In the world of
Rating: 8 of 10
face it: The Punisher hasn’t been interesting since he first got his own
back in the ‘80s. By the time we were halfway through the ‘90s, he
had 4 monthly books (including the extremely horrid Punisher
2099). The character of Frank Castle wasn’t just making guest appearances
in every main stream super-hero book, but crossing into the meant for adult the
‘Nam, for god’s sake.
Frank Castle was killed off and tucked away into the ‘do not disturb’ files
in the core of Marvel’s offices. With the rejuvenation of several ‘B’
characters like Black Panther, and The Inhumans under the Marvel Knights banner,
though, Marvel decided to resurrect the Punisher. In a monumental decision of
badness, Frank returned as an angel who served heaven and dispensed ‘a new
brand of justice’.
it looked like there was absolutely no hope left for the once popular vigilante,
the Preacher team of Garth Ennis and
Steve Dillon came aboard for a new 12 issue Punisher
and Steve made a name for themselves on their original Hellblazer
run and garnered even more acclaim for their creator owned Preacher series. Garth actually had some experience with the
character, writing a Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe one-shot years ago.
new Punisher isn’t going to win any awards for originality. It’s not even
the best work that Garth and Steve have done. But there is a certain
satisfaction that comes from reading the only non code approved book at Marvel
that’s written so over the top that you will be left wondering (code or not)
how did this ever get passed by the editors. Believe me, that’s a compliment!
just 4 short issues, we’ve had death by blowtorch, neck snapping, someone
being tossed off the Empire State Building, a ton of bullet ridden bodies and
the most recent carnage with Central Park as the setting. Boas, piranha, and
polar bears, oh my!
certainly ups the ante on comic book death scenes with every subsequent panel.
And there is something of a storyline, as well. Gangster Ma Gnucci and her
family are caught squarely in Frank’s cross-hairs and Frank himself is being
hunted by law enforcement. We know this won’t end well.
all of that is secondary. Like a good mindless action movie for the summer, we
don’t care about dialogue or meaning in these types of stories; we just want
to be entertained. The Punisher is as
entertaining a way to pass the time as you can get.
Ennis and Dillon are having the time
of their lives with this book, and it really shows. This is another hit for the
already popular Marvel Knights line.
Available Monthly from Marvel Comics
Copyright©2000 Andrew Goletz