Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Punishermax Get Castle #1
MAX (Marvel Comics)
Williams, Campbell & Loughridge
This Punisher one shot has two glaring elements to it that are working against it right off the bat and neither one is the elephant in the room that is Garth Ennis. The comic is titled “Get Castle” which surely harkens back to the Michael Caine film that was a violent bad-guy-out-for-revenge story that was brilliant. The comic has a lot to live up to if it hopes to lie alongside the movie it pays homage to. The other expectation it must live up to is the $5 price tag. This is a complete reach by Marvel that made me cranky before I ever opened the cover. I’ll assume no one is looking for any Punisher story to compare to a Garth Ennis Punisher story so let’s just grade this one as if Garth Ennis doesn’t exist. Still, with all of that taken into consideration this comic doesn’t provide enough for the price tag but it does entertain to a degree.
Frank undertakes the self appointed mission of finding out who killed the son of a man (Yorkie) he once knew who was killed some issues ago. The son, Danny Mitchell most of the time, was in with a crooked bunch of English military special agents and his death was listed as a suicide. Frank Castle knows better. Once Castle gets over to England he begins to go bad-ass on everyone, military included, in his path in this small English sheep town. That’s basically it.
There are similarities with the Get Carter film. In the film, as in this comic, the lead character is seeking to find out the truth behind the death of someone that was listed as something other than a murder. In the film, it’s the lead’s brother. In the comic, it’s the son of someone Castle knew. Castle never met the son. Big difference. In the film, the lead tortures and destroys bad guys all over the place showing no morals or restraint. In the comic, well, the Punisher kills people. It’s not shocking and it’s not new. To make it work the comic needed to be as shocking or over the top as the film and it is not. The film this story resembles is Rambo II where Rambo kills everyone in the opposing military for people he doesn’t know simply because he can.
The saving grace is the artwork. The style is very broad stroked but so powerfully detailed it’s almost unbelievable what was achieved here. Look no further than the city landscape on the very first page to see what the art has managed to do in this comic.
I’m going to take a guess that this story was meant to be more than a one shot and editorial chopped it down to a one shot size when the Max Punisher title was rebooted. I say this because I am familiar with Rob Williams’ work from Star Wars Rebellion and Indiana Jones and the Tomb of the Gods and he does terrific work. Personally I think he had higher ambitions with this story, perhaps even more closely tied to the film, but was forced into making a one shot out of his intended material. One of the clues to this theory is that during the interrogation scene, Mitchell refers to himself as Tom Mitchell and not Dan Mitchell as he was called the rest of the comic. Maybe there was some sort of identity cover-up that was cut out of the issue. Instead we are left with an error that makes no sense.
As a Punisher story it’s not that bad. It has great art and the Punisher goes on a killing spree abroad. As a comparison to Get Carter it fails on a number of levels. As a $5 comic book Marvel should be ashamed of the blatant money grab.
2.5 out of 5 Geek Goggles