Comic: "The Punisher: The End"
Published by: Marvel Comics
Written by: Garth Ennis
Artist: Richard Corben

Reviewer: Dr. Boogie
Posted: 8/19/2008

Plot: The world is in the midst of a nuclear holocaust, but that’s not going to stop Frank Castle from punishing one last group of criminals.

Review: Garth Ennis has done some great Punisher stories in the past. This, unfortunately, is not one of them.

It starts off in the year of “soon”. It doesn’t seem to be that “soon” because the Punisher is shown to be a grey-haired old man. For some reason that is never fully explained beyond “they pushed the planet’s luck too far”, the world is pretty much nuked into the Stone Age. Luckily, Frank Castle was able to get into the fallout shelter in Sing-Sing before the bombs hit. Therein, he hears word of some truly diabolical types hiding out in another fallout shelter in New York. And so, once the radiation levels have fallen enough for him to survive the trip, he leaves.

I wish I could say there was more to the story, but that’s pretty much it. As the Punisher makes his way from Sing-Sing to the hidden bunker, he describes the carnage from the nukes in his usual sunshiny manner. Eventually, he gets where he’s going, and he wastes everyone.

Now, I understand that the Punisher killing everybody is pretty much a given in every Punisher storyline, but there’s usually a little variation put into the journey. In this case, the devastation from the nukes is almost 100%, so the Punisher manages to get to his destination with no real difficulty. No survivors hounded by marauders, no makeshift cities rising from ashes, nothing. Hell, not even any other people, aside from his targets and some conman who decided to tag along.

The violence itself is surprisingly tame for a story carrying the MAX label. In fact, there’s hardly any blood at all, unless you count the blood oozing from the Punisher’s irradiated face towards the end of the comic. In a way, though, I think it’s just meant to be a continuation of the fairly boring story.

There is some toward the end, but it looks just as crummy as the rest of the art in the book. Richard Corben’s characters all seem to have oddly cartoonish proportions and facial features. Whenever you’re treated to a full body shot, the characters tend to look like midgets. The Punisher will be trying to say something serious, but all you can focus on is a bunch of dwarves looking on in horror.

Finally, this post-apocalyptic Punisher seems to be even less tolerant of crime than the regular, modern day Punisher. Without giving away too much, he claims that the people he’s after are responsible for the end of the world, through means that are only hinted at with dour metaphors. It all seemed a bit more abstract than his usually “you’re in the mafia, you die” sort of thinking seen in Ennis’ other works.

I was very disappointed with the whole book. I was expecting a lot from a story that was claiming to be the last battle in the Punisher’s war on crime, but The End turned out to be remarkably bland. I suppose you could chalk it up to being a more realistic take on the aftermath of a nuclear war (i.e., no super mutants or giant cockroaches), but even so, I’m reading these comics to be entertained. If I wanted to know what it was like to walk through a barren, empty landscape, I’d move back to Illinois.

Overall rating: Whole
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

Aug 19th, 2008, 02:42 PM
I guess that making old heroes bring back their glory days now that they are nothing more than a wrinkly ass is a common practice these days. Rocky Balboa, John Rambo and Solid Snake are two examples that come to my mind.

Now, while I don't have anything against a geezer proving his worth, at least there must be some story involved to make it more interesting.
Aug 19th, 2008, 06:16 PM
Post-apocalyptic superhero story lines set in alternate dimension have never really been that great in my opinion.
Official Punching Bag
Aug 20th, 2008, 12:12 AM
Mad Max did it better it seems. He always does.
Aug 20th, 2008, 01:15 AM
Marvel Knights Punisher is still one of my favorite books of all time.
lurking on the walls
Aug 20th, 2008, 05:22 PM
The punisher has always been a great series, but i totally agree with the ending of this comic, at least it's not like the "resurrection" series where he was brought back to life by and angel and all that..... and there was a series done with the "Dark Minds" and "Neon Cyber" artists, which was good, but the character of the punisher looked like a detective from Dark Minds
Aug 20th, 2008, 07:55 PM
Awww man, you're a fip? /tears
The Goddamned Batman
Aug 22nd, 2008, 12:30 PM
I have read this, but I don't remember anything about it. That's usually not a promising sign.
Funky Dynamite
Aug 22nd, 2008, 12:36 PM
I wish there was something to remember.
Aug 22nd, 2008, 08:46 PM
The Only thing to really take note of is the evil red eyes he has throughout most of the action scenes as a reference to what happened to Frank back in 'nam and his dealings with The Grim Reaper. It could just be that Frank was old, the deal took over and he was simply killing them so he could kill the last few evil people on Earth.

Or not, whatever.