Saturday, August 22, 2009

Blogathon 19: Civil War: Punisher War Journal

[Discussed in this post: Punisher War Journal #1-3.]

These issues explore and expand the Punisher's involvement with Captain America's group of rebels and are some decent comics, if not a little goofy at times. Matt Fraction is very hit and miss in these early issues. The line "Action is my reward, too!" is a classic, though. One of the funniest lines Spider-Man has ever said.

I kind of want to ignore the Bridge/Stuart Clarke stuff and focus on the Punisher's interactions with Captain America and his group. Fraction expands on the idea that the Punisher is a fan of Cap's where he both criticises Cap and follows his orders. The juxtaposition between the two here is interesting since the Punisher is right: Captain America doesn't know how to fight this war. Cap is used to a war where the good guys charge forward and kill the shit out of the bad guys... not one where you need to hide and sneak around and gut your enemies in the middle of the night... not like Frank Castle. He was born in a war like that.

Frank really drives home the idea that Captain America doesn't understand that he's a 'bad guy' here. He's the fugitive and he needs to act as such. None of the heroes really realise that, only Frank. And they get more accomplished with his help. They may not kill, by god they get shit done.

The fight between Frank and Cap loses an interesting line here that's in Civil War where Spider-Man says, "Same man, different war." And, there, for a second, you can almost see in Cap's eyes that while his mouth calls Frank insane, his eyes suggest that that may be true: what would Captain America look like if he was created for and fought in Vietnam? Would he look like Frank Castle?

Castle takes the beating from Cap for two reasons: he won't hit a superior officer and it promotes company unity. I love that.

Ariel Olivetti's art in these issues (and in this series) is just awful. It doesn't accomplish anything for me. All of his figures look the same: too damn big. It's got horrid computer colouring and looks like a bad video game screen shot comic.

In 30 minutes, we wrap up Civil War and kick off "The Initiative."

[Don't forget to donate what you can to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund! After you do, let me know via comment or e-mail (found at the righthand side) so I can keep track of donations -- and who to thank.]