Writer: Garth Ennis
Artist: Goran Parlov
Colorist: Lee Loughridge
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover Artist: Tim Bradstreet
Company: Marvel MAX
The Marvel MAX line is certainly an interesting idea, and if ever there as a character made for it, it’s Frank Castle. In fact, I’m amazed the original Punisher comic was able to sell at all under the Comics Code Authority. How do you center a comic book around a character getting revenge against the criminal underworld after the brutal murder of his wife and kids, and avoid “scenes of excessive violence”? And how it is possible that Castle didn’t let loose with just one “f–k” in all those years?
Well, in any case, we seem to be experiencing deja vu all over again. Frank discovers that his baby daughter has been kidnapped by the Barracuda (a very, very bad guy he left for dead some time back). This is an especially big surprise, since Frank wasn’t aware that he had a daughter, as of three days ago.
It feels somewhat wrong to complain about the lack of violence in an issue, but c’mon – this is the Punisher, in an Adult rated comic. This is a level of expectation here. And I guess the real complaint is that nothing happens of note: it feels like 5 pages of storyline stretched out to a thirty-two page book. It’s all set-up and exposition, with a token flashback to Frank’s time in Vietnam, thrown in for no good reason that I can discern.
Certainly, the image on the last page of the book is rather shocking at first glance (which, of course, is exactly the intention). But, even that effect is lost, if you pay attention to the pages before it. (I won’t give it totally away, but I trust you can follow along yourselves.)
Rating: 4 out of 10