The creative team that brought you “Fear Agent” comes to a Punisher relaunch. Well, re-titling and re-numbering, anyway. The concept for this book — The Punisher interacting with the rest of the Marvel Universe — is identical to Matt Fraction’s recently-cancelled “Punisher War Journal,” but let’s not worry too much about that. The point we should be concentrating on is that despite the unlikely match-up of the Punisher Vs. The Sentry, this comic is actually a really good read.
With Dark Reign now in full swing, The Punisher attempts to kill Norman Osborn, for obvious reasons. The Sentry, who appears to be under Osborn’s thrall in some way or another, tries to prevent that. The fight, on paper, seems completely one-sided, but to Remender’s credit, he makes it into a believable, tense match-up that doesn’t betray the nature of either character. Given that the story features a Silver Age throwback meeting a Bronze Age throwback, that’s not an achievement to be sniffed at.
The only way the story falls down is that it doesn’t especially work as an opening issue. It feels like a story already in progress right from the outset, and with details of Osborn’s rule still sketchy, we’re left with a lot of blanks to fill in. Structurally, you can compare this issue to the showy set pieces that open many action movies, but with a month to wait for the next “scene” it’s unclear where the story’s going, or what readers should expect in the future.
If you ever wondered how The Punisher could survive against a character who is essentially Superman with psychological difficulties, then you need to read this issue. It’s very convincing in its depiction of such a fight, and a great extended action scene to boot. There’s not a huge amount in the way of underlying story, but it will keep you entertained for the duration of the issue. These days, that’s probably enough. The extra dollar gets you a whole bunch of handbook-style back matter which is fairly interesting