Punisher is one of Marvel’s most iconic heroes and a big part of this character’s success has got to be attributed to the creative teams that have dedicated their talents to making Frank Castle the comic book legend that he is today. The Punisher: Black and White Vol. 1 is headed by Nathan Edmondson and Mitch Gerads and they do a great job of maintaining the quality expected of a Punisher title.
This volume finds The Punisher doing what he does best as he locks his sights on a powerful drug trafficking gang that is aiming at taking over LA. One would think that this gang aims to cripple LA with its product, however, what captures Frank’s attention is the fact that this low-level mob has managed to get their hands on to chemical weapons and they are military grade. Speaking of military grade, all is not as it seems as an anonymous entity wants to put Frank Castle down once and for all… and they are hiring the Howling Commandos to get the job done!
This take on an iconic hero really has a nice feel to it. The Punisher has become an alter ego of Frank Castle. Yes, The Punisher is now masked and this gives the reader the opportunity to see Frank from a new perspective. We get to see him relating to everyday people as he frequents bars and restaurants in order to gather intel and keep in contact with the few people that mean something to him. This side of Frank almost humanises the character. This is exemplified when we see him take in a wounded animal that he relates to.
When it is time to get to business, however, Frank Castle ceases to exist and the unforgiving agent of vengeance known as the Punisher takes control. He is ruthless aggression and he knows his purpose as he re-iterates it over throughout the volume. He is there to take down the guys that are too big for the cops but too little to garner the attention of the Avengers. The Punisher sees himself as the ground level hero that he is. He defends the weak and avenges the innocent.
The art in The Punisher: Black and White is great. Most of it takes place in the dark or the dry desert and the colours really bring the setting to life. The Punisher also no longer looks like a raging muscular brute. Instead, he looks more realistic and his proportions look great, really lending to the notion that he is an ordinary guy doing what others either refused or were too scared to do.
The art has the same feeling as the Hawkeye series of 2014. If you pay attention you will notice The Punisher even dons a Hawkeye T-shirt. The detail in the comic is great and the facial expression are easy to identify and the movements of the high paced action sequences are easy to follow as they flow quite well. The Punisher: Black and White volume also boasts prints of some rather impressive variant covers, including the man of the moment Skottie Young.
The Punisher: Black and White vol. 1 is a good read despite mainly being a set up for the various situations to follow in the upcoming issues. We get a brief glimpse at his origin once again but, for the most part, this issue is showcasing The Punisher of Marvel Now. From the looks of things, this title proves to be promising. The creative minds continue to focus on creating a memorable story of the highest quality.