Review/RANT: Punisher #63

I know taste is subjective, but this just feels wrong. This is not The Punisher.

Okay, sure; I can accept Frank feeling guilty about the death of an innocent. What I can’t accept is this:

That panel should never have been written, let alone drawn.

Frank Castle would never put a gun IN HIS MOUTH!!!*

*deep breath*

I’m done with this book.

*It’s very likely that in the character’s lengthy publishing history this is not the first time a writer has put a gun in Frank’s mouth, so when I say “never” I am obviously stating my subjective opinion, not fact. But if these writers had any “taste”, I wouldn’t need this disclaimer. Heh.

Bruce Castle Presents: Conan vs. Punisher!

Conan the Cimmerian #3

Conan the Cimmerian #3 (****)

Conan is Conan. Unless Grant Morrison or Alan Moore is writing the character, you have a general idea of what you’re getting in our favorite Cimmerian’s comic. But what kind of quality can you expect from this Conan book? It’s only the third issue, but I think this will be a great run. I’m already entertained which is a necessity in a Conan series, but I also think Truman is building to something. We get less of Connacht in this issue, but he’s still included. There has to be a reason for these stories right? I love the done in one tales as much as the next person, but I’d love to see an epic Conan story. As much as I enjoy Richard Corben’s style, it was nice to see more of Giorello’s art in this issue. It’s interesting, it’s fun, it’s bloody, it’s Conan!

Punisher #62 (****)

I’m going to get through this whole review without mentioning Ennis. Damn it! Ok, so this is still Ennis’ book. Maybe even Ennis’ character, but that doesn’t mean Greg Hurwitz is doing a bad job, far from it actually. After only two issues, Hurwitz has created an intriguing Punisher. He’s kind of a detective and seems more violent, or at least has a greater love of torture. As far as emotions go, he’s not nearly as human as Fraction’s version. He’s more like Ennis’ in that respect. He may even be less cold, but it’s hard to tell given the subject matter. We’re still close to the thirtieth anniversary of the death of Frank’s family. Last issue it seemed Hurwitz had a very generic take on the subject, but that’s changed. Campbell’s art still impresses.  His style fits the story like a glove and I love the widescreen view. I’m glad this series is still running smoothly. Oh, and be prepared for the ending, it’s a doozy!

Bruce Castle Presents: Tough Guys

Captain America #41 (****1/2)

I’m happy to report that this issue delivers the same excellence I’ve come to expect from Brubaker’s Captain America. As you may know if you visit this site often, my fellow reviewer Billy really loves this book. He already wrote a review of this issue complete with cool scans the day it came out. So, I don’t have too much to offer. All I’ll say is that I really enjoyed this issue. If you aren’t reading this series, you owe it to yourself to pick up the first trade. Be prepared, you may get hooked.

Conan #2 (****)

It’s a little funny that the first story from this new Conan series isn’t about Conan. It’s about Conan’s grandfather, Connacht. You may remember him from Conan Vol. 0: Born on the Battlefield. If not, then I recommend you read it. Not to understand this issue, but because I liked that story. In addition to Conan, the regular artist, Tomas Giorello, takes a backseat to give Richard Corben a moment to shine. If you’re familiar with Heavy Metal at all, you may know Corben’s work. Corben’s simplistic and gory style fits the tale of Connocht incredibly well. This issue was very good and it’s nice to read about Conan’s relatives. It looks like Corben will be involved with the next three Conan issues at least. Are they building to something? Will Conan meet the present Connacht? I don’t know, but I’m eager to find out!

 

Punisher #61 (***1/2)

No more Tim Bradstreet covers. I forgot to mention that in my review of the last issue. Bradstreet’s covers were the unsung hero of Ennis’ run. Trying to move on was the definite theme in my feelings for this issue. I tried very hard not to compare this issue to Ennis’ work. I tried to keep an open mind, but it was hard. Still, even with that hindrance, I enjoyed this issue. The art in this series was always overshadowed by the writing, but it really was quite good. This issue’s artist, Laurence Campbell, continues to give the book that cinematic feeling. His widescreen panels were very impressive. That, coupled with Hurwitz’ western styled story, made me feel like I was watching a Clint Eastwood movie. My main complaint is that Hurwitz doesn’t seem to know how to handle Frank yet. Punisher’s narrative seemed a bit off. Hurwitz is still new to the character though. I’m confident that in time, he may write some great Punisher stories. It looks like the future of this series won’t be as bleak as I once thought.

