Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Classic Comics - Punisher War Zone #1

   Ah, for the good old days of gimmicky covers! This issue of the new Punisher War Zone series featured thick paper with a cutout over his left shoulder (not visible in this image) with his skull-head logo peeking through.

   This was 1992, when the Punisher was at the peak of his bad boy / kill all the bad guys / take no prisoners popularity.

   He was a hot enough property to spin off into extra titles (thankfully, there were always more murderous hoodlums who needed exterminating) - and this was the best of the bunch.

   That's because they gave the title the perfect writer for Frank Castle's tough, uncompromising adventures: Chuck Dixon, one of the industry's best (if not THE best) at writing the stories of a driven ex-military man who wages a never-ending war on criminals.

   This issue immediately set the tone, starting with a brutal, bullet-riddled action sequence. It quickly establishes the supporting cast of one - a tech expert named Microchip, who shares Castle's experiences with the forces of evil - an encounter that took the life of his son.

   It also throws the Punisher into a risky effort to get on the inside of a local mob - the better to chop it down to size.

   The art is just as raw and hard-hitting as the script, as created by John Romita, Jr. and Klaus Janson. Both were really hitting their stride as artists, and the results are stunning and memorable.

   Not all the Punisher's adventures stand the test of time. This story stands out from the crowd and should be a primer on "how to write the Punisher."

   Highly recommended!

Grade: A


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