Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
MAX Comics (Marvel Comics)
Aaron, Dillon & Hollingsworth
PunisherMax moves into the second part of the arc titled, “Frank”. It’s no secret that this is one of best books I read each month and this issue is simply no different. However, this issue manages to bring a couple of new things to the table from the previous dozen PunisherMax books which makes this issue stand out a bit more than usual. Jason Aaron continues to break his way into new ground for a character that seemed tapped when Garth Ennis ended his run a few years ago. This is just a great read all around. The issue is divided into two distinct parts that are juxtaposed against each other on many pages. One is Frank in prison and the other is Frank at home after his discharge from the Viet Nam war. At this point in the comic book neither one is the “Punisher” and both are struggling to find themselves, but for different reasons.
Frank at home is unhappy. He finds himself dreaming he was back in the war just as when he was in the war he was dreaming of being home. Nothing groundbreaking here except in most cases the character either returns to what he knows, which in this case is war, or breaks down. However, Frank discovers he likes watching those that deserve to suffer go through pain. This is a huge difference and could alter everything the Punisher stands for. If Aaron pulls this off then the Punisher is no longer a man seeking revenge for deaths of his family, but a man whose only fulfillment is make those suffer that he deems to deserve it. The deaths of the family just free him to do so.
Frank in prison is beaten mentally and physically. Frank is grappling with the revelation that his quest was not to end crime because of his family but just to inflict pain out of his own enjoyment where the streets get a little cleaner in the process. The physical pain just alerts the other prisoners that he’s an easier target than normal. This also introduces another interesting character, an inmate knows as Big Jesus.
Dillon pulls off the panel to panel comparison perfectly. Frank’s reactions stay the same but the character is shown to age between the two time periods flawlessly. Frank in the past shows disinterest and boredom with his life just as the narrative suggests. Dillon brings everything together to make the story the total package.
This arc is breaking ground for the character of the Punisher. As Frank mentions, he’s been in prison before but as the Punisher and never as Frank. This arc is making a clear distinction between the two identities and it is altering everything that the origin of the character has been built upon in a believable and clever way. This book is an excellent read and I highly recommend it.
5 out of 5 Geek Goggles