BY MATT TUCK, THE BLOGGER SUPREME
IG @ matt.tuck.writer
Hawkeye’s third episode may have launched a new collecting campaign for ASM #50, but are we 100% sure that was Kingpin? The evidence suggests there’s other possibilities.
The third episode of Hawkeye has captured the imagination of the comic world at large. Of course, this is what Marvel Studios does best: Easter eggs and allusions. The broader world-building and interconnecting movies and shows from all sources has become the foundation for the action-comedy superhero franchise. At this point, the Easter eggs and the speculation of what’s next is more of an attraction than the MCU itself.
This week, Hawkeye gave Daredevil fans plenty to ponder. We already knew that Echo would get her own live-action series. Before Marvel confirmed it, Echo was one of the worst-kept secrets in the industry, and the gossip sites were reporting on the subject months ahead of the Disney+ announcement.
No offense to Echo’s fans, but she is not an established marquee character. That’s not to say she won’t be a popular addition to the MCU, but fans - especially mainstream ones outside the comic circles - know little about her. The real draw to her show has been the persistent rumor that Echo will tie into Netflix’s Daredevil, one of the most beloved superhero dramas ever filmed. It makes sense, given Maya Lopez’s comic history. After all, she is clearly a take on Daredevil, and she is a trained assassin bent on taking revenge on Kingpin for her father’s death. By and large, Echo is the MCU’s new version of a DD/Elektra mashup, and that is the likely avenue Marvel Studios is taking with her character.
That brings us to the major hints that not only is Kingpin in the MCU, but Vincent D’Onofrio just made a cameo appearance in Hawkeye.
In the opening scenes of the episode, we are treated to a montage of Maya Lopez overcoming her disabilities to become the assassin, Echo. One moment portrays her as a little girl in a martial arts class. Her father tells her goodbye, and then we see a large man in a black suit lovingly pinch her cheek. He delivers a familiar-sounding laugh, though we don’t see his face. Soon thereafter, Maya watches her father murdered by Ronin inside Fat Man Auto Repair.
These are obviously Easter eggs meant to point to the mysterious overlord pulling the strings in Hawkeye. It has to be Kingpin, right? Not necessarily.
It would be just like Marvel Studios to misdirect its audience and cast an entirely new character for the crime boss role. Obviously, we were meant to come to the conclusion that the man in the martial arts studio was Kingpin and that the Fat Man Auto Repair was an allusion to Marvel’s famous crime lord. The thing to remember is that Vincent D’Onofrio has repeatedly debunked theories and faked photos of him in Hawkeye.
While fans of Netflix’s Daredevil desperately want the mystery character to be Wilson Fisk, experience says not to count on it. Remember WandaVision? Misdirection and red herrings are one thing, but WandaVision gave fans and their Easter eggs the middle finger. During the show’s first (and likely only) season, Fox’s Quicksilver actor Evan Peters arrived as Wanda Maximoff’s long-lost brother. From there, the WandaVision showrunners did everything they could to make audiences believe the X-Men were about to cross into the MCU. Instead of giving fans a worthy payoff, they wasted what could have been a major MCU moment, opting instead for a low-brow “Bohner” joke. In the end, it was a mean-spirited prank meant to troll basically all of Marvel’s fans and their endless predictions.
There also was Loki’s season finale. Just when fans were expecting a full-blown Kang the Conqueror appearance, Kang actor Jonathan Majors arrived onscreen as He Who Remains rather than the time-travelling Nathaniel Richards. While the two characters are connected by Majors, it defied expectations in a way that was less brow-beating than WandaVision.
All that being said, it stands to reason that both the possible Kingpin cameo and the Fat Man Auto Repair allusion were intentionally ambiguous. In the end, I predict they will properly add up to another character we haven’t seen in the MCU.
Who could it be?
FIRST APPEARANCE: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #50
The most obvious choice - and the connection we are meant to make - is Kingpin. We haven’t seen Wilson Fisk since his final battle with Daredevil in the Season Three finale on Netflix, but that isn’t for lack of fan outcry. D’Onofrio himself started a petition to reprise the show, and he has been tied to numerous rumors regarding both Hawkeye and Echo. Don’t forget that Kingpin murdered Maya’s father in the comics, though it appeared to be Ronin in Hawkeye.
