Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
MAX (Marvel Comics)
Aaron, Dillon, Hollingsworth
Well this arc certainly didn’t take very long in pitting the Punisher against the Kingpin as their first dust-up occurs in this issue. Once again this series delivers an issue that wastes no time introducing and establishing a new character while telling a fast paced story that isn’t afraid to shock you with brutality and make you laugh with the witty dialogue. This issue stands out above the previous two because of the inclusion of two new characters and their extreme contrast in personalities and purposes. It’s a terrific issue.
The issue opens with an unknown character overseeing his sickly wife with some others from his community. We quickly learn that he lives in a strict Mennonite society and that he’s having ideas to go back to civilization in order to bring his wife more formal and modern medical help. We also learn that this man is a hard man with some interesting secrets. His interests are revealed in this issue and the storytelling to get us there is a thing of beauty. When you factor in that this character only appears on seven pages in this issue and none in the previous two I was heavily impressed at the level of weight this character manages to wrestle away by this issue’s end.
The remainder of the comic has two tracks that collide inadvertently. The Punisher grows tired of chasing the Kingpin’s trail and heads over to the widow of a powerful mobster. The Kingpin finds out that someone is trying to undercut his plans to take over the mafia commission and looks to get rid of the widow of a powerful mobster because she likes to talk a little too much.
The widow, Mamma Cesare, may be the best supporting character I’ve seen in years. She’s sarcastic to the point of comedy, violent, foul-mouthed and a pain in the ass. She manages to capture many of the Italian mafia-moms characteristics, but also possess traits that make her a likable villain. She’s so overbearing that you wouldn’t mind watching her take a beating. On the other hand, she’s so raunchy that she actually contains some level of charm that you kind of hope she’s kills her opposition off.
The Punisher and Kingpin square off in Mamma Cesare’s bedroom to some interesting results. The issue ends with a plausible stalemate. Things are set up nicely for the closing two issues.
The issue is great, but is made classic with the art. The two new characters eat up the issue. Mamma Cesare spends the majority of her time barely dressed and this is a one hundred year old woman. It isn’t pretty and Dillon sells this notion perfectly. The Mennonite is so menacing that we now seem to have two non-super powered villains that dwarf the Punisher and cast him in perhaps the biggest underdog role we’ve seen for him in years.
If you like your comics to have great character work where the story takes shape around how well the players are built up then this is the issue for you. I found the comic to be a fascinating combination of wit, violence, manipulation and crime. What else are you looking for? Tights?
5 out of 5 Geek Goggles