Sunday, 8 October 2017

Punisher MAX: The Platoon #1 Review (Garth Ennis, Goran Parlov)


After a break of nearly ten years, the definitive Punisher writer, Garth Ennis, is back for a new addition to arguably the character’s finest series, Punisher MAX, with Platoon. Except it’s not really a Punisher comic. I mean, it is in that it’s about Frank Castle, the Punisher, but it’s about Frank’s first command in the Vietnam War and Frank became the Punisher after his third tour of duty (see Punisher: Born for that story). So Platoon is essentially a Vietnam War comic with a slight Marvel flavour and a prequel to a prequel to boot! 

Told in flashbacks from the present, the writer of “Valley Forge, Valley Forge” is interviewing the survivors of Frank’s old platoon to find out what kind of man he was - the idea being that we only know how Frank’s story ends before he becomes the Punisher and Platoon is the lead-up to it. 

And the first issue is fine. It’s a solid comic, well-written, well-drawn (Ennis is reunited with Goran Parlov, the artist on Fury MAX: My War Gone By, another Marvel Vietnam comic that’s really good and features a cameo from Frank - I highly recommend any Nick Fury book written by Ennis) but there’s nothing special about it either. It reads exactly like any other Vietnam War story with no surprises or flourishes. I was hoping for a bit more originality to set it apart, a bit more edge and style, and some of the uniqueness Ennis usually brings to his work, and it’s not here. 

If you’re as big a fan of Ennis’ Punisher MAX as me, you’re gonna read this regardless, but even so Platoon #1 is an unremarkable, though welcome, return from this creator. It’s a first issue though with five more to come so there’s time for it to shape up into possibly something better.

1 comment:

  1. Ennis can't seem to come up with any ideas that don't circle around some form of moral bankruptcy. Seriously, the guys range and depth could fit in a thimble and all his characters are stupidly miserable.

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