IN last week’s Daredevil #28, Matt Murdock comes back from a jaunt in China to find that one of his worst nightmares had come true: his arch enemy, crime lord Wilson Fisk, had been elected mayor of New York City!
Fisk is not the first comic book character to hold the office of mayor, of course. It’s not a very long list, though. In fact, the list of superheroes/villains who actually became the President of the United States is much longer, with Thor, Wonder Woman, Captain America, Superman, and even Lex Luthor on it. Heck, even Howard the Duck ran for president once. (Gee, they’ll really just let anyone into the White House these days, eh?)
There have been other characters who have dabbled in politics as well. As King of Wakanda, T’Challa, aka Black Panther, is responsible for running his country and maintaining good international relations with the outside world. Barbara “Batgirl/Oracle” Gordon served as a US congresswoman in 1973, and Tony “Iron Man” Stark was once the Secretary of Defence (though he wasn’t exactly elected to that position).
Maybe in the future we’ll see Wolverine as Prime Minister of Canada, or Green Lantern as Prime Minister of Greenland as well. Who knows?
For now, let’s focus on comic book characters who have been elected mayor. These are the five who were deemed worthy (or in some cases, wacky) enough to run a city.
While we still don’t know what kind of mayor Fisk will turn out to be, you can be sure the superheroes of New York won’t have it easy with The Kingpin in charge of the city. That’s a list that includes (deep breath) both Spider-Men (Peter Parker and Miles Morales), Spider-Woman, the Punisher, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Doctor Strange, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, She-Hulk, and, er, Howard the Duck, among others.
It’s safe to say Daredevil will bear the brunt of Mayor Kingpin’s wrath, though, especially since Matt recently scored a victory over Fisk in court by making it legal for masked superheroes to testify in court against the bad guys.
J. Jonah Jameson
Before Fisk, another superhero-hater also became mayor of New York: Spider-Man’s staunchest critic and number one hater, J. Jonah Jameson, who really put a dent in Spidey’s activities in the city.
After he takes office in 2009’s Amazing Spider-Man #591, he immediately sets out to make Spidey’s life a living hell with his Anti-Spider Squad. However, the tables are turned when Doctor Octopus takes over Peter Parker’s body and, as the Superior Spider-Man, blackmails Jameson into doing his bidding!
Jameson resigns in 2014’s Superior Spider-Man #31, after the Green Goblin hacks his Spider-Slayers and uses them to attack the people of New York.
In 2010’s Justice Society Of America #50, the Golden Age Flash, Jay Garrick, takes office as mayor of Monument Point. While he has the power to run very fast, he doesn’t get to actually, er, run the city (or run it to the ground) before the entire DC universe was rebooted with the New 52 exercise in 2011.
If anything, Jay’s stint in office proves one thing: scenes featuring superheroes in suits attending city council meetings are not particularly exciting.
Set one year after the Infinite Crisis event, the One Year Later event in 2006 saw plenty of changes to the DC universe, one of which included installing Oliver Queen as mayor of Star City in Green Arrow (Vol. 03) #60.
It’s a story line that was recently used in the Arrow TV series as well, though at least TV Oliver doesn’t have a goatee that would have given away his secret superhero identity instantly.
In the comics, Oliver only lasts 15 issues as mayor. In 2007’s Green Arrow (Vol. 03) #75, he steps down at a press conference, after apologising for having failed his city. It isn’t all doom and gloom in that issue, though, as Oliver actually proposes to Black Canary at the end of it!
Brian K. Vaughan’s stellar Ex-Machina sets the golden standard when it comes to comic book mayors.
Mitchell Hundred can talk to machines. So he decides to don a costume to fight crime in New York City as the Great Machine. Then the 9/11 tragedy happened in real life in 2001. Despite managing to save one of the two World Trade Centre towers, Hundred decides that the Great Machine isn’t doing enough, and that the best way to make a difference is to become mayor.
Using Hundred’s unique perspective, Vaughan tackles issues ranging from drugs to corruption while maintaining a strong main story line about the superhero’s past and origin the entire time. Ex-Machina is proof that writing a political story with superheroes need not be about boring meetings all the time.