Archive for the ‘Punisher’ Category

Runaways #30

July 18, 2015

Runaways 2-30Joss Whedon // Michael Ryan
August 2008
****

Whedon has astonishing delays—his AX-M is also overdue, but he finally concludes both runs. His Runaways proves to be a belated, time-tossed statement on Civil War‘s inane conflict, & finds a third way by walking away from a superbrawl. Nico gets a power-up & self-insight, Molly gets a new pal & Vic a broken heart.

last issue: Runaways #29
continued in Runaways #1

also indexed for Aug. ’08
Daredevil #108
Guardians of the Galaxy #2
The Immortal Iron Fist #16
Nova #14
Thunderbolts #121

Runaways #26

July 14, 2015

Runaways 2-26Joss Whedon // Michael Ryan
July 2007
**

The kids banter their way over NYC rooftops in a maguffin plot that intersects with street-crime Marvelites Kingpin & Punisher. The latter gets treated as a joke (Molly punches his junk) which I’m okay with, but it suggests that Whedon also thinks poorly of him. So why write him into the ish?

last issue: Runaways #25
next issue: Runaways #27

also indexed for Jul. ’07
Daredevil #97
The Immortal Iron Fist #6
Nova #2
Thunderbolts #114

Runaways #25

July 13, 2015

Runaways 2-25Joss Whedon // Michael Ryan
June 2007
***

Replacing Vaughan with this mag’s highest-profile fan & strongest influence is a no-brainer. But Whedon’s start is inauspicious. Partly it’s the only-okay art, a real comedown after Alphona. A return visit to NYC, as Nico’s self-doubt leads the team into a criminal alliance w/ the Kingpin!

last issue: Runaways #24
next issue: Runaways #26

also indexed by Jun. ’07
Daredevil #96
The Immortal Iron Fist #5
Nova #1
Thunderbolts #113

Daredevil #87

October 23, 2014

Daredevil 087Ed Brubaker // Michael Lark
September 2006
*****

A prison break (as the Punisher’s “hostage”) allows Murdock to track down (a) the man impersonating him and (b) the man who killed Foggy Nelson. Two well-played twists: the first case is fellow martial artist/vigilante Iron Fist; the second is that Nelson’s alive and in FBI Witness Protection!

last issue: Daredevil #86
next issue: Daredevil #88

also indexed for Sept. ’06
Annihilation: Nova #4 of 4
Annihilation: Ronan #4 of 4
Annihilation: Silver Surfer #4 of 4
Annihilation: Super-Skrull #4 of 4
Civil War #3 of 7
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #7

Daredevil #86

October 22, 2014

Daredevil 086Ed Brubaker // Michael Lark
August 2006
*****

To quell a riot on Rikers Isle, Murdock works w/ Kingpin till Bullseye’s added to the alliance, then invites the Punisher to a breakout! From a convo w/ Milla Murdock (who reminds Matt why he fights), Ed B establishes a hard, driving rhythm & never lets up, w/ each scene adding momentum.

last issue: Daredevil #85
next issue: Daredevil #87

also indexed for Aug. ’06
Annihilation: Nova #3 of 4
Annihilation: Ronan #3 of 4
Annihilation: Silver Surfer #3 of 4
Annihilation: Super-Skrull #3 of 4
Astonishing X-Men #15
Civil War #2 of 7
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #6
Young Avengers #12

Daredevil #85

October 21, 2014

Daredevil 085Ed Brubaker // Michael Lark
July 2006
****

Will prison break Murdock? Of course not, but watching the Kingpin & the Punisher (also incarcerated) test his convictions is great fun! EB’s work competes w/ his concurrent Cap, while his partner ML exceeds Epting. In fact, Lark’s lines & layouts may outdo his cohort in the realistic ’00s mode.

last issue: Daredevil #84
next issue: Daredevil #86

also indexed for Jul. ’06
Annihilation: Nova #2 of 4
Annihilation: Ronan #2 of 4
Annihilation: Silver Surfer #2 of 4
Annihilation: Super-Skrull #2 of 4
Civil War #1 of 7
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #5

Daredevil #84

October 20, 2014

Daredevil 084Ed Brubaker // Michael Lark
June 2006
****

DD & his enemies are on Rikers Isle, building the pressure & sending the prison out of control. One great strength of this arc is its Fritz Lang-like development of complex systems of organization: city, prison, newspaper. Lark’s staging adds the physicality of violence & shadows out of film noir.

