Review: The Punisher #1

Published on August 9th, 2011

The Punisher #1 is the third and final book in Marvel’s new “Big Shots” campaign. Written by Greg Rucka with art by Marco Checchetto this new series starring Frank Castle is Marvel’s latest attempt at keeping Frank involved in the normal Marvel Universe, but don’t expect a lot of visits from some of the more well known costumed superheroes.

thepunisher1As a huge fan of The Punisher, anytime there’s a new Punisher comic book, I’m the first in line to get it. After reading this, the only conclusion that I can make is that this was not what I expected at all. Now don’t think it’s as crazy as something like Frankencastle, but it’s definitely not the Punisher book that I expected. For starters, Frank is hardly in this book, but I will say that when you do see The Punisher, he’s as intimidating and bad-ass as he has ever been.

The first five pages of this comic alone completely threw me off. There’s no words so it’s up to Checchetto to make sure the reader has an idea of what’s going on and despite a lack of Frank in the opening scene, the shooting makes it quite obvious that this is a Punisher comic book. Checchetto really does a fantastic job of telling the story. The guy can draw action and some of the gore you see in this book are horrific, but the way his art engages you when the book slows down is really what makes this comic interesting.

The story itself, is told from the point of view of officer, Walter Bolt. Bolt works surveillance on some drug dealers as part of a task force. One night everything goes to shit and Bolt’s partner is killed in the line of duty, Bolt probably would have gotten killed too, if not for The Punisher. When the dust settles The Punisher disappears and Bolt is given the credit for taking out a bunch of drug runners and saving about a dozen innocent people.

While this book wasn’t exactly what I expected, Rucka definitely has me interested in this series. Walter Bolt kind of reminds me of Detective Soap from Garth Ennis’ Marvel Knights Punisher series. He doesn’t seem to be as funny and pathetic as Soap was, but I always like it when Frank is working secretly with the police. It seems that Rucka has set this series up for a lot of stories down the line with just one issue and has a plan on where he wants to take this book. I just hope he decides to make The Punisher a bigger part of this series.

Ken Zeider
Ken@ComicImpact.com