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Dark Sasha
06-22-2007, 02:05 PM
Shit that was awesome!

Kefky
06-22-2007, 02:06 PM
Ennis war comics = kick to the balls.

joeAR
06-22-2007, 02:09 PM
This book was amazing. This is alone proves that Ennis understands Frank moreso than any other writer who's written Punisher before, IMO.

Howlett
06-22-2007, 02:11 PM
Ennis needs to do more oneshot Punisher stories. His done-in-one's are fucking incredible.

The Hodag
06-22-2007, 02:19 PM
It really was great. I'm not a huge Punisher fan, but just every once in a while he can rock, and Ennis's one-shots showcase everything right about moving the character to the MAX line. The hardcover collecting The Tyger and the other one-shots stands as pretty much the last word on the character.

I think my favorite's Punisher: The End, though. The purity of Ennis's vision of the character really shines through and it's about as perfect and nihilistic an ending as one could ask for with the character. I like how Ennis took a fairly one-note knock-off of the 70s "Death Wish" fad and distilled it down into something so pure it's become greater than its source.

Gavin
06-22-2007, 02:21 PM
It really was great. I'm not a huge Punisher fan, but just every once in a while he can rock, and Ennis's one-shots showcase everything right about moving the character to the MAX line. The hardcover collecting The Tyger and the other one-shots stands as pretty much the last word on the character.

I think my favorite's Punisher: The End, though. The purity of Ennis's vision of the character really shines through and it's about as perfect and nihilistic an ending as one could ask for with the character. I like how Ennis took a fairly one-note knock-off of the 70s "Death Wish" fad and distilled it down into something so pure it's become greater than its source.

Yeah, The End is just perfect, through and through. After that I loved The Cell, and then Tyger. But they're all fantastic.

Kefky
06-22-2007, 02:21 PM
Ennis needs to do more oneshot Punisher stories. His done-in-one's are fucking incredible.

More war stories too.

Dark Sasha
06-22-2007, 02:23 PM
I don't really like Ennis' punisher because it mainly has "I'm Frank Caste watch me kill a shit load of guys" type of story structure . This was different. This meant something.

Howlett
06-22-2007, 02:23 PM
I think my favorite's Punisher: The End, though. The purity of Ennis's vision of the character really shines through and it's about as perfect and nihilistic an ending as one could ask for with the character. I like how Ennis took a fairly one-note knock-off of the 70s "Death Wish" fad and distilled it down into something so pure it's become greater than its source.

Really? I thought it was damn good, but of almost all Ennis's MAX Punishers, and definitely the one-shots, I thought it was the weakest one. Now The Cell... THAT was perfect to me.

Damn, all this talk about MAX Punisher is making me want to dig out the issues when I get home.

Howlett
06-22-2007, 02:25 PM
More war stories too.

Possibly. But after Born, thats going to be hard to do I'm thinking. Though it being Ennis, I'm sure he'd manage.

Dark Sasha
06-22-2007, 02:26 PM
and Frank as a poetic nerd was great.

Howlett
06-22-2007, 02:27 PM
and Frank as a poetic nerd was great.

Frank was not a nerd dammit. He was... he was... I CUTCHOOO!!!! :mad:

Dark Sasha
06-22-2007, 02:28 PM
Frank was not a nerd dammit. He was... he was... I CUTCHOOO!!!! :mad:

He's a nerd!!!!!!!(hell I am too)

Howlett
06-22-2007, 02:29 PM
He's a nerd!!!!!!!(hell I am too)

I... CUT... CHOOOOOO!!! :mad:

Dark Sasha
06-22-2007, 02:31 PM
I... CUT... CHOOOOOO!!! :mad:

NERD!

Jerome Gibbons
06-22-2007, 02:36 PM
I didn't like it as much, actually. I preferred The Cell.

The Hodag
06-22-2007, 02:37 PM
Really? I thought it was damn good, but of almost all Ennis's MAX Punishers, and definitely the one-shots, I thought it was the weakest one.

That's just 'cause you hate Richard Corben and you're a dumb-dumb head.


Now The Cell... THAT was perfect to me.

And, ironically, I thought that was the weakest of the one-shots, though I don't remember why. In fact, I haven't read it since it came out, even though I bought the hardcover collection. Figure this thread's probably a good cue to finally crack it open.

