Wednesday, November 29, 2017

PC POST #388: -REVIEW- MARVEL'S THE PUNISHER & Easter Eggs!





Non-Spoiler Review

Ten days have passed and two times I've watched the Marvel's the Punisher and my opinion didn't change at all since the first time... It was brilliant.
I've been waiting years, hoping for a good depiction of the Punisher and it's finally here. I can official say that Jon Bernthal is my Punisher.

Jon Bernthal's portrayal of the character is my favorite of all the movies we know ( Punisher 89', The Punisher 04' and The Punisher War-Zone 08') but it's tricky and might not be likable by Punisher fans from Grant, Dixon and Ennis.
Frank Castle in this series is a violent man. But as a character, if we compare to the comics written by the previous authors I mentioned, he's more sociable in the way he relates to other characters, remembering me a lot of the early runs from Mike Baron and Carl Potts. But make no mistake, the violence of this show can be almost on par with Punisher MAX.
There are details that I didn't like. Sometimes Jon Bernthal portrayed a Frank Castle too emotional in certain circumstances, we get it he's more human but sometimes he needed to be a little tougher. But it's a minor detail and only in two times at most that we have seen him behaving like this.

This series doesn't have non-stop action. Like if we compare to Punisher: War-Zone. But we will have Frank Castle kicking ass for eleven episodes out of thirteen. This series, unlike the movies, had the time to develop Frank's story and the other two subplots.
I felt that it should be space for one episode to show us Frank's family being assassinated and Frank waking up from the coma and trying to fix things using the legal system. It would be important for the audience to understand that he was failed by the system like it was showed in Punisher: Year One.

Marvel's the Punisher wouldn't be good without all the actors and actress that paved the way for its success. Ebon Moss-Bachrach as Micro, Amber Rose Revah as Dinah Madani, Ben Barnes as Billy Russo and Deborah Ann Woll as Karen were the main foundation of these series.
It's unforgettable the moments we had between Frank and Micro, starting with torture and ending with friendship, Dinah Madani a Homeland agent who fought against the system to get the truth, Karen Page who was great help to Frank in providing intel about Micro and of course, Billy Russo who was amazingly played by Ben Barnes. With 25 years of reading Punisher comics, THIS Billy Russo is my favorite portrayal of the character in any media. Take this from a guy who didn't like Billy Russo/Jigsaw as a character in comics.

I have to mentioned and give a shout out to the filming quality image, great colors and it wasn't as dark as Daredevil season 2. Fantastic panorama shots and filmmaking.
Tyler Bates did the score for this series and it's superb! Great fit for the series and those like me who love to appreciate scores, you will get goosebumps when you hear some of them and relate to specific scenes.

The most notorious characters in the series.

Micro - Amazing cast. Just as good as Barnes for Billy Russo. This Micro is an updated version of our days modern ex-NSA analyst going rogue, with a Snowden-ish style. Nowadays the usual nerd isn't the "fat guy" behind the computer who eats trash food.
Micro was the main foundation to help Frank achieving his objectives and primarily while he was doing that he helped Micro achieving his. The bromance between both characters was really good to see. A relationship that began with torture end up like a good friendship. It's impossible not to laugh between the rants of these two characters on many occasions.

Billy Russo - What a role... and cast. Ben Barnes fit perfectly to the role. Not to mention the twist Netflix give this classic Punisher character. He isn't some hitman from the mafia. like he is portrayed in the comics, he is Frank's friend and possesses the same skillset as Frank due to his experience in the Marines corp. Finally Frank might have a true nemesis.





OVERALL RATE: 9 out of 10



Now let's go into the easter eggs and watch OUT for the SPOILERS!!





Easter Eggs & Punisher references

Some easter eggs you will see featured in this article you won't see it anywhere. I will only mention the easter eggs that are related to the Punisher source material. References or things outside this won't be mentioned. There are some references I did in a previous article.

In the episodes list we have two references to the comics...

