This week we check out the start of Mark Millar’s new comic with Sean Murphy Chrononauts, and Frank Castle heads to Washinton, D.C. in Punisher!
Chrononauts #1 (Image Comics)
Mark Millar has been having a pretty damn good 2015. His Image titles Starlight, MPH, and Jupiter’s Legacy have been huge hits, Kingman: Secret Service, the movie based on his comic with Dave Gibbons, has been cleaning house at the box office, and his other film based on his comic Nemesis is going to have some major news hitting this week. To add to Millar’s mojo, this week sees the release of Chrononauts, his new Image series with The Wake artist Sean Murphy. Like Starlight before it, Chrononauts has Millar working in a new area of storytelling, and the results are pretty damn awesome.
Chrononauts reads like a buddy cop film that also happens to have a time travel element as well. Corbin Quinn and Danny Reilly are rock star scientists loved the world over, and they’ve just discovered a way to travel through time. Naturally, they’re also going to televise the event for the whole world to see. What could wrong?
Pretty much everything.
Millar’s script is excellent, and sets up the friendship between Quinn and Reilly believably so when it all hits the fan by the end of the issue, you really feel for both characters. Both Quinn and Reilly are extremely likeable, even though they’re not always acting in the best interests of science and humanity. If anything, the only real problem with Chrononauts’ first issue is that it’s over too quickly. Like many Millar #1’s, it seems to come to an end right when it gets into gear.
Mark Millar has teamed up with some of comics’ best artists, and that trend continues with Sean Murphy. Murphy is one of my favorite artists in comics, and his work is absolutely dynamite here. Everything moves with frenetic action, and the way Murphy showcases the use of the time portal is awesome. Much like The Wake, Chrononauts is a brilliant showcase of Sean Murphy’s talents as an artist.
Chrononauts #1 is a great comic that continues the Mark Millar renaissance that began with Jupiter’s Legacy. If you haven’t picked up any of Millar’s new series, you should really give him a shot. The Internet tends to get on Millar’s case for overhyping things, but everything he’s released through Image has been pretty stellar in my opinion, and they all have their own distinct tones and styles. If you’re looking for a fun throwback to time travel adventures, then Chrononauts is for you.
The Punisher #16 (Marvel Comics)
Frank Castle’s been at war with L.A. gangs for quite some time, but in Punisher #16 he takes a trip to the nation’s capital, where he finally meets up with the man who’s been behind nearly everything he’s encountered in the last sixteen issues: the Secretary of State of the United States. Nathan Edmondson and Mitch Gerards’ deliver an amazingly solid Punisher tale that finally has Frank ask, “Can I really keep this going?”
Frank’s meeting with the Secretary of State takes up a big chunk of this issue, and it’s spectacularly written. With government officials closing in, Frank Castle doesn’t have a whole lot of time to get the answers that he needs. Unfortunately, the answers he gets don’t really help him, as he realizes that he can’t kill the Secretary of State, and that the odds are stacked way out of his favor. Frank’s been fighting a war with criminals for years, but now, he’s going to be fighting against the country. Can he really go that far in his war? And more importantly, can his actions in this issue really change anything?
That’s the driving question behind Nathan Edmondson’s script. Edmondson has done a spectacular job of showing what makes The Punisher tick with this series, and this issue is no exception. Edmondson has Frank Castle question his mission, which is something I don’t think has been brought up before in a Punisher comic before (or at least at this level).
On the art side of things, Mitch Gerards delivers another stunning issue. Gerards’ art has a ton of awesome moments, and he really builds on the tension that Edmondson puts into his script. The tense stand off as Frank gets ready to deal with the soldiers coming for him is extremely well done, and Gerards’ reveal of the surprise character on the final page is jaw-dropping.
The Punisher continues to be one of Marvel’s best comics, and while Secret Wars may bring it to an end, the ride that Edmondson and Gerards have had us on has been a ton of fun. With issue 16 the duo craft a brilliant issue that answers some questions for Frank, but ultimately leave him at a loss for what to do next. And with the fight to come in next issue, I can’t wait to see what Frank Castle decides to do.