This week you get not one, not two, but THREE books reviewed!Punisher heads to LA, Loki breaks into Avengers Tower, and Wolverine’s healing factor is BROKEN!!!
Frank Castle is back, and my god, he kicks so much ass. From Black Widow and Who Is Jake Ellis writer Nathan Edmondson and artist Mitch Gerards, The Punisher #1 finds Mr. Castle moving to Los Angeles on the hunt for more scumbags. What follows is a fantastic debut issue that brings the Punisher roaring back into the Marvel universe.
Edmondson’s script hits all the notes you’d want a Punisher story to hit. You want Frank blowing up bad guys? Boom, you got it. Frank interrogating scumbags for info on other, bigger scumbags? This issue has it. Frank drinking coffee? Yep, that’s in here as well. The issue follows Frank’s first steps in taking out the trash in the City of Angels, and Edmondson clearly has a strong grip on what makes The Punisher tick. There’s an excellent noir feel to this comic that is perfect for the character, and at times I was expecting to hear some bad ass 70’s action music to kick in. Edmondson’s Punisher is extremely calculating and brutal, but he’s also pretty funny at times, which is strange to see. I for one welcome this take though, and Frank’s interplay with the local diner cook and a female beat cop is a lot of fun, and they make great supporting characters for him.
I’ve never seen Mitch Gerards’ art before, but I really love his work in this issue. Gerards showcases the extremely brutal ways that Punisher takes out his enemies in grand fashion, and you can feel the grime and sweat in Los Angeles in his work, and it works in perfect union with Edmondson’s script. His Frank Castle is intimidating, but not a gigantic hulk of a man like some past depictions have shown him, which is nice to see.
Punisher #1 is an awesome debut issue that will please long time fans of Frank Castle and new ones alike. There are plenty of brutal moments here, and the opening action scene with Frank is one of the coolest comic moments I’ve seen this year. While it’s hard to believe a guy like Frank Castle serves a purpose in the regular Marvel universe, it seems like Edmondson and Gerards are making a compelling case for keeping him in the same world as other heroes like Iron Man, Captain America, and the Hulk. If you’re looking for a gritty crime comic, The Punisher is the one to get.
Loki: Agent of Asgard #1
Capitalizing of the Loki craze, Marvel has finally given the god of mischief his own book. No, he doesn’t look or sound like Tom Hiddleston, but Al Ewing and Lee Garbett’s opening issue has some okay moments. However, it tries too hard to appeal to people who have watched The Avengers multiple times, and not those who have been long time fans of the character.
This is really the only problem I have with the issue. The multiple references to Joss Whedon’s superhero classic really bog down the story, which finds Loki breaking into Avengers tower to try and free Thor from the control of an evil demon. While in Avengers tower, who does he come across? If you guessed Hawkeye, Black Widow, Thor, Hulk, Captain America, and Iron Man, you’ve won this week’s no prize. Loki causes the Hulk to attack his teammates, gets placed in a holding cell that looks very similar to the one he was in in the movie, and there’s even two panels that are the exact scenes from Avengers when the team confronts Loki after his attack on New York has failed. It tries so hard, that it’s almost sad. At least the art from Lee Garbett looks nice.
While I get the intention of referencing the most popular superhero movie of all time, it just doesn’t work for me. I’m hoping this won’t be the theme of every issue, because the idea of Loki being used to help Asgard is really cool, and has a lot of potential. But if this is what we’ll be getting for next issue, I think I’ll be sitting this one out.
Wolverine has lost his healing factor, but he’s found his dark side. Picking up from writer Paul Cornell’s previous Wolverine series, the All-New Wolverine #1 finds Logan teaming up with a team of super villains, but more importantly, it has the mighty Ryan Stegman on art, which is the real reason to pick up this issue.
That’s not to say that Cornell’s story isn’t good. It’s fine, and actually does a very good job for someone like me who decided to pass on Wolvie’s last series. There are a few weird questions that arise from Logan’s situation though, like the fact that he’s not using his claws, and instead using a gauntlet mechanism. Also, I’m pretty sure the last time he lost his healing factor his body was in danger of admantium poisoning, so unless that’s been ret conned, it’s completely brushed aside. Much of the issue follows Logan going through a mission with his new super villain team, while his boss, “The Offer”, tries to pitch Logan to a new client. That’s really all there is to this issue, other than a flashback with Storm and Logan that doesn’t tell us anything new.
Ryan Stegman’s art is pretty excellent in this issue. If there was any doubt that he’s a new force to be reckoned with, just look at the splash page showing Wolverine slashing into some goons. The only real complaint I have is Stegman’s depiction of mask less Logan. For some reason, his hair gets flattened to the back, and takes on the look of Lilandra from the Shi’ar. It’s pretty weird, but hopefully it’s fixed in later issues.
Wolverine #1 doesn’t give us many answers for Logan’s sudden change from hero to villain. Really, the only revelation is why he’s now using a gun. Hopefully we won’t be waiting too long to find out why Wolverine’s doing what he’s doing now. However, next issue sees Ryan Stegman drawing Wolverine squaring off with the Superior Spider-Man, which gives me more than enough reasons to pick up it up.
Jonwahizzle is a jack of all trades: educator, comic book slinger for Jetpack Comics, and member of Another Let Down. Follow him on twitter and check out his blog, The Collective: Examples of Nerdery for more!