4 stars = Stop reading review and go buy now!!!!
3 and a half stars = Great issue and make room on your trade shelf someday soon
3 stars = Recommended and maybe even trade worthy
2 and a half stars = Recommended
2 stars= Not the best, not the worst, not recommended
1 and a half star = Terrible issue and vocalize your disgust at your next social event
1 star = Awful awful awful and you may want to consider dropping this title
0 stars = Next con you attend where the writer and/or artist are present you should throw this issue in their face
Punisher War Journal #21– I finally found out why this story has been bothering me so much. This has such a 90s feel to it which is a terrible awful thing. There is a reason why Ennis never messed with this stuff, why his first arc in the Max series ended with Punisher blowing Micro’s head off. I know it’s a bit unfair to compare this series to the Max run, especially when that run has been the best Punisher stuff ever, but unfortunately I just have to. But that’s what I finally realized while reading this issue, it has that awful 90s taste to it. It’s filled with scantily clad ninjas beating each other up with swords and blades. It’s got Jigsaw (actually Jigsaw wasn’t even in this issue which bothered me), who I know wasn’t created in the 90s, but he’s always had that kind of 90s feel to him in my mind. The issue also has Silver Sable, created in the 80s, but she still has that 90s feel as well. You’ve also got these three new ninja characters that seem like they could have been drawn by Liefeld himself. And speaking of, we also have Domino and G.W. Bridge in here that were created by Mr. 90s himself, Rob Liefeld. The 90s were a terrible decade for comics and Punisher himself was more unpopular than ever. Why in the hell would Fraction try to give a throwback to the worst time in the character’s history?! I suppose he maybe thought that they were interesting characters and concepts that were applied badly and he could do them better, I respect that and he does. But that doesn’t stop the fact that this story is the worst this book has ever been. There are still a few fun moments in here and look closely for a Colbert 08 poster. However, the horrible 90s feel and Chaykin art overshadow whatever good is in this comic. Not to mention the explanation of why Punisher hasn’t killed Jigsaw which seems unconvincing and even a bit trite. I hate not liking this comic.
1 and a half star
Walking Dead #50– It took two reads to finally appreciate this. When I first read it, I was majorly disappointed. I still am in a way, but then I realized a few things. I expected this to have the issue 50 feel to it, oversized with major events occurring inside. We don’t get that, but all the big stuff happened in 48. I also found this issue predictable at first, and in a way it is, but I finally realize what Kirkman was trying to say in this issue and he does do it well. Don’t expect an issue 50. Just expect another well written and well drawn Walking Dead adventure. One that continues the story of a father and son trapped in a post apocalyptic world with a terrible threat behind every corner. Oh and I love that variant and I’m glad I got my grubby hands on one.
Astonishing X-Men #25– I read the first two trades of Astonishing X-Men but haven’t read the last two. I’m waiting for the hardcover. I was weary of reading this issue. It’s supposed to be a “jumping on point” for new readers, but they say that all the time and yet the story is still bogged down with continuity and the characters are reflecting on last arc’s events. There is none of that in this issue. About the only thing that tells you they’re in continuity is that M-Day still happened. Oh and the X-Men are in San Francisco now. That’s it, this has such a great first issue feel and is probably what all first issues should try to be. This has such an original and fresh feel to it. There are no glorious fight scenes with tough man dialogue, no last page reveal, just a lot of character study with a plot developing. I’m not a big fan of Bianchi’s art, but this is the best it’s ever looked. There are many genuinely hilarious moments, and though these are characters in the realm of fantasy, they seem real. This was a perfect first issue.