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Marvel Universe vs. The Punisher #1 Comic Review - -

Story 8.0
Art 9.0
Total 8.5
Publisher: Marvel
Release Date: 4/8/2010 (US)
Reviewer: Troy Mayes


Marvel Universe vs. The Punisher #1

Marvel Universe vs. The Punisher is the newest limited series from Marvel starring everyone’s favorite vigilante The Punisher. The whole world’s gone to hell and The Punisher is the only one left who can bring it back from the brink.  

To anyone who’s read the Marvel Zombies or Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe comics Marvel Universe vs. The Punisher sounds like a very similar combination of the two (maybe too much if you’re a fan of either one). Your favorite heroes, and the general populace, have been infected with a disease that turns them into cannibalistic psychopaths. Characters like Spider-Man and The Thing are more concerned with feasting on your bones than with saving you from the bad guys. The Punisher is the only person not affected by the outbreak and, in his awesomeness, takes it upon himself to kill every infected person he can find.  

Jonathan Maberry spends a great deal of the first issue explaining the origins of the outbreak and why, exactly, The Punisher is immune to its effects. I found this a wise choice as the series is limited to four issues. Maberry needs to get those niggling details out of the way as quickly as possible. It’s not like Frank Castle doesn’t know the origin of the outbreak and has to search high and low to solve the mystery. He was there when it happened and he knows all the details. Now all he’s concerned with is trying to put things right or at least kill all the super-powered crazies. By getting those details out of the way, Maberry can spend the other three issues leading up to some sort of conclusion for the series. 

Maberry’s script is brilliant and Castle’s war journal is riveting. His dry, matter of fact tone draws you in from the word go and you instantly realize that The Punisher was the perfect lead for such a story. His attitude and tone in the narration, as well as his skills with a weapon, show this to you.  Dialogue, like this comment about Daredevil ,“Put six rounds in him from two-hundred yards. First round put him down. The rest were to let off a little steam. Never liked that guy” is brilliant as it captures Castle’s cold and calculating demeanor while adding in, dare I say, a little bit of humor so it’s not all doom and gloom. There’s something about the narration, Castle’s goal (to set things right) and his wandering through New York, on his own and armed to the teeth that remind me of Will Smith in I Am Legend.  

Speaking of weapons Castle doesn’t do a lot of monster killing, but that’s okay. There’s enough imagery throughout the book to satisfy your bloodlust without forcing Maberry and artist Gordon Parlov to give it all away from the get go. There’s got to be something to keep you coming back and if you go into this story expecting blood and guts from panel to panel and you get it in the first issue then what’s going to make you come back again?  There’s just enough to draw you in and keep you wanting more. Parlov and colorist Lee Loughridge use a range of colors in this issue but they still manage to get across that dark, apocalyptic feeling through the use of shadow and muted colors. When it is bloody Parlov pulls no punches in presenting gory violence, we are dealing with cannibalistic psychos here. There’s also a lot of detail in Parlov’s artwork like the abandoned Fantastic Four jet on the street or the box of trophies in Castle’s hideout next to his collection of guns. Finally, Parlov succeeds in making some of your favorite, heroic characters look crazy. The standout image, in terms of shock value, involves The Thing, a necklace of hands and a pile of bones.  

Maberry and Parlov’s Marvel Universe vs. The Punisher #1 is a great first issue. It may be too origin-y for some or too Marvel Zombies/Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe for others but, personally, I found it a thoroughly enjoyable read that has me craving more. Castle’s war journal narration is truly riveting and, at times, both chilling and humorous while there’s enough well drawn carnage from Parlov to keep you happy until the next issue.   


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