Punisher: Noir written and Illustrated by Frank Tieri and Paul Azaceta
Punisher: Noir contains issues 1-4 and is part of a Marvel Noir special series.
The standard origin story for the Punisher is that he comes home from war, has severe PTSD, sees his family murdered, and goes nuts vigilante style.
Punisher Noir has his dad come home from war, be fed up with the mob and teach him about street justice. Then pops is murdered and Punisher is all grown up to take his revenge.
The comic book is set in 1918 or so and the mafia runs the streets. Frank Castle Sr is a shop owner who is sick of paying dues to the mafia and decides to risk his life and family’s welfare over it.
The book starts with our Punisher appearing to be in his pre-teen years. By the end of the book he’s probably in his late 20s still seeking revenge on the same bad guys who haven’t aged a day.
The book assumes you have some prior knowledge of Punisher lore. If you don’t know who Jigsaw is this story would probably be even less satisfying. One of the only good parts of this whole book is when Jigsaw carves the Punisher up with the image of his skull (spoiler!)
My main problem with this book is that it’s ultimately boring. The timeline is a little confusing which doesn’t help but mostly I just really didn’t care about Frank Castle Jr and his entire mission to avenge his father.
To be completely honest, for the first two issues I thought the dad was the Punisher and the kid was going to be killed, like the standard story. When the dad died instead it just made it that much lamer. It’s also a bad sign when you don’t know who the characters are for two whole books.
The true Punisher in the standard time line has some serious mental consequences from having his wife and children murdered. Switching that to having the dad murdered just puts him in the running for least powered of all the orphans running around Marvel’s New York City trying to vigilante their way to parental justice.
The orphan thing is so played out.
It’s only four issues long so it’s definitely easy enough to get through if you’re some sort of Punisher completest but if you’re not I’d say this one is skippable. I haven’t read the other noirs in the series but this one did not make me want to start.
The art is decent, and I liked the mood of having it set in the 20s. It just really should have worked more. It’s utterly forgettable.
2/5 skulls 💀💀
Check out one of my favorite Punisher runs, Space: Punisher , it’s set in the future and in space so it’s basically the opposite of this one.
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Buy it here: PUNISHER: NOIR