Ep.9 Front Toward the Enemy


Name of the Punisher MAX comic book written by Ennis

Ep.13 Memento Mori
The name of the first issue of Edmondson's and Gerads run.



In the first episode, we get some references to the comics.

Frank's look in the series just like the Punisher run from Greg Rucka 


The Sledgehammer fight is a clear homage to PunisherMAX 11.

The Gnuccis

Was a gang led by Ma Gnucci in the comics. Ma didn't appear in the series but the door was left open to a possible plot in the upcoming Punisher season ( If we have one) when she can avenge the death of her own member or maybe he has some with familial ties.




"Welcome Back, Frank"
During the end of the first episode, when Micro is trying to track down Frank and spot him. He says "Welcome Back, Frank". That's a reference from the first Punisher miniseries written by Garth Ennis.






Kandahar scenes / Punisher: BORN

On episode 3 we got an amazing scene when certainly is an homage to Punisher: Born. Frank's platoon is being cornered and Frank goes alone into a warehouse in "one man army" mode and wastes all the hostiles by himself.




Pinball Machine

Seen on episode four when Frank kills the mook and put him above a pinball machine, a clear easter from this classic figure.



Flamethrower

We continue on episode four and Frank gets into a van full of weapons of the Homeland Security, he scares the agents with a flamethrower. 
Frank used a similar maneuver in the comics by Ennis but he did actually burn the criminals to a crisp.  




Curtis Hoyle

The same name, different characters. Both knew Frank in the war. The MCU version is one of the most trustable people Frank know and a good friend. The comics version cross paths with Frank in the Vietnam but he started working with a crooked general Van Tran's, tried to kill Frank, but Frank threw him out of the helicopter.





Battlevan

After a long absence from comics and the movies, the Battlevan is back. In the comics, it was literally a walking tank. Equipped by Microchip with all sorts of guns and gadgets to aid the Punisher in his missions. 
The MCU version is a regular van where they use only for mobility.



Senator Ori

Ori appeared in the Punisher comics back into the 90's in the War Journal run. Ori was a senator with ties with the mob and he began a quest for vengeance because Frank killed his crooked nephew. In the series, Ori is a senator who defends gun control and tries to frame Frank accusing him of being attacking the hotel with Lewis.




Pete Castiglione

In the comics, Castiglione is the original of Frank Castle. He changed his name to  Frank Castle just to make another tour in Vietnam. In the series, Frank Castle was known to the public as a dead man, he adopted the name of Pete Castiglione and tried to live a normal life... for a while.


Fight Ali vs Foreman



This fight was mentioned in episode 5. Where the father of Lewis emphasizes the date (1974) give us a hint of the first appearance of the Punisher in the comics. In Amazing Spider-Man #129.


Barracuda Reference

On the seventh episode after Frank Castle took the data from Bennet's cell phone. Billy Russo said to Bennet that if it wasn't for himself, Frank Castle would probably have Bennet's testicles hooked up to a car battery. Pretty much what Frank did to Barracuda.


Painted Face

Another reference to the comics when Frank is prepping himself to face ANVIL he paints the face just like in the YEAR ONE comics when he was ready to hit Billy Russo's headquarters.


 Shooting the Head

Another reference but now for Punisher MAX. In comics version, this scene is when he's killing Microchip, they used the same shot when he's executing one of the ANVIL's agents.


Billy Russo / Jigsaw

The final fight between Frank and Russo was superb. In the final scenes, we saw the same scenes from the panels of PUNISHER: YEAR ONE comic. When Frank puts Russo in front of the mirror and smashes his face into it.


 Finally I could complete this review, almost two weeks after the show. A bit late but didn't want to spoil anyone. I hope you enjoy it.


Done by Ivo Santos (twitter)

Thursday, November 16, 2017

PC POST #387: -REVIEW- THE PUNISHER #218



The first issue of these new Punisher series branded by Legacy was released yesterday. And it was a really good issue, a well-built story by Matthew Rosenberg and a solid art by Guiu Vilanova.

