The Punisher #1 (2016)
By Becky Cloonan (W), Steve Dillon (A), and Frank Martin (CA)
Cover by Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire
Published By: Marvel Comics
So the Punisher’s appearance in the second season of Netflix’s Daredevil was a hit. Jon Bernthal was phenomenal as Frank Castle. His role was so well received that Marvel looks to be putting together a solo series for the Punisher on Netflix. Now seems to be as good a time as any to give Frank a solo book again, and Marvel took advantage of the opportunity.
This issue picks up with a criminal organization running a drug that gives its users superhuman abilities. The main characters of the issue, more than Frank Castle himself, are Olaf, the weathered mercenary, Face, the sadistic lieutenant to the unnamed crime boss, and two D.E.A agents, Ortiz and Henderson. The detectives are trying to bring down the drug-running operation. Face puts Olaf and a pair of muscle-bound twins in charge of the warehouse that the police are planning to raid. However, before the D.E.A has a chance to strike, the Punisher shows up to put down the drug operation, leaving the D.E.A to pick up the pieces.
This comic is a really fun read. Olaf and Face fit the archetypes that they resemble, but there is something compelling about them. Frank Castle is a silent, rampaging killer in this one. When he shows up, the fight sequences are fantastic. It is a blood-soaked mess, and I loved every panel of it. He uses guns of course, but, when the fighting becomes a melee, he uses everything at his disposal, from cinder blocks to railroad spikes. If you are squeamish about gore, you should skip this one.
Like I said, the Punisher himself isn’t in this one a whole lot, but, when he is, Cloonan and Dillon make the most of it. He is a force of nature in this comic. He never says a word, and he’s downright terrifying.
Ortiz and Henderson are the weak links in the chain. They read like the stereotypical detectives, and they take up about a quarter of the comic. Ortiz is the stronger of the two characters, but neither really grabbed my attention.
I’ve never been the biggest fan of Dillon’s art. I’ve run into him before in Wolverine and in Charles Soule’s Thunderbolts, and his art never really did it for me (there’s something with the faces and the eyes). That being said, his art really fit this comic well. His attention to detail and the griminess of it all was perfect for this Punisher comic. It adds to the gritty eighties action movie aesthetic.
This is a very enjoyable read, and it definitely gets my seal of approval. Give it a try.
Final Score: 8/10