Written by Becky Cloonan
Art by Steve Dillon and Frank Martin
Lettering by Cory Petit
Published by Marvel Comics
Reviewed by David Hildebrand
Last October, Marvel announced that the writer for the new Punisher series would be Becky Cloonan (Gotham Academy) She would also be the first woman to ever write for the Punisher, as well as the only woman that would be writing a comic book at Marvel with a male lead. You read that correctly, the ONLY woman at Marvel to be writing for a male character. Marvel publishes well over 70 books a month and in all cases but this one, the women write for the women characters. After reading the announcement, I thought that Becky would have some big shoes to fill in fleshing out this legendary character and shutting the Naysayers up. Let me go ahead and end the suspense by saying she nailed it! In fact, she did such a wonderful job that the entire first issue goes without Frank Castle saying a single word!
The story is a simple tale of DEA agents tracking a drug called EMC and looking to stop the dealers. There are two featured villains in this issue, Olaf, who has ties to Frank’s past and the other is a very stylish, sadistic character named Face. The DEA has gathered up enough information to raid the dealers , but of course everyone’s favorite vigilante steps in and takes care of business before the DEA gets their chance to enforce the law. The book is brutal and has a very dark tone, it doesn’t pull punches. Bullet wounds to the head, eyes gouged out, and drug dealers electrocuted. Becky does an excellent job of building the world around Frank, even though the first few pages are a slow build, but in the blink of an eye, Frank is seen putting together his arsenal, and the next he is blowing up a wall to infiltrate the dealers’ hideout. I honestly cannot wait until the next issue to see him speak! I believe he will have a strong voice behind Becky.
Becky has seasoned help with her on this journey to bring you the 10th volume of The Punisher. Steve Dillon returns to illustrate The Punisher for the sixth time (also drew the Punisher Vol 4 and 5, Punisher Max, Punisher vs Bullseye and Punisher Warzone- The Resurrection of Ma Gnucci). So the Punisher is in good hands artistically and I have to admit, it felt like home seeing him drawn in these pages. The colors in the book, done by Frank Martin are nothing short of beautiful. They flow with the panels and brings every character to life, with just the right amount of shadowing for feel and tone.
BUY IT! This is an excellent jumping off point for anyone that wants to pick up and start reading The Punisher. He is fresh off of Netflix and the amazing portrayal of this Marvel favorite by Jon Bernthal has only increased his popularity. Becky Cloonan has stepped up big, not that anyone should have really been in doubt that she could do The Punisher justice to begin with. She has already proven that she is an outstanding writer. But combined with Steve Dillon, this book proves that you get incredible results when you put together a team like this. I’m going to end with a quick story from when I was picking this up today at my local comic shop, a customer texted my friend Rich, who owns the shop. The text said “hey! I just finished reading The Punisher and I want to make sure that you pull the next issue for me!” Great things are coming with this new volume of The Punisher, just you wait!