Alex Maleev, Art
|First appearance||The Amazing Spider-Man #70 (March 1969)|
|Created by||Stan Lee
John Romita, Sr.
|Full name||Vanessa Fisk|
|Supporting character of||Daredevil
Fictional character biography
Little is known about Vanessa Fisk's personal life and early years. No maiden name has ever been revealed. As the wife of Wilson Fisk, the "Kingpin" of New York's criminal underworld, Vanessa was largely kept in the dark about her husband's criminal activities until her son Richard Fisk became involved in a plot to overthrow his father's criminal syndicate in order to punish his absentee father.
The revelation led to Vanessa and Wilson becoming estranged and ultimately her forcing an ultimatum towards her husband, after she caught him engaging in hand-to-hand combat with Spider-Man: his criminal empire or their marriage. Fisk chose his wife and spared Spider-Man as a result.
The two went into retirement in Japan. Kingpin prepared to settle his remaining business with his fellow mobsters by cooperating with the authorities and leave the world of crime forever. This infuriated one of Kingpin's closest advisors, Lynch, who believed that Vanessa was a liability and had turned the once mighty Kingpin into a henpecked husband. When Fisk's former lieutenants in New York caught wind of the his plans to sell them out in exchange for immunity, they kidnapped Vanessa, who was in town to secure the legal services of Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson.
Fisk fell back to his old ways and started a gang war against the mob in New York. The mob bosses attempted to ransom Vanessa off in exchange for the evidence against them Fisk had intended to turn over to the authorities, but during the exchange, Kingpin used a sonic device to stop the criminals, and found her bound and gagged in a building. However Lynch fired an explosive at Vanessa, in an attempt to deprive Fisk of the thing that kept him retired and bring him back as the Kingpin of Crime. However, Vanessa didn't die. Instead, she was buried alive in the rubble and presumed dead. As planned, this drove Kingpin back into the world of crime, although he found out Lynch was behind the explosion, partially due to a headache he gained, and took revenge by murdering his traitorous advisor. He then forced the remaining mob leaders to confess to hiring the assassin Bullseye to kill several of Fisk's men.
Weeks later, Matt Murdock's alter ego, Daredevil, found Vanessa in the sewers. Being buried alive had left Vanessa amnesiac and mentally unstable, and she ended up taken in by a grotesque mutant who lived in the sewers. Daredevil ultimately used her as leverage to force Kingpin to order his puppet Randolph Cherryh, newly elected to the office of mayor, to resign and to confirm to the media that he was indeed a mob puppet. After reuniting with her, Kingpin had his now catatonic wife shipped off to a sanitarium in Europe in order to have her regain her sanity. This would take years, as Vanessa's husband's organized crime empire would fall and be rebuilt during the period that Vanessa was institutionalized.
Ultimately Vanessa would recover, and she would remain in Europe. But when her husband was the victim of an assassination attempt orchestrated by her son, Vanessa arranged for her husband to be shipped out of the country to recover from his injuries, and to cut a deal with his fellow mob bosses to divide up Fisk's recently rebuilt crime syndicate in exchange for a truce. Vanessa then took the final, brutal step of personally murdering her own devoted son, who admitted to Vanessa that his motivation was to rid the family of his father, who he blamed for his family's troubles.
The act of murdering her own beloved son caused a horrific physical toll on Vanessa, causing her to slowly lose the will to live, which along with the injuries she sustained when she was buried alive, culminated in her body undergoing terminal organ failure. Blaming both her husband and Matt Murdock, who had recently been revealed to be Daredevil, for the endless cycle of violence that had consumed her family, Vanessa faked the death of Foggy Nelson in an attempt to provoke Murdock into killing Fisk while they were both in prison. When that failed, she manipulated the super-hero Iron Fist into posing as Daredevil, which ultimately drove Matt to break out of prison to find Foggy's murderer and the identity of the man impersonating him, culminating in her confronting Matt with an offer to clear his name in exchange for him clearing Kingpin, so that the two would be free to try and kill each other anew.
Though Daredevil refused this deal, Vanessa went ahead and arranged for the murder of Leland Drummond, the corrupt FBI director who outed Matt in order to advance his own career within the FBI. To discredit his outing of Daredevil, the murder was made to look like a suicide and a false and highly damning suicide note was planted at the scene, claiming that Drummond took his own life after it became apparent that his scheme to frame Matt Murdock was about to be exposed. Shortly afterwards, Vanessa died and Murdock found himself morally guilted into serving as the Kingpin's lawyer, getting the charges dropped on the grounds that the evidence was too tainted to bring him to court. But Daredevil would exact his own form of Faustian bargain with Kingpin, as he forced the crime boss to renounce his American citizenship and leave the country forever in exchange for his nemesis's legal services, stating that any attempt to continue their vendetta would be an insult to the memory of the good woman Vanessa had once been. Wilson Fisk was later seen at her grave where he emotionally broke down. She has since been talking to Wilson as a ghost taunting him about that he'll never regain his former power. However this is all in the Kingpin's head, showing the death of his wife is still greatly affecting him.
