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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Punisher - The Tyger by Severin

PUNISHER - THE TYGER #1, a recently published one-shot from Marvel, was a bit of a pleasant surprise for me. I was interested in it solely for the artwork by John Severin, who I'm amazed is not only still active in comics well into his 80s but doing some great stuff. On the other hand, I usually don't like Garth Ennis's writing, and I think the only story starring the Punisher I ever liked was PUNISHER MEETS ARCHIE (I thought the character worked well in a few guest bits as, y'know, the villain, before he became a solo star). Fortunately I finally let my desire for some Severin outweigh the rest. As I said, pleasant surprise.

When I heard the story was about the Punisher as a 10-year-old, I wasn't sure if Ennis was going to play the concept for laughs (which might have been funny) or what. He didn't, and instead delivers an interesting quieter story than his usual, reminding me a lot of the few of his HELLBLAZER issues that I decided to keep. There's nothing really profound, and I have no idea if any of this is important to (or even consistent with ) the Punisher story as a whole, but it's an interesting period piece about life in 1960 New York, with some good character bits and odd bits of horror and a few clever turns of phrases. More than enough for Severin to hang his hat on and deliver a great look at the era.

Have to say, though, not that happy with the colouring. The colourist seems to have designed a texture template based on Severin's tight hatching style and applied it liberally throughout. I can see the motive, but the problem is that if Severin thought any of those blank areas needed texture, he'd have added it himself, and the added lines in the colour only serve to distract and obscure the lines Severin did lay down. I found myself noticing the colour way more than I should have.

But regardless, still a book well worth picking up, and presumably if it ever is reprinted it'll be packaged with several other less-interesting reprints, so might as well get it in this format.

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