Review: The Punisher #1

The_Punisher_1_Maleev_VariantThe one man war on crime is reforged, reloaded and reenergized! Frank Castle is back to wreak havoc on the underworld of the Marvel Universe once more. The Punisher #1 comes from the creative team of writer Becky Cloonan and artist Steve Dillon.

A by-the-numbers drug bust is about to take Frank Castle by surprise – and he HATES surprises. There’s a new drug hitting the streets. One that has the ability to create unstable super soldiers. As the threads begin to pull loose, the man behind the drug’s startling connection to The Punisher is revealed. An old associate from Frank’s military days has resurfaced. But as he follows the trail of drugs and bodies deeper and deeper into the Northeast’s heart of darkness – has Frank Castle truly met his match?

When this series was announced, the prospect of Cloonan and Dillon working together was beyond intriguing and had me excited to see what the two could do together. Cloonan is beyond talented when it comes to her writing and art, and having her take a spin and putting her signature on Frank Castle was something though could have been unique and interesting. What results is a pretty ho-hum start that’s not bad, nor is it groundbreaking at all. This is a run of the mill take on Frank Castle and the Punisher.

Cloonan is a dual talent and if you haven’t read her indie trilogy of Wolves, The Mire, and Dementer, then you’re missing out. But, it’s the excellence of that work that I thought we get a more intriguing Castle who’s actually tortured. Instead, so far, it’s the basic Castle we’ve seen that is the super-human killing machine. It’s one issue though, so hopefully as things progress we’ll get more than a Terminator in the flesh.

This latest volume also sees Dillon returning to the Punisher. Dillon will be familiar to Punisher fans as he tackled the character from 2000 to 2003 and again in 2009. Dillon’s style is distinctive and when it comes to the uber violence dished out by the Punisher, Dillon captures all of the bloody action.

I think what we’re seeing in this first issue is a classic Punisher, and that’s my issue. I expected something more. Instead, we got something we’ve seen before many times.

Story: Becky Cloonan Art: Steve Dillon
Story: 6.7 Art: 7.4 Overall: 6.85 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


  • Patrick Healy

    I think Punisher should be tried and true and that the title is a stage for a creative team to showcase a new presentation on an overly familiar and relatively simple concept. “Classic” is what I’m looking for, but it’s hard to work “enticing” in there, also.

    • “Classic” to me was a character who was just a killing machine with little depth as to his actual character. Nothing more than the comic version of the numerous macho revenge films of the time. He should be a character haunted by his time in the military and murder of his family ON TOP of being the killing machine. That actually makes him a fully formed character. Daredevil’s second season gave us some of that, which stood out to me. This is just one issue, but it shows no indication to expect that.

      • Patrick Healy

        You’re right about the last part. I think he works best in small doses, flesh out a character like Budd Plug and make Punisher the x-factor. He’s been struggling with his issues since ‘Nam. I never expect depth as much as I hope for efficacy, or rather satisfaction, which I feel when I know the other characters. I DIDN’T know them super well here. That would be my focus.