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arrakiswitch

A Reciprocal Love Affair With Books

Jean, 39, lover of sci-fi, horror and fantasy, reader of comic books, conqueror of genre fiction.

Punisher Max - Volume 1: In the Beginning

The Punisher MAX, Vol. 1: In the Beginning - Lewis LaRosa, Garth Ennis

Frank Castle reborn. Again. Ennis gets another chance at reinventing the antihero, this time basically shucking his Marvel roots (which he used to such great and hilarious effect in the Marvel Knights run, from Welcome Back, Frank to Confederacy of Dunces) and embracing the MAX title. The results are... mixed. Not that Ennis completely rejects Frank's Marvel history, nor his love to destroy every last dark corner of it. Microchip appears in this volume, betrays Frank and is suitably disposed of. There are still light touches to it--well, light touches of dark humor--but the whole book takes a huge downturn towards not just the pitch black but the dry, and sets the tone for the rest of the MAX series. It might seem like a joke to call Ennis' work sadistic because... of course! But without the trademark humor, it does just seem nihilistic and hopeless. Ennis increasingly seems more infatuated with creating his oddball villains than he does developing Frank's character. In the next few volumes, Frank will disappear for pages at a time, the titular hero takes a backseat. And In the Beginning pretty much sets this up. Ennis is a fabulous writer, the Marvel Knights Punisher run will always be one of my favorite comics of all time, but the MAX series made me question my loyalty and love for the comic as I realized, as good as it actually was, I wasn't really enjoying it.