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The Punisher, Vol. 1 (2012)

by Greg Rucka(Favorite Author)
3.87 of 5 Votes: 2
0785163743 (ISBN13: 9780785163749)
Marvel Comics
The Punisher Vol. VIII
review 1: The book did not make it clear this was the beginning of a new series not a supposedly self-contained mini-series. Had I known that going in or at the end, I probably would have not been so disappointed by the end. It's not an end - it just stops. None of the characters have any resolution, none of the plots have any conclusions - it just stops. Now that I know it's not a self-contained story but is the beginning of a series, I don't mind as much (but I probably wouldn't have read it). Even for a Punisher series, it is rather violent - maybe that's just the style in 2012. The miniscule "parental advisory" label hidden on the back cover has all the authority of "hey, parents, maybe you should say 'this is violent' to your kids before you hand it to them." That was no... moret appealing. Neither was the reboot of the Punisher's character - now he is a young guy fresh from some unnamed war service, out for generic vengeance against the fact his family was murdered, but we have no idea against whom he is seeking vengeance. Though I did not like the violent artwork, the fact Rucka is another in a line of writers who allows the artist/penciller to tell the story as well without surfeiting every panel with speech bubbles was a nice component to the story. The supporting cast of characters is intriguing for this series, but the Punisher is not. Perhaps his rebooted character gets more definition and context in later issues, but he is not interesting enough to make me continue reading this series. Likewise, the "bonus feature" of the Punisher "story" from Spider-Island is not interesting - it's like every bank heist movie you've ever seen just with Spider-Men villains. You'd think "Spider-Men villains" would be an interesting concept, but this short story does not pull it off. If the big appeal of the Punisher is "he's really violent," that's not a worthwhile basis for a character or series. Even Achilles had a poignant side. Maybe the "real" fans think the softer '80s-'90s Punisher was too soft, but he was a lot more interesting to read than this "tough" contemporary, young-and-savage Punisher.
review 2: The big reason Greg Rucka's 'The Punisher' works so well is that Frank Castle/Punisher is used so sparingly. After watching him blow threw his enemies in new and interesting (not to mention vicious and disgusting) ways it's refreshing to see Frank take a back-seat to the stories. There's still action and violence aplenty but there's also more humaity too as people who are effected by Frank and his world take center-stage in the comic's narrative. Everyone from Police Detectives to a maverick reporter to a would-be bride who's fiancee and entire family were massacred by criminals; each character is well-drawn and fully fleshed out as they're lives are effected by the Punisher; and when Frank DOES appear it's for maximum effect (I actually like that there's no inner-monolgue, nor does Frank have much dialogue). My only complaint is that this volume doesn't complete the story it sets up; otherwise I very much recommend it to any comic fan interested on a new story-telling take of this familiar character. less
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Max Fiumara's art in the last story is awesome!
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