The second issue of the Marvel Knights 20th reunion series is out today, this time written by Matthew Rosenberg (story by Donny Cates) and art by Niko Henrichon. So far we know Punisher is a cop in this universe, Matt Murdock is just beginning to remember who he was and one of Marvel’s biggest villains is behind it all. Just another day in the inter-dimensional weird world of the Marvel universe.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
This deluxe volume includes four classic Battle Angel Alita stories never before published in English, plus special bonus material! At long last, complete your Alita collection! This volume contains four manga short stories by Alita creator Yukito Kishiro, first published in Japan from 1997 to 2006:* Holy Night * Supersonic Fingers * Homecoming * Barjack Rhapsody Plus exclusive bonus material!
Why does this matter?
This is not only a celebration of the 20 year anniversary of the Marvel Knights line of comics, but it’s also a brand new take on our favorite heroes. They may or may not be the ones from the Marvel Knights universe (I’m leaning towards that they are), but regardless this is an Elseworlds take on our favorite heroes.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue begins to get our heroes on track to kick some butt, although it’s still unclear how they’ll do that with so few heroes aware of what is going on. Rosenberg writes a good script here, opening where we left off with Daredevil and then revealing how Punisher and Hulk began their little dynamic duo together. We also get another hero introduced who has yet to wake up and realize who they are and a major question mark that bookends the issue itself.
Henrichon’s art has a sketchy, hand drawn look that suits the street-level heroes in play here. It’s as erratic as the characters’ emotions as they attempt to piece things together. There’s a key Punisher fight scene that’s quite exciting, keeping each move clear and each kick to Frank Castle’s face easy to follow.
It can’t be perfect can it?
By the end of the issue, we are left with no new answers aside from possibly a new lead. This story has lacked a big picture which makes the exploits hallow and a bit pointless. We’re only getting a face value look at the characters and not where the world is at. For all we know Spider-Man is swinging around and Iron Man too. It’s hard to care with no context.
The other problem I had with the issue is Punisher’s big fight scene. He basically takes a beating and doesn’t put up much of a fight. The fight scene is well rendered, but Punisher’s motivation is strange and almost comical. He takes a hit, gets up, takes another brutal hit, and gets back up. Aside from his slight interest in understanding the Punisher business, there isn’t much to him and he comes off as a bit dense here.
Is it good?
I want to like this series, but there isn’t enough here to care about any of it. Where does it take place, what is going on in this world, and why should we care about these befuddled heroes who are bound to figure out they were previously heroes anyway? It’s a frustrating experience.