Saturday, February 2, 2013

What Lurks in the Longbox? #30 - Untold Tales

Untold Tales of PunisherMax #5
Marvel/Max Comics
$3.99, color, 28 pgs. 
Writer: Skottie Young
Artists: Mirko Colak, Norman Lee, Rick Ketcham

Cancelled comics never actually die; they just come back with “untold tales” of the title character.  Untold Tales of Punisher Max has been an enjoyable series featuring one-shot stories by creators that might not have otherwise had the chance to show their own perspective on comics’ most infamous vigilante, including crime novelists like Megan Abbott and Jason Starr.

In this issue, a son’s desire for revenge brings him face to face with the man that killed his father.  The story raises an interesting question: What happens to the family members of Frank Castle’s victims?  It’s a theme not usually explored with this character, and Skottie Young handles the story in a unique fashion.  The Punisher appears mostly in shadows throughout the story, taking on the role of the ultimate bogeyman in the boy’s eyes. 

Not all of the Punisher's victims are easily categorized as "bad guys."
Despite the “Explicit Content” warning that is commonly seen on Max titles, this issue would be acceptable for most audiences.  The exception is just one word of profanity that doesn’t really serve any purpose, other than to mandate the rating change.  Is it really necessary? 


While I'm on the subject of The Punisher, I am once again recommending the superb Jason Aaron/Steve Dillon PunisherMax series that ran for 22 issues from January 2010 to February 2012.  This series features some of the most intense and definitive Punisher storylines ever published, which is saying a lot considering the legacy of Garth Ennis' run on the previous volume of the series.  Aaron also took several classic Marvel villains and successfully brought them into the MAX Universe, including The Kingpin, Bullseye and Elektra.  When the series was approaching its final issue in late 2011, an online interview with Jason Aaron discussed how the series was not so much a cancellation, as it was a planned ending to the storyline.  Aaron stated "PunisherMax is ending, the way I always intended.  It was not cancelled." 


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