last issue: Daredevil #83
next issue: Daredevil #85

also indexed for Jun. ’06
Astonishing X-Men #14
Annihilation: Nova #1 of 4
Annihilation: Ronan #1 of 4
Annihilation: Silver Surfer #1 of 4
Annihilation: Super-Skrull #1 of 4
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #4

Daredevil #65

October 1, 2014

Daredevil 065Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Golden, Greg Horn, P. Craig Russell, Phil Hester, Chris Bachalo, and Alex Maleev
late November 2004
**

It’s meant to celebrate the titular hero’s 40th anniversary (& the creative team’s 3-year mark), but #65 reads like a fill-in. For one thing, Maleev’s only contribution is the final episode, a **** scene that sets up the K’pin’s predecessor, now free from Rikers. For another, the rest of the ish adds & revises prior scenes in this run w/o adding to them, & tosses in a few context-free pin-ups.

last issue: Daredevil #64
next issue: Daredevil #66

also indexed for Nov. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #5
Daredevil #64
The Pulse #5

JLA/Avengers #1 of 4

October 4, 2013

Avengers.JLA 1 of 4Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
September 2003
****

As the walls btw DC & Marvel collapse, a pair of cosmic beings make a wager to pit the heroes in a race to collect cosmic artifacts. As hoary as the scenario is, Busiek & Pérez (auteurs of a great Avengers run) lend vivacity to what should be mere fan service. Ex: Busiek makes distinct the thin difference btw the imaginary universes, as Superman reacts viscerally to the MU’s antiheroism & bigotry.

next issue: Avengers/JLA #2 of 4

also indexed for Sept. ’03
Alias #24
New X-Men #144

The Fantastic Four #349

July 9, 2013

Fantastic Four 349Walt Simonson // Arthur Adams & Gracine Tanaka
February 1991
***
A dozen players chase a Maguffin, an egg that hatches a robot WMD. Mr. F & Mole Man hold the focus; Wolverine & Ghost Rider never seem wholly present. Simonson doesn’t have a handle on the guests’ voices or superpowes. His strongest suit, aside from Mr. F himself, is approaching comic books as fun.
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #348]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four #350]

The Punisher #5 of 5

March 18, 2012

Steven Grant & Jo Duffy // Mike Vosburg & John Beatty
May 1986
**
This mini aims to touch the Punisher w/ irony, if not psychological depth. So its climax sees the antihero not shoot his foe. But the creative talent has departed, & their subs aren’t nearly as adroit. The final issue simply presents the Punisher’s brutal methods & idealizes his self-sufficiency.
[last issue: The Punisher #4 of 5]

The Punisher #4 of 5

March 17, 2012

Steven Grant // Mike Zeck
April 1986
****
An anti-crime conspiracy forms a platoon of Punishers by brainwashing convicts. Four issues in, Grant finally adds an outsized element to his crime mag, but he gives the core concept a good twist. It explodes the antihero’s one-man war on crime by enlarging it—but it also idealizes the man-alone trope.
[last issue: The Punisher #3 of 5]
[next issue: The Punisher #5 of 5]

The Punisher #3 of 5

March 16, 2012

Steven Grant // Mike Zeck
March 1986
***
Who’s gunning down mobsters before Frank Castle can do it, the Kingpin (never seen) or a shady syndicate of vigilante abettors? According to the mini, the Punisher can’t see beyond his immediate plans tho’ he recognizes his flaw. But the mechanics of action heroics subverts Grant’s ironic angle.
[last issue: The Punisher #2 of 5]
[next issue: The Punisher #4 of 5]

The Punisher #2 of 5

March 15, 2012

Steven Grant // Mike Zeck
February 1986
***
The Punisher, claiming that he’s offed Marvel-NYC’s crime boss (AKA the Kingpin), sparks a gangland war that draws innocent blood on the subway. Grisly stuff. Grant probes his protag for a conscience, but the mini’s draw is Zeck’s excellent pencils. His faces look like an ’80s take on EC’s expressive mugs.
[last issue: The Punisher #1 of 5]
[next issue: The Punisher #3 of 5]

