The Punisher is one of those characters that I like but have never really followed religiously. This is the first issue of Marvel NOW’s reboot of his series; I thought this would be as good a time as any to break out the wallet and really keep up with Frank Castle’s antics. Is it Good?
Punisher #1 (Marvel Comics)
Although I don’t read it myself, I’ve heard fantastic things about Black Widow, a new Marvel NOW series sporting the same writer as this book: Nathan Edmondson. And from what I see here, man, can this dude write. Frank is the perfect character. He is brutal and dangerous, but at the same time run-down and tired. He’s not quite reckless but also realizes that there is a finite amount of time before he dies, making him both careful but also not nervous about anything. I also love his dry humor, that, while kind of demented, makes him a more human character.
Officer Sam also fills a wonderful supporting role in just the first issue. She is funny in the same way as Frank but also brings forth a more hopeful view on life. Her response to Frank’s suggestion to carry her gun on her shoulder was witty and made her into a strong and independent woman character. If this is what we should be expecting for the rest of the series, count me in.
Not a page of this comic is wasted; the plot and art are both top notch. I don’t have much experience with artist Mitch Gerads’ previous work but I absolutely loved what he did with this story. The washes and duller colors make this comic gritty and rough, sort of like the Punisher himself. He has a David Aja-esque style that makes action sequences thrilling and very easy to follow. I also am digging the way he plays with minimalism and solid colors; for example, that panel on the first page when he shows the explosive spraying a green flash all over the room.
My only criticism of The Punisher #1 would be its strange ending. Frank is depicted loading up while we are shown that the Howling Commandoes are going to be involved in the story. This ending bothers me two-fold. 1) It seems kind of easy an ending. If you deliver an issue this crazy and intense, end it on a really cool note, not just a random character reveal. Maybe if there had been some tip to the commandoes throughout the issue I would be less critical of this, but no. 2) The Howling Commandoes? Seriously? What a joke.
Is It Good?
As it stands, this is my favorite #1 from the All-New Marvel NOW relaunch. It was exciting, human and clever and provided a great opening issue. The artist is perfectly matched to the script and makes this comic visually masterful.