Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Punisher Butterfly #1
MAX (Marvel Comics)
D’Orazio, Campbell & Loughridge
Punisher Butterfly would seem, prior to purchase, to be just another random, five dollar, Punisher one-shot. However, the story inside is dark, clever and manages to stand on its own as something worth taking a look at. The comic book does not contain very much Punisher in it at all as he appears on only about three pages of the issue. No, it’s a tale about a character called Butterfly that exists on the fringes of the Punisher’s territory. What we end up with is a story that is a strong character work that ties back to the Punisher at the end of it.
D’Orazio seems to be fairly new to writing at Marvel, but she has some other issues and/or stories coming out in the near future so the expectations are not the same as, say, Garth Ennis. However, with an effort like this she has set the bar high. In her thirty-some page story she manages to introduce a character, give the background of the character, provide some level of the character’s mindset along the way and provide a thick plot.
The set up is that Butterfly is writing a book. The book is a little too revealing for her mob associates to accept. However, it’s not just that she is chased by her mob employers. Instead we are led down the path that shows how emotionally detached she is from everything as her origin is slowly revealed. Butterfly, by the end of the issue, is a compelling and layered character. The story has classic noir elements as none of the characters are particularly likable. Between the two you have a very good read.
The artwork follows along the classic, in my opinion, noir template of Sean Phillips. It’s dark, at times emotionless, but alive overall. The balance found here is to make the characters seem business-like in their actions, no matter how horrific, but give enough life to them for the reader to seem like all of this is as close to real life as it gets. I found the art to be a perfect vehicle for the story.
This is a comic book worth picking up if you have $5 to spare in your budget and you enjoy noir stories that move quickly and leave you feeling like you just looked at someone’s dark soul. The only drawback is that the Punisher is so absent from the comic. Depending on your level of fandom you might not like it simply because he’s barely in it. I enjoyed this story and definitely recommend it.
4 out of 5 Geek Goggles