Most Terrifying Villains: The Kingpin

October is meant to be filled with ghouls, goblins and other scary things, so I figured it would be a great time to start a new series here on Senpai Project. Most Terrifying Villains will take a look at villains from comics and video games and try to help explain why these evil doers are to be feared.


Wilson Fisk confessing to journalist Sarah Dewey (Source: Marvel Entertainment)

Today let’s talk about a villain from the Marvel Universe who goes by the name of the Kingpin. This behind the scenes type of bad guy has been doing wrong since his first appearance in 1964, but what makes the Kingpin so scary? How does an unpowered human become a threat to the likes of Daredevil and Spider-Man? In this Most Terrifying Villains, I aim to answer those questions and more!


The Kingpin speaking with his contacts (Source: Marvel Entertainment)

Underestimated Intellect


Wilson Fisk grew up in the New York area as a chunky boy that experienced plenty of bullying. Fisk hated growing up as the underling of others and began his venture to power at a young age. He became interested in Sumo wrestling and similar types of combat to gain strength and when he wasn’t training he was reading books that he had stolen. Wilson Fisk understood that if he did not want to be treated as someone's henchmen, then he had to have henchmen of his own.


When Fisk was just a teenager, he gathered others to help him accomplish sinister tasks in the city. He had committed his first murder at the age of 12 and received the nickname of Kingpin by the age of 15. The Kingpin persona became Wilson’s legacy as his criminal activity began to grow with his age.

The Mob Meeting before Kingpin's Rule (Source: Marvel Entertainment)

Later in life, the Kingpin developed the underground crime scene by taking it from others like the Maggia Crime Syndicate. The Maggias were an Italian mob that was run by a man named, Silvermane. In his old age, Silvermane became sloppy and went to jail for tax evasion which left his criminal empire free for the taking. After the Kingpin proved that he could outwit his opposition, every underground crime group began to follow suit.


Wilson Fisk throwing Spider-Man (Source: Marvel Entertainment)

Unseen Power


Wilson Fisk is many things to many people. He is charitable but ruthless. He is kind but angry. The Kingpin only lets you see what he wants you to see. Keeping his hands relatively clean, he compartmentalizes all parts of his criminal organization. Other people are running his business adventures, his drug trafficking network, and his small crime groups. All of these things operate under the single man, but you would never know it. The Kingpin won’t even send you a message in person. As we see in the iconic Daredevil: Born Again storyline, the Kingpin warns reporter Ben Urich through a Daily Bugle janitor.


Ben Urich is threatened (Source: Marvel Entertainment)

The massive build that Fisk possess is not even what most perceive it to be. His body contains pure muscle from his consistent training. He is often training with multiple sparring partners at the same time. He maintains the build of a sumo wrestler, and because of the pure muscle, he can go toe-to-toe with some of the greatest Marvel superheroes.


Wilson and Vanessa Fisk (Source: Marvel Entertainment)

Ruined Love


After some time working in the crime business, the Kingpin retired to Japan. He met a beautiful woman named Vanessa with whom he had connected with her through culture and art. Vanessa asked that he give up the life of crime to be with her.


The Kingpin returns to New York (Source: Marvel Entertainment)

In Daredevil #170, we see that the Kingpin has been working as a spice seller. He continues to train his body but is no longer involved with the criminal activity in New York. He does, however, have evidence on the other New York crime lords. Enough evidence to put them all away for a long time. Vanessa flies to New York to help Fisk clear his name, and break all ties to his old life. Unfortunately, she barely has a chance to speak to her lawyers, Nelson and Murdock, before she is kidnapped by the mob. The kidnapping sparks a Kingpin rampage. The Kingpin threatens every last criminal in New York for taking his wife.


During a trade gone wrong, the Kingpin runs to Vanessa moments before a building collapses on her leaving her for dead. As the police sirens are heard from the distance, the Kingpin vows to regain control over the underground.


The Kingpin Returns (Source: Marvel Entertainment)

The Modern Kingpin


This brings us to today’s Kingpin, a ruthless, powerful, and angry crime lord who will stop at nothing to gain more wealth. He embodies every starving businessman that is unable to prevent himself from taking more and more. The Kingpin is always shown at the head of every criminal meeting and still has his hands in multiple schemes.


The Kingpin is always one step ahead of some of our favorite heroes including Hawkeye and Spider-Man, but he is at his most sinister when he faces Daredevil. The Kingpin’s wit allows him to dodge every aspect of Matt Murdock’s skill kit. Fisk’s money helps in court with influential lawyers, and his brute strength can crush Daredevil’s attempts at hurting him. He has become one of Daredevil’s most significant threats and do you really want to interact with a criminal that is not afraid of the devil?


If you want to read more of the Kingpin check out the following comics:


  • Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #50-52

  • Daredevil (1964) #170-172

  • Daredevil “Born Again” (Daredevil #227 - 233)

  • Kingpin (2017) #1-5


What do you think of the Kingpin? What other villains would you like to see in “Most Terrifying Villains?” Let us know in the comments below.

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