The Punisher has changed considerably in translation, and the two older comics reprinted along with "/>

THE Punisher: Official Movie Adaptation

Peter Milligan, Author et al. Marvel $12.99 (154p) ISBN 978-0-7851-1410-9

A comic book adapted from a movie adapted from a comic book, The Punisher has changed considerably in translation, and the two older comics reprinted along with the film adaptation in this collection show just how much. In the Punisher's first appearance, a 1974 issue of Amazing Spider-Man , he's an ex-Marine, blinded by rage against the criminal underworld to whose destruction he's devoted his life. By the time of the 2000 story reprinted here (by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, the team behind Preacher ), it has been established that he was Frank Castle, who began his war against criminals when his family was killed by Mob crossfire. The point of Ennis's darkly funny story is that he so loves avenging the innocent—as violently as possible—that he even turned down Heaven for it. So the forthcoming film starring Thomas Jane as the Punisher finds the premise inverted as Castle, out for personal revenge, is only too happy to slaughter innocents to make his enemies suffer the same agony he did when his family died in a deliberate attack. Under the circumstances, Milligan and artists Olliffe and Koblish do well—their version of the complicated plot moves swiftly and smoothly—but the story itself is a dismal betrayal of the reasons the Punisher is popular in the first place. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 05/03/2004
Release date: 03/01/2004
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