The Old Dog vs. The New Breed
Frank uses Malloy to track down The Exchange but the new kids on the block have plans of their own for The Punisher.
I've got to start by saying that Marco Checchetto's art is absolutely breathtaking on this book. He has such a unique style that really stands out among Marvel's books. And Hollingsworth doing colors on this book is a great move. I've been loving his work on Max, but he gives both books totally separate identities. These two combine to give a wholly new, appropriately murky miasma to Franks New York City.
It's been stated by others but this book has a very Gotham Central vibe which I love. Focusing on Detectives Clemons and Bolt for the first few issues is a very refreshing move. Rucka does some great world building through these two by having them interact with Norah Winters of the Daily Bugle. This gives a real sense of the impact of Frank's actions upon the citizens of New York. It especially drives the point home of how difficult Franks one man war makes police work. Clemons' dialogue with Norah was really sharp and interesting. I'm glad that even when Frank's not pictured this book remains interesting.
What sold me on this book was Rucka's declaration that Frank would be silent for the first three or four issues. I'm all for his take on Frank, because it's something that I can say I've never really seen before. Sure he's been a "force of nature, boogeyman of the underworld" before. But Ennis (and now Aaron) balance his lack of external expression with very detailed, intimate internal dialogue. Rucka give us no peak into Frank's mind. He's content to let Checchetto flex his muscle and frank's actions speak volumes. My biggest source of apprehension about reading this book was feeling like I was paying for another, inferior version of Aaron's Max, but reading these first two issues have totally ruled out that possibility.
A fine example of this approach is when Frank tracks Malloy to a brothel and does what he does best. Checchetto's work has a great sense of motion and Hollingsworth's coloring really transports us into "Frank's World".
The moment where Bolt and Clemons meet with the victim of the massacre, Rachel Alves, was really somber. It was perfectly paced and Rucka once again allows the art team to flex their muscle and cary the weight of the narrative, which they do masterfully.
The Exchange is a nice change of pace from the usual ethnically based gangs/mobs Frank deals with. Their organization feels very modern, very smart. Rucka's done a great job of establishing that this organization's very intricately organized and that its leadership is very proactively involved in all levels of its business. I look forward to him fleshing out these characters in the future.
I'm very interested to see how Rucka deals with capes and costumed villains. Punisher first face off against Red Vulture should make for some great action next issue.
These covers have been highly bland to me, but that's a complaint so minor that I can't truly hold it against this excellent (thus far) book.
BUY THIS COMIC...NOW!!!
Frank's finally being written properly in the 616 Universe...that's all I need to say.