The Punisher #1
by Nathan Edmondson and Mitch Gerads
Nathan Edmondson is a writer who rose to most people’s attention after his stunning first two issues of Black Widow, and The Punisher is another book that has a very similar look and feel to that title, which is no surprise. It also means that fans of Natasha Romanoff’s latest ongoing will find plenty to enjoy about The Punisher, as Edmondson doesn’t shy away from delivering a good, violent and action packed take on the character that should appeal to newcomers and die hard fans of Frank Castle alike – it’s the perfect jumping on point to get back into the character and Edmondson really crafts a very strong opening first issue.
Frank Castle is heading to Los Angeles, the City of Angels. It’s a welcome change from reading another New York-set story in the Marvel Universe and The Punisher #1 does a good job at giving him a good reason to head there and keep him there for the foreseeable future. It’ll also hopefully give time to develop and introduce new characters that we haven’t seen before. It also moves into a city that actually needs somebody like Frank Castle to make his presence known as opposed to having an Avenger there in his place, because not everybody is afraid of Marvel’s premier superhero team. But you get the feeling that they’re about to be afraid of the Punisher, with the character getting several awesome scenes in this book.
The first issue is off to a pretty solid start plot wise. It avoids all the trappings of a first issue and moves the focus away from exposition to deliver a good, violent and fun ride that fans of Greg Rucka and Michael Lark’s Lazarus will enjoy. The art is similar in tone to Lark’s and that is no bad thing, for Mitch Gerads is on fine form here – on both the pencils and colours, with some great atmospheric artwork that really helps set the mood for the book with some great action sequences – one of the highlights in particular being the opening sequence in Togo – where the attention to detail really helps pay off, with some good artwork being one of the many factors that will keep people sticking around for more.
As well as focusing on The Punisher himself, Edmondson also uses this opportunity to explore some of his friends and his relationship to them – there’s Lou, an owner of a Diner in LA and Tuggs, his friend in the military. These characters and their relationships to Frank are established from the get go and the reader doesn’t have to waste any time in figuring out who they might be. They’re unlikely to crop up every issue but it’s good to know that there is the prospect of seeing some characters in the book who aren’t just target practice for Castle.
Realistic, gritty and fun to read – being one of the best titles in very strong week of comics – The Punisher #1 is a fantastic opening start to a series that is certainly worth investing your time in with the only real complaint being the pricetag. Both Nathan Edmondson and Mitch Gerads absolutely kill it on this book and it’ll be very interesting to see what direction they take Frank Castle in now that he has moved to LA. However, perhaps the best part of this issue is that readers won’t have to wait another month to get their hands on more of this title – #2 ships later this month.