Suggested Reading: Punisher: War Zone - Bloodshed With Frank!
by Roman Chavez
December 3, 2008
Hello again comic book fans and cinephiles! It's Roman, your comic book guide to the stars, back again for the holiday season. We've had a bit of a slump in the comic book movie genre, but with a full stomach and a season's greeting, I hope to lead us back home. And what better way to start off the Christmas month than with a bit of bloodshed - Punisher: War Zone! I am with you all. I too have this nagging feeling towards this movie. Marvel puts out two really kick ass movies this summer and then the Punisher: War Zone trailer rears its ugly head. I want it to be awesome, but can't ignore its seemingly numerous flaws.
For me those flaws include what appeared to be the Punisher running around and jumping off walls while fighting, hanging and spinning from a chandelier while killing thugs, and finally one of the worst lines I have ever heard: "Sometimes I'd like to get my hands on God." I hope I am not alone in those feelings. Though, on the positive side, it looks like all of the Punisher fans will get a much needed violence increase from previous Punisher movie that starred Thomas Jane. Also, I'm glad to see Ray Stevenson playing Frank Castle this time around, because I think he looks a lot more like the comic book version of the character.
There might be a few Punisher naysayers among us who do not see why he is so damn cool. I have a few select stories that I believe will point them in the right direction. I may not be thrilled about the film, but the Punisher himself is a very interesting Marvel character and definitely worth taking a look at.
The Punisher: Born
Written by Garth Ennis, Penciled by Darick Robertson
This four issue mini-series gives the fans a glimpse of Frank Castle in his last tour of Vietnam. This was interesting because you always hear of Frank being a vet but you never saw anything about it. The story is told through the eyes of a marine that talks about his hard Captain and shows us a little bit more of what makes Frank Castle tick. Buy from Amazon.com.
Written by Garth Ennis
Writer Garth Ennis takes us on a more current journey of our vigilante this time. This is an ongoing series published under the Marvel MAX label, which allows for more adult oriented situations and content. There are over 60 issues of this series right now, but sadly it's rumored to be coming to an end quite soon. If you want awesome violence with complex storytelling, this is the series for you. My favorite story arc is entitled Kitchen Irish. Buy from Amazon.com.
The Punisher: The End
Written by Garth Ennis, Penciled by Richard Corben
This bitter tale takes place in the not too distant future. The third world war has erupted and numerous countries take the nuclear route. Frank Castle, having been arrested years before, survives in the prison's fall-out shelter. Frank knows that the more powerful figures may have survived and seeks to stop them from further ruining the world. Buy from Amazon.com.
As you can certainly see, I am a huge Garth Ennis fan and really recommend his work. As always, feel free to suggest other stories that you like and please suggest some with Jigsaw in them. I know he is the main villain in the movie, but for the life of me I have not read a story with him in it that I really liked. Anyone help me out? Punisher: War Zone hits theaters on December 5th, this upcoming weekend. I will try to keep an open mind if you do, too. So long from Roman's Land and we'll see you at the movies.
Reader Feedback - 17 Comments
I have a bad feeling that one bad line will turn out to be a whole cheap script that will hold no surprises, except for the creepiness of Jigsaw as opposed to John Travolta's egotistical underworld boss Howard Saint.
McChunlisonberg on Dec 3, 2008
For such a big fan, it's kinda funny you don't know that the line about getting his hands on God comes from the second issue of the Widowmaker arc...written by Ennis. And it sounded just fine then. Guess what? Castle's dialogue is pretty heavy-handed in the comics too. Parta the reason it makes him Great. The baddest mother-lover to ever walk the earth, remember? Oh, and he's crazy. Sociopathic, mass-murdering crazy. Sooo, can't expect too fine the soliloqies there. Besides, we all know Lector wouldn't last a second with Castle, as flourishly eloquent as he may be. The Joker neither, for that matter...as we saw in the Dixon/DC crossover. Peace
Bugs on Dec 3, 2008
I don't get it, last year everyone was complaining about over-budgeted sci-fi movies with too many special effects and computer animated stuff; as well as PG-13 ratings for Die Hard and other movies. Then Rambo and The Punisher come along, which are straight-in-your-face action flicks with no special effects (save for costumes and explosions) and you are complaining they are bad movies. It's kinda refreshing to see "old school" action movies coming back without ridiculous costumes (a t-shirt with a skull doesn't count) and massive special effects. Why can't we just sit back and enjoy an R-rated action movie where we don't need to spend 2 hours figuring how some idiot got his super powers, where he got his fortune from, or what planert he is from. I don't think Sly figured Rambo to be Oscar worthy, nor did Lionsgate with the Punisher, but Rambo was very entertaining, and definately delivered on the action and violence, which would be hard to disagree with. Give The Punisher a chance, maybe it can deliver on the same level too!! There have been too many failed attempts at big special effect comic book movies...(Daredevil/Ghostrider/Elektra/FF4/Hellboy 1&2, etc...) Just sit back, shut up, and let the guy blow shit up for 2 hours!!
