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Reviews ComicBook / The Punisher MAX

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04/20/2015 19:08:47 •••

Repetitive and boring

I'll give any series of comic book a try, and although I prefer to stick with Spider-Man and Batman, I enjoyed Moon Knight enough to think that maybe the more violent anti-heroes of in the Marvel Universe had stories worth telling. I just wish I hadn't started with Punisher MAX.

I have the first six volumes of the series and I can describe them all similarly because... they're pretty much all variations on a very repetitive structure. The scene is usually set with a famous criminal figurehead, so famous that they've never been mentioned before. Frank Castle then kills them in case the person reading the comic is unfamiliar with Frank's M.O.

A small stream of petty criminals will die while Frank does some navel-gazing about what he does, while setting his sights on the higher target who will be dying in Issue 6. Maybe at some point he'll get into trouble - maybe he'll be captured - maybe he'll even be held at gunpoint by someone with power to kill him, at which point a Deus ex Machina will occur and Frank will escape. It feels like these scenes only occur so that people can't accuse Frank of being an invincible Marty Stu - I get that superheroes can't die in their own books unless planned for and advertised extensively and then they're brought back in 3 weeks anyway, but it still hurts when the villains leave no impact on the (anti-)hero whatsoever. Daredevil never fully defeats Kingpin. The Joker goes back to Arkham Asylum to escape again later. People who face Frank Castle just... die.

The arc will then end the same way it began; with Frank killing loads of people, but this time they have slightly more plot-relevance and maybe there's some dialogue too. What's left of the supporting cast then draw straws, and whoever is judged to be the most interesting is immediately killed to stop them from taking the spotlight from The Punisher. At least the supporting cast are interesting before they die (and they will die. All of them. Every last one.)

Garth Ennis described the Punisher as seeing the world in black and white, and maybe this interpretation is why it's so boring to me. Punisher, good. Criminals, bad. Punisher kills criminals. Repeat forever. It's not completely devoid of attraction - The Slavers arc was alright - but altogether it doesn't hold my attention.

Still better than the 2001 series though.

02/26/2015 00:00:00

THANK YOU. I'm so tired of seeing people pretend that Punisher MAX is some amazing series that no one could top.

04/20/2015 00:00:00

Really? I think that many of the villains are made to make the Garth Ennis series more interesting and having some darkly humorous dynamics and monstrous par the course of Ennis' way of writing. Barracuda especially. Frankly I do appreciated the continuity that Ennis kept.

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