blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

The Punisher 12 (March 2001)

The Punisher #12Why is the only good scene in the issue–besides the apartment cast’s send-off, of course–when Soap meets the Punisher? The rest of the stuff with Soap is dumb, as are the other subplot resolutions, but there’s something about that scene. Maybe Ennis thinks of the reader as Soap, someone dumb enough to be amused even after a seagull tags you’re forehead.

Because The Punisher is pointless. There’s no story for Frank, not since the first or second issue. There’s no story for the mobsters or the cops. The story for the apartment cast would be more amusing than this comic but only because Ennis actually worked on them.

The series has had some very high points, but Ennis failed to follow through on anything. He introduced ideas, did some development, then forgot them.

Even Dillon seems to have given up a little, especially with his figure drawing.



Go Frank Go; writer, Garth Ennis; penciller, Steve Dillon; inker, Jimmy Palmiotti; colorist, Chris Sotomayor; letterers, Richard Starkings and Wes Abbott; editors, Kelly Lamy, Stuart Moore and Nanci Dakesian; publisher, Marvel Comics.

2 responses to “The Punisher 12 (March 2001)”

  1. Matthew Hurwitz

    Viewed as a trial balloon for the Garth Ennis era of The Punisher, the pointlessness of “Welcome Back, Frank” (as this miniseries has come to be known) is a lot easier to forgive. There’s a lot of great stuff in the subsequent ongoing “Marvel Knights” series, which brought back The Russian for a rematch, Soap as a regular supporting character, and even Joan the Mouse and Spacker Dave for cameos. Taking advantage of the Marvel license, he brought in Spider-Man, Daredevil (again) and Wolverine a couple times, just to make fun of them – his writing of Wolverine is easily as hilarious as anything from “The Boys.” Then you’ve got the “Max” stuff that followed, which was hit-or-miss, but had a lot of great Goran Parlov art.

    There’s also a 6 issue series called “War Zone” you might like, which was surprisingly a sequel to this miniseries AFTER all the Max stuff had been done. Detective Molly is back, working with Frank against a mysteriously revived Ma Gnucci – but it’s a story Ennis is telling after all his other work has been done with The Punisher, so he’s got a much more matured and well-honed take on the character as he returns to this original stab at him.

    In retrospect it’s hard not to see all the flaws in Welcome Back, Frank (you’re right, Soap and Molly have absolutely nothing to do except wait around in cars) but this was the series that made a Punisher fan AND and Garth Ennis fan out of me, so I’ll always remember it fondly.

    1. I did the MAX series as it came out but I think I skipped Marvel Knights because I was so put off by the last issue of this series.

      I’m definitely going to go all the way through the Ennis PUNISHER series though. Not sure when I’m starting Marvel Knights… next month maybe.

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