In Batman & Spider-Man #1, Vanessa is infected with terminal cancer by Ra's Al Ghul, who offers the Kingpin the cure for it in exchange for his help in a plot that will destroy New York. Disgruntled under Ra's, the Kingpin forms an alliance with Spider-Man and Batman and succeeds in defeating Ra's, only to be denied the cure for his wife's cancer by the beaten eco-terrorist. Vanessa is cured near the end of the storyline by an antidote provided by Ra's Al Ghul's daughter Talia Al Ghul, who recognizes Vanessa as a kindred spirit, as both of them loved a man that society would regard as a monster.
Marvel Zombies 3
It's revealed that she wasn't infected or eaten when the zombies took over this world. In fact her husband, the Kingpin, who is zombiefied, has kept her alive as a secret kept from other zombies. She goes on to say that he manages to hold back the hunger when she is around. The Kingpin also has other Marvel Zombies search for food (sometimes pet food), medical supplies or whatever a non zombie needs by telling they are an offering to him so they could eat from a factory for human clones. She meets Machine Man, and Jocasta. They ask for a sample of her blood, explaining it is a matter of life and death for other humans. She readily complies. The two androids ask if she wishes to leave with them, but she chooses to stay. Later, Machine Man decides to destroy the clone pens and kill many of the zombies. In his distress, Kingpin eats Vanessa.
Vanessa Fisk has had only a cameo in Ultimate Spider-Man, but she is nonetheless important to Kingpin's character.
The Kingpin sought the Tablet of Time, but was stolen by the Black Cat, who wanted revenge on Fisk for putting her father in jail, and leaving him to die. She threw it in the Atlantic Ocean before being impaled by Elektra's sai. Kingpin wanted the Tablet for his wife Vanessa, who was in a coma. Although he didn't believe in its alleged powers, she did, and he would do anything to wake her up.
Later, after Kingpin torched his law office, a crazed Daredevil broke into Fisk's home and threatened to murder the comatose Vanessa by snapping her neck, but was stopped by Spider-Man. Fisk ordered Vanessa to be taken out of the country before he was arrested himself over the attempted murder of Moon Knight.
In the PunisherMAX series, set in Marvel's MAX universe, Vanessa is also married to the Kingpin, but their marriage collapses as Wilson Fisk's takeover of the mob causes the death of their son Richard (who, in this version, is an eight-years old child). Vanessa blames Wilson for not preventing Richard's death, and attempts to kill him while they are having sex. The Kingpin kicks her out of their tower. Later, in order to protect himself from the Punisher, Kingpin hires the Hand the services of Elektra as a bodyguard. It is revealed that Elektra was actually hired by Vanessa, who is plotting the Kingpin's downfall. The two women are also in a lesbian relationship. Later in the story, Vanessa is threatened by the Punisher, but Elektra saves her at the cost of her own life. After the Kingpin is killed by the Punisher in issue #21, Vanessa has his body cremated and throws the ashes in the toilet. She appears ready to take charge of her husband's former empire, as her chauffer calls her "Madam Kingpin". But in issue #22, she is ambushed and killed by Nick Fury.
In other media
- Vanessa Fisk has appeared in Spider-Man: The Animated Series voiced by Caroline Goodall. In the episodes "Tablet of Time" and "Ravages of Time," she is one of the few characters who are aware that Wilson Fisk is the Kingpin. In the end of "Ravages of Time," Vanessa decides to leave New York and Wilson for good, unable to deal with being the wife of a criminal. Sadly, she divorced her husband.
- Though Vanessa Fisk does not appear in the video game Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, she is referenced. Near the Fisk Industries building (where Wilson Fisk is located), there is a dock with a lone yacht. The yacht's name is Vanessa.
- Daredevil #170
- Daredevil #171
- Daredevil #172
- Daredevil, vol. 2, #92
- Daredevil, vol. 2, #93
- Marvel Zombies 3 #2 (2008)
- Ultimate Spider-Man #50
- Ultimate Spider-Man #53
- Ultimate Spider-Man #110