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? -summary
It's no secret that Garth Ennis was the main man who defined the Punisher when he took over writing duties for the character. He took the character to his full potential with the Punisher MAX series. It was no doubt one hell of a series, that showed us what more could be done with the Punisher and his world. Therefore, Jason Aaron (Scalped, Wolverine: Weapon X) had some rather large shoes to fill when he took on the continuation of Punisher Max in a new series.
PunisherMAX: Kingpin (2010) is an all new story, but can still be considered a sequel. It's a five part story that introduces the Kingpin into the MAX universe. I know of some people who didn't like the idea of injecting other main Marvel characters into this continuity, out of fear for the MAX line losing its edginess. I could understand if it was a villain like the Green Goblin or even Red Skull. But the Kingpin? He was tailor made for this type of atmosphere, since he embodies that film noir feel canon with this universe. I remember being amped for this one.
PunisherMAX: Kingpin maintains the same dark and twisted edge found in the original. The story makes no attempt to leave things up to the imagination, because everything is just bold and in your face, from the profanity to the bullets ripping through bodies without mercy. There is no shortage of action here, plus there is some character development. Wilson Fisk is the main character here, and half of the plot follows him as he seeks to make himself the Kingpin for real. He is not satisfied with being only hired muscle. His origin is revealed, and he's developed very well as the ambitious man who will get what he wants. The Punisher isn't neglected, but for some reason, it almost feels as if he was more of a plot device just to deliver the action. I felt Aaron only really used him to go through the motions. Thankfully, watching him go the formulaic route was still entertaining.
Steve Dillon's artwork is alright at best here. It really isn't on the same level as either Lewis Larosa (Punisher MAX) or Darick Robertson (Punisher: Born). The character designs feel rather flat and too featureless. There just isn't enough detail in them or in the backgrounds. The gore is done disturbingly well though, as you will see Kingpin kill with his bare hands in the most gruesome way.
PunisherMAX: Kingpin lives up to its explicit content label rather well, as it also features a rape scene that is left up to the imagination. It's a very good follow up to Ennis's work, and the guest star at the end will probably have most Marvel fans really wanting the next book. Another thing that makes this cool, is that you really don't need to read the entire Punisher MAX series, since this stands alone very well. Recommended to those who enjoy darker content in their comics and to fans of the Punisher.
Pros: -Maintains all the elements that made it special