Trial of the Century
When I first heard about this two part story I was very happy as I've been hoping for a Punisher solo story for some time now. Added to that the fact that Leinil Francis Yu is doing the artwork raised my expectations more and I hope I'm not disappointed.
After accidentally killing a district attorney the Punisher (Frank Castle) hands himself into the police, and so begins the Trial of the Punisher.
This was an amazing issue, and a brilliant start two this two part mini-story. Marc Guggenheim did a fantastic job of bringing Frank back to a solo story, as he's always much better working on his own. In this issue however Guggenheim managed to get the tone perfect, with the monologue being simply amazing. The fact that Guggenheim himself used to be a lawyer also helps though, and it's nice to see him use his past experiences to create a fantastic story. Guggenheim also got the characteristic of the Punisher perfect, as although I personally love seeing him taking down mobsters in a shower of blood, the deeper, more character driven stories are also brilliant, especially when you get it right, which Guggenheim has.
The artwork on this issue was simply outstanding, and Leinil Francis Yu didn't disappoint. I have loved Yu's work over the years, and although his more extravagant sequences are overall nicer, it was nice to see him tackle the Punisher, and he did it perfectly. The emotion, or lack of emotion from the Punisher was simply amazing, giving of the perfect vibe and atmosphere. The bits of action were also handled brilliantly, being extremely exciting, and the layouts added great tone as well, and I loved the odd panel that was all white background, as it added some uniqueness to the issue. I also really enjoyed his cover, and especially due to the symbolic nature of it.
This issue would start with Punisher handing himself in for killing the district attorney. Now lets be fair if Punisher was every going to get caught it be on his own terms, as even the Avengers couldn't take him down. I also loved that despite the fact that this may have been a plan for the Punisher, it shows his moral code, as although he kills, he hates to kill innocent people, and especially cops, so I'd imagine that a district attorney would fall into that category. I also loved the way that Guggenheim handled the confession, and this sequences actually made me smile at one point, despite it's serious nature.
Whilst in jail Frank would get a visit from Alberto Benedetti, the capo of the five families, and two goons who look to rough him up. I won't go into much detail about this sequence bar to say that there was a bit of action. I will however also add that the tone of this sequence was also brilliant, as it was very brooding and intense, showing the calculating side of Frank perfectly. I also loved how it kept the great atmosphere that was being built up prior to this, whilst being able to add some excitement on top.
Frank would also be appointed a lawyer named Lisa Santos in this issue, with her being sent from the public defenders office to defend Frank. Now I was half glad that Daredevil (Matt Murdock) wasn't his lawyer, as although that would be cool, with Frank and Matt having brilliant interactions in the past, I could never see Matt representing the Punisher, and would have felt that he'd have stolen some of the attention. I did however really like this new character that was introduced in this issue, as although like most Punisher supporting characters I don't expect to see her again after this story, I loved that she wasn't intimidated by Frank, and that she did her job to her best, even with all that Frank has done as the Punisher.
This was a fantastic issue, and just what I'd expect to see if Punisher ever went on trial. The issue managed to be suspenseful as well as exciting, also having a couple of mysterious parts as well. On top of this the art was phenomenal, and although it may not appeal to the Punisher fans that only like seeing Punisher killing people, it will appeal to anyone who loves his characteristics, and I'd highly recommend it to them, and anyone else wanting to try Punisher for the first time.