Halloween... devils... get it? Ok, yes, What If #2 was the next one on the list, so any link to Halloweek is grasping at straws. But in this case, the straws are fairly strong. As are the story and art, actually! Danny Fingeroth takes his cue from Frank Miller's Born Again storyline, so it's just as adult, and Greg Capullo is propelled along by my favorite inkers of all time, Akin & Garvey (who were so excellent on Rom Spaceknight). It's an ironic story in which the Kingpin actually succeeds in pushing Daredevil over the edge. All I can say is: Be careful what you wish for.
What If vol.2 #2 (August 1989)
Based on: Daredevil #228
The true history: When Karen Page sold Daredevil out to Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin proceeded to destroy Matt Murdock's life. Matt confronted Fisk and lost a fight against the bigger man, but survived to put the pieces of his life back together again.
Turning point: What if Daredevil killed the Kingpin? (For the first time, the title is accurate.)
Story type: Slayer
Watcher's mood: Waiting tables
Altered history: In this reality, Matt Murdock made a pivotal decision in the elevator going up to the Kingpin's floor. As he was guided to the office, he stumbled against a bodyguard and lifted his gun. A few minutes later, the fat man was dead.
While a gang war is immediately sparked on the streets, it's Murdock who's in real trouble. Acting as judge, jury and executioner - in effect, acting against everything he ever fought for - has driven him mad. He tries to confess, but alas, never to someone in authority.
One person hit hard by the Kingpin's death is rival gang leader the Rose, in reality, the Kingpin's own son Richard Fisk. He'd spent his life trying to take down his father from the same side of the tracks, and now finds himself an aimless orphan. A person hit even harder by the gang war, I suppose, is Karen Page. She gets shot. Oh well.
As a crazed Matt Murdock runs from such folks as the Punisher and Spider-Man, he eventually makes his way to the Rose, whom he hopes will punish him for the murder of his father.
Would he have done it? As crime bosses go, he wasn't all that bloodthirsty. We don't find out because the Hobgoblin flies in wanting to take down the Rose. Hobby and Matt both die in the battle. And so ends the legend of Daredevil.
Or does it? Suddenly, there's another Daredevil in town! It's Richard Fisk, taking down crime from the side of the angels thanks to a special hyper-sensory mask.
I've seen worse replacements.
Books canceled as a result: Looks like Daredevil continues, only with a different guy under the mask. Well, we all know how THAT storyline ends - with the return of Matt Murdock within two years!
These things happen: The Kingpin is still eating, but his son Richard has since become a vigilante hero called Blood Rose. I guess he was always heading for that destiny. Karen Page was later killed as well.
Next week: What if Steve Rogers Had Refused to Give Up Being Captain America?
My guess: Sorry, Bucky!