Howlett
06-22-2007, 02:40 PM
I didn't like it as much, actually. I preferred The Cell.
:rock: :beer:

That's just 'cause you hate Richard Corben and you're a dumb-dumb head.

And, ironically, I thought that was the weakest of the one-shots, though I don't remember why. In fact, I haven't read it since it came out, even though I bought the hardcover collection. Figure this thread's probably a good cue to finally crack it open.

Actually, I really LIKE Corben :lol: My being a dumb-dumb head is not an issue here though :shifty:

Really? Wow... I think this is the first time I've ever heard someone say that :o The Tyger or The End have been the ones I've heard get labled as the weakest, but never The Cell. Thats pretty cool for me to hear actually :lol:

The Hodag
06-22-2007, 02:40 PM
More war stories too.

His war stuff's a bit repetetive for me (soldiers bond, everyone dies) though there are exceptions and great moments throughout. Definitely liked Punisher Born once I got past my instinctive resistance to the retcon it pulled (Frank as psycho long before his family died) and the quasi-supernatural backdrop.

Dark Sasha
06-22-2007, 02:41 PM
His war stuff's a bit repetetive for me (soldiers bond, everyone dies) though there are exceptions and great moments throughout. Definitely liked Punisher Born once I got past my instinctive resistance to the retcon it pulled (Frank as psycho long before his family died) and the quasi-supernatural backdrop.

It's not really retcon, Garth just went deeper.

The Hodag
06-22-2007, 02:45 PM
Really? Wow... I think this is the first time I've ever heard someone say that :o The Tyger or The End have been the ones I've heard get labled as the weakest, but never The Cell. Thats pretty cool for me to hear actually :lol:

Figure I'll give The Cell another go, for sure, but I think maybe it just didn't strike me as bringing anything new to the table. Tyger was a stunning character piece and period piece that could've passed for a gritty biographical comic. The End wed the Punisher's nihilistic goals with the ultimate, horrific realization of them through an apocalyptic setting. Hadn't seen anything quite like 'em. But The Cell...man, I really don't remember it well, but...wasn't it just another Punisher-in-prison story with the added twist that the guys he was after...

...were the guys who killed his family?

I'm sure it was well-crafted and all, but was there more to it than that?

The Hodag
06-22-2007, 02:49 PM
It's not really retcon, Garth just went deeper.

I dunno, hadn't past Punisher comics shown his experience in Vietnam and NOT shown him to be in love with war? I dunno, I haven't read tons of Punisher, but if you change his whole motivation from being "avenge my family" to "I'm so in love with war I'll make a deal with Satan to continue it after Vietnam"...bit of a retcon, right?

Don't get me wrong - it really works for the MAX series, which I'm fine with as a wholly separate entity from Punisher as Spidey/DD villain - but it was a pretty massive overhaul of the character's personality and motivation. Is that a retcon? I think it is.

Howlett
06-22-2007, 02:52 PM
Figure I'll give The Cell another go, for sure, but I think maybe it just didn't strike me as bringing anything new to the table. Tyger was a stunning character piece and period piece that could've passed for a gritty biographical comic. The End wed the Punisher's nihilistic goals with the ultimate, horrific realization of them through an apocalyptic setting. Hadn't seen anything quite like 'em. But The Cell...man, I really don't remember it well, but...wasn't it just another Punisher-in-prison story with the added twist that the guys he was after...

...were the guys who killed his family?

I'm sure it was well-crafted and all, but was there more to it than that?

I think I liked The Cell so much because that WAS all it was. It was Frank finally getting the revenge he deserved. And that last page was just awesome in my opinion, where he just sat down and finally had a rest :lol: There was nothing more that needed be said. It was just Frank doing what it took to kill the people that took his family from him.

The Tyger, I'm with you on. I just thought it was a bit slow at times. It's still fucking awesome though.

For me, The End was weak because, honestly, when I read it, nothing really surprised me. There were one or two moments, yeah. But over all, I thought "Frank ends up in a room with a handful of survivors. Yeah, I'm shocked he came out with only one other guy. Frank hunts down more survivors, who happen to be people responsible for the place being nuked. Yeah, I'm shocked he killed them. The guy who he left live and took with him, yeah I'm shocked Frank finally killed him because he was a criminal". Don't get me wrong, it was beautifully drawn and fucking awesome if you compare it to most comics on the stands, but I was expecting something a little bit better from Ennis. And DEFINITELY something a little bit better for Frank's last story.

