Friday, November 25, 2005

The Punisher: Business as Usual

I confess, I like The Punisher. Yeah, I know, he’s a hokey, comic book ripoff of Mack Bolan, the Executioner, but I was a regular reader of THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN when the Punisher was introduced there, and I followed the character through his other appearances in the Marvel line and in his own series, which stopped and started a time or two and included a really nice run by Chuck Dixon and John Romita, Jr. After I stopped reading comics in the late Nineties, I lost touch with the character, though.

Now that I’ve started reading the trade paperback collections of more recent comics, one that I picked up was THE PUNISHER: BUSINESS AS USUAL, which collects six issues of a Punisher series from a couple of years ago. These stories were all written by Garth Ennis, author of the bizarre but great PREACHER series, and feature art by Steve Dillon, also from PREACHER, and Darick Robertson. The Punisher is something of a globe-trotter here, with his adventures taking him from South America to New York to Belfast, Ireland. Not surprisingly, considering that they’re written by Garth Ennis, the stories are full of over-the-top violence and groan-inducing goofiness. They also team him up with Wolverine from the X-Men, one of Marvel’s most popular characters. They’re pretty entertaining in their way, and if I run across more of these collections, I’ll probably read them.

By the way, I haven’t seen either of the Punisher movies and don’t have any real desire to do so. I’m not sure the character would work anywhere except in the comics.

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