Wednesday, May 30, 2012

PC Post #57: Retro Review: Punisher War Journal # 1

WRITERS: Carl Potts
ARTIST: Carl Potts / Jim Lee
COLOR ARTIST: John Wellington
LETTERS: Jim Novak
COVER: Carl Potts/ Jim Lee
EDITOR: Don Daley
PUBLISHER: Marvel Comics

Release Date: November, 1988
Published monthly by Marvel Worldwide, INC.

Price – $1.50
(32 Pages, single-issue, color)


This was the first issue of the Punisher’s spin-off series that ran from 1988 to 1995. The series features the Punisher War Journal entry text boxes, with narration by Frank Castle.


Carl Potts opens the series as head writer and also takes early penciling duties. In this issue there are several story arcs that are being set up for the series. The central story suffers slightly due to this and it feels rushed. On the other hand the retelling of Frank Castle’s origin through small panels at the bottom of each page was very well done. It allows new readers to get caught up without making long-time fans sit through a story they already know.

Rating – “B”


The pencils for this issue were by Carl Potts with finished art by Jim Lee. You can really see the early style that will become Jim Lee’s trademark. Each panel is detailed and full of color. On the negative it still carries the typical ’90s brightly colored style which takes away from the gritty nature of the content.

Rating – “A”


The story opens with Frank Castle setting out on a very personal mission, to visit Central Park on the anniversary of his family’s death, but a Punisher’s job is never done and soon he is rescuing a young woman and her infant son from a group of mobsters. There is also a brief appearance by a mysterious old man and his daughter who own a small grocery store and apartment building. This is clearly setting up characters for future story arcs. The overall story of Castle trying to reach Central Park is well done and the side mission, though short, has plenty of twists and turns.

Rating – “B+”


The entertainment value of this issue does suffer due to all of the setups but the overall story is still fun and gets to the core of the Punisher and why he has taken on his one man war on crime.

Rating – “B”


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