The Hodag
06-22-2007, 03:10 PM
For me, The End was weak because, honestly, when I read it, nothing really surprised me. There were one or two moments, yeah. But over all, I thought "Frank ends up in a room with a handful of survivors. Yeah, I'm shocked he came out with only one other guy. Frank hunts down more survivors, who happen to be people responsible for the place being nuked. Yeah, I'm shocked he killed them. The guy who he left live and took with him, yeah I'm shocked Frank finally killed him because he was a criminal". Don't get me wrong, it was beautifully drawn and fucking awesome if you compare it to most comics on the stands, but I was expecting something a little bit better from Ennis. And DEFINITELY something a little bit better for Frank's last story.

My deal with The End was...

Well, I'm lazy and I'm just gonna cut and paste the review I wrote for AICN a zillion years ago. It's overlong, but it's got what I dug about the story in there somewhere:

You guys know about Marvel's semi-regular series of "The End" one-shots, right' Stand-alone hypotheticals about the final adventures of their most famous heroes' The series opened strong with HULK: THE END, re-teaming Peter David with collaborator Dale Keown for a chilling post-apocalyptic reflection on The Hulk. It served as a poignent last word on The Hulk as a modern tragedy in the mold of Prometheus, and Marvel could really stand to find a venue to reprint it. Next came MARVEL: THE END, a forgettable miniseries from Jim Starlin that was really just another gahdamn Thanos story. There's also WOLVERINE: THE END, a still-in-progress miniseries from the writer of ORIGIN. Like ORIGIN, it's high profile, and like ORIGIN, it'll probably be forgotten by all but the speculators in five years.
And now we've got Garth Ennis on PUNISHER: THE END, fourth in the "End" series and, amazingly, the first good entry since David's. Not only is it good, but it even helps us codify how to write successful "The End" projects in the future! 'Cause like HULK: THE END, it's post-apocalyptic. And like HULK: THE END it's a one-shot and not a miniseries. And like HULK: THE END it's searingly black-hearted. Future writers, please then use the following checklist in cooking up your proposals:


Post-apocalyptic setting?
One-shot format?
Grim as hell?

You're done!

PUNISHER: THE END opens with typical Garth Ennis punch: a prison warden ordering his few remaining guards to head to the armory, break out rifles and ammo...and execute every last prisoner in the place. This is infamous New York prison, Sing-Sing, and the time is maybe a decade or two from today. It's a world where nuclear tensions are on the brink of exploding, and as the warden explains, "...we can't have murderers and dope-dealers running lose in an atomic wasteland, that would just plain be untidy." Of course, one of those prisoners just happens to be an aged Frank Castle, the vigilante once known as The Punisher. When a nuke's electromagnetic pulse knocks out the power while the guards go about their executioner duties...guess who's loose for one last mission?

Ennis only touches briedly on how the world came to the brink, but a condemnation of U.S. military aggression is explicit. Castle spells it out to a fellow survivor:


"Iraq was one thing. North Korea. Even Pakistan. You shout war on terror at the Chinese and they laugh so hard the world blows up in your face. That's the trouble with a war you never want to end."

If you find yourself sympatico with the fears underlying Ennis' admittedly paranoid scenario then you're likely to enjoy this story, one that asks: is there any justice left for The Punisher to serve when human society has gone the way of the dinosaur? And if you think Ennis is just a pinko reactionary, well, you still might enjoy this. It's first and foremost a riveting yarn, one that may remind readers who didn't grow up with Cold War fears that a nuclear apocalypse is still the scariest bogeyman imaginable. And artist Richard Corben, no stranger to such settings having adapted Harlan Ellison's "A Boy and His Dog" to comics, brings it to life with such detail that the visuals alone are a powerhouse. Corben's characters are wonderfully three-dimensional freaks. Every crack and sore from radiation tissue damage is masterfully etched by hard shadows on their exaggerated faces, but it's the scenery that truly stuns. Backed by the rusty, jaundiced tones of talented colorist Lee Roughridge, Corben gives us highways of skeleton-filled cars, snowstorms of soot, and one singularly elaborate double-page splash of a decimated New York City. It's as detailed as any comic art you'll ever see, and likely to elicit an emotional reaction even without Ennis's words.
Unfortunately that reaction is clinical depression, so be careful reading this book if you keep razors in the house.

