With Wilson Fisk out of the picture, Matt Murdock once took over the mantle of the Kingpin, making Daredevil one of the most feared men in Marvel.
In a strange sense, Daredevil and the Kingpin complete each other. While Wilson Fisk runs New York’s crime scene, Matt Murdock fights this crime. Murdock and Fisk serve as two opposing forces in a never-ending war. However, this whole dynamic shifted when Daredevil became the new Kingpin of Crime.
Murdock’s coup of Hell’s Kitchen came in Daredevil #50 by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev. By this point, Daredevil’s epic rivalry with The Kingpin was coming to a head. Fisk was recently sent to Europe, recovering from an assassination attempt set up by his son, Richard. Returning to New York, the Kingpin aimed to reclaim his title from those who had betrayed him. Daredevil, in the meantime, had been publicly exposed as Matt Murdock by the Daily Globe. While Murdock fought these allegations in court, as they had no substantial proof, Daredevil’s secret was out.
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Taking advantage of this predicament, Fisk framed Murdock for murder, also sending Typhoid Mary and Bullseye after Daredevil and his loved ones. After overcoming these obstacles, the Man Without Fear decided that he’d had enough. Daredevil came after Fisk, just as the Kingpin was about to reconsolidate his power. The two foes got into their most brutal physical confrontation yet, ending with Daredevil beating the Kingpin within an inch of his life. Murdock tossed Fisk into Josie’s Bar, declaring a new day for Hell’s Kitchen. If the people of the city needed a Kingpin, he was going to claim the title. Daredevil told all criminals to either get out of Hell’s Kitchen or clean up their act.
Most of the underworld in Hell’s Kitchen listened, either cleaning up or clearing out. Still, some criminals needed more persuasion to change. To set an example, Daredevil went on a six-week crusade against crime in Hell’s Kitchen. Afterward, Murdock essentially gave up his life as Daredevil, since there was no real crime to stop. Murdock spent the next year making Hell’s Kitchen a better place. Using the money from his lawsuit against the Daily Globe, Matt renovated his neighborhood. Matt’s girlfriend, Milla Donovan, was especially helpful in this regard, distributing the funds to all the right institutions in Hell’s Kitchen. Secretly, Matt and Milla got married, cementing the former Daredevil’s happiness. Matt was doing so well that he was even asked to run for mayor.
Of course, this rapid change did not sit well with New York’s other superheroes. Federal agencies were paying much closer attention to Marvel’s heroes, placing them under an unwanted spotlight. Additionally, all of the crime in Hell’s Kitchen was simply moving to other areas, making things worse for places like Queens. Although they attempted to confront Matt about this, heroes like Spider-Man, Luke Cage, Reed Richards, and Doctor Strange couldn’t get him to listen to reason. The other heroes’ concerns were validated once the Yakuza made their move on Hell’s Kitchen. Seeing this area as ripe for the taking, the Yakuza ambushed Matt in the middle of the street. Matt put up a good fight, but he was overtaken by this horde of fighters, barely making it out alive. Ben Urich, Daredevil’s longtime ally, tracked Matt down to the Night Nurse’s facility.
Once there, Urich showed great concern for Murdock, suspecting that Matt had suffered a nervous breakdown after the death of Karen Page. Matt shrugged these worries off, however, opting to go after the Yakuza instead. While Matt was recovering, the Yakuza was causing mayhem in the streets of Hell’s Kitchen. Seeking help for the first time in a while, Murdock approached Luke Cage.
Suiting up as Daredevil once again, Murdock worked with Cage, Spider-Man, and Iron Fist to take down the Yakuza. Following this bombastic battle, Daredevil realized how much of a mess he’d made, working to make up for his mistakes. Matt continued as Daredevil, running the streets of Hell’s Kitchen until Daredevil #81 by Bendis and Maleev, when he was sent to prison. While his reign was rather short-lived, Daredevil became a very different Kingpin than Wilson Fisk.
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