Thanksgiving / Black Friday Sale 2017
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Home » Reviews

Guest Review – Punisher #1

Submitted by on August 21, 2011 – 8:28 amNo Comment

The following is by guest reviewer Bill Delancey, a customer at Phantom of the Attic.

Punisher #1
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Marco Checchetto

Part of Marvel’s ‘Big Shots’ summer relaunch comes lovable anti-hero, Frank Castle — The Punisher. Novelist and author of several critically acclaimed comics, such as Queen & Country, Whiteout and Stumptown, Greg Rucka is handed the reins of Frank Castle’s world along with Marco Checchetto on art duty. Rucka, known mostly for his creator-owned series brings with him a reputation of gritty realism and well fleshed out characters. Marco Checchetto and his highly detailed and one of a kind style mesh surprisingly well with the New York landscape that Rucka has given Castle free roam.

This duo wastes no time in the first issue of giving the reader a head on collision with the chaotic world of The Punisher. The issue opens with six silent and fast-paced pages of a gang hit gone wrong. Checchetto moves the pace and subtly directs the reader from panel to panel with ease, never once confusing the plot. The six pages breeze by at a breakneck speed and it ends just as quickly as it began. From then on out the issue gears down to two detectives on the investigation of the massacre. One is a veteran of the force, presumably close to retirement, with a legendary career; the other is a fresh face detective with an unlikely partnership on the side with The Punisher. The middle bit of the issue gives the two a lot of face time, together and alone, that lays ground work for the rest of their relationship. There is also a back-up story that is dedicated just to the younger detective, Walter Bolt, how he came to be a detective, and how his partnership with Frank Castle came about. The whole eight page story is told in interview form as Bolt is being debriefed.

The most intriguing aspect of the entire issue is the fact that Frank Castle never speaks a word. Not only does he never speak, but he is hardly seen at all. He passes through the background of panels making his presence known without giving himself away. Frank’s entire body, and trademark chest piece, isn’t seen in its fullest until the issue is more than half way over. But when he does arrive in full force, he is in perfect form and even cracking a smile while he does it.

Greg Rucka crafts a perfect opening issue to draw readers in to the series. His introduction of the characters, true to life dialogue, and believable police chatter add to the real world feel of The Punisher’s New York City. The world of Frank Castle is a violent world, you can feel it from the opening panel, but that doesn’t mean that someone has to be shot to pieces every page to remind you and Rucka treats the world right. He doesn’t overstate the obvious, drag on conversations longer than they should, and he doesn’t beat the violence over the head of the reader. He keeps the violence real and the world feeling authentic.

Helping Rucka with the feel of Frank Castle’s world, Marco Checchetto pulls out all the stops in this issue. He draws a believable world; you can feel the sun in the first panel and smell the stink when the issue takes a trip into the subway. Checchetto plays with shadows and faces throughout the issue, drawing emotion on every person in every panel, giving each character a defined look, and allowing Frank to move in shadows in the final act perfectly.

Rucka and Checchetto craft a perfect entry into Frank Castle’s world inviting the reader in, all the while warning them of the dangers to come. Highly recommended.

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