Personally, I very enjoyed seeing Marvel's most uncompromising character revealed through the most uncompromising setting imagineable. Clearly we're in the territory of character-defining extremes here, which is just the road these "The End" one-shots should be travelling. To reveal much of the plot is to spoil the piece, but it kicks off a year after the nuclear devastation as Frank and a single other survivor emerge from a fallout shelter built under Sing-Sing in the '50s. Frank estimates they can survive, at best, 72 hours above ground, but he does have a task to complete and it involves trekking across those scorched Corben wastelands.

Some Punisher fans may be disappointed at the lack of traditional gunplay in this story, at the lack of a skull shirt on Frank, maybe even at the fact that Frank's code-name, "The Punisher," isn't spoken once in the story. And yet it IS a consummate Punisher tale, a nihilistic finale for a character who might've begun as a knock-off of Bronson and Eastwood, but became, as befits a Marvel character, an even purer fantasy of vigilantism taken to its most extreme. As such, the characterization for Frank is Ennis' typically minimalist vision of him, but it's pure in that minimalism. It makes the turn of events of the last few pages believable, as over-the-top as it is. I found the procedings twistedly cathartic, and the last two pages surprisingly moving. It's a dark but pleasant fantasy to imagine that in the worst situation that could ever come to pass, a man like Frank Castle might exact a final, uncompromising justice no matter the cost to his soul.

With any luck, Marvel will tag a reprint of this story onto the first PUNISHER trade collecting the Marvel MAX relaunch, but given that HULK: THE END has languished without a reprint, you might be wise to snap this one-shot up now. Just be sure you're in a dark mood before you sit down for the read - you'll definitely be in one by the time you're done.

Jerome Gibbons
06-22-2007, 03:20 PM
I dunno, hadn't past Punisher comics shown his experience in Vietnam and NOT shown him to be in love with war? I dunno, I haven't read tons of Punisher, but if you change his whole motivation from being "avenge my family" to "I'm so in love with war I'll make a deal with Satan to continue it after Vietnam"...bit of a retcon, right?

Don't get me wrong - it really works for the MAX series, which I'm fine with as a wholly separate entity from Punisher as Spidey/DD villain - but it was a pretty massive overhaul of the character's personality and motivation. Is that a retcon? I think it is.

I kinda like it. It shows you that Frank is just a psycho. He doesn't kill criminals because of what happened to his family, he kills criminals because they're people, and he likes killing people. It, in conjunction with Up is Down, Black is White, just shows you how misanthropic and nihilistic Frank really is. Even if he might not be completely aware of it. Even if he does occasionally feel genuinely angry at criminals for being evil, and he'll occasionally feel the urge to punish those who do wrong, in the end, the truth is he's just a sadistic, coldblooded killer who gets off on destroying people's lives.

Jerome Gibbons
06-22-2007, 03:25 PM
What I like about Punisher MAX is how it offers all these little alternating explanations for the way Frank is. There's the sadistic psycho thing from Born, and Up is Down, and then there's things like Mother Russia and The Slavers, where you really get the feeling Frank really does care for his fellow man and tries to protect humanity from evil. Ennis seems to go back and forth on these things, and it's always fun, because his character work is just fantastic.

Kefky
06-22-2007, 03:35 PM
What I like about Punisher MAX is how it offers all these little alternating explanations for the way Frank is. There's the sadistic psycho thing from Born, and Up is Down, and then there's things like Mother Russia and The Slavers, where you really get the feeling Frank really does care for his fellow man and tries to protect humanity from evil. Ennis seems to go back and forth on these things, and it's always fun, because his character work is just fantastic.

No one's dug inside Frank's head as much as Ennis has.

And boy, it's a scary place! :scared:

The Hodag
06-22-2007, 03:56 PM
I kinda like it. It shows you that Frank is just a psycho. He doesn't kill criminals because of what happened to his family, he kills criminals because they're people, and he likes killing people. It, in conjunction with Up is Down, Black is White, just shows you how misanthropic and nihilistic Frank really is. Even if he might not be completely aware of it. Even if he does occasionally feel genuinely angry at criminals for being evil, and he'll occasionally feel the urge to punish those who do wrong, in the end, the truth is he's just a sadistic, coldblooded killer who gets off on destroying people's lives.

I don't like it in the context of the Marvel Universe, but it's just fine for the MAX - preferable, even - and definitely sets him apart from the 70s vigilantes that originally inspired him.