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Nov 30th, 2008 08:05 PM
Zbu Manowar
Originally Posted by Primortal View Post
Wow... I thought Garth's intentions were to steer Castle away from stuff like that short-lived "Holy-Assassin Punisher" period in the mid-late 90's. o.o
Indeed but I think you're not going far enough. The problem with the Punisher is that his motivation died out as soon as the '90s hit.

In the '80s back when he was a new character, the problem was keeping him facing enemies to keep the Punisher interesting. Jigsaw, Saracen, and the Rev at least came back to keep hassling Castle. Unfortunately, as you can see in some of the early '90s comics (especially Punisher War Journal), it quickly became 22 monthly pages of crap. The Punisher goes on a movie set! The Punisher hides in a mafia wedding cake! Etc, etc. The character quickly lost focus and simply became a Rod Serling with guns and a lack of truly witty one-liners. While some things were done to keep him fresh ala 'events'--"Final Days"--these eventually turned to crap and turned the Punisher from a vengeance-driven vigilante to a suicidal version of the same. Note that 'Suicide Run' was marketed as the Punisher's last big hit against crime. The 'Reign of the Punishers' was an attempt to get more supporting characters but the problem with the premise was that only the Punisher and Microchip would live. The Punisher ended everything in death and it was not so easy to continue this trend. The stories got stale and all three of his books ended.

Then it was restarted with the gigantic Onslaught crossover where Marvel tried to fit the Punisher into the Marvel Universe to such an extent that the X-Cutioner character from X-Men was assigned as his sidekick. This didn't work because the Punisher works best in the dark corners of the Marvel Universe and changing the premise from 'Punisher goes to work for a mafia family' to 'the Punisher exists in a post-Onslaught Marvel Universe' simply didn't work. All the while, the character of the Punisher was essentially forgotten. He was simply a guy with guns who had an axe to grind. When the 'Holy Punisher' relaunch came around, it was merely just one more nail in the coffin. There was nothing special about the character and when he was killed off in the Onslaught-Era series, it was more of a blessing than a curse.

My point? Ennis bought back some of the character to the Punisher. He took the dark humor that always existed in a tame format and made it the point. As he says in his own MK Omnibus, he bought the fun and the inherent humor in such a premise to the forefront and kept some of the dark pathos. The Punisher now is not a moebius strip of constant vengeance, he's come to terms with his fate and is now going about it with a certain amount of glee not allowed in his earlier incarnations. Along the way, very goofy and sick things happen. The Punisher now interacts with people in a way that makes you regret when they are killed or destroyed by their own means. The Punisher may be a one-dimensional character, but his own motivations are now suspect (and be used against him, as the first few issues of the New War Journal have shown in relation to his new 'Microchip') and makes him a character that you don't feel comfortable backing. He's a complicated character in a complicated world that occasionally has some really sick moments that range from the horrifying to the humorous. Ennis brought forth what was always there on the periphery and that's why he deserves some credit. He may hate superheroes, but at least that hatred changed a vigilante in a superhero world into a character of his own right who happens to have superheroes in his world but does not usurp it.

All and all, Ennis did a good job reinventing the character. Or rather, peeling back the layers and showing us a Punisher that always existed but we never saw. It's disturbing, but it's fascinating reading.
Nov 29th, 2008 03:24 AM
RevengeVirus from the 1980's?
Nov 29th, 2008 12:46 AM

They did have a View Askew toyline.
Nov 28th, 2008 08:02 PM
RevengeVirus Also, Garth Ennis hates super heroes, not comics. And I don't think Kevin Smith ever had a toy line. Like...ever.
Nov 27th, 2008 08:25 PM
neoboman Ennis' Marvel Knights Punisher run is possibly my favorite book of all time. He could collab with Michael Bay and George Lucas for the rest of his life and I'd still love him just for that.
Nov 27th, 2008 10:45 AM
RaNkeri After reading a whole bunch of Punishers from 80s and 90s I can say with out any doubt that Garth Ennis is the best thing that has happened to Punisher. I hope he'll work on the MAX series in future too.


And yeah, I've read Born. This was the first Punisher comic I read and really liked, however after reading more stuff by Ennis' it was easy to see that Born was cleary not the best Punisher comic out there.

For me Born is kind of an old video game that kicked ass when you were a kid but which hasn't aged well and feels rather medicore when you play it when you've grown up.
Nov 26th, 2008 09:29 PM
Primortal Wow... I thought Garth's intentions were to steer Castle away from stuff like that short-lived "Holy-Assassin Punisher" period in the mid-late 90's. o.o
Nov 25th, 2008 05:49 PM
Xystus Well, I guess tastes are just that. Nice analogy by the way, lol
I wish I had more stuff by Garth Ennis to reference though, it seems a little silly saying he is my favorite writer based on two different comics.
Nov 25th, 2008 02:02 PM
Graystreet When I read it, I found Preacher to have no redeeming qualities at all. It knew what it wanted to be, I can give it that, but even what it wanted to be was crap. It was an epic waste of materials, time and space.

I love comic books, I've read every comic book I could get my hands on since I could read, I've seen some truly fantastic stories told in them, I've read some absolutely horrible ones like Brand New Day, and then I've read the little comic strips that would come with 80's action figures, like Masters Of The Universe. Preacher is essentially the little comic strip that would come with a animal-rape wet dream toy from a 1980's Kevin Smith toyline.
Nov 25th, 2008 05:14 AM
Xystus Wow, are you serious? Garth Ennis not only wrote one of the best comic book novels out there (Preacher) but his works on Punisher MAX and Punisher: Marvel Knights are fantastic. He's definitely my favorite writer.

However I do agree that 'Born' was slightly disappointing, but I did like seeing Castle's story in 'Nam.

EDIT: also this post is more directed at Graystreet than at Dr. Boogie, though I enjoy this book, i can understand why anyone wouldn't. Good review!
Nov 24th, 2008 09:28 PM
Graystreet I think they're referring to Frank Castle making a deal with Satan to survive Vietnam.

And couldn't his eyes just turn red as a stylistic expression of rage or sadness at the fact that a hack like Garth Ennis would later attempt to ruin both his character and his background?

I appreciate that Boogie wanted to avoid spoilers, but avoiding Garth Ennis is a most advisable idea. He's a talentless hack that hates comic books, but lacks the maturity and intellect to sell in any other format.

"Mommy, why did the baby flay open his mother and shoot eye-beams at that guy?"
"Because Darth Penis hates Superman."
Nov 24th, 2008 09:22 PM
elementalblazer Spoiler please...
Nov 24th, 2008 02:38 PM
RevengeVirus The ending did a lot for the series as far as tying things together. Over various points in the Punisher's life, going all the way back to the mid-80's, during a particularly rough fight, his eyes would turn red (Pretty sure it happened once or twice in 1994's Punisher: Year One as well and more times than I can count in Punisher: War Zone) and this finally gives a reason as to why.
Nov 24th, 2008 09:02 AM
Nick I have to agree, the ending was pretty weak.
Nov 24th, 2008 04:30 AM
Weekly Comic Review: Punisher MAX: Born

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