The Punisher has wiped out most of the mafia families bosses, and the new bosses are now afraid to make any type of real moves. They assemble in a meeting under Don Rigoletto, and he comes up with a plan to create the Kingpin of Crime, who prior to this was only a myth. He attempts to use his bodyguard Wilson Fisk as bait to draw the Punisher into a trap. But has Rigoletto bit off more than he can chew?
Wilson Fisk now known as the Kingin has accomplished his goal to replace the crime bosses, hence becoming the boss of all bosses. Now, there's only one obstacle still standing in his way, the Punisher. Fisk receives a visit from a hitman that had already been hired by Rigoletto named Bullseye; Kingpin hires him to go after Punisher. But can he really control this madman who will do anything he can to eliminate his target? -summary
Garth Ennis's run on the Punisher with the original Punisher Max series is not an easy act to follow. Ennis gave the Punisher a makeover and took the character to heights never seen before. Jason Aaron had some really large shoes to fill and I honestly didn't think he could properly follow up on Ennis's work. I mean, just what more could have possibly been done with the Punisher? Well, with this TPB Aaron proves there is plenty more to be done with him and the violent world he lives in. PunisherMAX: Bullseye reaches into main Marvel continuity and brings over the sinister Bullseye from the pages of Daredevil. My main fear with bringing supervillains over into the MAX line was the series losing that realistic feel, which sets it apart from typical Marvel comics. That fear can be tossed out the window, Aaron took the Bullseye character and turned him into a monster. This is by far the most dangerous Bullseye has ever been and he fits comfortably within the pages of MAX. This TPB collects PunisherMAX 6-11.
Although the Punisher titles are known to have a certain amount of depth to them with well developed characters. It has always been the action to rope people in the most. When looking at it from that view, this could have easily degenerated into a static comic series with action galore and over the top violence used to cover up a lack of story; the end result would have probably been a stale comic. Aaron balances the disturbing violence with stark characterization. The plot is definitely been there, done that before, with the hired killer seeking out his target. However, Aaron makes it so much more than that. Bullseye is fascinated with the Punisher; he quickly turns this hit into an obsession after their first meeting. He realizes to beat the Punisher, he has to learn how he thinks, in other words, he has to become him. Bullseye journey's to past locations around the city searching for all of the places Punisher killed people, and he goes so far to sleep in beds he believed Punisher was in. He even sleeps beside the grave of his family. This all leads to startling questions and realizations that build off of Ennis's previous stories. It appears Bullseye doesn't believe Punisher kills out of a sense of justice, there's something more sinister there and he attempts to learn what it is.
This is not a book for the easily disturbed; the content is gritty, and even chilling at times. People, criminals, and innocents alike, are tortured physically and emotionally for the purpose of these characters to reach their desired goals. Punisher finds himself having to make a choice that can change his life. While the Kingpin has become worried about the monster he has unleashed. Some Marvel purist have voiced their contempt for the changes in characterization for the sake of the series. I don't have a problem with it, since most of these characters are far more interesting than they have ever been. If I have any problems, then it would probably be in the dialog. It seems as if Aaron hurls around profanities for the sake of it, and the characters all seem to sound alike. Although at this point he appears to be a worthy successor to Ennis on this series, he clearly needs more work if he wants to master dialog.
Steve Dillon's artwork, like the previous volume, still hasn't reached out and grabbed me. I find some of the character designs on the weak and scrawny looking side. The backgrounds have many bland moments with very pale skies and buildings. Although the violence is very well depicted, the action panels could have been better, however, there is one mean shot to the face that I'm sure would hurt like hell in real-life.
PunisherMAX: Bullseye is a very good follow up to the previous volume. The story flows from one segment to the next with ease; the plot and suspense is handled well enough. And surprisingly, one can actually start in this book and not really be lost. I don't recommend that though, at the very least read the first volume. It's also not necessary to read the original Punisher MAX series before this, but I recommend doing that at some point because it's still better than this.
-Very interesting villain, plot
-Artwork still isn't special, dialog can be weak.
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