Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Punisher Max: Happy Endings #1
MAX Comics (Marvel Comics)
Milligan, Ryp & Hollowell
Another random Punisher one-shot in the MAX-verse follows a similar pattern that we’ve seen where the Punisher is not the central character. This issue is a little different from the other one-shots because the central character is actually not a criminal, or at least not the typical criminal that the Punisher would be after. It’s a good issue that tells a good story in a believable manner. Ultimately the story is a coming of age story for the main character, a nobody, where the Punisher happens his way into the ending of it. It’s entertaining but certainly not essential reading.
The story follows a guy named Joe Bonner, who after a fight with his prudish, overbearing wife, heads out to a massage parlor late at night. Joe is breaking out of the norm and seems mentally ready to cheat on his wife. However, as he enters the place he is thrust into an action-packed adventure with a hostess named Gi-Gi. Gi-Gi got herself into some trouble because one of her clients worked for the mob and trusted her with some important information that the mobs wants back.
As the story unfolds, the pair end up getting shot at, breaking into a car, getting held up by the mob and getting into a few scrapes. It’s an exciting story that takes some twists and turns along the way, some of which you don’t see coming at all. Along the way we watch a natural progression of Joe’s character as he slowly breaks free of his normal moral boundaries and turns into someone that thrives on living on the edge.
The artwork is clean and clear. Gi-Gi looks every bit the part of the femme fatale and Joe is depicted perfectly as the scared, nerd-like, accountant. The scenes with the Punisher steal the show when the action heats up. It’s a good story visually that makes the action come alive.
The story’s success basically boils down to how much Punisher do you expect to see in a Punisher one-shot. It seems like telling the story from the point of view of a villain is a lot easier to dismiss not having the lead character in the bulk of the story. While telling the story from the man-on-the-ground story is something different it isn’t really the best kind of Punisher story to read. I’m glad Marvel dropped the prices down to $4 for these one-shots (yes, they used to be $5) because that makes them more enjoyable, but this issue is for the complete-ists out there. It’s entertaining enough for the die-hard Punisher fans out there.
3 out of 5 Geek Goggles