Punisher : Soviet #1 - Review
Welcome back Garth
Garth Ennis’s return to The Punisher is always welcome. The Punisher stories I have enjoyed the most have come from Ennis. In this opening issue, I am not quite sure where Ennis is taking the character or what the story is about, beyond him getting involved in a skirmish with a bunch of Russians. It opens with Frank Castle investigating a well-executed hit, admiring the work, and proceeding with trying to figure out who did it. We get a well-paced, thought-narrated story from Frank while he gets into trouble. It ends with what I would call a signature Ennis plot and character: a new player standing among multiple dead bodies, drink in hand, a big smile on his face with no care in the world—something that I have seen utilized in many Ennis titles. I’m not exactly sure where this adventure is going. While I typically like stories where we are dropped right into the thick of things, this issue thus far has left me scratching my head a bit more than nodding it with enthusiasm. That said, I trust Ennis to craft a strong Punisher story.
The art team of Jacen Burrows on pencils, Guillermo Ortego on inks, and Nolan Woodard on colors does a good job in conveying the darkness and drab daylight that Punisher inhabits. Particularly, great attention is paid to Frank's eyes. He looks weary and angry all the time without having a typical “angry face.” They get that drop-dead seriousness that he should be about. One thing that I was feeling from this issue is that it was evocative of Steve Dillon in character models and colors, with their own spin on the style. I don't know if the artists are doing this as an homage to Dillon, or if they were paired with Ennis because of their similar style. ( RIP to Steve Dillon, a frequent collaborator with Ennis ). Either way, the art team feels completely appropriate for Punisher.
Punisher: Soviet is solicited as a six-issue series. I would recommend this for any Punisher or Ennis fan, even with the aforementioned hesitations about the story. Ennis has never really misfired on Punisher and this should be a solid bet for a good story.