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Punisher: War Zone #1 Review

5

The Punisher is in a dire position and the entire Avengers team is out to get him in the first issue of this mini-series.

The Good

The issue opens with The Punisher on the run, and while it does pick up from the events of Rucka's PUNISHER series, it is very easy for someone who had missed that series to pick this up and follow along. One of the things that really stood out to me was the way the characters interacted. Now, I'm not the biggest fan of Spider-Man so I can't say I have read nearly every one of his appearances, but I admit this one here really impressed me. If you know anything about Spider-Man, you know that you don't use the things he's created to kill -- and it appears that that's what the Punisher did in this issue. The confrontation between the Punisher and Spider-Man is absolutely brilliant. Parker is known for his quips and his jokes, and we even get a hint of that here; but you can tell that the character is infuriated. He's seething over the fact that Castle essentially manipulated him, and he's angry. The dialogue is brilliant, and not only is it a fantastic display of Spidey's physical strength; but it's also a great example of the character's just raw emotion.

Just as this interaction was really fun to read, so were the others in this issue. Reading this it feels like Rucka really gets these characters; he really worked to find their respective voices. He knows what Stark would say or what Captain America would say, because each of them is unique. I think Rucka's ability to capture their individual personalities here is absolutely brilliant. However, the highlight of this issue came at the end when one of the Avengers pays Frank a visit. I never really thought about it before, but these two have a lot in common and it was really appropriate that this character interacted with Frank Castle. The question remains, though, will we see more of him? I mean, the Punisher's moral code is really not that much different than this character's (and I don't want to give away the character's identity), so the idea that we might see more of him doesn't seem entirely unlikely. Maybe he'll even come to Castle's defense?

The art by Carmine Di Giandomenico and Matt Hollingsworth is absolutely breathtaking. It isn't just that they capture the dark and gloominess of the story and the tone of the character, but they do it with such finesse that it's just beautiful to see. The art in this book is really impressive.

A good comic is one that will leave you wanting more, and this comic absolutely does that. I can already tell that this is going to be a fantastic story, and I cannot wait to read issue #2.

The Bad

Nothing bad here.

The Verdict

All in all, this is a fantastic comic. It has everything you need from action packed scenes, great characterizations, rivalries and betrayal. So far, so good. Like I mentioned above, the interaction between the characters in this comic is what really impressed me. Rucka really understands the respective voices of these characters and that's really what made this such a great issue. Not to mention, the fluidity in both the structure of the comic as well as in the art. It's definitely a series I am looking forward to reading and highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a good superhero story.

33 Comments
Edited by cc1738

I almost bought this, but I haven't read any of Rucka's run so I didn't. I know the review said you'd understand it, but I'd rather get all the trades before I read this.

Posted by DATNIGGA

I loved this... I wonder what his plan is for thor

Posted by deadpool25mm

Hmm.. I still dont know if to get this. are you sure i dont need to know what happend before with Punisher?

Posted by cacarl

@cc1738: Man, read it. Don't wait for the trades. Volume 3 is coming out on March. It's a joke! You can easily read this without reading the 3 trades

Posted by cacarl

@deadpool25mm: The first page of the issue tells you what happened before this mini. Don't worry, this story isn't really connected to the 16 issues of the first series.

Posted by doordoor123

This feels like that bad event Daredevil had.

Posted by longbowhunter

Having Matt Hollingsworth on colors really helped give this mini the same look as the Punisher ongoing. Loved seeing Spidey take the fight to Frank. His quips came off cornier than usual and a bit odd though. I don't think Rucka has a penchant for humor. I particularly liked Logan's dialogue in this issue. Curious to see how Wolverine will play out in this series.

Posted by saoakden

On the home page it says its #5 but its only issue 1. For a second it made me wonder when did issues 1-4 come out. Any who, I'm looking forward to this. The idea of the Punisher going up against the Avengers sounds insane and awesome. I haven't read any of Greg Rucka's Punisher yet but I plan to read the previous 16 issues before I read this story. It sounds awesome.

Posted by MadeinBangladesh

WOOOOO!!!! i cant wait to pick this up

Posted by danhimself

Cancelling Rucka's Punisher series was one of Marvel's biggest mistakes

Posted by salmy

I meant to pick this up and forgot this morning. Hopefully it'll be at my shop next week.

Posted by Swagger462

I just got back from the comic book store about an hour ago. I was looking at this issue and nearly bought it. After reading this I'm sad that I didn't.

Posted by jwalser3

I haven't been following Punisher but if this is the start of a mini series, why is it #5?