After years of reboots over the years, Marvel decided to renumber all the titles and tie-in with the original titles through the years and here is Punisher #218. 
Matthew Rosenberg planned a well-structured storytelling in this first issue. 


Cover by Clayton Crain
Rosenberg introduced Frank's modus operandi ( the way he works) in the first pages of this comic when we see Frank intercepting some weapons dealers. The character was smart and tactically brilliant on the battlefield in the way he dealt with many guards. Knowing the territory and using the elements in his favor. It was very unbalanced, he was too good for those goons. Not even when they thought they were safe, he already planned the way he would kill them.
There is no inner speech on this issue, but honestly, it wasn't needed. With the art of Guiu's and the way Rosenberg tells his story, you figure it out how things will happen.


For weeks we know that Nick Fury Jr. would be involved in this story. I was a bit uneasy thinking that Fury would control/ manipulate Frank but he wasn't controlled. Rosenberg was pretty convincing in finding a way to make Frank help Fury Jr. in this quest and it worked.
The best part is when Frank is going to get the War Machine armor, with great action in stealth mode with a "no killing" rule. You will know why.





Guiu Vilanova did an amazing job in the artwork of this series and it was a good complement to Rosenberg's storytelling. This creative team seems to be very well aligned with the path they will go with this run.
The splash scenes were really impressing and how Guiu's imprinted a good dynamic in every action scene.
Another thing to add is the resemblance this Frank Castle has with Jon Bernthal. I know that Marvel tends to make his character to look like their cinematic counterparts but to me, it's no big deal. 

The coloring from Lee Loughridge was overall good, but there were some panels that the colors seemed a bit dark or didn't have enough light.
A shout out for Clayton's Crain cover which was beautifully made and of course Tim Bradstreet lenticular cover.





Verdict: I was impressed with the quality and well-structured story, I have hope that this can be a success story for years to come if it handles it in the right way. The secret to it it's not to put Frank in some sort of "chains" and let him be what he is. For the amazing work and the amount of respect Rosenberg has for the character, I know he will do him justice. 


I really don't like to give high scores in the first issue, but this leaves me no chances of doing it.



Overall Rate: 9 out of 10


Review by Ivo Santos ( FB / Twitter )





Wednesday, November 15, 2017

PC POST #386: -REVIEW- THE PUNISHER #17




 Becky Cloonan's 17th issue of her Punisher series comes to an end with a bittersweet taste.

The problem I had with this particular issue is that the Punisher behavior didn't make any sense. And once again he put innocent lives in danger. Like it happened to the homeless veteran a couple of issues ago.

The storytelling of this issue is very compressed and in terms of action is very straightforward while we are constantly being teased for the main event. The fight with the Punisher and Face.
The fight was enjoyable and even the contribute from the supporting characters was very important to the conclusion of this fight. 
I still don't understand why he let that actress and the director be in this fight or even let the director film his own actions to take out Face.



Matt Horak's art continues to keep his own quality, I get the feeling the more he would've worked on this issue the better he would become. 


The splash scenes were good and every panel of the fight between Face and Frank was worth it. There were a few dark panels and like issue #14 I really liked how Horak draws dark pages. Great shadows and pretty detailed despite the lack of "light".

The cover was decent. Not the best I've seen in this run but decent. Different than I am used to seeing in a Punisher comic. I didn't like the pattern of skulls in the back but overall it was a very decent.


Overall Rate: 7 out of 10


The final verdict of the run: Becky Cloonan portrayed one hell of a Frank Castle. Probably the most accurate to the classic stories of the past decades. He punished evildoers with everything he got like Bear traps, swords and all kinds of crazy stuff. I have to give it to Cloonan she imprinted one hell of diversity tools that Frank handle it perfectly. It might not be for everyone's taste but it was good for me. This Frank Castle doesn't mess around with or without weapons.

