Thursday, July 12, 2012

Pull List Review: Space: Punisher #1

I'm so, so pleased that they went the campiest, most ridiculous route possible with this. I'm not all that familiar with the Punisher as a character, but I've seen him enough times to know he isn't usually this quippy, punny, and outrageous, but it's a look that suits him. In the context of this grand space adventure, anyway.

The opening scene is Punisher literally diving out of his spaceship into combat with a Brood/Venom Symbiote mix, which leads to the use of a bomb that apparently creates a black hole. So we're shown pretty immediately what kind of comicbook this intends to be. And it keeps delivering on that promise until the very end. It feels like Frank Tieri had the time of his life writing this script, because there's a vibrant energy to the pace and humor of it all. It's a fantastically funny book, and it knows it. Frank Castle knows it, so he does and says all of the funniest stuff. Blasting Rhino out of existence with his orbiting spaceship is probably the top of that list, but naming his sonic and lazer guns Sound and Fury respectively is a dangerously close second.

Rhino may be the most enjoyable, if obvious, space-drama redesign of a classic character Mark Texeira brings to the table. I don't even think anyone ever calls him "Rhino" but there's no mistaking him. All the members of the Six-Fingered Hand are brilliant reimaginations as well, but I'm most excited for Ultron with those enormous bottom tusks. Based on the panel layout, he'll probably go last, but Dr. Octopus and Green Goblin are presumably up next, and they both have the potential for some visually fascinating fights.

We get those here, too, not just with the Brood but at the very end, when Deadpool, Sabretooth, and The Leader---a bizarre and varied grouping---all attack. These characters are closer to their original looks than many we've seen so far, but just seeing them in this new combination and artistic style means there's a lot to discover and enjoy.

This is a blustering, silly, over-the-top comic, but it is wholeheartedly so. Never taking itself too seriously nor ever becoming obnoxiously tongue-in-cheek, Space: Punisher #1 is high quality entertainment with low brow appeal.

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