The Punisher #1 of 5

March 14, 2012

Steven Grant // Mike Zeck
January 1986
****
A longtime guest-star in Marvel comics, the Punisher’s hook was to act as foil for good guys like Spidey & Daredevil. Stripped of that context, his inspiration in ’60s paperback vigilantes (e.g. the Executioner) is obvious. Backed by hard-boiled narration, Frank Castle spoils a crime boss’s prison riot then finds allies in a mysterious syndicate—vigilantism condoned by a silent majority.
[next issue: The Punisher #2 of 5]

Civil War #7 of 7

June 12, 2011

Mark Millar // Steve McNiven
January 2007
*
Ugh. An ADD switcheroo moves the fight to midtown. All these superpowers are used to bludgeon (‘cept teleporting). With anticlimactic irony, Cap realizes that there’s no point to the entire conflict! The only sensible outcome is Tony Stark, Director of SHIELD. Thus ends the ’00s Secret Wars.
[last issue: Civil War #6 of 7]

Civil War #6 of 7

June 11, 2011

Mark Millar // Steve McNiven
December 2006
*
Millar & McNiven move their action figures into place for the next issue’s battle royale. It’ll be set at a secret super-prison, which means to comment on Guantanamo but doesn’t. These pre-finale plot twists only highlight how stiff the characterization, dialogue, & art are. Is this what fans want?
[last issue: Civil War #5 of 7]
[next issue: Civil War #7 of 7]

Civil War #5 of 7

June 10, 2011

Mark Millar // Steve McNiven
November 2006
*
Plot holes are starting to gape as Stark supplements SHIELD agents w/ super-convicts. Even worse are the book’s politics. Truth is, Millar comes at the Bush Admin from the Right, composing a libertarian nightmare where criminals are paroled to round up true Americans like Cap & a reformed Spidey.
[last issue: Civil War #4 of 7]
[next issue: Civil War #6 of 7]

Civil War #4 of 7

June 8, 2011

Mark Millar // Steve McNiven
October 2006
**
The commentary on PATRIOT Act America has become paper-thin & confused, esp. since Millar doesn’t care about civil rights & govt. regulations. He just wants to blow shit up & he has his ideas about how to do that—like a rogue cyber-clone of Thor! But would Mr F create such a Frankenstein’s monster?
[last issue: Civil War #3 of 7]
[next issue: Civil War #5 of 7]

Daredevil #184

June 28, 2010

Frank Miller with Klaus Janson
July 1982
****

The Punisher fades somewhat in issue #2 of this PCP plot. But Miller gracefully salvages the arc by adding tension, twists, & his (by-now expected) superb panel work & grungy NYC atmo. There’s a new plot simmering w/ Matt’s longtime squeeze, but admit it: the book’s lacked zip since Elektra died.

last issue: Daredevil #183
next issue: Daredevil #185

also indexed for Jul. ’82
The Fantastic Four #244

Daredevil #183

June 27, 2010

Frank Miller with Roger McKenzie & Klaus Janson
June 1982
***

Miller needs a break? I figure that’s why, after three A+ years on the title, he reteams w/ McKenzie to offer a wordy, conventional ish. The plot’s strictly afterschool special (a kid high on PCP falls out a window). DD races the Punisher to find the dealers—and the art’s an old-fashioned 3×3 grid!

last issue: Daredevil #182
next issue: Daredevil #184

also indexed for Jun. ’82
The Fantastic Four #243

Daredevil #182

June 26, 2010

Frank Miller with Klaus Janson
May 1982
****

When hard-boiled writers like Miller explore feelings, they get emo, lurid & a little embarrassing. In a coda to the Elektra Saga, Matt refuses to accept the ninja’s death, in denial (blind?) till he exhumes the corpse! A left-field subplot focuses on the rarely-espied Punisher & an LI drug deal.

last issue: Daredevil #181
next issue: Daredevil #183

also indexed for May ’82
The Fantastic Four #242

Daredevil #181

June 25, 2010

Frank Miller with Klaus Janson
April 1982
*****

A double-sized issue allows Miller the space to deliver a milestone climax. It’s rich, pulpy comic-book tragedy, peppered w/ thrilling sequences, starting w/ Bullseye’s prison breakout. He’s the ish’s POV, opening a dramatic irony: we know more than he does about DD/Murdock & Elektra—tho’ he almost cracks their secrets. And astonishingly, brutally, Bulls murders Elek, then loses to DD.

last issue: Daredevil #180
next issue: Daredevil #182

also indexed for Apr. ’82
The Fantastic Four #241