Mike on Dec 3, 2008
FYI, Garth Ennis concluded his run on the MAX book but he is writing a 6-issue weekly mini-series that ships in December (also entitled War Zone, has nothing to do with the plot of the movie and is just done for advertising reasons) with his regular partner Steve Dillon. I wasn't a fan of Garth's Marvel Knights work with the exception of Welcome Back Frank which this is a sequel to. Punisher: War Journal by Matt Fraction and Rick Remender is an entertaining look at "what if Frank Castle returned to the Marvel Universe?" sort of situations. He shot Stilt-Man in the crotch with a rocket.
BahHumbug on Dec 3, 2008
What about the great, "Welcome Back Frank"?
The Rambler on Dec 3, 2008
"As you can certainly see, I am a huge Garth Ennis fan and really recommend his work" Touche- considering he's the only good Punisher writer in the last ten years...though Gregg Hurwitz has done an exceptional job as the first post-Ennis writer in a while. Kitchen Irish is ok....how about some love for Barracuda????
Dom on Dec 3, 2008
Instead of "The End" being on that list you should of put "From First to Last". It's a trade paperback which collects "The Tyger" (another prequel type tale set when Frank was a young boy), "The Cell" (a brilliant standalone Punisher tale which has ties to the characters origin) and "The End" the story you mentioned in the post. All of the stories are by Garth Ennis and come highly recommended.
Dan on Dec 3, 2008
well in the old school comics punisher did have a way doing something acrobaticly like jumping out from windows doing a front flip and crashing in windows with a glider so i dont think there are any flaws in this film.
Lumnies on Dec 3, 2008
Film looks fine so far - pretty much on brief for the comic series. I even enjoyed Thomas Jane's take (barring John Travolta). Jigsaw is a poor substitute for Barracuda though - that's the best nemesis Frank ever faced.
mrbobbyboy on Dec 4, 2008
"What about the great, "Welcome Back Frank"? The Rambler on Dec 3, 2008" Damn straight - Welcome Back Frank is such an entertaining read - full of OTT violence and a sly dark sense of humour.
Sumit on Dec 4, 2008
@3...Wow, hating on the Hellboys? Do you know what site you're at? I wouldn't be surprised if Alex banned you now ;o)
Peloquin on Dec 4, 2008
What doesn't work about the "I'd like to get my hands on God" line is that he actually says it in an very un-frank castle way. The actor in Ray Stevenson was trying to sell it with emotion. If you look in the comics you see this line, and other amazing lines, uttered in Castle's THOUGHTS. Meanwhile in the image you see this stoic statue hellbent on killing the bad guys. These lines, as intended in the comics, should be background narration. On the screen you see a silent killing machine and you think to yourself "I wonder what goes through his head while he does what he does?", and then the narration gives you that window. It's a world of a difference. That being said, being a huge Punisher fan, I might have to see this at least three times in the theaters.
Chris H. on Dec 4, 2008
First things first. The best Ennis, heck, the best Punisher series, BY FAR, that I've ever read is The Slavers. The grimmest, saddest, darkest and most brutal, visceral, action-packed extravaganza of them all. Out in the woods. Out of the building. The video burning. Glorious. Mike, HellBoy was great; what's up? Dom, Agree about Hurwitz doing a fine job following up Ennis' work. I love the White Dresses storyline so far. Dan, Thought the Tyger was great and the beginning and at the end but sucked in the middle. Bob, I maintain that Hensleigh and Jane have only SET the character back in cinema. Cuz critics will say "Well, the 2004 version tried to better the capture what makes the character tick, his pathos, his inner-longings...bla-bla-bla" and then bash ACTUAL Punisher Smackdown, whining about its lack of complexity, not knowing that that's who Castle IS! He kicks in the door and starts shootin', not drive around with a fire-hydrant wonderin' how he can get your wife in bed with your friend. What we need in the Punisher movies is FRANK'S NARRATION. THERE'S your "complexity" and your "depth of character" and your bloody, bloody, dark humor. But Lexi's version will do just fine til then. Peace
Bugs on Dec 4, 2008
Holy smokes, Chris. posted at the same time! Totally agree on all your points. You must be my other personality. Do you have the other piece of this amulet, by any chance? Peace
Bugs on Dec 4, 2008
Huge Punisher fan, will go see this but still hope it flops uncontrollably. Ray Stevenson, thumbs down, Jigsaw, thumbs down and scene ripped off from "Boondock Saints", thumbs down. Should have built off Jane's Punisher instead of crapping out another one.
adam on Dec 4, 2008
I saw this film Monday night. Lexi Alexander has given us a Punisher straight from the comics. Each scene is crafted like a comic panel. That should please most fans of Punisher comics. As for the "God" line, note this: http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u235/NomadsPics/Punisher%20War%20Zone/god.gif Nomad
Nomad on Dec 4, 2008
Adam, How can you call yourself a Punisher fan and say they should have built off Jane's performance in the same breath? Who does Jane look more like? Castle? Or Martin Soap? Tell me the truth. Peace
Bugs on Dec 4, 2008
Sorry, no commenting is allowed at this time.