Punisher Max #6: Bullseye

Punisher Max 6

Cross-posted at Ain’t It Cool News

When the hell does this story take place, exactly? Frank’s already calling himself an old man, but the last 5 issues saw the rise of Wilson Fisk, a.k.a. The Kingpin. Bullseye is just showing up in the Marvel Universe, but has already forgone the black and white tights and has a target tattooed on his forehead, as well as a bunch of previously unseen scars on his scalp. And yet this is his first encounter with Frank Castle, The Punisher. Huh? Continuity Cops beware, this series just doesn’t give a razzum-frazzum about previous storylines, or is just completely outside the 616  time-stream.

But you know what? I don’t give a boogens. This is probably my favorite Punisher series in the past 5 or so years. It’s not as batshit crazy as the original Garth Ennis Punisher stuff, but not as boring as the straight-forward stuff that followed, either. But it CERTAINLY isn’t the bullshit FrankenCastle Monster stuff that we’re currently getting in the Marvel U. This is energetic and bad-ass and exactly what I want out of a Punisher story: Frank Castle pitting himself against the Kingpin and his new mercenary.

Speaking of Bullseye, here is a character that I can’t get enough of, when done correctly. The problem is, in situations like this, how does the writer take an unstoppable force and point it at an immovable object and still have a satisfying conclusion? Frank can’t die, because he’s…well, the Punisher.And Bullseye can’t succeed, because he’s going up against ..well, The Punisher. But Bullseye is said to “never fail to bring down his target. He never misses”. So I’m always curious when a writer chooses to have these two types of characters face each other in battle.  They are both the best there is at what they do, and are both unstoppable once they get going in a particular direction. How will this finish? That’s a question I am definitely going to stick around to find the answer to.

As for the art, Steve Dillon hasn’t grown or updated his style as long as I’ve been reading comics, and that’s a pretty long time. But if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  This is more of the same solid, straight-forward storytelling  that I’ve come to love and admire about Dillon. While I wouldn’t want this work in books like Amazing Spider-Man, or The Flash, he is absolutely perfect for drawing the seedy, bloody underworld of mainstream comics.

The cover by Dave Johnson is eye catching and well designed, though I think a better font could have been used for the “Bullseye “ text on the blade.  Johnson has a very specific eye for mixing his illustration style and design elements, while always telling a story with his art. It’s not just pretty for pretty’s sake or a “cool” pinup, like so many other cover artists aspire to. There is always something else going on visually, to tell the reader what they can expect when they open the book.

..And this is a book you should definitely be opening.

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