WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Daredevil #11, by Chip Zdarsky, Marco Checchetto, Nolan Woodard and VC's Clayton Cowles, on sale now.
When Wilson Fisk decided to go clean and retire his Kingpin persona in the Marvel Universe, many were skeptical how long he could stay away from his criminal empire. He turned out to be mostly genuine, though, as he divested his shares and broke away from the underground, although he did lay ground rules for them to abide by while still accepting payoffs from everyone.
In short, while he wasn't the Kingpin anymore, he did see this as a means of making money while keeping New York clean. Also, we recently learned this was all part of him furthering his political ambitions, although Daredevil #11 now suggests that thanks to a looming villainous civil war, these aspirations may have just been inconceivably shattered.
While Matt Murdock struggles to find his heroic self again following his "death" and copycats roam Hell's Kitchen, Fisk has been basking in the glory of victory. With the real Daredevil out the game, he's focusing on diplomacy and business, ergo why he legit wants to go into the marijuana field, getting in on ground zero so as to build a new industry and empire. But that involves bribing certain politicians and it all starts with the elites in society such as the Stromwyn family, one of America's most powerful dynasties. All he needs to happen is for order to be maintained and the boat not to be rocked. Enter, Leland Owlsley aka the Owl.
This issue finds Fisk's goons kidnapping the Owl after a brutal beating and Fisk scolding him, reminding him he shouldn't have gone to war with the Libris family and crossed territories. Clearly, the Owl's been breaking these laws and these are the repercussions. But Fisk is a forgiving partner and rather than kill the man who once tried to sell him out to the FBI, he's into relationship-building and offers him a luxurious vacation on his own private island to try to think of a way of mending the bond with the Libris family once more. The sensible yet smug Fisk thinks he's making progress, but is stunned when Owlsley emphatically tells him no.
The Owl reveals the other criminals know about his seedy deals with the politicians and he's clearly jealous, indicating he has support as well and folks aren't happy with Fisk's new leaf. He namedrops the Stromwyns and warns Fisk if his true dealings with the underworld cabal came into the light, the one percent would cut ties and more so, they could all be ruined, which would result in reprisal. It's not blackmail, it's a threat, as the Owl uses his claws to cut free, slaughter Fisk's thugs and escape, laughing as he leaves an ominous warning.
He tells Fisk to play it safe, leaving the NYC mayor in between a rock and a hard place. Does he eliminate the Owl and others like him? That's easier said than done. Some will back Fisk as he has treated them well but the more who know about his Stromwyn plans and buying out Senators means there's a higher risk of exposure and so, these very colleagues he worked with are now nothing more than a liability. The Owl recently got attacked by Kraven in his final hunt in The Amazing Spider-Man, so he could be going off the rockers here and exaggerating, but Fisk does know there's a lot of truth in what he's saying.
Villains won't enjoy Fisk reaping the fruits of their labor by buddying up with the government and making clean money, not while they still all lurk in the shadows and risk life and limb to earn their coin. There's a war brewing and sides will have to be chosen, so while Fisk is trying to stay out the spotlight, he might have to bring the Kingpin back for one last clean-up.
Daredevil #12 goes on sale Oct. 12.