SILKE, SAMMY

Real Name: Samuel "Sammy" Silke (possibly Ripa)

Identity/Class: Human

Occupation: Professional criminal

Group Membership: Former associate and briefly leader of the Kingpin's criminal empire;
    formerly the Ripa crime family of Chicago

Affiliations: Boomerang, Richard Fisk, Nitro, Angelica Roeg, Shotgun

Enemies: Daredevil, Waldo Dini, FBI, Vanessa Fisk, Kingpin (Wilson Fisk)

Known Relatives: Unidentified father

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Formerly Allenwood Federal Penitentiary in Montgomery, Pennsylvania;
    formerly Fisk Tower in Manhattan, New York City
    formerly Chicago, Illinois

First Appearance: Daredevil II#26 (December, 2001)

Height: 6'6"
Weight: 300 lbs.
Hair: Black
Eyes: Brown

Powers/Abilities: Silke was a skilled criminal strategist, and had a shrewd grasp of psychology and oratory.

History: (Daredevil II#26, 30-31 (fb) - BTS) - Silke's father was the head of the powerful Ripa crime syndicate based in Chicago.

(Daredevil II#30) - Twenty years before the modern era, Silke and his childhood friend, Richard Fisk, witnessed their fathers committing a murder. In this way, Silke and Richard learned of their fathers' criminal careers.

(Daredevil II#26, 29 (fb) - BTS) - Silke grew up to be a member of his father's crime syndicate, the Ripa family of Chicago. At some point, Silke committed some sort of lapse or betrayal, possibly involving "lady trouble," that led the Ripa family to effectively exile him. Silke's father sent Sammy to New York City to work for the Kingpin, a favor apparently granted as a kind of "second chance."

(Daredevil II#29 (fb)) - After Matthew Murdock launched a lawsuit against a chemical company owned by the Ripa family, Silke insulted the Kingpin's blindness (the result of injuries suffered in his last campaign against Daredevil) and his use of costumed operatives rather than traditional methods of organized crime. Silke then attempted to convince the Kingpin to contract Murdock's assassination. Silke was bewildered both by the Kingpin's adamant refusal to do so, and by his lieutenants' unwillingness to tell him why the contract would not be issued.

(Daredevil II#27, 29-30 (fb)) - Silke encountered the Kingpin's formerly rebellious son, Richard, now reduced to alcoholism and again a part of his father's crime syndicate. From Richard, he learned that Matt Murdock was Daredevil, that the Kingpin had known this for some time, and that the Kingpin's men had also learned all of this from Richard. Outraged that the Kingpin would allow a major enemy of both his own criminal empire and other gangs to operate despite having a great tactical advantage over the vigilante, Silke tried and failed to rally the Kingpin's men to rebel against their boss.

(Daredevil II#30 (fb)) - Backed by Richard Fisk, Silke managed to appeal to the vanity and greed of the Kingpin's men and successfully organized a cabal within Fisk's ranks. In order to announce the rebellion to the Kingpin and simultaneously deal with Daredevil, Silke contacted an assassination broker who specialized in costumed criminals, claiming that the Kingpin wished Murdock dead.

(Daredevil II#26 - BTS, 27 (fb)) - In the week that followed, Murdock was attacked by the costumed criminal Nitro. After the attack, Daredevil confronted the Kingpin, who had no idea of the conspiracy against him. Silke verbally assaulted Daredevil, and was in turn billy-clubbed to the ground by the hero, who still did not realize Silke's part in the attack.

(Daredevil II#28 - BTS) - In the days that followed his confrontation with the Kingpin, Murdock was attacked in rapid succession by the costumed assassins Shotgun and Boomerang. In addition, Bullseye received word of the contract but apparently chose not to act upon it.

(Elektra II#6 - BTS) - Angelica Roeg tried to take out Murdock, but she couldn't find him and was instead knocked out by Elektra.

(Daredevil II#26-27) - Silke's cabal stabbed the Kingpin nearly to death, a plot Silke conceived of in homage to the similar murder of Julius Caesar.

