Stories of superheroes and villains require a certain suspension of disbelief. Whether you’re reading about their actions in a comic book or watching them become larger than life on the screen, some feats are just impossible in everyday life. Fans of characters like Daredevil or his archenemy Kingpin know this going in. Sometimes, though, the suspension of disbelief required is just a little too much as a story doesn’t make sense or a plot hole causes problems.
In the case of the Kingpin, there are a few times story decisions make readers and viewers wonder if they missed something. When Kingpin debuted in Marvel Comics in the 1960s, it was as a Spider-Man villain. He slowly worked his way into Daredevil’s crosshairs as a corrupt businessman named Wilson Fisk. Most of his major story arcs are from the Daredevil comics, or spinoffs of the series. That’s also where he’s spent most of his time in live action.
Most recently, Kingpin, real name Wilson Fisk, made life difficult for Daredevil in the third season of the Netflix series. That’s where much of our analysis of the character stems from, so beware of spoilers if you haven’t finished the season. Despite his compelling characterization as a chess master of villainy, the Kingpin doesn’t always make the best decisions. We have to question just why he chooses the paths he does when he so carefully analyzes their outcomes.
We’ve pulled information from both comic books and the Marvel Cinematic Universe to bring you the 20 Things That Make No Sense About Daredevil's Kingpin.
20 He Has No Superpowers (But He's Extremely Strong)
It’s rare for a comic book character to have such staying power without any superpowers. (The exception, of course, is DC’s Batman.) Over the years, Kingpin has accumulated a few temporary powers thanks to accidents or other villains, but they never stick.
What really doesn't make sense is just how strong he is without any kind of artificial help.
The Kingpin’s strength on the page rivals that of some of the Avengers. He can lift pieces of furniture to toss them at his enemies, or crush a man’s skull between his hands with no help. Marvel’s various encyclopedic volumes remind us he can lift 1,500 pounds. His live action portrayals toned down his strength a bit. In Daredevil on Netflix, he was shown weight lifting with 500 pounds in a prison gym.
19 His Fix-It Plan Involves More Crime
Daredevil’s live action series on Netflix aimed to make Wilson Fisk a more sympathetic villain. In it, Fisk claims he just wants to make the city a better place. Wilson Fisk wants to clean up the streets, making it safer for people to live in Hell’s Kitchen again. Unfortunately for the people who actually live in Hell’s Kitchen, Fisk’s plan just puts them in even more danger.
Instead of outright “cleaning up the streets,” Fisk leads a group of criminals into bringing in even more crime. He runs substances and weapons through the city in order to make money. Fisk also hires thugs to intimidate people who don’t agree with them. He and his people litter Hell’s Kitchen with the bodies of his enemies. Bringing in more criminal activity seems like the worst way to get rid of the criminal element.
18 He’s A Match For Captain America
Despite Kingpin’s lack of physical enhancement in the comics, he’s a match for one of the most physically capable heroes of all time: Captain America. When Kingpin and Captain America met in the early comics, readers were in for a surprising matchup. At the time, Wilson Fisk had taken over the identity of a wealthy Hydra member and was hiding out in his apartment. Cap figured out who the villain was, and set out to take him on. However, much to Captain America’s surprise, Kingpin was a pretty even match.
In hand-to-hand combat, Kingpin’s reflexes were just as sharp as Cap’s. He was quick on his feet, and strong enough to land a few heavy hits on his own.
In fact, Kingpin got Captain America in a bearhug and brought the match to a stalemate. Captain America had to call in backup.
17 He Only Faces Daredevil On Screen
In the comics, much like the MCU, New York is a crowded stomping ground. On the page, Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Punisher, X-Men, Daredevil, Heroes for Hire, and more spend most of their time fighting bad guys in New York. On screen, we know the Avengers used to have their home base in New York. Spider-Man, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones, and Daredevil all call the state home.
In the Netflix corner of the MCU, only Daredevil captured Wilson Fisk’s attention. That’s likely because the attacks are so personal, but shouldn’t he have butted heads against another vigilante by now? After all, he tried take over Hell’s Kitchen for three years. At the end of The Defenders, Danny Rand promised to protect Daredevil’s pocket of New York as the Iron Fist. How did he not run afoul of anyone associated with Wilson Fisk?
16 His Special Safe Can Be Opened By Other Strong Characters
In the MCU, Kingpin has the supervillain trope of a secret lair in his home, but in the comics, he had a special safe. Not long after he made his comic book debut in 1967, just where Kingpin stored all of his files on fellow criminals and his organization was revealed. He didn’t have the flash drives or cloud storage we have today. Instead, he kept everything in a safe.
The door had no lock. Instead, it was created to be a specific weight - one only he was supposed to be able to move.
This is all well and good if Kingpin is the strongest man in the universe. However, it just so happened he wasn’t. Five years before he debuted, so did Hulk and the original Avengers lineup. Had he just not realized there were heroes stronger than him?
