Overview

Punisher #1

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Punisher #1

Credits

  • Words: Rick Remender
  • Art: Jerome Opena
  • Inks: Jerome Opena
  • Colors: Dan Brown
  • Story Title: Living in Darkness
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Jan 7, 2009

The Punisher takes his war to the new guy in charge of the Marvel Universe. Unfortunately, Osborn has one hell of a bodyguard.

Rick Remender is an idea guy. His best work from XXXombies to Fear Agent to The End League are all inspired stories full of high concept fun. However, each of these books also wear their influences with pride. XXXombies was full of seventies fun poking fun at the porn industry while having a go at zombies; Fear Agent is like Forbidden Planet if it had starred Clint Eastwood; and The End League is a post-apocalyptic superhero quest. By taking genres and mashing them, he doesn’t really create something new, but an exciting amalgam.

Taking that same philosophy to scripting a Frank Castle story may seem a little odd. However, by doing so, Remender takes what seems to be a simple action piece and turns it into something more, something deceptively layered.

There are simple references. Take the whole design of the story. Frank Castle and the Sentry play a game of cat and mouse. This leads to the hero being wounded, having to beat insurmountable odds and lots of massive explosions. Does it take a taxi cab being driven by the Octopus to make the readers see that this is just Die Hard ? It goes down to the whole stereotypical supervillain monologue that gets the baddie into more trouble than if he just killed the good guy. Playing to the trope that the bad guy wants to be caught. That Harry Callahan guy must of been onto something.

Then there are the more complex ones. Frank compares the Dark Reign status quo and the heroes' attitude to the American Revolution. It’s time for the heroes to get dirty. Some of the heroes realized this in the days following Civil War, but with Tony Stark out of the government’s favor, it is time for all of them to realize this. It is easy to imagine that in the end, the Marvel heroes will be a more solidified force. However, they are going to have to get dirty... fight behind the trees and unconventionately. Frank is the guy that will lead the way. He will use the enemy against themselves if need be and is more than willing to sacrifice himself if need be.

There are also more light hearted references. From the Sentry using one of Castle’s trademark lines on him to a nod to the hero’s Catholic upbringing. Remender takes a fun book and makes it just a bit more. Meaning that you can read it in thirty seconds and want more or take more time with it and notice the nuance.

Opena’s art gives the book a gritty feel. His line is a relative of the chunky art of Risso, but Brown gives the book a Marvel coloring mash up. It is a neat contrast that works well, giving the book a unique style. All the while the action is fluid and exciting.

There is a lot going on with the Punisher recently. Not quite weekly books, less than well received movies, and maybe a change of name in that more explicit comic. It is nice to see him just shoot guns and run from superpowered guys. The Marvel Universe and readers welcome you back.

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