(Daredevil II#31) - Silke and the Kingpin's rebellious lieutenants, including Richard Fisk, celebrated the Kingpin's demise, and Silke laid out his more generous terms as the Kingpin's replacement. However, the Kingpin's wife, Vanessa, had learned of her husband's near-death and swiftly acted to avenge him, killing her son herself and dispatching assassins to kill the other conspirators. Silke was almost gunned down as he visited a prostitute, but managed to escape his would-be killers, becoming the only member of the conspiracy to survive. He sought protection from his father, only to be rejected over the telephone. With nowhere else to turn, Silke turned himself into the Federal Bureau of Investigations, confessing his crimes and seeking protective custody.

(Daredevil II#31; #32 (fb)) - The F.B.I. agents Silke talked to demanded more information on criminal activities in exchange for entry into the Witness Protection Program. Unwilling to betray his father and the Ripa family, Silke instead revealed Daredevil's true identity to them.

(Daredevil II#45 (fb) - BTS) - Silke managed to gain a transfer to Allenwood Federal Prison, a minimum security institution, in exchange for his information on Daredevil and the Kingpin's seeming murder. While he was there, he learned that one of the F.B.I. agents who had interrogated him, Henry Dobbs, had sold the information to the Daily Globe.

(Daredevil II#45) - Complaining to a group of aged convicts that he deserved a share of both the Kingpin's empire and the money paid by the tabloids for Murdock's secret, Silke was pulled away by a guard, who claimed that his father was there to visit him. Unfortunately, this proved to be a ruse: instead, it was the recovered Kingpin who confronted Silke in an unattended visitation room. (Presumably Fisk used his remaining influence to arrange this.) Fisk thanked Silke in advance "for crying."

(Daredevil II#45 (fb) - BTS) - As reported by F.B.I. agent Henry Driver, one of the agents who initially arrested Silke, Sammy Silke's dead body was found in the prison, his head crushed like a melon.

Comments: Created by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev.

    As the history section indicates, Silke's story was told in a kind of Pulp Fiction format, with many flashbacks interspersed with "present" action. I have done my best here to chronologize the events depicted in Daredevil II#26-32, but I welcome any alternate suggestions or corrections.

    Silke was a quite good character, actually, a more typical gangster reacting to the supervillainous excesses and quirks of the Kingpin. His story was a neat, compact tale of ambition and vengeance, and Silke comes off as an ironic Cassius figure: well-read and manipulative, but fatally ambitious and short-sighted. Theoretically, he could be brought back, as his death was merely reported, but I rather doubt that the Kingpin would deign to leave his betrayer alive. Too, it would sully the poetically just ending of Silke's career and life

    The arc borrows from both the Shakespeare play Julius Caesar and the film of the Godfather. The Shakespeare material is explicitly present in the murder attempt on Fisk, but Silke's appeal to "honor" also provides an homage to Mark Antony's famous speech in the play. (Ironically, in the play Antony is the one who organizes the deaths of Caesar's killers, much as Vanessa Fisk does here.) The Godfather references include both Silke's own gangster persona, which resembles the corrupted Michael Corleone's, and in the montage of Vanessa's men killing Silke's, which alludes to the famous assassination montage that ends the first Godfather movie.

    I could have sworn that Sammy was referred to as "Sammy Silke, Jr", or that his father was named "Sr" or something.
--Snood.

by Omar Karindu

CLARIFICATIONS:
Sammy Silke should not be confused with:

The Kingpin (Wilson Fisk) should not be confused with:
Images taken from:
Daredevil II#31, page 3, panel 3
Daredevil II#26, page 1, panel 1

Appearances:
Daredevil II#26-28 (December, 2001 - February, 2002) - Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Alex Maleev (artist), Stuart Moore (editor)
Elektra II#6 (February, 2002) - Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Chuck Austen (artist), Nanci Dakesian & Stuart Moore (editors)
Daredevil II#29-32 (March-June, 2002) - Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Alex Maleev (artist), Stuart Moore (editor)
Daredevil II#45 (May, 2003) - Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Alex Maleev (artist), Joe Quesada (editor)


Last updated: 04/01/05

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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