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Review: The Punisher #1

Punisher no longer has the War Machine armor, but he retained his newly acquired taste for big game, and he’s hungry for more. However, the paths to such perilous pursuits are fraught with dangers bigger than any Frank has faced before, and this lone wolf could use otherworldly help on his way up to the world stage.

There’s been all sorts of takes on the Punisher. There’s the classic version that wages a war on crime. There’s the one that was brought back from the dead to avenge for God. There was Franken-Castle… which, yeah. And there was Nazi-Punisher manipulated by the evil Steve Rogers. That last one is key here as Frank Castle is attempting to atone for his mistakes as Hydra is rising once again.

Writer Matthew Rosenberg is taking Castle through a journey where he’s attempting to right some wrongs and in doing so giving us a version that’s a mix of some classics. This is more the classic version waging a war it feels like so far but also one who’s on a bigger stage and now viewed as a terrorist not just a psycho vigilante. It’s a logical extension for the character and gives him a character progression and growth we haven’t seen addressed enough in a post Secret Empire Marvel universe. What’s more interesting is the use of characters not normally associated with the Punisher to do so. There’s the Mandarin, Baron Zemo, Roxxon, and even Hydra. It’s an expansion of rogues that feels like a solid move in getting this character more out there and integrated into the Marvel Universe.

The art by Szymon Kudranski with color by Antonio Fabela and lettering by Cory Petit builds off of Rosenberg’s Jaws-like narrative. The art uses the slow build as the action ramps up and Castle is revealed more and more not just physically but also his actions. Kudranski gives us slight sparks of enjoyment as the Punisher uses crazier and crazier weapons. Fabela keeps the color choices minimal using it to enhance the carnage and destruction. There’s some great choices on peppering pages with bullet casings as if they’re flying off the page.

The Punisher is on a mission again and this time it’s hunting for bigger game. It’s a great take on the character mixing the old with the new and bringing back the character into what feels like a force of nature that’s pure destruction and chaos and something criminals and villains need to fear.

Story: Matthew Rosenberg Art: Szymon Kudranski
Color: Antonio Fabela Lettering: Cory Petit
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review