15 He Targets The Albanians
In season three of Daredevil, Kingpin has a lot of irons in the fire. Not only does he want to restore his public image, but he also wants to destroy Daredevil, discredit Matt Murdock, hurt Karen Page, and get his criminal empire back. That’s a lot to accomplish in a short period of time.
The first step we see him take on screen is to give up the Albanians. He gives information to Agent Ray Nadeem in exchange for a deal. That information dismantles the entire crime ring the Albanians have. What’s not clear is why he targets them first. It’s an oddly specific step in his plan that’s never explained. It also almost backfires on him. As a result of his actions, imprisoned Albanians help Matt Murdock escape a trip to prison.
14 A Head Shot Doesn’t End His Life
Despite his many criminal enterprises in the comics, Kingpin is also a family man. He takes Maya Lopez, the daughter of a former ally (and eventual Kingpin victim) under his protection as a child. Since she is deaf and unable to communicate well following the loss of her father, Fisk sends her to boarding school. Her ability to “echo” other’s movements turns her into a piano prodigy. As an adult, Fisk makes Maya believe that Daredevil was responsible for ending her father’s life, giving her something to focus on that benefits him. When Maya discovers the truth as the vigilante Echo, she sets out against Kingpin for revenge.
She shoots him point blank, right in the middle of his forehead, but he somehow survives the shot.
For a time, he’s blind as a result, but we’ll chalk this up to a comic book miracle.
13 He Compromised The FBI
Seasons one and two of Daredevil made it clear that Fisk used his incredible resources to buy police officers and prison guards. What we didn’t see in those seasons was much of an FBI connection.
By the time we reach the season three climax, Fisk controlled nearly his entire house arrest team. He clearly had to start at the top of the food chain with Agent Hattley, as she’s the one who deals with the agents he blackmails. What’s not clear is how he knew this particular group would be in charge, or if he just took a shot that enough people in the same office would be to his advantage. It’s amazing, and unlikely, that in such a short amount of time Fisk put the machinations in place to compromise almost an entire field office of FBI agents.
12 He Doesn’t Research Ultimate Spider-Man
The Ultimate Universe of Marvel Comics features a lot of the popular characters who fans know and love, but with whole new twists. The relationship between Kingpin and Spider-Man, however, largely remains the same. In this version of the story, Spider-Man is still a kid trying to do the right thing and make sure his corner of New York stays safe. The Kingpin still has his hands in as much criminal activity as possible.
He gets the chance early on in Spider-Man’s career to discover just who the hero is, but he doesn’t take it.
Kingpin’s thugs actually unmask Spider-Man during a fight, but everyone dismisses him as just a kid. Little did they know that the kid would become a superhero. Peter Parker frequently gets in their way in the future.
11 He Trusts Agent Poindexter
Wilson Fisk does his research into the FBI agents he turns during Daredevil’s third season. His team finds out that Agent Poindexter has a history of violence and sociopathic tendencies from his childhood. Those files are very likely sealed. They also manage to discover that he’s stalking a woman, though no one else does.
What’s surprising is that despite everything he learns about Dex, Wilson Fisk still trusts Dex to carry out his orders. Fisk is under the impression that he can control Dex, but he doesn’t keep as close of an eye on him once he thinks he’s got Dex under his thumb. He even trusts Dex enough to leave him alone with Vanessa. Knowing that Dex has hurt people close to him in the past, this especially seems odd.
10 His Stance On Substances
The Wilson Fisk on screen has no problem running substances through the streets of New York. He might see it as a distasteful criminal enterprise, but he’s not opposed to making money from it. In the comics, however, that’s not necessarily true.
Depending on the era in which the comics take place, and depending on which writer puts the Kingpin into their story, his stance on substances changes in the comics.
He’s something of a flip-flopper. In some stories, substance sales are an integral part of his criminal empire, serving as a way to funnel money into his activities. Other stories have Fisk vehemently opposed to substances, wanting his criminal empire to be built on more “respectable” practices. Consistency would be nice.
9 He Allows His Team To Follow Vanessa’s Orders
Wilson Fisk does his best to protect the love of his life. He tries to keep Vanessa out of his life of crime as much as possible. In fact, in the comics, he goes so far as hiring a body double. The Netflix series takes a different approach.
Vanessa wants to be as involved in Fisk’s life as possible. As she explains to him, she wants to know all of him, and she doesn’t want him to feel like he has to hold back. That’s demonstrated by Vanessa getting a chance to participate in the organization. The first time Vanessa gets to see Fisk’s secret room and chat with his employees, she makes the decision to go all-in. She orders someone’s execution. Despite Fisk wanting to protect Vanessa from any legal ramifications, he lets his team carry out her orders.
8 He Ensures Karen Page Doesn’t Go To Prison
The Kingpin isn’t the only villain to target Daredevil and his friends. There have been plenty of other villains to go after the man without fear in the comics. Karen Page also frequently became a target of other villains during her many career changes. One villain to target Karen in particular was Mr. Fear. Lawrence Cranston had been a law student with Matt Murdock and long suspected his former classmate to be Daredevil. In his scheme to hurt Matt, he tried to frame Karen for a capital crime.
