With a show-stealing role in season 2 of the Daredevil Netflix series and his very own Netflix series coming out this year, now is the perfect time to jump back into the world of The Punisher and this all-new series is a perfect starting point.
A by-the-numbers drug bust is about to take Frank Castle by surprise… and he hates surprises. The horrible fallout threatens to send The Punisher into the heart of darkness, but Castle won’t make that journey alone: A DEA agent is on his trail and attempting to get into his head… but what horrors will she find there and will she survive the experience?
There’s been no shortage of great Punisher comics over the years. So with Garth Ennis and Jason Aaron’s runs staring down at you, it is quite a tough task to standout – especially if you are handling the character for the first time. Becky Cloonan (Gotham Academy, Demo) definitely succeeds in this regard. Having established herself with strong work on both writing and art fronts over the past years, she’s a natural fit for this series and is off to a great start. The Punisher has been a series that has skirted the line between intense drama and black comedy frequently throughout its many iterations, with most creators settling on one take (or in Ennis’ case – two very different takes). Cloonan manages to find a middle ground with a grim Punisher vs Arms Dealer storyline that goes in some very dark directions, but there are still some moments where comedy can be found in some otherwise pretty brutal action. The other strength is that, rather than directly focusing on Frank himself, Cloonan mainly uses him as a force of nature driving the story forward with more focus being on Condor (the villain of the piece) and DEA member Agent Ortiz’s situations with The Punisher directly impacting both.
Cloonan is also fortunate to be working with definitive Punisher artist Steve Dillon. Dillon very sadly passed away last October with an incredible body of comic work to his name (Preacher, Hellblazer, Thunderbolts just to name a few). One of his best known works was his relaunch with writer Garth Ennis of The Punisher series under the Marvel Knights banner, which redefined the character – and is regarded as the golden standard by which the series is measured. He returned to the character frequently over the years in various forms including another run with Ennis, the Punisher Max series by Jason Aaron and the 2013 Thunderbolts series which featured Castle in a starring role. This was his latest return and one of his last works before he died. This collection pretty much covers why he was such a great artist – particularly on this character. Managing to convey dark and frightening tones and sometimes humour in the same chapter, these issues encapsulate all the experience he has had over the years on this character (no one does that Frank Castle scowl like Dillon).
This new volume is great for many things: a reintroduction to The Punisher character, a celebration of the great art of Steve Dillon, a new project from one of comics’ current top talents in Becky Cloonan and a great dark crime thriller story to boot. Regardless of the reason, it’s well worth checking out.
9781302900472 – P/B £14.99
Panini edition also available
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Post by Leo