Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Graphic Novel A Day: Punisher First to Last HC

Writer: Garth Ennis
Artists: John Severin, Lewis Larosa & Richard Corben
Publisher: Marvel
Price: $19.99 ($14.19 at Amazon)

This is the hardcover that convinced me to go back and buy the other two Punisher hardcovers. And it's the best of the hardcovers thus far, even with it being the smallest. It collects three one-shots - The Tyger, The Cell and The End - that represent the beginning, middle and end of Frank Castle's life. The legendary Severin illustrates a tale of 10-year-old Frank first learning about mob violence and vigilante justice in his old neighborhood (along with interesting glimpses of Frank's parents), the legendary Corben illustrates a dark and amazing story about Frank Castle loosed in a post-nuclear exchange to seek revenge and justice on a scale he's previously never attempted. And the not legendary, but still exceptional Larosa, illustrates a tale of Frank infiltrating a prison to get at some very big mob bosses and soldiers. Gorgeous art, compelling and dark stories, this is basically the underpinnings of Ennis's view of the MAX version of the character, and I like it. The only shame is that they didn't include Born, the Vietnam era tale that represents the other underpinning of the character, as well. Guess that ought to go on my reading list next.

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