Thursday, December 25, 2008

Punisher MAX: Valley Forge TPB

It really isn't fair for anyone else to try and write the Punisher. Garth Ennis absolutely nails his last Punisher MAX story. He tells the story of a Delta Force unit assigned to take out the Punisher. The crooked Generals sending the team know that Frank Castle would never take the life of an innocent soldier, and the story shows the extremes Castle takes to make sure his mission is not compromised. The Delta Force commandos get some fantastic development with their limited page time. Colonel Howe in particular is a fascinating character. He's the commanding officer for Delta, and regardless of how crooked his bosses are, he won't compromise the honor of the US Armed Forces. The trade is interspersed with excerpts from a fake Punisher biography. The book is the story of the Valley Forge Firebase in Viet Nam and the horrible battle that was its fall. That battle may just be where the Punisher was made. I forgot how well Ennis writes his war stories. The excerpts read like a real book, and Ennis story is riveting. There is so much well done in this story, I found myself stunned when I put it down. It's amazing to read Ennis at his best. He hates and loves America at the same time, it seems. His run on this book has been amazing, and his swan song is one of his best stories. When Ennis writes like this, I don't think there is anyone in comics better than he is.

Goran Parlov doesn't get to do his comedy like he did in the Barracuda stories, but his artwork carries the story well. The Delta guys look great, and the scenes where they tangle with the Punisher are really exciting. The fake photos of Viet Nam from the book look great too, they carry the story as well as real photographs would.


Merry Christmas everyone (all 5 of you!)

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