In an artistic tour de force, Frank Miller and Bill Sienkiewicz tell a story about Vanessa Fisk, who has been in a coma for many years.
Kingpin tries to revive her with the aid of a kidnapped shrink, Dr. Mondat, who then turns things around in a classic “hostage becomes the aggressor” move by manipulating Vanessa into rejecting her criminal husband. Daredevil does eventually arrive and save the doctor, but this is a book about psychology and character, not superheroics.
The art is abstract watercolor, similar to what Sienkiewicz would use in the upcoming Elektra: Assassin miniseries (also with Miller, and even more abstract and challenging), and the writing is some of Miller’s most novelistic. It makes for a hard read at times—you have to work with the material—but it’s well worth the effort. This is exactly what graphic novels should be.
We’ve come to a place in comics where we call anthologies of the most recent 5 issues of a book a “graphic novel.” It isn’t. It’s a trade paperback.
This is a graphic novel.
It ends with Vanessa leaving him. This will be “retconned” into Marvel continuity in Amazing Spider-Man’s Gang War arc, where we see that after Vanessa left Kingpin, he recaptured her and keeps her sedated in his home. Which is really, really creepy.
Creators: Frank Miller and Bill Sienkiewicz