Posted by FrankenKong

I feel up and down about this. On the up I'm ecstatic seeing The Punisher not only come back in a title event but also that its a very interesting and must see event. One man against The Avengers....has a nice ring to it. On the down however I am hoping they don't just have The Punisher do a limited series here and there every couple of months like Carnage. The Punisher is a darker, main reality about the Marvel U and he needs to be around alittle more often. I just prey they don't make a fool out of him in the new Thunderbolts #1.

Posted by sparty-dbq

What's Frank going to do when Cap confronts him? Civil War already showed us that Frank would never raise a hand against Cap purely out of respect.

Posted by cacarl

It is #1. I think she tried to write "1 of 5"

Posted by Deranged Midget

Rucka's run on Punisher has been brilliant. It's sad to see it ending but even with that being sad, no punches were pulled here with this spectacular issue.

Moderator Online
Edited by SovereignDivinity
Edited by Cavemold

i liked it , it was well written some of the art faces were subject though like Thor's face. I really loved the conversation capt and wolverine had. I also appreciated how logan didnt break who he was for the Avengers. Ill be back because i want to see how he handles thor, iron man.. Good luck Punisher!

Posted by Bluefox170

@sparty-dbq said:

What's Frank going to do when Cap confronts him? Civil War already showed us that Frank would never raise a hand against Cap purely out of respect.

Rucka said in an interview that this will not be the case anymore. The avengers including cap have made themselves major obstacles in Frank's mission this time.

Posted by Bluefox170

@danhimself said:

Cancelling Rucka's Punisher series was one of Marvel's biggest mistakes

Agreed.

Posted by judasnixon

Love me some one eyed, bearded Frank. 

Posted by judasnixon
@danhimself: Rucka is leaving Marvel to his own thing. 
Posted by Cap10nate

This was a great read. I had only read the Omega crossover earlier with Spider Man and Daredevil. That was my only knowledge of Rucka's Punisher, but this was fantastic.

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Posted by dmkicksballs13

I gave it four stars, I don't like Spider-Man so seeing him talk for what felt like half the issue was a little annoying, but other than that, a perfect way to introduce the story.

Posted by SavageDragon

@Deranged Midget said:

Rucka's run on Punisher has been brilliant. It's sad to see it ending but even with that being sad, no punches were pulled here with this spectacular issue.

No doubt. Rucka's run has been my second favorite Punisher run ever, second only to Garth Ennis on MAX. I love what Rucka has down with the short time he had. The battle with Vulture was brutal, the two Detectives were written very well and believable,and his cross over with Avenging Spidey and DD was fun and exciting. What sticks out to me is Rucka was able to put a side character like Rachael Alves and turn her into someone you are really interested in. Her relationship with the Punisher and her own internal struggle with loss and vengance was really fantastic stuff. Im glad people are talking now about reading Ruckas run and then reading War Zone because albeit short, it was great. Bitter sweet but excited for War Zone. Great first issue to this mini. Cant wait for the next installment.

Edited by Duke_Nasty
Posted by SoA

i liked punisher max more, not just because of the violence i just like frank being in a world without superheroes and the fact he looks like a dollar store version of deathstroke irks me . read the series on and off and not surprised it go cancelled , this issue was not new reader friendly , it surmised that frank was framed and if you want to know more you gotta read the cancelled series .

idk maybe its just me , but frank castle mixed up with heroes just churns out crappy stories . he is better when its just yakuza or mafia he is going after. the conversation between him and spider-man was good you get a dark tone and when he put his foot down about going after frank was good up till iron man who could give a fig less (even though his last few arcs in his title where about domestic terrorism) it was blah ill stick with Untold tales for my Punisher fix .2 star rating for me

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Posted by krexxxx4

When does issue 2 come out???

Posted by Gordo789

I really liked this issue. I'm also sad that Rucka's punisher is ending, as I think it is one of the best runs on the character in a long time. The only thing that struck me as weird about this was that it seems kind of hypocritical for Black Widow to be involved in a mission to take down the punisher for being a murderer, because I'm pretty sure her and Bucky have been wasting fools left and right in Winter Soldier. Am I wrong about this?

Posted by Mezmero

The reviews page titles this review Punisher: War Zone #5. Am I crazy? I thought this was number 1.

Posted by Scantenii

I really liked this book. I bought this after reading a couple reviews online and I am glad I did. In fact now I wanna go pick up that Rucka series too. I am very curious to see where this is headed. (Besides ending with Frank joining the Thunderbolts. ) I have never really read any Punisher and now I want to read more. I can't give a higher complement than that. I hope they keep it up.

Posted by jorgeareizaga

with his aunt Polaris, nice!