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The Punisher #33

Posted: Tuesday, October 21, 2003
By: Cody Dolan



“Confederacy of Dunces”

Writer: Garth Ennis
Artists: John McCrea (p), Crimelab Studios (i)

Publisher: Marvel Knights

There’s a reason Garth Ennis doesn’t write superhero comic books (aside from his proclamation that he hates the genre); he’s not very good at writing them. His war comics are usually fantastic and everyone knows Preacher was plain genius, but whenever the writer includes a spandex wearing character in his books the results are never good (well, aside from the Punisher/Spider-Man “team-up”). In this issue of Punisher, Ennis has Wolverine, Daredevil, and Spider-Man join forces to stop the title character once and for all, and so far I’m not impressed. Ennis has never been one to draw things out, but that’s what it feels like he’s doing here

First off, I have a hard time believing that any of them would need help taking down Frank. A surprise attack from any one of them should do the trick, and Frank himself said in an earlier issue that he never stands a chance against Daredevil on a level playing field. While the ambush they set up is nice and tidy, the rather ham-fisted way they spring the trap doesn’t compute. Spidey and DD are two of the smartest characters in the Marvel Universe, Wolverine has never been portrayed as a dummy, and yet they’re going to let the Punisher see them coming? All I’m asking for is a little consistency here folks, and I’m not getting it.

I have no idea where Ennis got this interpretation of Wolverine, but it’s safe to say I hate it. I’ll grant you that I haven’t read all of the issues Logan’s appeared in, but the current incarnation of the character wouldn’t utter the word “Canucklehead” on his deathbed and yet Ennis can’t seem to keep the word out of his mouth. Wolvie said it a bunch the last time he guest starred in this book, and I find it irritating that he says it yet again this time out even though he has around 100 words of dialogue. If I have to read that idiotic phrase one more time I just might have a stroke.

I’ve never been a fan of John McCrea and this issue reminded me why. His figures are lumpy and inconsistent, and I don’t think the artist has ever studied an anatomy book or looked at many previous drawings of the characters for reference. His version of Daredevil looks like Screech from “Saved by the Bell” and sports the biggest “DD” logo I have ever seen. The only characters that look good are Frank and Soap, and you’d be hard pressed to find two more non-descript character designs in all the Marvel Universe. There’s not a lot of detail in his backgrounds, and since his figures aren’t that good this fact just adds to the overall malaise this issue suffers from.

I’m actually curious to see where this goes, but that has nothing to do with Ennis’ writing. There’s potential for this story to be good, and I’ll keep reading to see if it’s realized, but I don’t have my hopes up. In fact, considering this issue has the single worst cliffhanger I have ever seen in all my years of reading comics and watching television, I would go so far as to say I have zero expectations going in to the rest of this story.



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