Who the Clix? is a series of articles featuring information on comic book characters that have been made into figures for the popular tabletop game Heroclix. These articles are meant to help Heroclix players learn more about the characters behind their favorite pieces.
Today we look at the on again, off again King of New York crime: The Kingpin
Appearances in Heroclix: Avengers/Defenders War, Superior Foes of Spider-Man, Deadpool, Hammer of Thor, Universe, Infinity Challenge
First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #50
Team Affiliations: HYDRA, The Hand, Emissaries of Evil
Powers/Abilities: Criminal mastermind/tactician; Peak human strength and durability; Highly skilled martial artist and hand-to-hand combatant; Use of a laser gun-equipped cane and a hollow ornamental diamond stick-pin filled with sleeping gas
Created By: Stan Lee and John Romita Sr.
As a young boy, Wilson Fisk is ruthlessly bullied in his hometown of New York City due to his obesity. Fisk begins training himself in hand to hand combat and is soon able to intimidate his former tormentors into joining his gang. He is eventually discovered by the crime lord Don Rigoletto and becomes the Don’s bodyguard and right-hand man. Fisk eventually kills Don Rigoletto and takes control of his criminal empire, instantly becoming one of the most powerful figures in New York’s underworld.
Kingpin has a long tenure in his new role and makes many enemies, such as the Maggia crime syndicate and HYRDA. The two groups eventually team up against Fisk and drive him to flee to Japan. Once there he starts a spice business to rebuild his wealth. Once he has enough money, Fisk returns to New York and starts several gang wars. This succeeds in destabilizing the Maggia and allows Fisk to step in and take control.
Fisk attempts to unite the New York mobs once he hears that Spider-Man is no longer active. Fisk orders the abduction of J. Jonah Jameson only be foiled by Spider-Man. Beginning to understand what must be done to survive, Fisk poses as a legitimate businessman and makes donations to several charities to throw off any suspicion of his true nature. He eventually meets and marries the love of his life Vanessa, with whom he has a son, Richard Fisk. Vanessa was unaware of Fisk’s criminal activities when they were married and threatens to leave him when she finds out. Fisk retires from crime and moves back to Japan with his wife and son.
Richard Fisk does not learn of his father’s criminal activities until he is in college. Once he graduates, Richard tells his parents that he intends to travel through Europe. A few months after he leaves, they learn that Richard, who is angry after learning the truth about his father, has died in a skiing accident. This is simply a ruse, however, and Richard begins to masquerade as a crime lord called the Schemer, determined to topple his father as the kingpin of crime. Richard is ultimately unsuccessful in this endeavor. Fisk is temporarily the manager and director of HYDRA’s Las Vegas faction. Fisk eventually divests himself of his criminal empire after unsuccessfully trying to kill Spider-Man one last time.
Kingpin agrees to turn over his files to the authorities thereby incriminating his former lieutenants. Vanessa is then kidnapped by these lieutenants and they then put a contract out on his life. After Fisk sees what appears to be Vanessa’s murder, he returns to a life of crime. He takes back control of the New York mobs and promises to keep the East Coast stable which keeps the Midwestern crime lords happy. This allows Kingpin the time and space to grow. It is during this time that Kingpin gains Bullseye’s loyalty by promising steady work. The files are eventually taken by Daredevil and is encouraged by the Kingpin to turn him over to the police so that Kingpin can replace the traitorous crime lords that much quicker. Daredevil does not do this in hopes that it will impede the Kingpin’s plans.
Kingpin eventually maneuvers Daredevil into battling the Hand. Kingpin also hires Elektra as an assassin to murder Daredevil. Daredevil finds Vanessa alive but with amnesia. He returns her to Kingpin in exchange for the criminal abandoning a ploy to promote a mayoral candidate in order to have power in the mayor’s office. Kingpin sends Elektra to kill Foggy Nelson only for her to fail and be killed by Bullseye.
Kingpin eventually learns Daredevil’s secret identity from information passed on by Karen Page. Kingpin then uses his resources to destroy Murdock’s civilian and professional life. Pleased with how well his plans work, Kingpin becomes increasingly obsessed with Daredevil. This leads to him having Ben Urich and several policement assaulted as well as sending Nuke into Hell’s Kitchen. Nuke proves to be the tipping point, however, as Kingpin’s involvement is revealed. Though he does not serve any prison time, Wilson Fisk’s reputation is decimated.
The Black Cat, who is dating Spider-Man, seeks out the Kingpin. She fears that her lack of power will make her a liability to her new beau and so pays Fisk to have scientists give her powers. Unbeknownst to her, the scientists provide her with “bad luck” powers that protect her in battle but ultimately curse anyone that stays near her for too long. Kingpin hopes that this will lead to Spider-Man’s death but it ultimately simply leads to the Black Cat and Spider-Man breaking up. It is during this time that the same scientists create the super-villains the Answer and the Spot.
Fisk rehires Bullseye to investigate a drug war in New York city. Kingpin survives an assassination attempt by Crossbones and retaliates by sending Bullseye to kill the Red Skull. The attempt fails and Kingpin instead battles and defeats the Red Skull in personal combat.
