Comic Review – The Punisher #1 (Marvel Comics)

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Then he reviews one every other week.

This week I picked up The Punisher #1 from Marvel Comics, the start of a new series written by Becky Cloonan and drawn by Steve Dillon, with colours from Frank Martin and letters from Cory Petit. The Punisher has long been one of my favourite Marvel characters (an issue of Garth Ennis’ MAX  series was one of the first single issues I ever bought), and with Cloonan writing and Dillon returning to the character for art duties, and after Castle’s turn on Daredevil Season 2, this was definitely one of my most anticipated books of 2016.

Punisher

Cover art by Declan Shalvey & Jordie Bellaire

In the warehouse district of Brooklyn, gangsters Face and Olaf are preparing a shipment of EMC, a new drug that creates incredibly strong soldiers out of normal people. Their boss, Condor, wants the shipment ready to go tomorrow, so it’s all hands on deck. Nearby, the DEA are putting together evidence and finishing the paperwork that means they can finally take down the operation the next morning and close in on Condor. Unfortunately, that paperwork slowed them down just enough for Frank Castle to jump in line and bring his particular brand of justice down to Brooklyn.

I don’t want to go into more detail than that, you’ll have to read the book to find out the motivations and twists yourself. Which you should absolutely do. Cloonan kicks off excellently in this first issue, delivering a Frank Castle that is, as he should be, a force of nature. A boogeyman that turns up and just wrecks shop. And he does it in complete, deathly silence. Characters familiar with his work know better than to underestimate him, and the others scrabble around in a panic as they pointlessly try to take him down. The DEA are almost played for fun here, with all the work they’ve put into the case totally wasted. And the people that The Punisher has pissed off? It should be very interesting to see how they plan on taking Frank down.

Punisher page

Art by Steve Dillon & Frank Martin

Dillon’s return to drawing The Punisher is fantastic, and as an artist that has rendered some fairly gruesome violence over the years, the ‘Parental Advisory! Not For Kids!’ warning on the cover is well earned. Frank’s take down of the gang is kinetic and brutal, with some genuinely unsettling panels. But perhaps the most grisly is Face’s “trophy wall”. The colours from Martin complement Dillon’s heavy line work, with the explosive action retaining a brighter hue to contrast against the earlier shadowy and washed out scenes with The Punisher lurking before his attack.

Also that cover from Declan Shalvey & Jordie Bellaire is insanely good.

This was a great return for The Punisher, with a tight and intriguing opening issue with great action. As forces rally themselves against Frank Castle that action is only going to intensify, and I can’t wait to see how far the book pushes or where Cloonan takes him. Pick this up at your local comic book shop or digitally.

Score: 8.5 Cinder Blocks out of 10

Why Aren’t There 22 Million Serial Killers on the Loose?

Nath has a go at folks who blame real world violence on the video game industry

I’ve gone and done it. I wasn’t going to write an article on it, but I feel as if something needs to be said about video game violence. It is a topic I have debated with friends and family over the years, and in the modern day of gaming, it is a very touchy subject.

First things first though, lets not argue against something that is painfully obvious. Video games are violent. Of course they’re violent. You’d be stupid to argue that they weren’t violent. How do you kill enemies in Dead Space? Shoot off their limbs. How do you get the “Judge, Jury and Executioner” achievement in Gears 3? By executing enemies with all the weapons. Case and point.

Now you’re probably wondering why I’ve even bothered to write this article when I’m agreeing that video games are violent, it’s because it’s not the violence I’m trying to defend, it’s the accusations against the industry itself. I literally hate people who sit there and say people who play video games are more violent than people who don’t. If you are one of these people, then I really can’t respect your opinion, because it so freaking ridiculous.

One example would be Michael Bloomberg on the release of Grand Theft Auto 4. He said “I do not support any video game where you earn points for injuring or killing police officers.” First of all Mike, if you had played the game, you would’ve known that you probably would’ve got points for killing police officers, but your wanted level would’ve gone up almost immediately, and eventually you would be arrested or killed. Secondly, ever heard of Die Hard With A Vengeance? Or CSI:NY? Maybe even the Godfather? Let’s face it, it’s not just Grand Theft Auto 4 which is making New York look unsafe. Die Hard has a lot of people dying throughout the film, CSI:NY is based upon murders that occur in New York and The Godfather has mob wars and shootings across the city. How can you be so blind and immediately point the finger at Rockstar? You were mayor of New York City, how could you be so blind?

Another classic example is Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and the infamous Moscow airport level.

Let’s not beat around the bush, it is a pretty gruesome and violent level, however what people seem to forget is that you have 3 options:

1. Play the level, shoot a fuck load of civilians, upset some people, get branded a serial killer.

2. Play the level, don’t shoot your gun, get called a pussy.

3. Skip the level at the start, never play it, live your life wondering what you could’ve missed.

There you go people, you have a choice, but say you went with option 1, does that make you a serial killer? If that were the case, there would be, at maximum, 22 million serial killers in the world right now and I’d be one of them. I haven’t killed anyone and I don’t plan to. I’m pretty certain that can be said of most people. People will claim that the Norway attacks in 2001 were because of Call of Duty, but apparently it was used for training more than anything else.

I will say though that the language used online in this game is definitely some of the worst I’ve ever heard. I’ve upset a lot of people with some of the things I’ve said, but I have to turn my headset off and shut off all conversations with other online players as they are just awful, annoying little racists who apparently have sex with my mum all the time. Parents are often complaining about the language they hear online and I won’t lie, I have 2 complaints against me for foul language. But what really annoys me is, why are you letting your 10-year-old child play a game that is clearly made and rated for adults? If you let them play online, of course they are going to hear all this swearing from other players and you wonder why they start swearing.

Also let’s face it, it’s not just adults that are swearing online either. I have been called every name under the sun when playing online, especially from teenagers. And you’re now swearing at me and I imagine your parents are sitting there listening to your foul language and letting you carry on. It’s a good thing that my headset is now muted, because you have no idea how many profanities I can throw back at you. Seriously parents of the world, if you’re going to let your kids play games like this, then either mute the headset or play with them and punish them or others who swear at your children.

When it comes down to it though, video games are violent, but you can’t blame the industry for the violent behaviour of single individuals. There are too many other factors to consider into whether why someone is violent. You could argue that violent video games don’t help the cause, so why do you let those individuals play them? There needs to be less finger pointing at the video industry and more fingers directed towards the people that are playing them. The video game industry is constantly trying to find ways to tackle violence in games, even introducing the similar certification classification for films. Maybe more needs to be done, who knows? But what I’m going to say is think about every aspect before you blame video games, because the video game community is not a violent place. If it were, then the title of this article will be worryingly true.

Nath