PopCultHQ received an advanced review copy of PUNISHER #11 from Marvel Comics. Available May 1st, 2019, the creative team for this issue features writing from Matthew Rosenberg, art from Szymon Kudranski, colors from Antonio Fabela, and lettering from VC’s Cory Petit.
Here’s PopCultHQ’s Spoiler-Free Review of…
The Punisher (2018-) #11
Cover by Greg Smallwood
With Bagalia in chaos and Zemo’s back against the wall, Frank has never been in more danger! How do you stop a criminal mastermind with an entire nation at his beck and call? What if you can’t? Desperate times call for desperate measures on all sides. The end is near.
PopCultHQ’s Spoiler-Free Review:
As things in Bagalia deteriorate beyond Zemo’s grasp, the Punisher continues his determined march towards his goal. At all costs.
Matthew Rosenberg gets comics. He understands why you get comics. Why you read them. What you like about the books you read
He also knows how to shower stories with fan-pleasing elements while getting creative with his stories and the way he tells them.
Check out the work he’s doing on Uncanny X-Men right now or dig around for stuff like 4 Kids Walk into a Bank and you’ll see a writer who has talent, nous, and ideas for days.
Matthew Rosenberg is a writer who gets the multi-faceted appeal of the Punisher. There’s the grounded-in-reality, one-man war on crime, detail specific, war vet Frank. Then there’s the Frank that exists in the Marvel universe.
The Frank who has arch-enemies and hunts down Hydra.
People tend to favor the more realistic version, but Rosenberg writes the Punisher with all his trademark points who’s not ashamed to live in a universe where Spider-man thwips and quips and Captain America throws his mighty shield.
He’s a mean, unstoppable, single-minded soldier who resents the world he’s in and is fuelled by a ridiculous undying vengeance,
He doesn’t care if you’re supreme hydra, suped-up mob boss, prison big dog, or whatever. If he decides you’re going down, you’re going down.
The insane thing is that Rosenberg can throw even more into the story (prisons, Jigsaw, political machinations, etc) and instead of collapsing under its own weight it works even more.
It’s quintessential Frank. It’s fan-pleasing stuff. It’s Punisher written well, and it deserves a look in, or recommendation at the very least so more people get to enjoy Rosenberg’s wide range of work.
First, let’s take a second to really appreciate the excellent cover work by Greg Smallwood. In a medium that’s becoming dominated too often by figures simply posing with no relevance to the story, Smallwood gives you something you can pin-up that also instills the theme and feel of the issue in the reader instantaneously.
Now let’s extend that appreciation to Szymon Kudranski who, for all 11 issues of this series, maintains a superstar level of quality without yet getting that breakout recognition art this good deserves.
This is next-level character work and facial expressions in an action movie storyboard the Wachowskis would clamor for.
This is an artist who can convey excitement, fear, dread, hate and more into a scene where all principle figures are wearing motorcycle helmets.
An artist who chews into the words he’s given like a vicious, rabid dog and turns out visually shocking moments so well-realized you can feel things radiate off the massive explosions contained within.
An amazing artist and a fantastic fit for the Punisher who warrants a deeper look into his work on Spawn and Black-Eyed Kids.
Is it possible to appreciate the subtlety of the Antonio Fabela’s (Lucifer, Star Wars: Dr. Aphra) color work when the issue is cinematic action set pieces where something blows up every other panel?
You really must admire the lighting choices employed to break up the dark setting and shadowy place the action transpires in. The level of effort in chase scenes to capture small reflections or fragmented glass.
The afterglow of something that’s recently become a ball of flames and how the black figures interact with the effects. This is a level of effort that challenges and meets Kudranski’s art and pushes the action and the story further through its limits.
Cory Petit (Old Man Logan, X-Factor) also rises to the level of the rest of the art team to prove that the widescreen action and exciting visuals still benefit from a letterer who knows how to get one more bang out of a panel.
A letterer who can add giant sound effects for emphasis or small dramatic clicks amidst the noise to manipulate tension at the drop of a pin.
Just like its lead, this issue is relentless. There’s more action in this issue than most summer blockbusters. The characterization is dead-on, and you may even laugh here or there as well. Nobody’s Punisher will ever be Garth Ennis’ Punisher. That’s in a league of its own. But this creative team has come up with consistently excellent stories to feature our man Frank.