Thursday, 11 August 2011

New Beginnings - The Punisher #1

Throughout the summer Marvel has started new series for its “Big Shots”, namely Moon Knight (Bendis), Daredevil (Waid) and now The Punisher by Greg Rucka.

Many of you will know Rucka from his work across the Batman titles for DC or alongside Ed Brubaker on Daredevil. Others many know him from the plethora of Eisner nominations and awards. Either way his presence within the comic world is certainly well felt.

So having not worked on The Punisher as a title before and starting it from #1, was this a good idea?

I've never really read The Punisher before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. In all honesty my only exposure was the 2004 Jonathan Hensleigh helmed film (as discussed by Rob this week too) featuring Thomas Jane so as far as the issue goes I am a blank canvas.

Blank is an ironic and also apt word to use though as I became worried that I had picked up a duff copy as the first five pages didn’t contain a single word and the sixth was an advert.

Now, some of the frames are obvious and you can get a general idea that the depicted scene is not the best of places to be, but it’s also a little confusing as well. There are sections which simply feel as though they could be anything to do with the story but also nothing. It’s only when you get into the bones of the that you start to get a decent feel for the story (although there are some more “blank” pages as well) and this feeling was an odd one.

For a title re-introducing The Punisher to the comic market, as Marvel has advertised, there is a distinct lack of the main character until the very end. In fact there is more presence of Frank Castle in the additional side story “interview” that you are given at the end too. However, that’s not to say it doesn’t do a job.

For the series Marco Checchetto has teamed with Rucka to produce the comic. Having come off of the back of Daredevil with Andy Diggle and previously having drawn the American Son mini story in Spider-Man you can see why he was chosen to support. The line work is clean, crisp full of detail in the well lit frames, however, as with the idea and feel of The Punisher a lot is done in the dark. It’s here when the really strong work comes to the front as Checchetto says so much more with so much less linework and pushes the depth of the shadows. Obviously Matt Hollingworth has aided this process with his colouring too but I really feel that the look of the comic is where its strength lies.

As a complete offering of half written and half depicted tale it both grabs and pushes away.

I’m left a little disappointed that I couldn’t read more of Rucka’s work and start to wonder if he followed the same line of thought as Marco did where at times less is more but at the same time if that wasn’t his plan it has worked. The slight movie feel about it all that is created is pointing towards something bigger being built and I’m thankful that it hasn’t gone down the gratuitous overuse of a character or premise.

I’ll certainly be keeping an eye on this one for the next few issues but not quite sticking it on my pull list though...

Matt Puddy forgot the hyphen in Spider-Man again and now his editor is disappointed in him

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