To be completely honest, I am not really a comics guy. I just got back into them after a twenty year gap, and I have been picking and choosing different titles based on reviews I had read or the advice of others. So far I have been lucky in picking comics that I have really enjoyed, like Glory, The Massive and Captain Marvel. Then I decided to pick up Space: Punisher.
This book is amazing. Read it. If you’re not reading it then you’re some kind of puppy kicking neofascist, and Space Punisher is going to walk into your house and do something awful to one of your favorite orifices.
So, with that out of the way let’s talk review. Let me just say, wow. The book opens with a very 1930s pulp sci-fi pinup of Frank Castle flying through space on a rocket pack with the caption “IN SPACE NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU DIE!” Obviously, I was instantly sold.
This both is and isn’t The Punisher we all know and love. This is a Frank who was born amongst the stars and is hunting down a group known as The Six Fingered Hand, who is somehow responsible for his family’s deaths. The entire story plays out like it could be starring Boba Fett if Boba Fett were slightly grimmer and had bombs that created black holes.
Frank goes from location to location, slowly moving up the food chain of space criminal scum (including Corsair, Cyclops’ dad!) on his way towards finishing off The Six Fingered Hand. While this seems like a pretty typical Punisher story, what sells it are the character designs for all of the familiar faces. Space Rhino is, in particular, pretty great.
The art in general is great, though it doesn’t seem to really fit the Pulp stylings of the story. Where a Buck Rogers story would be full of pop and zap, Space Punisher’s world is a blurry watercolor of shadows and light, always competing for panel space. That’s just artist Mark Texeira though, a classically trained painter who, at some point in his life, decided comics were much cooler than stupid crap like academic recognition or the respect of his peers and made a conscious decision to draw a dude in a cape in space fighting another dude in a cape in space. Personally I think it was a good decision.
Anyway, if I haven’t sold you on this book yet, let me leave you with just one beautiful image to really sink the hooks in deep.
The Punisher hits a space whale with a lightsaber.