The Punisher 1 (April 2000)

The Punisher #1Garth Ennis has a real sense of exuberance with The Punisher. Steve Dillon not as much–maybe he realized how round Jimmy Palmiotti’s inks would make the pencils–but the art’s still good. Every line of Ennis’s narration from Frank is enthralled, though. Even though nothing happens this issue, that narration makes it worth it.

Until the end maybe. Ennis has to address recent changes in the character history and the lines recounting the Punisher’s days as an angel are too jarring. Ennis can get wrapped up in Frank’s worldview but there’s no way to make that angel stuff sound good.

The narration is tempting; Ennis brings the reader over to Frank’s side. The way Frank thinks, the way he plans out his attacks, the mindset–it almost immediately makes perfect sense. Probably because of the awesome opening sequence.

It’s commercial Ennis. He’s funny and tender; any viciousness is superficial.

B+ 

CREDITS

Welcome Back, Frank; writer, Garth Ennis; penciller, Steve Dillon; inker, Jimmy Palmiotti; colorist, Chris Sotomayor; letterers, Richard Starkings and Wes Abbott; editors, Joe Quesada and Palmiotti; publisher, Marvel Comics.

One Comment

  1. Matthew Hurwitz

    I have fond memories of reading this series when it came out, when I had no idea who Garth Ennis was, being fairly certain that The Punisher was a mornonic character – and then completely enjoying the entire 12 issue saga and becoming both a Garth Ennis and Punisher fan for life. The weird part came later: reading Ennis’ “Max” Punisher books – with its storylines ranging from sex slavery to sociopathic mobsters to some characteristically Ennis-researched Vietnam flashbacks – and then revisiting this initial series and finding it oddly childish by comparison. But it’s still thoroughly entertaining from issue to issue. This is Ennis at his most commercial, sure, but that’s not a bad thing at all.

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