Foilball’s Review Roundup #41 – MARVEL! MARVEL! MARVEL!

1985 #3 (****1/2)

So far, of all the Millar projects, this one has me the most excited. It’s just really ####ing good. The real live people actually sound like real live people, unlike in say, War Heroes. I love the sinister way the villains of the 616 Marvel Universe are just killing people. M.O.D.O.K. fulfills his function as “killing machine” better than he ever has in regular continuity by forcing a whole mess of townsfolk to drown themselves. And the plot just keeps turning and turning, revealing new layers every issue. Like, obviously this has happened before right? Based on the dad character’s reaction to it. Perhaps his old comic buddy had (or has?) something to do with it? And this issue’s double page spread made me laugh out loud, but in that good comic book way. Dudes, forget Kick-Ass and War Zeroes and Old Man Eastwood and all that other shit, 1985 is DA STONES!

Foolkiller: White Angels #1 (****)

Two questions: Who is this Greg Hurwitz guy and why is he so awesome? I’ve really been enjoying his fresh take on the Foolkiller concept, and now that we got the origin story out of the way, Hurwitz opens up the world a bit more. Punisher next issue… continuity between the MAX books? Seems like a neat idea seeing as how Hurwitz is writing the first Punisher arc after Ennis leaves the book next month. The thing I most like about this new mini is how much it reminds me of what Brubaker is doing with Criminal. You know, jumping on the other side of things and giving us a peek at how the dysfunctional elements of society live. I’m going to switch to trade for the next mini, these seem to read best that way, but I’m going to enjoy the hell out of this violence-fest till then.

The Invincible Iron Man #3 (****1/2)

Iron Man, Thor and Casanova; these are the books that remind me how awesome Matt Fraction can be. Iron Man? New favorite, baby! Why? It’s simple. Matt Fraction is writing Iron Man to be Marvel’s Superman. SUPERMAN. Don’t believe me? Check out this sequence…

 

 

Take away the armor and replace it with invulnerability and super strength. Swap the boot jets for super speed. Lose the tracking gadgets and throw in some super hearing. Oh, and, Pepper Potts morphs into Lois Lane and what have you got… DING! Superman. And another thing, Fraction has so seamlessly blended movie and comic continuity, that it doesn’t even bother me that much (anymore) that the “Invincible” Stark is so different from the “Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Stark. Anyway, it’s awesome. ‘Nuff said.

Quick Hits:
Eternals #2 (*****): The Knaufs!!! Doing it again! These guys are sooooo good I want to sploodge all over myself after finishing one of their books. Ahh…
Guardians of the Galaxy #3 (***1/2): D&A have yet to WOW me with the book, but that’s not to say it’s poorly written. I can feel them building to something epic, but I’m just not sure what it is yet. Hmm, maybe that shocking final page is a clue? Magus, anyone? Oh, and enough with that damn debriefs. They’re funny, and I’m sure I’d be okay with them if they hadn’t been used so poorly in The Order. Bitter much? Just a little.
Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. #31 (***1/2): This fill-in continues to do an adequate job, but this is definitely not the quality we’ve come to expect from this title. From the hokey to the clumsy, the dialogue is easily the most obvious weakness. After this arc we get an SI tie-in starring War Machine and then hopefully, the Knaufs come back?
The Last Defenders #5 (***): I’ve been enjoying this book, till this issue that is. Color me ten shades of confused? I think Casey bites off more than he can chew with all these pseudo-science explanations.
Punisher War Journal #21 (*): Matt Fraction and Howard Chaykin? PLEASE LEAVE! When does Remender’s solo run start?
X-Factor #33 (-): Everyone else has bashed this enough. It’s bad.
Young X-Men #4 (*): Wow, great reveal, Guggenheim. Too bad I stopped caring two issues ago. Heh, bet you wish you’d actually written Cyclops as a Skrull imposter, aye?