Writer/Artist: David Lapham
Publisher: Marvel Comics
The Jackal has taken control of Hammerhead’s operations from inside prison. The Punisher has been killing his couriers and operatives on the outside. Some of them aren’t criminals; they’re just desperate and poor. The Punisher kills a D.A. Daredevil believes was clean, then sets a trap for Hornhead. In his rage, Punisher accidentally shoots a bystander. Even as DD knocks him out, he thinks he’s finally crossed the line.
Meanwhile, things are getting worse for the Bastelli’s. Martin shoots and kills two thugs demanding protection money. The family gets him out of town, but the thugs have “friends.”
We’ve got two stories running parallel to each other. One is an excellent Daredevil/Punisher story that literally pushes the Punisher over the edge. The other is the story of how a gun changes the life of a young boy. It’s the kind of story, (and I know I’ve said this), you’d see in Lapham’s Stray Bullets. Both are great, but they’re disconnected. I know Martin was inspired by The Punisher to get a gun, but there’s been no contact between them since that meeting. I have faith Lapham will bring them together at the end of the series.
The art’s fantastic. It evokes the style of Silver Age John Romita in its simplicity. This looks and feels like a dark urban Hellscape: dirty, hopeless, yet all-too human. The fight scenes with DD and Puny are fluid. The two men clearly display different fighting styles, with DD displaying more skill and precise strikes. Great action.
Daredevil vs Punisher has proven itself to be a solid series. Not only is it a great battle of vigilantes, it is also a crime story that evolves in new directions. The story of Martin Bastelli provides a sensitive counter-point to the violence that shows the effects of such violence on ordinary people. Definitely one of the year’s best comics.
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