Funded by his new political puppet Myles Clennon, Wilson Fisk kidnaps the son of Clennon's opponent in the Mayoral race to guarantee victory for his camp.
Meanwhile, Rocko and Portia conspire against Fisk and Clennon, offering information regarding Fisk's involvement in the murder of Carlo Sangunio to his grieving uncle, mob boss Jimmy Sanguino.
The trail of bodies and blood grows longer and deeper, and it's a trail that the vigilante Spider-Man is pursuing, for lack of a better word, vigilantly.
Tony Biancho and Jimmy Sanguino watch the latest video of the kidnapped Gradon Biancho's pleas to cooperate with his kidnappers. Sanguino is reluctant to act because the climate is tense between the families and one wrong move could mean all out war. But Sanguino promises the safe return of Biancho's son and revenge on the ones who killed Carlo.
Portia is on the phone, panicking about how Rocko is beating up someone in broad daylight. She reports that they're going to Sangiuno, as planned, but Rocko's instability could jeopardize everything. On the other line is none other than Wilson Fisk, who asks her to contain Rocko for just a bit longer.
Fisk then calls up Clennon, who's in bed with a young filly, and tells him to tune in to see Bianco's big announcement. Clennon reminds Fisk not to hurt Bianco's kidnapped son. Bianco, with Spider-Man watching from above, makes knowledge of the kidnapping public, as reporters secretly agree that the Biancho campaign is effectively dead.
Hired goons assault Portia's private investigator informant, only for Spider-Man to come to his aid. The informant spills the beans to Spidey about Fisk's link to Clennon and Portia's involvement in order to protect Portia. Fisk watches from his binoculars and informs his lieutenant, Gino, to tell Spider-Man that he'll be at the Westchester Academy for boys, visiting his foster son.
Meanwhile, Bianco demands action and sugguests a post-church meeting of the five familes, to which Sanguino seems to agree.
Fisk meets with his foster son and the orphan of his old lieutenant, Leonard. Leonard Jr asks about his dad, and Fisk answers only tha some things are irretrieable. Fisk gives Leonard Jr money and reminds him that "fighting is for losers." Spider-Man then attacks Fisk, just as the Kingpin planned.
Fisk confides that Spider-Man followed the trail of crumbs that Fisk left behind perfectly. After appealing to his ego, Fisk tells Spider-Man that he wants a New York where drugs are taken out of the hands of children, a New York that none of the five families can provide. Spider-Man is naturally skeptical, even when Fisk confides that his own father was a drug addict. Fisk tells Spider-Man to think about leaving him alone in exchange for not selling drugs to children. Spider-Man considers...until he can pin something on Fisk.
Back at the warehouse where Gradon is being held, Fisk is helping the kidnapee break his addiction.
Rocko and Portia head to Sanguino's together, but not before Portia calls Fisk, seemingly warning him, in private. At Sanguino's, the Don is naturally reluctant, but sends his own man, Turk, along with Rocko to assist in the hit on Fisk, while keeping Portia as insurance.
Fisk in in the tub, when Rocko and Turk burst into the bathroom. Before Fisk can reach his gun, Rocko fires three shots in Fisk's direction.
Are we to believe Fisk when he tells Spider-Man that his dream of ruling the drug trade in New York is just a lie to garner support? Does it matter? Do we really need to see the softer side of Wilson, helping Gradon kick his drug habit and raising the son of a lieutenant HE killed as his own?
Well, the story is certainly filled with twists and turns, I'll give it that. I never saw Portia's alliance with Fisk coming, although Rocko as a rogue element ruining the plan doesn't seem all that rogue. Lou Rocko (who's listed in the recap page as Rocko Vicente-what?!) is being set up for a fall here, and you don't need to know about the Kingpin's modern status to know that.
And Spider-Man is just another pawn for Fisk to manipulate. But the Fisk as Chessmaster bit is getting kind of tiresome, even if this issue does link us back to the start of the series. This issue, admittedly, was better than the one that came before it, but it would almost have to be.
The sudden use of cell phones remains baffling, and the story is threatening to run amok. But a little chaos after all this careful orchestrating by Fisk, is most certainly welcome.
The sketchy art remains apt in setting the mood. Spider-Man does stick out, but he's supposed to, as the superhero link in what has so far been a very crime oriented story.
The story has gone from mediocre to solid, but it's got a long way to go to fully redeem itself. I've managed to forgive the lapses in modern continuity and the uneven flow of time, but I want to see something that really floors me and surprises me. Hopefully, something will rise out of the mess that the story is becoming, and it's mainly out of that optimism that I can give this issue anything above 2 webs.