Sunday, 8 May 2016

The Punisher #1 Review (Becky Cloonan, Steve Dillon)


Drug dealers apparently have street dates for their products and are busy shipping a new drug called EMC to meet them but not if Frank can shoot them all in the face first! 

So this is the start of Becky Cloonan’s run writing for The Punisher and she’s joined by the reason I picked up this issue: artist Steve Dillon. Is it a great issue? Nope, not even close. The art was good but nothing about Cloonan’s script stood out. 

Anyone who’s read The Punisher before will be familiar with the story: bad guys up to no good, Frank goes in guns blazing, lots of headshots and gore follow. Good writers however can make this tried and tested formula exciting and fresh and Cloonan doesn’t - she shows in this issue that she just isn’t a good fit for this kind of story. 

Frank’s latest antagonist is a dude called Face who collects faces - literally flays the skin off his victims and stretches them out on trophy boards. Duuuh, I wonder if that’s why he’s called Face… I also wonder if Frank’s gonna shoot him in the face… 

Steve Dillon knocks out the art like Frank shoots gangsters: expertly and efficiently. Dillon’s firmly in his comfort zone drawing lots of scowling people, plenty of blood, and some eye-gouging. 

But out of all the writers Dillon’s worked with on The Punisher - Garth Ennis, Jason Aaron, Daniel Way - Becky Cloonan’s definitely the weakest. There’s no intensity here, nothing different or special beyond what I’d call as close to a template for a Punisher story as there could be. 

The Punisher #1 has an uninspired and boring story but also has Frank’s best artist drawing it which makes for a very uneven comic. Not a promising start by any means - this arc is definitely a trade-wait for most Punisher fans.

The Punisher #1

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