The Punisher #1
300 miles off the coast of Morocco a British tanker’s engines have stopped. We soon discover that Hydra has hijacked the ship and already murdered at least one of the crew.
In Zurich a British ambassador is about to leave a meeting having been kept waiting. Garron Winslow enters and introduces Baron Zemo, who makes very thinly veiled threats against the ambassador’s family. He then pisses off this reviewer with the line: ‘Hydra has no interest in the setting sun that is the British “Empire.”’ Big mistake Zemo! The pen is mightier than the fictional sword, behold my wroth: you smell Zemo. Ambassador Fourel agrees to help speed up the approval of a laboratory in the UK.
The tanker is being unloaded on Staten Island, or it is until one of the hydra guards is shot dead. They manage to load smelly Zemo’s crate onto an S.U.V. Security Officer Vedhu is already set to abandon the remaining cargo and men before the other S.U.V. explodes. A severed forearm hits his windscreen… Under heavy fire the two remaining cars escape the dock. But hang on, who’s driving that truck behind them?
Outside Bagalia City, smelly Zemo and presumably smelly Winslow meet. Mr Agger on a runway. Agger confirms that (as far as he is aware) their plans are progressing.
Meanwhile, the mysterious trucker (I can’t imagine who he is) and the Hydra agents exchange fire. The truck and rear car explode. A helpful biker stops at the wreckage. The Punisher is visible in the reflection in his helmet, executing a Hydra guard.
The Punisher appears in Zedhu’s rear-view mirror having borrowed the bike and helmet. He jumps on the side of the car, clambers on top and shoots through the roof. When they reach the facility, he’s gone. Frank is shown tossing the helmet as he walks toward a roadsign that reads “Fort Wadsworth Armory.”
Zemo admits to Agger that he is worried about his partner. They find Mandarin suspending one ambassador over a shark tank, with another dead on the floor.
At the facility two guards small talk is interrupted by a tank crashing through the wall. The guards open fire and immobilise it with a Boson gun. The Punisher bursts out of the tank, two Uzis blazing. After emptying the Uzis, Frank cuts a guard in half with the Boson gun. He then enters a lift, stopping on each floor to kill more guards, pilling up discarded weaponry on the lift floor.
Exiting the lift he acquires another energy weapon and melts two guards. He finds and opens a suitcase which gives off a green glow. Under fire he escapes with it to the roof. He drops a device and barely catches hold of a departing helicopter. As he pulls the pilot out, the facility is surrounded by a blue crackling ball of energy, which explodes frying everything in sight including some doves (awww come on, they weren’t Hydra.)
Mandarin defends his methods to still smelly Zemo. Agger informs them that the facility has been completely destroyed.
Tony Stark is surrounded by reporters at the United Nations until Mandarin steals his spotlight. The two exchange threats and pleasantries.
Mandarin is introduced to speak at the podium. He appeals to the UN for a second chance for him and Bagalia. Meanwhile, The Punisher loads a bullet into a green glowing rifle. He fires, Mandarin slows the green trailed bullet but cannot stop it. The bullet hits, The Mandarin is dead.
A news anchor announces that Frank Castle is wanted in connection with the shooting. Nick Fury is shown looking displeased. Zemo says he will go to war, but he still smells.
The short version is it’s The Punisher, you know exactly what you’re getting.
What? You want more than that? Fine. The plot is initially a little clunky but the political set-up scenes will not stay in the memory once you get to the well-scripted and badass action. I particularly liked the late reveal of The Punisher. He remains faceless for nineteen pages, like a monster in a horror movie. Speaking of horror movies this is not for the faint-hearted, some panels are pretty brutal, especially if you’re a birdwatcher. That being said the art is spectacular, with a lot of stand-out panels. The darkly comedic lift page below was a probably the best in the book.
This issue is pretty much entirely plot and action. Frank has barely any lines to speak of and the villains spend all their time discussing the problematic nature of exposition in dialogue. So there’s not a lot of meaningful character development aside from the effective vilification of the Hydra guards that Frank spends the issue gunning down. They’ve already executed a civilian by the second page. This is important because with The Punisher you can go one of two ways. You can have The Punisher as a murderous vigilante, essentially a villain, as he frequently is in crossover titles, or you can make it very clear that the people he’s killing are the bad guys. Therefore The Punisher’s recurring theme of the ethics of lethal vigilantism, the only real idea to speak of in this book, is emphasized less here. That being said you’re not going to avoid that issue entirely when you have this kind of body count in a book sitting next to titles like X-Men Red and X-23. On the other hand, they are freaking Hydra!
Literally explosive art. Classic, ultra-violent Punisher, does exactly what it says on the tin and nothing else.
The Punisher #1: The Excellence of Execution
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 5/105/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 8/108/10
User Review( votes)