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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What Do You Mean They're Not Superheroes?: Punisher Without Ennis

The Punisher #61
Written by: Gregg Hurwitz
Art by: Laurence Campbell

For nine long years Garth Ennis owned Frank Castle, The Punisher. Marvel may have published the book but in all honesty it is as though Gerry Conway created the character in 1974 in order for it to be around for Ennis, who was 4 at the time, to one day write. But now Garth has moved on. Over 119 issues Ennis crafted and honed a character that many had toyed with in the past but few had truly managed to get a handle on. So, it is very, very understandable that people would be worried that the title would lose quality when a new writer took the reigns after Ennis left with last week's issue #60. And to be honest I was one of them. And also in all honesty there is no way that I can say whether or not Gregg Hurwitz can live up to the craft of Ennis after just one issue. But what I can say is that it was a very enjoyable issue. Hurwitz has a certain skill for comics as he has already done a bang up job with the recent Foolkiller mini-series, and did a very admirable job on his recent Wolverine: Deathsong Annual. What he has done here is stay pretty true to the style of story that Ennis had established. Girls in White Dresses certainly grabs you by your shirt collar and pulls you into it's story in a way that barely gives you time to notice that Ennis is gone, and the art by Laurence Campbell is pretty darn good as well, it's dark and moody and awfully reminiscent of another artist currently working at Marvel who has a pretty good following for himself, Micheal Lark. One thing that most people will forget in the throes of missing Garth Ennis is that also gone is cover artist Tim Bradstreet, but in his place is another cover artist who has become rather well known for working on another crime book intended for mature readers, Dave Johnson. All in all I have to say that this is really a pretty good first issue for Hurwitz and that in all honesty I think that it should be considered a good first issue whether you think of it as the beginning of a whole new title as some people have mentioned or if you take it into context with the whole of the Ennis run as others are bound to. My recommendation, check it out. Just remember that Hurwitz is on the title for 5 issues and then Duane Swierczynski comes on for 5 issues and then Victor Gischler will follow for 5 issues ... if things work out then we've got 3 different writers and 3 different artists working on the title and hopefully, if they are all as good as this first issue, we can have a rather good Punisher book for the foreseeable future ... I'll keep my fingers crossed.

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