Advanced Review: The Punisher #1 (2011)


Our good friends at Marvel found it in their hearts to send us an advance copy of Greg Rucka's Punisher! So, of course, I just can't sit idly by and not share my thoughts on Marvel's latest "Big Shots" book!

As some comic fans have asked me," What's the big deal? It's just another Punisher book!", but that's just it — it isn't! Rucka and the extremely talented Marco Checchetto have created something that Punisher fans have never seen before. This isn't the "helping out other heroes guy" or "the over the top, in your face guy"– this is something original and very cerebral. 

Frank Castle, emotionally and mentally, has ceased to exist since his family was gunned down in front of him. There is nothing left except — the Punisher! This is a tale we all know, but this time, Rucka lets the violence speak for Frank — and it is deafening! 

Rucka brings a uniqueness to this series, something that is both thought provoking and extremely different! Every time there is violence brought into the book, whether from Frank or others, it is absolutely quiet. No thought balloons, dialog, not even a sound effect — just silence. It makes the horrific events resound so much louder internally for the reader, leaving you awestruck at what you have just witnessed! It also makes Frank Castle almost wraith-like, slinking in and out of the scene, a silent vigilante that only leaves the dead to whisper about the faded skull that cut them down. It is an unnerving look at how horrific Frank Castle's world has become now that there are no distractions to pull your eyes away from it! It is something that must be seen to be truly appreciated.

Not to be left out from my praise of this book, is the amazing art from Checchetto! Rucka created the haunting atmosphere, but Checchetto brought life to it. One need only look at the emblem upon the Punisher's chest to be drawn into the rich undertones and shadowy brushstrokes of the world that has been created. It is a brutal, slick and stylistic approach that gives it that "real" feeling. It is truly the perfect compliment for Rucka's story.

Sure to be an instant sell-out, this one is the wildcard of all the "Big Shot" titles! It is also the one that brings something definitively different to the character, and might lose some die-hard fans in the process, but may gain new ones as well. It will be fun to see what "Big Shots" title will be the fan favorite in the next few months. But if you ask me? Place a bet on the trifecta — that way you can't lose!