By Charles Soule, Reilly Brown, Szymon Kudranski, Jim Charalampidis, and Clayton Cowles.
Daredevil/Punisher #1 is here and honestly, it is really nice to have another Daredevil title to look forward to every month. After burning through Daredevil season two, many of you are probably looking to scratch that Daredevil itch that won’t go away. Lucky for you, Marvel has a comic for that! (Or two now, for that matter.) It is a happy coincidence that this new Daredevil crossover features Punisher, whose respective stock rose from his appearance in the Netflix show. This issue is the first chapter in the ‘Seventh Circle’ story from this crossover event, which seems to line up with Soule’s current Daredevil run. This book delivers exactly what you would expect from a Daredevil and Punisher crossover, Punisher wants to kill bad guys and Daredevil wants to prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. The only extra addition to the predictable action is a little sidekick known as Blindspot.
This story is a great introduction to the classic character tropes of justice and vengeance that are Daredevil and Punisher, but there was no real extra juice or flavor added to the character or story dimension that we could usually expect from Soule. Daredevil has really come a long way in the recent comic run from Soule, and we see some glimmers of that throughout the comic. He successfully knows how to utilize Blindspot to help neutralize threats and he also is showing some anger and hostility in the way he talks to the bad guys. Maybe it is a confidence from him that is different, but it is noticed. Punisher is just the same as he ever was. He comes and wants to put down the bad guys, plain and simple. He truly lives in a world of black and white, and it can be said it is hard to revision a character like Punisher, but we would almost expect that from a writer like Soule.
What truly gives this comic lifeblood is the fantastic art and action packed into every panel. This book is brimming with action from the get go and it is really fun to read along. This book features layouts from Brown, pencils and inks from Kudranski, colors from Charalampidis, and letters from Cowles. One distinctive creative feature this book carried over from the Daredevil run is the use or underuse of colors. This book fantastically heightens reds and whites, by using mostly black, greys, and darker tones to compose most pages. This provides an almost dark canvas that allows Daredevil’s costume to leap off the page, and also the ‘Blam’s and ‘Klang’s that litter every page. The art also provides some great panels and shots like one of Daredevil ripping off his attorney gear to reveal the DD symbol hidden beneath his shirt a la Superman. Punisher is shown mostly obscured, hidden by shadows or side profiles for the majority of the book, and the book ends on a high note revealing a full on Punisher holding a gun and faced with a huge decision. This book it completely packed to the gills full of non-stop action, guns, billy clubs, and Daredevil radar sense. And honestly, it better be for the bloated price of $4.99. Another great thing from this creative team were the panels of Daredevil using his radar sense. They were completely back dropped in vibrant red with tiny white circles issuing throughout the panel to signify him using this ability to fight his opponents. The layout of panels throughout this issue was expertly configured to ensure the readers were right along with Daredevil throughout the issue.
If you are new to Daredevil or Punisher or maybe even both, this book will serve as a great introduction to the characters and what they stand for. Each one is staying true to some core beliefs that have shaped each character for many years, but there could be more to the story. That is the beauty of comics; you never know really what is happening until the very end. There is always a way to surprise and delight readers with every issue. Daredevil/Punisher #1 is exciting despite it’s predictable first issue set up because it has the capacity and potential to be more than just this first issue. Over this arc we could expect something to happen to take the story off the predictable track and into new terrain.