The Punisher is back with a new creative team featuring Becky Cloonan (writer) and Steve Dillon (artist). The Punisher’s popularity has soared since his debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Netflix’s Daredevil. This first issue released this month and is riding on the heels of The Punisher’s success from Daredevil. Cloonan and Dillon craft a solid first issue that lays the foundation for what’s to come in the series. The duo also take The Punisher back to his bloody and gruesome roots.
The story features the DEA on the trail of a new gang and the drug that they’re trying to get out onto the streets. The DEA does surveillance of the gang’s warehouse–planning together their drug sting that they’re going to do the following day. Little does the DEA know that the adjacent warehouse where they’re doing their surveillance, also houses The Punisher and his weapons cache. The Punisher hears the DEA’s plans while hiding and takes out the gang himself the following morning before the DEA arrive to complete their operation. The Punisher leaves a massacre in his wake and the DEA are now onto him as well.
This issue of The Punisher isn’t exciting, but it’s solid. It establishes a new threat (the gang) for Punisher and a couple of potential players. Readers are introduced to Olaf, who has past ties to Punisher from war times and is working for the gang. The other player is Face, who Cloonan based off of Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre films. He collects the faces of either his own victims or his gang’s victims. It’ll be interesting to see how vicious he’ll be. The Punisher returns to his cold killing ways in this issue. He gouges a junky’s eyes out and impales him into an electrical paneling in the wall. For some, that’s dark, but for those readers who have read Garth Ennis’s run, they know there that can be far worse. I expect Cloonan to up the ante in the issues to come.
The Punisher’s new look is simplistic, not as detailed and militarized as The Punisher from Nathan Edmondson and Mitch Gerads. In this series, he wears a tee shirt with the signature skull, gray pants, black gloves, and black shoes. It makes sense to make his look this way as it’s easier for him to maneuver and he can be quicker. Dillon is a veteran in The Punisher universe as this isn’t his first run with the vigilante. His Punisher is bold, muscular, and quite frightening.
The Punisher in this reminds me of Jason Voorhees, except he’s killing the bad guys. Cloonan doesn’t give Punisher any dialogue or any thoughts for the readers to digest. He’s quiet and cold in this book as the only introduction that is given of his past is given by Olaf. I hope to see Punisher speak soon in the series. There’s no better way of understanding The Punisher unless it’s coming from the man himself.
Final score: 3.5/5