Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Punisher MAX #1

Garth Ennis picks up right where he left off, with... wait a second. Jason Aaron picks up right where Garth Ennis left off, with the Punisher as a force of nature. Aaron successfully copies Ennis' formula; that is, the villains are the real story. We read the Punisher (especially the MAX version) for revenge-fulfillment, so populating the pages with evil scum is part of the job, and watching Frank destroy them is the fun part. Aaron starts down that path here, with a bunch of bosses creating a fictional "kingpin" of crime to distract Frank from their normal operations. The interesting part is that the whole kingpin idea came from a leg-breaker named Wilson Fisk. Now, we know that Fisk ends up as the Kingpin in the mainstream Marvel U, and I can't wait to see how he comes to power in this MAX universe. Aaron makes the interesting choice to give Fisk a wife and son, immediately humanizing him. It's going to be harder to totally hate the guy if he is really as kind to his loved ones as he seems to be.

Steve Dillon captures the mix of ultra-violence and humor that is essential for a successful Punisher comic. There's a scene with a mobster's eyeballs popping out that is just classic. Slapping the MAX label on this title makes everything fair game. I'd never want to see the normal Marvel U Punisher pouring salt on the wounds of his torture subjects, but the MAX Punisher? He's a force of nature, not a person.


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