The Punisher

Marvel Comics

April 2014

Disclaimer: I have never liked the Punisher much. How many times can you see an unstoppable rage-machine tortured by the past take up arms against the Underworld blah blah blah? Been there, done that. So, when Marvel announced yet another Punisher relaunch, I didn’t pay it much mind.

But when the creative team was announced to be Nathan Edmondson and Mitch Gerads, I became intrigued. For those not in the know, Edmondson and Gerads are the team behind Image Comics military title, THE ACTIVITY. Lauded for it’s startlingly accurate portrayal of American black-ops, THE ACTIVITY has been praised by government agencies as well as the serviceman and woman who help keep our country safe.

And this was to be the team Marvel recruited to bring Frank Castle back to the fore? Interesting. So I put it on my pull list. Glad I did.

While still taking place in the Marvel Universe, this Punisher story gives us the feeling that this Frank Castle is right outside our window. Edmondson starts us off in Mexico, taking down a drug-runner who looks suspiciously like Danny Trejo. The sequence is exciting, gritty, and bloody. In just five pages, Edmondson and Gerads completely envelop us in their take on the character. With alligators.

Next, Edmondson flexes his writing chops by treating us to a great character-building scene in a neighborhood diner with lady cop Sam. Here’s hoping we see more of Sam. Frank really responds well to her.

Mitch Gerads makes Punisher one of the most unique looking books on the shelf. His style has a stark, realistic feel. Added by the coloring, which isn’t credited, but I’m assuming is also done by Gerads, the art conveys emotion surprisingly well. From the calming browns and yellows of the diner, to the explosive fires of Castle’s missile launcher against the midnight blue sky. Impressive, to say the least.

The All-New MARVEL NOW! Punisher of 2014 isn’t the old-school Punisher I grew up with in the 1980’s and ‘90’s. The violence is still there, oh yes. But the insanity has been toned down, and the tactical mind has been brought to the fore.

So I’ll be back next month. Just don’t tell the other heroes I’m cheating on them.

 

Dan Malmon