Kingpin then begins his own cable television station after partnering with what he believes to be a Texas millionaire. The millionaire is actually bait planted by HYDRA. Daredevil learns of this ruse from Nick Fury and spreads the information through the criminal underworld, claiming that Kingpin has become a HYDRA stooge. HYDRA then steals the vast majority of Kingpin’s assets, bombs his many businesses and sends a helicopter gunship in an attack on his skyscraper offices. The leads to the Kingpin’s indictment on federal charges. Kingpin is bailed out of jail by a rival that intends to blackmail Fisk into becoming an errand boy. This drives Fisk over the edge and causes him to snap, killing his rival and becoming a fugitive.
Kingpin returns to Japan to rebuild his empire once more and battles the X-Men as well as convincing Maya Lopez that Daredevil killed her father. Once this is done he returns to New York. Daredevil is able to convince Maya of the truth, however, and Lopez blinds Kingpin. After these several defeats, Kingpin eventually loses his criminal empire to an employee by the name of Samuel Silke. Silke is aided in this coup by Fisk’s own son, Richard. After all this, Vanessa kills her own son and flees the country with what remains of Fisk’s wealth while Kingpin recuperates in an eastern-European country.
Kingpin is eventually given an eye transplant that restores his sight. Kingpin returns and confronts Silke before crushing his rival’s skull. Fisk is almost able to regain his empire but is defeated by Daredevil before the hero declares himself the new Kingpin of crime. Fisk is then imprisoned.
While in prison, Fisk is constantly under assault from his many enemies including the Hand and HYDRA. Determined to free himself, he hatches a plan using the fictitious “Murdock Papers” to prove to the FBI that Matt Murdock is Daredevil. He is able to manipulate the FBI into injuring Daredevil and then threatens Ben Urich to give up the Night Nurse or be imprisoned. His machinations finally come to fruition resulting in Murdock’s arrest. The FBI double cross him, however, and places Kingpin into the same jail in hopes that the two will kill each other. The two form a temporary alliance that is destroyed by their escape plan. Bullseye attempts to shoot Daredevil only to hit Kingpin in the knee while Murdock is able to escape.
Fisk offers information about Captain America’s Resistance base to Iron Man during the super-hero civil war. While Fisk does this to gain a reduced sentence, the collaboration endangers Fisk’s status in prison and so the criminal betrays him. Kingpin then puts a hit out on Peter Parker who has just recently revealed that he is Spider-Man. This results in Aunt May being hit by a sniper’s bullet intended for Peter. This pushes Peter to assault Kingpin in his cell and leave him badly wounded. He chooses to let Kingpin live with the humiliation of his defeat but vows to return and kill him if May dies.
Murdock clears his name before returning to the United States and honoring Vanessa Fisk’s dying wish. He takes Fisk’s case and gets all charges against him dropped. In return, Fisk leaves the country, gives up his American citizenship and agrees to end his vendetta with Daredevil. This process takes long enough that Fisk is unable to attend Vanessa’s funeral. He visits her grave before returning to New York, intent on tying up some loose ends.
Fisk later meets with the Runaways and reveals that he knew and respected their villainous parents. He makes a deal with them: they will secure a mysterious object for him in exchange for protection from the government. The Runaways refuse to give the device to him, however, after they learn of the device’s origins. This is all later revealed to be an elaborate ruse in order to get the Runaways to travel through time.
Kingpin learns that Aunt May continues to live and decides to send a hitman after Mary Jane’s Aunt Anna. This attempt is foiled by both Spider-Man and Mary Jane, however.
After all of this, Kingpin moves to a small Spanish fishing village where he meets and falls in love with a young mother of two named Marta. He finds himself overcoming his old criminal urges until he comes home one day to find Marta and the children murdered by Lady Bullseye. Lady Bullseye and the Hand ninjas with her then brutally attacks Kingpin. Kingpin frees the Owl and recruits him to help take revenge against the Hand by taking over the organization. He is thwarted by Daredevil once again, who takes leadership of the Hand for himself.
Kingpin forms an alliance with Lady Bullseye to destroy Daredevil. He has Lady Bullseye frame Daredevil for the murder of two police which causes Norman Osborn to lead Bullseye in revenge. Though this does not succeed, Kingpin remains undeterred. Kingpin resurrects Ghost Rider and informs other heroes of Daredevil’s actions after constructing Shadowland. Once Daredevil is defeated, Kingpin takes Shadowland for himself along with the Hand and returns to his former glory.
Kingpin has several run ins with Spider-Man after this. He also is attacked by the Superior Spider-Man and can recognize that something is different. He fakes his own death to avoid further retaliation from Spider-Man.
Kingpin hosts a viewing part for the final incursion at the Bar with No Name. It is ended by Punisher and his large supply of bullets.
After the secret war on Battleworld and restoration of the Multiverse, Fisk is among a group of venture capitalists that seeks to exploit the Ten Realms of Asgard. A new Jackal sends a revived Rhino to recruit the Kingpin to his grand conspiracy. As a peace offering, Rhino brings a revived Vanessa Fisk. Angered by this gesture, Kingpin snaps Vanessa’s neck and states plainly that it is not his wife. Though Spider-Man does not forgive Kingpin, the Kingpin seeks to repay a long lost debt by giving the hero information on the new Jackal and Norman Osborn.
During Secret Empire, Kingpin is trapped in a Darkforce enclosed Manhattan. He exhibits more heroic behavior in the past and even helps the other heroes retake the Sanctum Sanctorum.