This week the Punisher is back with a brand new ongoing, and Kaare Andrews gets into the Image game with Renato Jones The One Percent!
The Punisher #1 (Marvel Comics)
For those of you looking for a Punisher series to start reading after binging all of season 2 of Daredevil, Marvel has finally answered your call. After a few Punisher-less months since Secret Wars wrapped, Frank Castle is brought back into the Marvel fold in Becky Cloonan and Steve Dillon’s aptly named The Punisher #1. A throwback to older Punisher tales, this issue sets the stage for the upcoming story arc pretty well, but probably could’ve used a bit more action or forward momentum to really make it stand out.
This debut issue finds the Punisher doing what he does best, taking out gangs of drug dealers. Except this time, the dealers are working with Frank’s old commanding officer, and the drug the dealers are pushing grants the user super human strength and other abilities. Naturally, this puts Frank in a bind, and now he’s got to figure out how to take out this drug before it gets a wider user base.
At least I think so, because unlike the previous Punisher series, Becky Cloonan gives us no insight into Frank’s motivations or thoughts. Much of the dialogue and exposition comes from the two cops that have been casing the dealer’s hideout for months. Cloonan’s Frank Castle has more in common with the Punisher from Greg Rucka’s run, where he’s portrayed as more of a one-man army than a journal keeping sociopath. That I might seem like a dig at Cloonan’s writing, it’s not. She’s got a great handle on the character and what people like to see out of him, but at the same time, some more insight into Castle’s motivations this time around wouldn’t have hurt.
Classic Punisher artist Steve Dillon handles the art duties on this issue, and it’s not going to make you a fan if you weren’t already. Dillon is VERY hit or miss for me, and this issue is definitely in the “miss” section. Sure, there’s some great action and brutal violence, but the old “every Steve Dillon face looks the same” complaint rings very true here. In fact, for the first half of the issue I thought Punisher and his old Commanding Officer was the same guy. It wasn’t until Frank Castle showed up that I realized that they were two different people.
Cloonan and Dillon’s Punisher is a solid enough start for those looking for an in after watching Daredevil, but I have to admit, I was a little let down by it. There’s not enough of a hook here to really keep you going unless you’re a die-hard fan of the character. Maybe Jon Bernthal’s portrayal set the bar too high, or maybe I just loved Nathan Edmondson and Mitch Gerad’s previous run too much, but Punisher left me feeling a little cold. I’ll still check out the next issue, where hopefully something will happen to differentiate this run from other Punisher stories.
Renato Jones The One Percent #1 (Image Comics)
Kaare Andrews really hates rich people. If Renato Jones: The One Percent is any indication, the hit writer and artist of works like Iron Fist and Spider-Man: Reign has a strong dislike for anyone with a private jet or mansion. But I wouldn’t want him to turn down his hate at all, because the rage that fuels Renato Jones makes this one of the most unique first issues I’ve read all year.
Renato Jones follows, you guessed it, Renato Jones. After surviving a family tragedy brought on by his father’s wealth, Jones decides to use his father’s money and prestige to rid the world of the “1%”, those who look down upon the lower and middle class. A Punisher by way of the Occupy movement, Jones has been wreaking havoc on the upper class of society, leaving a trail of bodies in his wake as a warning, and his war is only beginning.
Writer and artist Kaare Andrews definitely has plenty of things to say with Renato Jones, and he wastes no time throwing us into the mix. Andrews’ skills as a writer and artist are both on full display here, with arguably some of his best work ever. Andrews, who has had some pretty public thoughts about the state of the “big two” in comics lately, puts it all out on the page with Renato Jones, bringing a sense of kinetic action and frenzy to every page. It almost reads like Andrews believes that at any second he’ll drop dead and won’t be able to finish the book. If there’s one complaint I have, it’s that some of Andrews’ characters can tend to get over-exaggerated, but one of the best things about Jones is that Andrews keeps you guessing at every page. You never know what you’ll get.
Renato Jones The One Percent is one hell of a comic, and I highly suggest that you check it out. Even if you don’t agree with Andrews’ views on the world right now, it’s hard to knock this book. Once again Image Comics has landed a huge creator with Kaare Andrews, and it brings them one step closer to closing the gap on Marvel and DC. Just imagine Renato Jones walking into THOSE offices….