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Crack The Spine: 'Punisher #1'

Posted February 2, 2009 - By Eugene Morton

Hello, comic book fans. I'm Eugene Morton, one of the AOTS web producers and a die-hard comic book fan for a very long time. This space is usually reserved for nerd queen, Blair Butler, but I'll be contributing to this section of the site on a more frequent basis (not that Blair is going anywhere), giving you my take on what's happening in the world of comics, telling you what new books I love and offering all-around commentary on what I believe to be the greatest of all art forms. That said, let's get right into it, with my first suggestion for comic books you should pick up, Punisher #1.

I've personally always found The Punisher to be one of the more boring characters in the Marvel Comics corral. Don't get me wrong, I love violence and bloodshed as much as the next guy and I understand that you don't have to wear a cape, sling a shield or shoot webbing to be interesting. However, the "find mob boss or street thug, kill mob boss or street thug" formula just seemed kind of boring to me. That said, I'm a convert to the cult of Castle and I'll tell you why you should be too.

If you've been paying attention to what's going on in the Marvel U, post Secret Invasion, you're aware that S.H.I.E.L.D. is done with, Tony Stark (Iron Man) is ruined and the psychopath, Norman Osborn has become the most powerful guy in the world. Of course, the supposed savior of humanity is as demented as ever, Green Goblin mask or not, and has decided to exploit his position to form an evil cabal with the likes of Dr. Doom, Emma Frost (White Queen), the new Kingpin of Crime, The Red Hood and Namor, the Submariner (the driving forces behind Marvel's new Dark Reign saga). Who could possibly withstand against such a villainous organization, The Avengers? Yeah, probably some formation of The Avengers, but we're not talking about them now. The answer I was looking for is "The Punisher."

Get this, the one dude with no super powers has decided it's up to him to stop the most powerful villains in the Marvel Universe... all of them, beginning in Issue #1 with the head honcho of the Dark Illuminati, Mr. Osborn. The new series, written by Rick Remender, starts off with the Punisher trying to put a bullet in Osborn's crazy brain, only to be thwarted by Marvel's (also kind of insane, but good-hearted) equivalent of Superman, The Sentry. What the hell kind of chance does a regular man stand against a super man? Very little, but this isn't Joe six-pack here, this is the kind of guy that shreds a person's face into puzzle-like bits. The man fights dirty, if you consider placing a bomb in a school so you can draw heat away from yourself, which he does in this issue, dirty (and unless you're Dr. Doom, you do).

Here's why it's a book to watch; if you're an O.G. Punisher fan and you just like watching bad guys eat bullets like Homer Simpson eats fried food, you won't be disappointed, and if you're a nerd like myself, who has always wondered, "why the hell does the Punisher off mostly street thugs when there are killers like Electro out there," you'll find something to love as well. This issue continues the precedent set by Matt Fraction in Punisher: War Journal #4 (the issue that made me a Punisher fan), where Mr. Castle blows up an entire bar filled with super villains. Sure, he's tussled with the big guys before (literally in the case of Wilson Fisk, New York's former Kingpin), but this book makes it clear, super villains are about to get punished and in a big way. It's about time.

Tags: Fresh Ink

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