Hey Kids, remember back in the Fall of 2012 when Marvel started rolling out new #1 Titles that gave a number of characters in the Marvel U a “Soft Reboot” under the banner MARVEL NOW? Guess What? They’re doin’ it all again, Baby!
It’s the ALL NEW MARVEL NOW! Over the next few months, I’ll be taking a look at the first issue of each new title as it hits the comics stands. (This only applies to REAL #1 Titles – None of this .Now stuff.) Wanna know if this series seems like a keeper or is destined for the quarter bin of our interest? Sit back and enjoy my analysis. You just might learn something.
The Punisher is BACK! (Again) This time he’s on the left coast and looking for drug dealers. This appears to be yet another example of Marvel trying to get their heroes out of New York. I guess the Avengers and Spider-Man called dibs and it was time for almost everybody else to get out. Anyways, a new Punisher series is here with a shiny new creative team to back it up. Nathan Edmondson, who’s already doing amazing stuff with another street level hero in Black Widow, is putting Frank Castle to task as it’s not just criminals he has to deal with. Mitch Gerads provides the pencils for the vigilante’s latest forray into an ongoing series. As a long time Punisher fan, I couldn’t have been more excited for this past Wednesday to come. Thankfully, my anticipation was rewarded.
The first two pages of the issue have a jarring effect as they do not open with any crime or Punishment. Frank Castle has to wait for his big moment on stage as a new group of antagonists are revealed. The funny thing is, they’re not criminals. We get a quick glimpse of what they’re all about and then we switch to the Main Event. Frank Castle is tracking drug runners through the jungle and making short work of ’em. We get to see the Punisher in action and get a pretty sweet internal monologue describing where his head is at these days. We then see that Punisher has set up shop in sunny L.A. where he’s following the money to find the supply chain of the local drug cartel. He’s obviously been there for a bit as he’s taken up residence at the local diner, getting chummy with Lou, the cook and Sam, a police officer who patrols the neighbourhood. It’s obvious that Sam wishes there was more than chitchat going on as she appears to be interested in Frank for more than his coffee shop talk. But Castle’s got no time for that, not when he’s trying to take down a drug operation. Through military contacts, a bit of detective work and some heavy artilery, The Punisher shows the locals that they should say no to drugs. As the cops clean up the mess that Punisher’s left in the wake of dismantling one particular drug operation, the real antagonists show up and begin their search for Castle.
This was by far the perfect beginning for this chapter in the life of the Punisher. We not only get a clear look at how Punisher operates, we also got a glimpse of what’s coming his way and it wasn’t spoiled by overplaying it. This group of Antagonists is obviously a hit squad but are they contract for hire types or a military unit. It’s hard to say as they could be both. It’s been a while since a credible threat was introduced in a Punisher book. I loved Greg Rucka’s run with the character but even he had a hard time coming up with a tough opponent for the one man killing machine, eventually bringing in the Avengers to take him out and even they had a difficult time. Nathan Edmondon has introduced a group of characters who we know nothing about but have already illustrated that they can handle themselves pretty well. Another return to form is Frank Castle’s ability to track down his targets using his special set of skills. The story runs almost like a police procedural but instead of tracking down the bad guy, he’s killing the bad guy along with a slew of more baddies he finds along the way. Frank’s a “Take No Prisoners” kinda guy and it shows. He’s also got a bit humanity (or the facade of humanity) still kicking around inside him as his interactions with Sam and Lou illustrate. These moments show the great contrast of character that is the Punisher. They also contrast nicely with the great, OVER-THE-TOP action sequences that are beautifully rendered throughout the issue.
Mitch Gerads was born to draw The Punisher. It’s a fact. Gerads gets what makes this vigilante one of the baddest men in comics. Whether it’s the river takedown of the drug runners, The freeway carjacking, or the “Boom” of a climax in this issue, Mitch gives us the “in your face” action sequences we want. Sure, the heavy firepower at the end of the book could be seen as a bit cheesy to some but make no mistake, it’s vintage Punisher. What amazes me is that Gerads is able to portray these moments in a way where they seem realistic. Add to it the look of the characters, especially Frank, and you’ve got yourself one fine looking war on crime. There’s no better way to describe Gerads work then to say that he “gets” it.
If you’re a fan of the Punisher, you will want to check out the new series. It’s got everything you want. If you’re looking for something that’s not superheroes but still has that Marvel feel, you might want to check it out as well. Edmondson and Gerads are off to a great start and I can’t see them falling off the rails any time soon. Punisher #1 is available where comics are sold.
Okay, so Wolverine lost his healing factor so he has to wear an armoured suit. Okay. He’s now working for this guy named The Offer who has him teamed up with a crew of young and dangerous assassins for hire. Sure. He’s getting drunk, thinking about eventually dying and trying out firearms. Why not. Oh, and he’s also breaking out Hand Ninjas from prison and possibly killing innocents. WHAAA? That’s all I could get from this book. The rest was a cluttered mess of plot and characters that went nowhere. At least the art was okay. I would advise all to pass on Wolverine #1.
Check back here for more ALL NEW MARVEL NOW first issue reviews. Until then, stay in the NOW!
If you’re gonna geek out GEEK HARD!