I’m a believer that if you’re not in love with a first issue you should give the creators at least until the second issue, if not the third, for the story to progress a bit. It’s only fair, since many first issues don’t give the whole story. I target=”_blank”>didn’t love Doctor Strange/The Punisher‘s debut, but can issue #2 recover? Is it good?
Doctor Strange/The Punisher: Magic Bullets #2 (Marvel Comics)
So what’s it about? You can read preview pages and a summary to find out!
Why does this book matter?
The most unlikely heroes must work together to win the day? How can you not be attracted to this team up mini-series? One uses bullets and knives while the other uses ephemeral magic! The somewhat cartoony art meanwhile, draws a mean monster.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This book opens in an awesome way.
This issue comes out of the gate hot with tons of action, gore, and fun art. Split between two artists–Andrea Broccardo and Dominike “Domo” Stanton–and storyboard artist Jason Muhr, Doctor Strange gets to show off his ability with the axe and Punisher gets to show his resourcefulness. The layouts break down well with good pace and a few nice surprises. Later on, the black and white magical realm looks spot on and helps convey the weirdness of Strange’s life. The issue closes out with a fun cliffhanger with a nice use of angle to remind us anything can happen when you’re hanging with Doctor Strange.
The story itself, outside the action, focuses on a brother and sister who want to take over a burrough of New York City. They’re using a man who is building a giant monster made of monsters made of (I think) humans. It’s a wacky and wild plot that’s fun and it’s nice to see how it ties into the gangster world.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The banter from the siblings, particularly the brother, is at times lazy and reads like filler. That’s the biggest problem with this issue really: scenes that don’t add value or don’t progress the story. They’re saying things, but the content is meaningless. It doesn’t help there seems to be a false start while the siblings are standing around and talking. This involves the brother blasting a random monster for no reason at all. It may have been for comedic relief, but the joke doesn’t land. This leads to a scene with Punisher accosting a kid in a car which, again, seems to be dragging to fill pages. This then leads to an action scene that feels extra meaningless due to the pages spent plodding along and accomplishing little.
Is It Good?
This issue is an improvement, but not quite there yet. The pieces are in place, there are some good ideas to be had, and the action to open the issue is awesome. The problem is, at 30 pages it seems to be padding itself out to justify the page count rather than using those pages to tell a well crafted story.