PunisherMAX Issue 3 Review

The Aaron/Dillon run on Punisher MAX continues this week and despite the quality of the creative team, it suffers from being a confused comic, unsure of its place in the Marvel output.
Dillon’s work is almost identical to his work on Garth Ennis’ Marvel Knights: Punisher run and because of this I never feel like I’m reading a Punisher MAX book. Dillon’s artwork (which I’ve been a fan of since I started reading comics) lacks the reality (Castle literally twists some ones head back to front at one point) and grittiness that I usually associate with the MAX imprint. Writer Jason Aaron has decided to introduce regular Marvel Universe villain, Wilson Fisk (again making it seem more like a Marvel Knights comic), which didn’t work for Gregg Hurwitz’s run on Punisher MAX when he brought in Jigsaw and only just works for this one. The reason it doesn’t work well for me is that in the MAX universe, the villain needn’t be Fisk or Jigsaw. You can create your own character, shape them to suit your stories needs rather than take a pre-existing character from the Marvel Universe and reshape them to fit.
Despite all these reason for me to not like this run, by the third issue, I find myself warming to it. Aaron obviously understands the character and it shows in the dialogue he gives Castle. Plot wise everything seems to be falling in to place, we get a look in to Fisk’s Amish esque childhood and the beginnings of an interesting story involving his dying mother and his father who may or may not be involved in organised crime. This is by far the most interesting aspect of the run so far and Aaron gives us just enough to keep the reader wanting more. There’s also a memorable encounter between Fisk, Frank Castle and an old, naked, saggy mobsters widow which will appeal to the more disgusting minded of readers. Aaron has with this issue kept me interested with the title because I feel like this is the issue right before something big happens, probably Fisk’s eventual transformation from Hell’s Kitchen hood in to the new KingPin of the MAX Universe and this could work…

If the Punisher kills him off as quickly as he rises or he becomes a background villain who is rarely ever seen, to be killed later on. The problem is that if Fisk becomes the Punisher’s continuing nemesis then we’re just in the familiar Marvel territory but with more ‘fucks’ in the dialogue. This all leads me to believe that the partnership of Aaron and Dillon would have been better suited to a Marvel Knights style title, with loose connections to the Marvel Universe and plenty of continuity wiggle room (if it weren’t for the regular Punisher being bastardised at the moment in the regular Marvel Universe in to some crappy Frankenstein esque creature, this could have been a possibility) or even a proper attempt at an Ultimate Punisher to replace the dismal background character he was portrayed as in various Ultimate titles. All this is highlited by the fact that we’ve just had the release of Rob Williams and Laurence Campbell’s one shot Punisher MAX: GET CASTLE, which I felt was as close to Ennis’ run as anything released so far (including Campbell’s former run on Punisher MAX ‘Girls in White Dresses’). It’s a shame it was limited to a one shot, if allowed to have a proper shot at the title they could have done something really special.
As it stands though, this run could prove to be something great, if Jason Aaron’s sublime vertigo title ‘Scalped’ or Steve Dillon’s astonishingly good work on ‘Hellblazer’ or ‘Preacher’ are anything to go by as far as talent is concerned. It’s just a shame it has to fight against the connotations that come with the MAX title when it would have been better placed under a different title.

GS Reviewer: ollie masters

One comment

  1. olliemasters /

    Just realised i out the wrong cover up.

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