Writer: Garth Ennis
Artists: Dougie Braithwaite & Leandro Fernandez
Price: $29.99 ($19.79 at Amazon)
Volume two of Punisher MAX is better than the first in some respects and lesser in some others. Either way, it's still a pretty good read. The gem of the book is the first story, which finds Punisher on a special ops mission for Nick Fury in Russia. It's Punisher as military adventure, with a great, hulking, almost Frankenstein-like Punisher by artist Braithwaite. Fury is the MAX version of Fury, and I think that I'm starting to like the idea that the MAX versions of these characters are in fact an alternate universe version of the characters... it makes it a lot easier to swallow stuff that I'd hate if it was in the Marvel Universe, like a lot of Ennis's take on Fury. The second story, with great art by Fernandez, calls back a lot of the characters from the first story arc and the Russia story arc, and it's got a lot I like, but it also has a few of the worrying signs of mutilation-as-funny that I don't like in Ennis' work. I think in general I prefer Punisher MAX to not have a lot of continuity between stories, to work more like a series of standalone movies or novels than serial comics.