New Comics: The Punisher

Fuck me, it’s Frank Castle.

A few days after Marvel announced that Jon Bernthal would be reprising his role as The Punisher in a new Netflix series, Frank makes his All New All Different Marvel debut in the pages of Becky Cloonan and Steve Dillon’s The Punisher #1. He gets right to work doing what he does best, killing fools and blowing shit up. And he does it without saying a single damn word.

Becky Cloonan is a badass. Already well known for her artwork, collaborating on books like Demo with Brian Wood and American Virgin with Steven Seagle, this time she gets bloody with the typewriter (I like to imagine her scripting this book on a cranky Smith Corona, filling up an ashtray and smashing down on the carriage release with the bottom of her whiskey glass). She’s got Frank chasing the distributors of a dangerous new street drug, while the DEA tries to keep above the tide of dropping bad guy bodies.

The DD/Punisher Infinite comic gets a physical re-package
The DD/Punisher Infinite comic gets a physical re-package

Steve Dillon is a professional. You loved his brutal realism on Vertigo books like Hellblazer and Preacher, and you were happy to see him dip his toes into Marvel’s capes-n-tights pool over the last decade. Then you were thrilled when he teamed up with Jason Aaron on The Punisher. He hasn’t half-assed a spray pattern since, and there will be plenty of eyes rolling back into victims’ skulls. Nobody does it better.

And in case you needed a little more Frank Castle in the Week of The Punisher, Marvel has packaged up the current Daredevil/Punisher Infinite comic into a shelf floppy. The story is your standard fare: Punisher wants to kill Mr. Criminal and Daredevil has to stop him. But the art and layouts were clearly designed for the Infinite format – that not quite animation and not quite comics hybrid that hasn’t clicked yet – and would be better off existing solely on your iPad. Or, dare I say it, not at all.

Other Marvel Highlights
It’s Week 31 in Marvel’s All New All Different relaunch and, in addition to the new Punisher series, which, if you weren’t paying attention, we sorely needed, we also get a new Thunderbolts series, which, if you don’t mind me saying so, we probably didn’t. Sure, we’ve seen a few ANAD titles get canceled, and, yeah, it’s important to get Winter Soldier on a cover this week before the biggest goddam movie in human history gets its wide release, but… this latest take on the Little Bad Guys Who Could isn’t cutting it. If you dug what Marvel did with Avengers: Standoff, then maybe you’re interested to see how those events spin into this new book. If not, and you’re a little more judicious with your Marvel spending cash, check out the new storyline (and gorgeous new art!) in A-Force #6, the outstanding intrigue of Moon Knight #2, or the continuing tour de force that is Samnee and Waid’s Black Widow #3.


Other Highlights
Don’t let all these Hollywood Blockbusters, Wal-Mart superhero backpacks, and licensed video games fool you. Comics is still an artform of the proletariart! And to make this point, Kaare Kyle Andrews goes bonkers in this first issue of Renato Jones: The One %This twisted Punisher kills a different sort of criminal – the kind that “crashed the economy, destroyed families” and is fond of the phrase “they’re not even people!” Warren Ellis, in a letter response to an advance copy, unsurprisingly says it best:

Dear Kaare, I read your book and it’s fucking demented… I think you should probably be spayed so that your genes cannot pervert future generations of life on Earth. I really liked your comic. But it’s fucking demented and you should know that. Never write to me again. Yours Faithfully, Warren Ellis

(Do you have to use so many cuss words? Have it your way…)

April 27 | New Release Highlights | May 11