The week The Punisher makes his last stand in the final days of the Marvel Universe, and the King of Atlantis must deal with the ultimate betrayal in Aquaman!
The Punisher #20 (Marvel Comics)
Nathan Edmondson and Mitch Gerads bring their stellar run on Frank Castle to a close this week, and man, does The Punisher #20 deliver. Everything about this issue works: from the writing, to the pacing, to the panel layouts. While this isn’t the end of Frank Castle, it’s definitely a great way for Edmondson and Gerads to put a stamp on their run, and cements them as one of the best teams to work on the character.
This issue continues where the last one left off: Frank Castle is in the Middle East, and hunting down a terrorist organization. Knowing that the “Last Days” of his universe is approaching, Frank is going to spend his last moments on Earth doing what he does best: punishing those who deserve it. What follows is Frank Castle unleashing his one-man army on the terrorist forces, and leads to a showdown that is as beautiful as it is bloody.
Nathan Edmondson’s script is spectacular, and he really gets right into Frank’s mindset. Frank Castle has never been one to sit down and die quietly, and his inner monologues as he takes down the members of the terrorist group present his frame of mind perfectly. Edmondson also peppers in some funny moments for Frank and his victims, my personal favorite is a recurring gag about how the Terrorist commander’s troops “don’t watch enough American TV” to know about The Punisher.
Mitch Gerads proves once again that he’s a force to be reckoned with in Punisher #20. From the dynamic page layouts to the jaw dropping action scenes, Gerads puts it all on the page for his final issue on the character, and it’s awesome. This run on The Punisher brought Gerads’ work to my attention, and because of it I’ll follow his work anywhere he goes.
With Punisher #20, and this run as a whole, Edmondson and Gerads join the great list of Punisher creative teams. If you hadn’t given this run a shot, I highly recommend it. It’s filled with tons of incredible action and the fact that it’s set in the Marvel Universe isn’t a hindrance. In fact, it’s used really well here. While there’s still no word on what Frank will be up to after Secret Wars, I have no doubt that he’ll be back soon. And hopefully I’ll see Edmondson and Gerads’ names on the cover again.
Aquaman #42 (DC Comics)
Aquaman was another title that I gave a shot with for DC’s “DC You” minirelaunch, and I found myself pleasantly surprised by Cullen Bunn and Trevor McCarthy’s new take on the King of Atlantis. Placing the King of Atlantis as a fugitive from his own people is really cool, and Aquaman is definitely a lot edgier than he’s been in the past. However, with this issue the art is starting to get a little rocky, which unfortunately affected my interest in the story as a whole.
Aquaman has been banished from Atlantis by his wife, Mera. The “why” behind this is still being slowly revealed, but we do know that it has something do with another reality attempting to bleed into our own. Assisted by an ancient Atlantean Warlock, Aquaman is now attempting to destroy the creatures and relics from the other reality before the planet is destroyed. Of course, it would be a lot easier if he could get his former subjects to stop hunting him…
Cullen Bunn’s script and plot is extremely engaging, and the mystery behind Aquaman and Mera’s falling out is really interesting. I usually have a pretty low patience for these kinds of slow reveals, but so far I’m really enjoying the small details we’ve been getting. Bunn also has a really cool insight into Aquaman’s current thoughts. I was initially really skeptical of this new spin for Aquaman, but it works really well.
Unfortunately one of the things that doesn’t work well in Aquaman #42 is the art. While Trevor McCarthy is credited for the page layouts and breakdowns, he’s listed as one of three artists who provided the finished art. While McCarthy supplied the breakdowns, having three artists on this issue really hurt it, as much of that art varies wildly between pages. Faces change, body postures vary wildly, and in all honesty, the whole thing just looks rushed.
The mysteries surrounding this current run on Aquaman is really intriguing, so I’m definitely sticking around, but I worry that the art will just keep looking more and more rushed. While it’s admirable that DC’s been trying to prevent artists from delaying their books, the flip side is that many times the art can be rushed, which seems to be the case here. Hopefully this is just a temporary thing, because Bunn’s take on Aquaman is pretty cool.