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March Comic Reviews 2007 – Punisher War Journal #4 and #5 (Marvel)

Posted by Adrian on March 21, 2007


Punisher War Journal #4 and #5 (Marvel)

The writer for Punisher War Journal Matt Fraction is a rising star in the literary world of comics. No doubt about that at all. He has reintroduced the Punisher back into the wider Marvel Universe with a fresh and unique style. #4 is the aftermath of the Punisher introduction to the Civil War. An introduction that cost the life’s of various underworld super criminals. Hence the Punisher falling out with Captain America. One of the Punisher victims is a underworld character called Stiltman. Issue #4 is the wake for Stiltman, which is held at a seedy bar, with Stiltmans body spread out courtesy of two billiard tables. An ensemble of mismatched and lesser known villains in the Marvel Universe turn up to pay their respects. A sorry bunch. Burnt out petty criminals, all quite pathetic. Fraction keeps the dialogue witty, as they all reminisce about their finest times. We are introduced to Princess Python, Stiltmans wife. As the wake attendances grow in numbers, they continue drinking and talking about the good ole days. Because they are a frustrated bunch of has been’s, a brawl occurs. A funny spread, drawn by guest artist Mike Dedato, showing them all fighting around the dead Stiltman. With the bar tender looking on. Spiderman arrives, shocked at all these lower super crim types gathering in one place, tells them to cool down. Take it easy, as things are about to change for everyone since the registration act is now enforced. We see Princess Python stumbling all over the place drunk and vomits. Spiderman leaves. At this point, one of the lesser super crims decides it’s time they emerge again as an evil force, do what they use to do again. Suddenly, patrons start dropping like flys. They realise they have been poisoned, as one of the super criminals clambers to the bar. He finds a note and a fake mustache (bar tender), the note has a drawing of the Punisher skull. The Bar tender was the Punisher, he posions their drinks, and sets the bar alight.

Mike Dedato did a competent job with #4, but #5 we get re-introduced to one of the finest comic artists at the moment – Ariel Olivetti. I can’t praise his art enough, his exaggerated character forms that have caricature type cartoonish feel, gorgeous rendering with colours and tons of emotion in all the characters expressions. Amazing. Issue #5 is a mindblowing well written, well drawn comic. One of my favorite characters, the religious homicidal, megalomaniac Bushwacker, and his biomechanical arm that transforms into a weapon. Is introduced into this issue, Fraction again is able to create stories within stories. We follow an auxiliary cop Ian, who decided after September 11, to become a policeman. Although majority of his tasks are mundane and superficial, which includes directing lost tourists. Then an event changes his life. Bushwacker holds a female bystander hostage, with G.W Bridge chasing him. Ian is caught in the middle, and raises his gun. So, Fraction pays homage on the the classic popular culture aspect in any cop drama, the stand off. Think, Reservoir Dogs, Dog Day Afternoon and so on. Olivetti handles the art like he is filming a movie scripted by Fraction. The menacing portrayal of Bushwacker, with each panel showing his biomechanical arm cannon, looking more and more threatening and grotesque. The female hostage that looks like a small child compared to the size of the Bushwacker, and Ian the small sized auxiliary cop trying to hold his ground. Lurking in the background is Bridge who is setting the whole thing up to flush out The Punisher. As the Bushwacker demands the Punisher appear, in which he does in all this chaos. Stand off ends when Bridge shoots Bushwacker in the neck. The Punisher becomes aware that the whole thing was set up by Bridge to bring the Punisher to the surface. He leaves amidst the confusion, with Bridge in tow. When suddenly the tele monitors of Thompson Square NYC show a shot and dying Captain America. Everyone looks up, including the Punisher.

Buy this comic.


4 Responses to “March Comic Reviews 2007 – Punisher War Journal #4 and #5 (Marvel)”

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