The best moment of this comic was around issue 13 to 15. I freaking love those one-shot stories, I think this was the best Punisher Cloonan could offer. It was great seeing the Punisher dealt with common problems aside from the "super stuff" like the EMC.
The weak point was the main arc of this comic, I've said it in many reviews that 12 issues for the Condor arc were too much. Long arcs don't work with the Punisher. The formula doesn't need to be reinvented. 5/6 issues one arc. It just took too long to finish this storyline.

The fact that Steve Dillon passed away was a huge blow to this comic. Matt Horak dealt with his own way which was good but no one can be Dillon and like no one can be Matt Horak.
Horak gives his best and I think, honestly he was up to the task. But, Steve Dillon was born for this kind of storyline that Cloonan wanted to tell.

My only regrets for this run was that I haven't seen Cloonan's interior art and didn't have a good amount of one-shot stories, those good "domestic" storylines that I grow up with.

Overall Rate for the Run: 7.5 out of 10.










Tuesday, November 14, 2017

PC POST #385: -REVIEW- PUNISHER: THE PLATOON #2






Platoon #2 was a blast and Garth Ennis once again just delivered an amazing story and show a Frank Castle in action for the first time with zero experience.

If Garth Ennis had a seal of quality this story would be branded by it. Again. 

Ennis tell us a war story that only a very few can deliver with such intense and detailed description.


Ennis presents us the two points of view from both sides of the war, the American and the Vietnamese. Not for you to take a side but to think about both sides.


The leadership skills of Frank Castle continues to be tested by his Platoon but this time under attack by tons of Vietnamese troops, this will mark the very first time Frank Castle is in action and the first kill.
This comic has a huge amount of violence and gore like a good story delivered by Ennis, he shows us how dirty and savage war can be and we will see Frank's Platoon fighting for their lives with everything they have just to survive.

Most of the credit goes to Goran Parlov who delivered a really good artwork and amazing panels with great colors.
The splash scenes are simply amazing with the usual quality from Parlov books that we are used to.
Explosions, shootouts, violence and the expressions of the characters is another detail that Parlov nailed it, he almost didn't need that Ennis could write any dialogue into the script, their expressions said it all.


The cover is amazing with a strong stare and that look we as Punisher fans have seen somewhere. And for the epic posture, Frank is on the cover.
Parlov needs to share his success with Jordie Bellaire as colorist not only for the cover but to the interiors of the comic. She really gave more depth to the tone of this series.

You can't go wrong with this series. If you are Ennis fan or The Punisher's classic MAX stories you will love it. It's Ennis and I don't remember him writing a bad Punisher story.





Overall Rate: 8.5 /10








Tuesday, October 24, 2017

PC POST #384: -PREVIEW- PUNISHER #218 and tons of Variant Covers!







In the last days it was released a few pages of the artwork and bits of the story of this new Punisher run by Matthew Rosenberg and on pencils Guiu Villanova that it will begin on 15th of November, two days before Marvel's the Punisher.

Cover by Clayton Crain


FRANK CASTLE: WAR MACHINE  Part 1
For years, Frank Castle has been fighting a one-man war against criminals who endanger the innocent, but when a certain one-eyed operative offers him the tools to take his fight global...how could he say no? Find out how Frank found his way into the WAR MACHINE Armor! PLUS: Includes 3 bonus MARVEL PRIMER PAGES!















Variant Covers!

TV Variant

Tim Bradstreet

Greg Smallwood

Mike McKone


Leinil Yu

So far, the art of Guiu made me want that I could see a bit more of the Punisher without the War Machine armor. These preview splash pages are very well developed and it's pure straight up 90's action. Not to mention how the Punisher looks exactly like Jon Bernthal!

Can't wait for November, it will be a great month for us, Punisher fans!

Tomorrow don't forget to pick up Punisher #17 and Punisher: Platoon #2!


Posted by Ivo Santos