Though Mr. Fear had manipulated a member of the jury to his advantage, Wilson Fisk replaced that member with one of his own, making sure Karen was found not guilty.
Fisk could have taken the opportunity to further Daredevil’s pain instead of helping.
7 He Never Has Custom Clothes Made For Vanessa
Every incarnation of Wilson Fisk has his share of enemies. As a result, he wears special armor under his suits in the comics. For the MCU, he gets his suits tailor-made by Melvin Potter. Potter also creates superhero suits in addition to business suits. He uses specially made materials meant to prevent bullets or knives from going through the fabric.
In season three, as Dex takes on Fisk and Matt Murdock, Fisk’s suit deflects everything Dex throws at him. He eventually gives his jacket to Vanessa to protect her from anything thrown her way. With his obsession with Vanessa’s safety, it’s surprising that Fisk never took the opportunity to have Melvin Potter make her anything special. If he had, maybe Vanessa wouldn’t have to wear his jacket in the midst of a fight.
6 He Knows How Everyone Reacts
Wilson Fisk is a meticulous planner. It’s as though every aspect of his life is a chess move and he’s planned his responses 20 moves ahead. Even the best chess players face unpredictable opponents. That’s why it seems impossible for Fisk to know exactly how everyone around him will react to every scenario he places them in. He seems to always have a calculated plan for every eventuality.
No matter how intelligent he is, how can he know how all of his henchman and all of his enemies will react?
He’s not a mind reader. Emotional reactions can’t always be predicted, and Fisk should be kept on his toes more than he is as a result.
5 He Never Gets Charged For His Childhood Crime
Many of the origin stories that place Wilson Fisk on his path to Kingpin involve him getting rid of his abusive or neglectful father. For the MCU, Wilson saves his mother from the abuse when he can’t take listening to her cries anymore. His mother helps him dispose of his father’s body, and she even keeps the hammer Fisk did the deed with. It’s an odd memento to hold onto, especially since it could be used as evidence against him.
Years after the disposal of his father, Karen Page learns the truth about Wilson Fisk, and she plans on bringing him to justice. Unfortunately, nothing comes of this particular quest. We never learn what happened to the hammer in his mother’s possession, and Karen never gets a chance to prove what she knows. Why not?
4 He Has Bodyguards
Fans of the superhero genre know that the Kingpin can take care of himself. Not only does he command respect, but he’s also all muscle. With his smarts and strength, he’s nearly unbeatable on his own. Why, then, does he employ so many bodyguards? Guards for his lair when he’s got to sleep make sense. Guards for his wife even make sense.
What doesn’t make sense is Wilson Fisk employing bodyguards to watch him around the clock as well.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re watching him in live action or reading about his exploits on the page, he always has a handful of guards around him. Does he really think he needs the protection? Or does he just like the company?
3 The FBI Finds Nothing On Him
Yes, the Netflix series sees an entire group of FBI agents corrupted by the influence of Wilson Fisk, but before that reveal, there’s the fact that it seems like even the uncorrupted agents aren’t very good at their job. Fisk is able to hide an entire secret passage and villainous lair. No one setting up cameras or equipment in his penthouse manages to find it. Clearly, someone wasn’t looking very hard.
Likewise, the FBI analysts never find the same paper trail that Karen Page does. Karen, a markedly less experienced investigator who doesn’t have the same resources as a federal agency, is able to figure out that Fisk has money laundering set up with a suspicious bank. She also figures out that he owns the hotel where the FBI sets up his penthouse.
2 He Doesn’t Bury The Bodies
When a villain is as ruthless as someone like Wilson Fisk, the bodies of his enemies start to pile up. That’s just what happens in Daredevil’s third season. Instead of attempting to dispose of those bodies, though, they’re placed on ice. While Fisk and his team holding onto the bodies of FBI agents makes sense, (he does, after all, use one to frame Agent Nadeem as a corrupt official), the rest of them don’t.
What is the point of Fisk keeping Julie, the object of Dex’s obsession, on hand in a freezer?
All this does is provide a pretty good source of evidence for authorities about his wrongdoings. That evidence comes back to bite him when Matt Murdock leads Dex right to it.
1 He Toys With Matt
Once the Kingpin is sure that Matt Murdock and Daredevil are the same person, he doesn’t keep things simple and out the lawyer as a vigilante. Instead, he plays an elaborate game of cat and mouse with him and tries to make Matt truly miserable.
Now, those games are certainly fun for a viewer to watch play out, and great for a medium like a television series. From a character standpoint, though, outing Matt Murdock could have eliminated a lot of the Kingpin’s problems. If Matt was found to be a law breaking vigilante, the cases he won in criminal court would have been reexamined. His firm’s role in putting Fisk away would have been reexamined as well. Fisk could fix a lot of his problems by just showing Daredevil’s face to the world instead of toying with him.
Do these aspects of Kingpin’s storylines make sense to you? Or did we miss something in his dealings with Daredevil? Let us know in the comments!