"Why would anyone ever want to be with Wilson Fisk?" may or may not have been a recurring thought running through your head anytime Wilson Fisk's girlfriend Vanessa Marianna shared an intimate moment with Wilson in Marvel Television and Netflix's new series Daredevil , especially once it was obvious that she knew who he was and what he was doing to Hell's Kitchen (and New York City in general). But, in the Daredevil comics Vanessa is more than just Wilson's love interest. Yes, she does end up as Wilson's wife and that role is a big part of her identity, but she has such a meaty role in the comics that I genuinely hope the series explores in inevitable future seasons.
For starters, the comics never gave her a maiden name. In fact, most of her past is shrouded in mystery and we really only learn about her once she and Wilson become involved. Vanessa and Wilson get married (despite his affairs) and only after the marriage and having their son Richard does Vanessa find out about Wilson's secret Kingpin identity. She's not super thrilled about how he spends his time but basically begrudgingly agrees to go along with it until he has a near-death experience. Once this danger passes, Vanessa gives Wilson an ultimatum stating that he must quit his crime lord ways or she will leave him. He thankfully chooses her, but it makes him look weak to his enemies, aka the other New York mob bosses. The couple go out of the country to retire from their criminal lives, but when Vanessa returns on business she is kidnapped by Wilson's enemies. After an ensuing war, Vanessa is accidentally buried alive. That makes for a great outlook for the Netflix character, eh?
Vanessa somehow miraculously survives this horrible fate by actually getting lost in the sewers, but her body and mind are almost decimated. She is institutionalized in Europe for several years for recovery. She stays in Europe when she's released until she hears about an assassination attempt on Wilson's life. Vanessa promptly comes back to the city and decides to ship Wilson out of the country and break apart his crime syndicate to the other mob bosses in the city so he can get away from the life of crime.
Unfortunately, she is confronted by her son Richard who wants to kill his father after he discovers Wilson is the Kingpin. Vanessa then makes the ultimate, brutal decision to kill Richard to save Wilson, and she never fully recovers. Vanessa ends up becoming majorly involved in much of Wilson's criminal activities — in fact, she cleans up a lot of his messes. She even murders a corrupt FBI agent who outed Matt's identity as Daredevil and arrested him; she makes it look like a suicide and that the agent had framed Matt for his crimes. Yes, she helps Daredevil, but she does all of this to force Matt into being Wilson's lawyer in order to get him out of prison.
Vanessa eventually dies after all of this drama, but in her comic book life, she certainly proves herself to be as much of a Kingpin as her husband. And for that reason, we'd better not underestimate her MCU counterpart.
Images: screenshot/Netflix; queensmilitant/Tumblr