The Kingpin is alive and well in the current continuity, but he was brutally killed in an alternate Marvel universe—a death too R-rated for the MCU.
Warning! This article contains spoilers for Devil’s Reign #6
While the Kingpin was able to get out of his latest assault on Marvel’s superheroes alive in the crossover event Devil’s Reignhe wasn’t so lucky when he tangled with punishera conflict that resulted in a death that is way too R-rated for the MCU. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has recently included the Kingpin, first introduced in the Netflix/Marvel shows, into its established continuity, with the Punisher presumed to be included as well given the Kingpin’s run in with the murderous vigilante in “Daredevil” season 2. If the live-action Punisher ever crosses paths with the MCU’s Kingpin again, and is successful in killing him, there is no way it could be as brutal as what was depicted in the comics.
In Punisher MAX #21 by Jason Aaron and Steve Dillon, the Punisher’s war against the Kingpin comes to a thick close after Frank Castle returns to his family’s home for the last time. This climatic ending stemmed from the Kingpin’s actions within the criminal underworld. The Kingpin started off as a henchman for a well-established mob boss before betraying him and taking his empire for himself. During his fast and brutal rise to power, the Kingpin made a name for himself and, in doing so, grabbed the attention of the Punisher.
Leading up to this issue, the Kingpin sent a number of assassins to take out the Punisher after it became clear Castle wasn’t going to stop until the Kingpin was dead. Those hired killers included hordes of the Kingpin’s henchmen as well as Bullseye and Elektra. While many tried, all failed to kill the Punisher, and so the Kingpin decided that he and a small team of assassins would ambush him at his old family home, a decision that became the worst and last one the Kingpin ever made. The two fought hand-to-hand after the Punisher killed everyone who accompanied the Kingpin in a gross display of brutal violence until finally the Punisher was able to land a debilitating blow. The Punisher drove the claw of a hammer into the Kingpin’s temple and then splattered his brains by putting a bullet in his head.
The violence alone isn’t why this scene is too R-rated for the MCU, but the horrifying impacts of this violence that was put on full display in the comic. The terror and confusion the Kingpin suffered in his last moments after suffering an intense brain injury is a truly haunting scene that completely undoes the payoff readers should feel during the villain’s demise and replaces it with a feeling that leaves fans utterly disturbed.
Given the MAX banner associated with this comic, the creative team took the freedom they were given to make a purely adult comic and greatly succeeded in their task. However, if this storyline was to be adapted into the almost exclusively family-friendly MCUit would have to be watered down exponentially as the Kingpin‘s comic book death by the hand of the punisher is way too R-rated.
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