Punisher vs. the Marvel Universe by Garth Ennis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book is exactly what the name implies. Frank Castle takes on the various Marvel heroes, and it's usually not pretty. The stories span from the earlier (and cheesier) Marvel days to the more recent Greg Rucka run. My favorite is still the Rucka run. The artwork steals my heart. I love it. Castle is scaled down to hard edges and determination and his partner Rachel Cole-Alves has that same edge of determination in her eyes.
The first story is a what if, the question being that the marvel heroes (the Avengers) unwittingly caused the death of Castle's family, and as such, Castle becomes a one-man kill squad who sets out to eliminate every super-powered person on earth. That was not fun reading. While Castle is always an antihero, I don't like when he's the out and out bad guy. Having him systematically kill all the Marvel heroes was damaging to my psyche and my perception of the Punisher.
There's a few stories my feelings are in-between about. I don't mind when Castle comes into opposition with the Marvel heroes when they don't end in lethal confrontation. There is one story arc where he's very, very mean to Wolverine. Understandable that Wolverine more or less can't be killed, but Castle was downright cruel in the way he incapacitated Logan.
In the last story, it's a post-apocalyptic scenario in which Castle is one of the few remaining humans who hasn't been infected by a plague that has made people into carnivorous monsters, if not zombies. The remaining folks have split up into tribes run by ruthless leaders. Castle's mission is to eliminate the monsters and protect the innocent, and the mission is everything.
Punisher is always single-minded. His psychology is very simple. See criminals punished and deal with bad guys with finality. Typically, he doesn't kill innocents or even good guys, but in the first story, he crosses that line. I didn't like seeing him that way. Anyone who reads this book has to realize that Punisher is definitely not the hero, if he ever is.
Definitely worth reading for Punisher fans.
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