First off it needs to be said that we are huge Punisher fans, especially the Garth Ennis Max run. This new series takes place after Greg Rucka’s Punisher series and also Punisher: War Zone which was also brilliantly written by Greg Rucka. This was the comic we most looked forward to this week simply based on the fact it’s The Punisher. This new series is being written by Nathan Edmondson, a man known for his militaristic writing style (i.e Black Widow, The Activity, Grifter). The artist is Mitch Gerads, whom is also known for his military style of art and even works with Nathan Edmondson on The Activity.
This book has a good balance between the action and the dialogue. Nathan Edmondson does a great job showing off his militaristic style, especially in the opening scene which reads almost like a movie. Also the actual introduction of Frank Castle was done very well. The art and dialogue come together amazingly in a single panel, putting you in the shoes of the Punisher. The art goes very well with the tone and Mitch Gerads isn’t afraid to get gory. Fans of the Punisher Max series will feel right at home with the action. The entire book reads very smoothly and doesn’t jump around in time too crazily. This is a fresh take on the Punisher and the basic story choice of a drug cartel was a wise decision from Mr. Edmondson. The Punisher is a black and white character, he wants to kill bad buys and Nathan Edmondson lets him do that. The book ends very well in that it sets up a potentially great story.
With all of that said, we were actually very disappointed in this book. Now before you hate us, let us state our argument. The main problem we had with this book is the handling of Frank Castle. He just doesn’t seem like the Punisher we all know and love. The Punisher is suppose to be a dark and gritty character. Picture Batman if he was willing to actually kill criminals. For those of you that don’t know, Frank’s family was murdered right in front of him. Based on this issue, you would never know that his family is dead. Frank in this issue is smiling and joking around with a diner chef, which pulled us out immediately. He also had very cheesy dialogue whenever he was about to kill someone, it almost came off like 90′s Schwarzenegger. Another problem we had was that the characters seem to not know that Frank Castle is The Punisher. Without spoiling the book, there are characters that interact with Frank and then talk about The Punisher as if they don’t know him. That is a problem because it is common knowledge in the 616 universe that Frank Castle is the Punisher. He is a very public character and so people understand who he is. One character is even a cop and doesn’t recognize Frank. It’s little things about the character that ruined this book for us. We really wanted to love this book because we love both the character and the writer himself. We are huge Nathan Edmondson fans and even follow his current Black Widow run. We truly wished we loved this book but the mistreatment of Frank was too much for us.
This book was our most anticipated for this week and it let us down. We love Nathan Edmondson and despite the unanimously positive reviews for this issue, we just couldn’t get into it. The mistreatment of The Punisher by making him happy and jokey was too much and the fact no one knows Frank is the Punisher pushed up over the edge. We feel like Frank Castle wasn’t Frank Castle and we just couldn’t get past that. The action, art, and story itself was good though. We have high hopes for this series and we truly wish we loved this comic.
2ComicNerds rating - 2/5