Trades for today: The Flash and the Punisher

And a happy April to you too! It's a quick one-two trade review today, in order to settle myself in to regular content. Hint: Neither of these books are from the library; I purchased them myself, and I tend to warp my opinions to justify my purchase. Let's see if those opinions follow the rigor of a blog post.

PhotobucketThe Punisher Max Comics Volume 6
by Gregg Hurwitz et al.
(Amazon, bargain: $16.00, regular: $29.29)
Collecting PUNISHER #61-65, PUNISHER: FRANK CASTLE MAX #66-74, PUNISHER: FORCE OF NATURE and PUNISHER MAX SPECIAL: LITTLE BLACK BOOK


I purchased this volume about two weeks ago, sight unseen from Amazon's big ol' bargain bin. The Punisher's team-up with Spidey in Amazing #577 made me curious enough to check out this huge hardcover. As of this writing, there's 8 copies left of the bargain edition: that's $16.00 for 424 pages! That's five stories spread out over two one-shots, 1 4-parter and 2 5-parters. Since different teams took over different stories, I examine them one by one:
  1. #'s 61-65: "Girls in White Dresses" I picked up the hardcover as an introduction to The Punisher, and this one doesn't work so well as an introduction. Frank gets caught up in a Mexican village, whose women are victimized by a local drug dealer, and doles out some punishment. There's a big twist mid-way that turns the traditional Punisher story on its head -- which is strong only if you've read a good amount of them (I haven't, yet).
  2. #'s 66-70: "Six Hours to Kill" What a great idea! Frank Castle has six hours to kill these two criminals, a lawyer and mayor from Philadelphia, or else he won't get the antidote. What follows is a bloody path through the city working up to these guys, but, it's still not entirely clear what the lawyer did wrong. The ride is surely exciting, but the end might require a few more re-readings to completely understand.
  3. "Force of Nature:" This one's a great introduction to the Punisher. He creates an elaborate trap to break three low-level low-lifes that have a BIG job with Russian criminals, and it works out to a "T."
  4. #'s 71-74: "Welcome to the Bayou" Here's an offbeat Frank story, where Frank meets a hillbilly shack/gas station in the middle of Louisiana. Goran Parlov draws an outrageous yet grim Frank, and it's a great ride from first issue to fourth.
  5. "Little Black Book:" No kidding, you guys. Frank hooks up with a hooker to get her black book, to kill a dude. That is how far gone he is: everything he does is for killing now. It's a great story, with great deaths and great character work.

Overall, this hardcover works as an introduction to Frank, more or less. I took a risk with this HC ($16 risk!), and I'm glad I did.

Also, hey Weekly Crisis's Ryan K. Lindsay, you got quoted on the backcover of the slipcase. Props.


PhotobucketThe Flash: The Dastardly Death of the Rogues
by Geoff Johns, Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato

This collects the first seven issues of the 2010 reboot of The Flash, starring Barry Allen, before the 2011 reboot of The Flash, starring Barry Allen. I'm generally a fan of the latter, so that convinced me to buy a hardcover of the former: and I don't regret it a single bit. Geoff Johns knows how to write a Flash story, cramming an amazing Flash feat into each issue, and Francis Manapul knows how to draw it. What results is a solid murder mystery. . . where The Flash is the accused! It's loud, it's exciting and it's a great story. Here are some scans:

In the very first issue, Flash -- the monarch of motion! -- tries to catch Trickster in a car, which ends up hurtling off a highway in construction, towards a father and son:

from The Flash: Dastardly Death of the Rogues, by Geoff Johns and Francis Manapul

Do you see that?? Click on it and super-size the image. Flash disassembles that shit in mid-air and saves them. Amazing. I can't tell you how many times I've reread this, just to look at these amazing spreads.

from The Flash: Dastardly Death of the Rogues, by Geoff Johns and Francis Manapul

Near one of the final issues, The Flash -- the crimson comet! The sultan of speed! -- vibrates through the Top from the future and defeats him. It's insane.

One more from the first issue: when the Renegades from the 25th century return to their time, they create this "time-ripple" that ages the apartment building across the street:


from The Flash: Dastardly Death of the Rogues, by Geoff Johns and Francis Manapul

The Flash runs on the building's steps before they decay in order to save each and every occupant from their building. It's. Amazing!

Comics!

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