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Review – Punisher: Soviet #1 (Marvel Comics)

Punisher Soviet #1 (Marvel Comics) variant cover (detail) by Josemaria Casanovas
Overall
8.5/10
8.5/10
  • Writing - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Art - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Overall - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
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Punisher: Soviet #1

Writer: Garth Ennis
Pencils: Jacen Burrows
Inks: Guillermo Ortego
Colorist: Nolan Woodard
Letterer: Rob Steen
Maturity Rating: Mature
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: November 13, 2019

Frank Castle wants to take out a high-level Russian mobster before he gets too far out to get. But somebody else is also taking out his hits as well. Who is doing Frank’s dirty work? And is it a good thing or bad?

 

War on the Homeland Punisher: Soviet #1

Superstar writer Garth Ennis (Preacher, HellBlazer, Punisher: Max, The Boys) returns to Marvel Comics and Frank Castle in Punisher: Soviet #1. Frank Castle is going after the Russian mob. He wants to take out a high-ranking official before he gets too far out to get. But somebody else is taking out Frank’s targets with deadly precision. Who else could be doing this? Someone is doing Frank Castle’s dirty work, but is it a good thing or a bad thing?

Writing

Punisher Soviet #1 (Marvel Comics) main cover by Paolo Rivera
Punisher: Soviet #1 (Marvel Comics) main cover by Paolo Rivera

As I have noted previously, I am not a huge Punisher fan. I like to check him out in small doses. I really enjoy his interactions with Daredevil and their differing ideologies. Luckily, this is a six-issue mini-series starting with Punisher: Soviet #1. So, it is a short, contained story. Also, having Garth Ennis coming back, I had to check it out.

Ennis writes the serious, straightforward, no-nonsense Frank Castle very well. They are the characteristics that you think of when you think of the Punisher. A guy dead-set on a mission, little emotions, and cold. Those defined characteristics are also what makes the goofy Punisher: Kill Krew work so well for me. So, while I may not want to read a serious Punisher all the time, it is what the character is. It also works in small doses and when done well.

Ennis plays this up the seriousness well in Punisher: Soviet #1. He plays the character along nicely as Frank does what the Punisher does best to gather information. Ennis lets the brutality play out while weaving a nice mystery into the story. Being the first issue, Ennis sets the stage of what is to come and pulls you in. Even if you are not interested in the Punisher or may be turned off by the more violent things, Ennis still pulls you into a very interesting story that will keep you turning the pages.

Art

Jacen Burrows may have been born to work with Ennis on this series. He has that style that, if you have read any of Ennis’s work, fits right in. I had this same thought when I saw Burrows’ work on Moon Knight. It is a very “hard” style of art. He uses a lot of lines to get some detailed looks on the characters’ faces. It is that “gritty” toned style that you kind of expect to see in a series like this and Burrows delivers some great visuals. Never one to shy away from violence, Burrows shows it throughout Punisher: Soviet #1.

I also adore all the background detail Burrows puts into his work. He does a great job of filling out the pages and pulling you into the story with his art. At some points, I do wish he had a little more “energy” or perceived movement in his style. It feels a little stagnant on some pages. That is a small observation and something easily overlooked, as everything else looks fantastic.

The ink work by Guillermo Ortego is wonderful as well. He does a fantastic job of bringing out the finer details in Burrow’s pencils and he also brings out all that background detail perfectly. Nolan Woodard uses a little brighter colors than I was expecting; it is not crazy bright or anything and it works well. I was just thinking they might go a little darker with this storyline. But, again, it looks good on the pages.

Conclusion

If you are a Punisher fan then you don’t need me to convince you to pick up Punisher: Soviet #1. If you enjoy Garth Ennis’s work then you are probably going to enjoy this six-issue mini-series as well. I am not a huge Punisher “mark” and a six-issue mini-series is probably the perfect length for me. Ennis is also a writer you can trust to deliver a solid story, as well, with a hard-nosed Frank Castle.

It also doesn’t hurt that the art looks great, as well. The art team does an all-around solid job and is probably close to what you picture in your head when you read the synopsis of this issue. I think I will stay on board for five more issues to see what Ennis does, plus I still have one more issue of Punisher: Kill Krew to balance out all of the seriousness going on in Punisher: Soviet.


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About the author

Brent Jackson

Brent is happily married and an avid comic book consumer who loves nothing more than the smell of comics in the morning and diving through a long box of back issues. By day he is a nutritionist and has also been training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for over 10 years. He is probably not the coolest person you have ever met. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @brentjackson30

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