D’Onofrio was brilliant as Fisk, and he stole the spotlight from Daredevil in all three seasons. Seeing him return to the MCU would be perfect, and therein lies the problem with the theory. It seems too easy. Marvel likes to keep fans on their toes, and the Kingpin Easter eggs seem a bit on the nose. That is why I lean toward other possibilities.
Those possible Kingpin allusions are already taking shape on the secondary market. Earlier today, a raw copy sold for $232.50. Yesterday, a graded 4.5 brought $1,305. As the word spreads about today’s episode of Hawkeye, look for the sales volume to get a quick rise.
FIRST APPEARANCE: DAREDEVIL #3
If that was not D’Onofrio in Episode Three, the Owl is the most likely candidate, and he fits the bill. For one thing, Leland “the Owl” Owlsley is a crime lord in his own right with a deep-seeded history with Daredevil. In fact, the Owl was originally a DD villain, appearing in DD #3 in 1964. In the Owl’s original interpretation, he was a large, bulbous man not unlike Wilson Fisk, who would appear three years afterwards.
The Owl’s story is that he was a successful financial advisor who invested his money in organized crime. He then set out to become an underworld mastermind, which put him in Daredevil’s crosshairs. In true Silver Age superhero fashion, the Owl eventually transformed himself into a human-owl hybrid and steered away from his crime boss origins.
Another clue that the mystery villain comes from Kazi the Clown. Episode Three introduced Kazi as Maya’s interpreter, but his comic origin tells a better story. He is a homicidal maniac who dresses in mime face paint when he kills. He is a mercenary who frequently works for Kingpin and the Owl.
Understandably, this was already an expensive key. That is less a testament to the Owl’s popularity and more about Daredevil’s. That dynamic could change if Leland Owlesley is, in fact, the real villain behind the events of Hawkeye. Whether other collectors have the same idea or buyers are building their Silver Age Daredevil sets, there has been an uptick in DD #3 sales as of late. Yesterday, a 5.5 traded hands on eBay for $385. Last week, a 9.2 sold for $2,500 while a 4.0 earned $400.
FIRST APPEARANCE: HAWKEYE #1 (2012)
Admittedly, this is a long shot, but casting Ivan Banionis as the true crime lord of Hawkeye and leading into Echo would fit the narrative. For one, he is the leader of the Tracksuit Draculas/Mafia in the comics. His story is that he was a slumlord who owned Clint Barton’s apartment building. The original Hawkeye eventually used his earnings from the Avengers to buy the complex. Ivan was soon deported, but when he returned stateside, he waged war against Barton and his neighbors.
Odds are, we have already seen Ivan in Hawkeye. The curious part, however, is that he has yet to be specifically named in the show. That leaves the door open to the towering man appearing later in the series. Given Ivan’s size - he’s 6’5” in the comics - he could be the mysterious man we’re meant to mistake for Kingpin.
Since the Tracksuit Mafia and Lucky the Pizza Dog made their live-action debuts in last week’s Hawkeye premiere, Hawkeye #1 was already on the rise. Earlier today, a raw copy of the first print brought $47. On the graded side, a 9.8 has already sold for as much as $299 this month, and the last sale was on November 28 for $228.
FIRST APPEARANCE: THE HOOD #1
Physically, the Hood doesn’t fit the description of a Kingpin-like character, but there’s nothing that says Marvel Studios won’t divert from the comics to make it work. It has long been speculated that the Hood will be the mastermind behind the plot of Hawkeye, though not much has been said about him since the Kingpin rumors started.
If Marvel does put the Hood in Hawkeye, then the series could take a mystical route that would make Doctor Strange proud. In true comic book fashion, Parker Robbins actually mugged a demon. Robbins stole the Nisanti’s hood and boots, which gave him magical powers, including levitation and invisibility. With his newfound abilities, Robbins did what any of us would do - he started his own criminal empire that eventually led to a war with Kingpin.
There have not been many sales of graded 9.8 The Hood #1s as of late, and that is widely due to the decrease in Hood speculation. The most recent sale was on November 11 when a copy brought $416.
THOSE MARVEL MYSTERIES
With every new Marvel show, the MCU introduces a mystery villain who won’t be showcased until the last couple of episodes. More than likely, that is the same formula the studio is following with Hawkeye, so don’t expect any answers for another couple of weeks. In the meantime, it will be interesting to watch the market as buyers try to stay ahead of the game and predict the show’s big reveal.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and the Blogger Supreme. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog, or on Instagram at matt.tuck.writer.