Frank Castle aka The Punisher isn’t exactly a good guy, but you could say he does bad things for good reasons. Basically he kills people, but they are people who are murderers or rapists and who have often escaped justice so Frank dishes his own brand of justice. Frank is a vigilante who does whatever he can to take on criminals and his history in the military means not only is he comfortable in using a wide variety of weapons but he is also a tactical genius and is a master of martial arts.
Frank Castle is definitely an anti-hero but that’s what makes him so compelling. The first time I came across Frank was in The Punisher (2004) which I thought was an OK film and it got me interested in the character (have to say I love the scene where Frank has a bow and arrow), then I watched Punisher: War Zone (2008) which was brutal but brilliant. Now Frank is in the latest series of Daredevil which I’ve yet to watch but I can’t wait to see what he’s like in it – fun fact, I have only watch the first episode of the first series of Daredevil and don’t really care much about Daredevil as a character but the fact that Punisher is in the second series really makes me want to catch up.
I’ve now read some of The Punisher comics, mainly the series by Nathan Edmondson and Mitch Gerads which I loved. I love the art style and it was a great insight into Frank’s character and the fact he does care about people even though he tries hard not to. He sees things as very black and white – you’re either good or bad and he treats you accordingly, he can be terrifying but there’s something strangely reassuring about Frank Castle.
To get an introduction to Frank Castle, one of the best places you can go is watch Dirty Laundry, a fan-made short film that is really great.
The Punisher Vol. 2: Border Crossing – Nathan Edmondson, Kevin Maurer, Mitch Gerads, Carmen Carnero and Phil Noto
Frank Castle is in trouble, he’s injured and has not only gang lords after him but Crossbones as well. Things get interesting when he runs into Black Widow but whether their meeting will be good for Frank, who knows? All Frank knows is that he has to get back to LA before it burns to the ground.
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed volume one of The Punisher (I mainly picked it up because I’ve seen the various Punisher movies – check out The Punisher: War Zone – and because I liked the art). I really like Frank Castle and his attitude towards criminals, he is a vigilante but when he’s not around things are decidedly worse for the general public. Volume One ended on a bit of a cliff-hanger so I was keen to see what happened to Frank next.
I really liked his encounter with Black Widow and how his story entwined with that of her (as seen in the series by Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto) but you don’t need to be reading Black Widow to know what’s going on (though I highly recommend it because it’s great). They’re interesting characters to have together as they are both comfortable with doing bad things for the right reason.
All the threads that were set up in volume one are coming together and painting a complicated picture – but not too complicated. There’s the strand with the drug lords and the strand with the new Howling Commandos but Frank (and you as the reader) is slowly starting to join the dots. Everything hasn’t become clear quite yet so I’m certainly looking forward to seeing how it all pans out in the next volume.
I still like the art a lot but the way the panels are ordered so they suddenly go across a double page spread sometimes threw me a bit. 4/5. (more…)