The Punisher #227 - Review. A World Apart
The Punisher #227
Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Artist: Stefano Landini
Colorist: Lee Loughridge
Letterer: Cory Petit
Since the events of Secret Empire, Frank Castle has had purchase to walk the earth in the War Machine armor. In some cases, that has brought him into direct opposition with the hero-aligned elements of the Marvel Universe. In some other cases, it has garnered him support. Such was the case last issue, when four Avengers showed up to apprehend Castle, but two decided that he had the right idea. We open this issue in a diner with Castle, Romanov, and Bucky Barnes. As you would imagine, throwing these three members of the Marvel Universe into the same beaker is going to net you a potentially explosive reaction. Tempers flare, but we are soon whisked away on a road-trippy adventure that takes center stage rather than the personality conflicts of these three military veterans.
I’m not super into Landini’s style. It is very airy and light on the pencil, with not a lot of detail or cross-hatching. You could argue with me and say that, as of the last few years, there’s plenty of people doing heavy pencils, and plenty of hatching and dark shading in comics. And for that reason, I am giving this run a bit more time to breath before passing summary judgement on the art style. I know it is not what I would gravitate to naturally, but as an alternative to what typically winds up at the forefront of art styles at the big two, I’m ok with it. Probably more so because Landini DOES do great blood platter, and his fight choreography is sharp. Loughridge on colors is what really shines in this issue. I love this taupe color theme, which I thought was going to be incredibly boring. But somehow Loughridge manages to make some light sparkle in what would otherwise be totally plain Jane cinematography.
If you are a classic Punisher reader, you’re going to need to decide if you are ok with this thing being the thing. Because this is different from the general read that many of us are accustomed to getting in a Frank Castle tale. Punisher is in the thick of the Marvel Universe; more typically he is in a world on his own. He’s not down in the sewers or picking of bad guys down by the docks. One thing this shift does is that it gives this issue some opportunities for fan-service scenes and the right to pop more cameos without it feeling out of place. We get two pretty big cameos in this issue, including one at the end that may very well set up one of the most unique and stand-out issues of the Punisher ever. We’ll have to tune in next month to see.
SCORE: 7.0 / 10
On the writing side, there’s more here of the same that I took a liking to last month, which was the issue that caused me to onboard this title into my recurring monthly pulls; first time I've added a Punisher title to my recurring pull list. Ever. There’s just a hint of smart humor that keeps it from feeling like 1986’s Cobra. And there are dribs and drabs of reveals or insightful panels that pull back the curtain on a few things that are going on in other books, or just the Marvel greater. There are shoes all over the place, and it is a race to see whose is going to drop first with a major reveal or revelation or event that sets the new status quo. I continue to like this arc, and am settling into the art-style.