Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Max (Marvel Comics)
Aaron, Dillon & Hollingsworth
Aaron wraps up the “Bullseye” arc with a no-holds-barred epic battle between the Punisher and Bullseye. This issue keeps the reader guessing on the outcome. Sure, you pretty much know that the Punisher isn’t going to die but that’s really all you can be sure of. Even then, Aaron puts Frank through the ringer in a bad way. This issue is a fantastic read and while I found myself frustrated with part of the outcome, it made me very impatient for the next issue to ship. Generally, that means the issue is something special and that is the case here.
Bullseye’s obsession with the mind of the Punisher leads him to saying a little prayer to God as the battle is about to begin. If this scene doesn’t encapsulate everything you need to know about Bullseye then I don’t know what would. The sequence is pitch-perfect for the character and sets up the entire issue. This seems to be the only scene that is calm in the entire book.
Once the shooting is out of the way the issue really takes the story to another level. The brutality and inventiveness of the one on one battle makes the issue as special as the previous issue where Frank fought the Mennonite. This issue has axes, knives, nail guns, cut off digits and plenty of blood. Aaron plays with these characters like a child with their GI Joes. It just doesn’t seem possible for the action figures to walk away from the battle at the end.
The frustration with the issue is that Bullseye never quite reveals what he’s figured out about what made Frank Castle become the Punisher. He has unraveled a mystery and taunts Frank with it throughout the battle, but Aaron pulls the rug from under the reader as he keeps the genie safely in the bottle. Aaron successful makes me want the next issue of the series and makes me want more of Bullseye and Fisk. For this I both love and hate Jason Aaron.
Dillon’s pencils take a unique twist with this issue. As violent as the issue is, Dillon keeps the focus on the characters from the shoulders up. He relies on his skill to illustrate faces and reactions to convey the gruesome battle rather than just showing you the grim details in the bloody fight. I like the approach here by Dillon and his pencils also allow the colors to overpower the mood of the issue. I was very impressed with this issue’s art and visual story. Dillon is always a treat to read but he breaks his mold for this series with this issue.
Now that this series is back on schedule I can go back to my gushing over it issue to issue. The Bullseye arc has been special. It may not be Ennis territory but Aaron is making his own mark on the Punisher Max series and is certainly establishing himself as a great re-inventor of characters like Bullseye and Fisk. This is simply an amazing issue and series. Pick this issue up, even though it’s the end of an arc, and see if this read doesn’t rope you into the series.
5 out of 5 Geek Goggles