Avengers vs Punisher
By: Andrew Hines
We've seen a lot of the Punisher over the last decade or so. He's had major resurgence after being little more than a rage outlet for close to 40 years when he was introduced in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man #129. He's evolved as a character, somewhat, but his intentions have never wavered. He's still a killing machine and I don't believe that will ever change. That's where we are now. The heroes are at the ends of their collective ropes, Spider-Man especially. He enlists the help of the Avengers to stop Frank Castle once and for all. That's as much as I can say here. Now, on with the review.
Greg Rucka has penned a possible masterwork in the first issue of this five-part limited series. The best part of it is the attention to the story itself rather than simply making it another shoot-anything-that-moves Punisher comic. Whether you've been following Punisher since your momma let you read the big boy comics or if this is your first venture into Frank Castle's world, it's a great place to start. The pacing is fabulous. The dialogue is amazing and character specific. Rucka doesn't give Spidey his usual fight one-liners or witty banter, though there are a few little niblets of that. You can definitely tell that he's had enough. I know I say this from time to time, but the character interaction, particularly with Spider-Man and the Avengers, is phenomenal.
The art by Carmine Di Giandomenico is awesome. I mean, really. It's dark, both in terms of style and lighting. It's just so incredibly fitting that it's awesome to see. I mean that in the truest sense of the word. I am in total awe of the pages. They may not be the most crisp, clean lines anyone's ever seen but they're exactly what the story needs. The inks are heavy in al of the right places, adding more to the necessary shadows. Matt Hollingsworth's colors are great. Again, they're dark, the shading is great and the lighting is just magic. These two combine to make something stunning. I mean, it's sort of hard to see it from just this page, but it's the most I could show without a spoiler or three.
For all of that and more, this comic get's the rather unusual "A+" grade. The writing, the art and the characters themselves make this a can't-miss series if you are a fan of the Punisher, Spider-Man or the Avengers. To give you more incentive, it's even a dollar less than the usual Marvel stuff with its price tag of $2.99. What are you waiting for? Go out and get it.