figure in the pages of POWER MAN AND IRON FIST and PATSY WALKER, A.K.A. HELLCAT.

The shape-shifting villain has decided that he wants to be a big time player recently. And with the ability to look like anyone, a gift for manipulation, and a burning desire to up his reputation, Chameleon may very well be looking to settle scores and dominate the world of crime now that the door looks open.

A life-long henchman, Hammerhead has nonetheless shown a newfound desire to be taken more seriously and to take control of his own destiny after suffering a brain injury via a few adamantium bullets. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to imagine he might have grown tired of taking small steps to the top and instead take a leap ahead.

The Answer
Look past the garish costume and realize that The Answer does two things very well: come up with the right power for the most dangerous situations—and survive. To be a crime lord, being unpredictable (he has no set powers, just access to abilities when they seem most needed) as well as being hard to kill can be an ideal combination.

Often power vacuums bring in outside players and the prospect of a vulnerable New York just might be too tempting a prize to pass up for the international set. This could be especially true for Ecstasy, who has been marching across Europe seizing—and then losing—power in various cities for years now. Add in her formerly symbiotic relationship with Cloak and she might well decide that a new metropolis to rule might be a very good reason to get a new stamp on her passport.

Mr. Negative
Despite setbacks and defeats, Mr. Negative remains free. Loose from the burden of his double life as a philanthropist, he might also be a bit bored and looking to maximize his time undertaking criminal endeavors. His ability to corrupt others also makes building an army of support an easy task, so no matter when he enters the fight, he can get the support he needs to make a successful coup.

A criminal since birth, Tombstone has known the rush of breaking the law at nearly every level, from teen miscreant to right hand man. He recently found himself in the midst of a gang war in the pages of POWER MAN AND IRON FIST and may well be looking for a chance at a second round. And the prize of ruling all crime throughout the five boroughs would only sweeten that idea.

While it has been a bit since Punisher’s most tenacious enemies made a big move, Billy Russo has long established himself as a bad penny that turns up at the worst moments. With a track record of surviving the most terrifying vigilante in the Marvel Universe and the arrogance to believe he deserves to be followed, Jigsaw fits the new Kingpin mold nicely.

The Hood
He once succeeded in bringing together a group of super villains in a coalition, despite his powers being violently unreliable. Parker Robbins has since been in hiding, but with a seemingly natural talent for leadership and some time away from the game to ensure he has stronger hold of his abilities, he can be a scary participant in this nightmare.

The Owl
Leland Owsley has long dwelled in Kingpin’s shadow, as both a possible gang lord and as a Daredevil antagonist. What better way to prove himself as Fisk’s equal—if not superior—than to seize control and crush the Defenders along the way?

He has already brutalized the DefendersIron Fist in particular. He should be in custody, but we all know that these criminal types have ways of manipulating the action from afar and, in the Marvel Universe, everyone stands just one prison break away from running the streets again.

Writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist David Marquez present DEFENDERS #8 on December 20!