By Ryan North, Amy Chu, Danilo Beyruth, Cris Peter, Ryan Browne & Reilly Brown
Anthology titles can be a tricky beast to master; finding a consistency within shifting stories and creators is not easy. Despite this hurdle, 2015 hinted at a revival of the format with indie books such as Island and Fresh Romance. Marvel got in the game as well with their stellar Secret Love one-shot and a Guardians team-up book which was stronger than expected. All of this would bode well for Marvel’s new series A Year of Marvels. The debut issue may not reach the heights of last year’s examples, but it is still a fun read.
Marvel cashes in on the plot of their upcoming season of Netflix’s Daredevil with the new digital first series; Daredevil vs. Punisher. The titles debut is a bare bones cat and mouse urban thriller and in that way it works, though it rarely rises above those plot signifier’s.
Written by current Daredevil scribe Charles Soule, Daredevil vs. Punisher spends a couple panels establishing the plot’s parameters before getting right into the meat of the story. Readers should be familiar enough with Daredevil & The Punisher to understand the base level of conflict here so past that, the comic becomes a thriller set around Daredevil preventing The Punisher from murdering a prisoner in an armored truck around New York City. Basically, it’s The French Connection model retrofitted with The Punisher as a horror movie monster and it pulls that off well enough. Artist Reilly Brown provides layouts while newcomer Szymon Kudranski handles the finishes and together with colorist Jim Charalampidis, they do a good job of hitting on the New York urban Gothic aesthetic that’s become a hallmark of both Daredevil & The Punisher comics. In parts, Brown & Kudranski will make the Daredevil acrobatics look a tad awkward but they do well in facial expressions, character communications and these cluttered action sequences within Marvel’s “Infinite” format.
Daredevil vs Punisher is a sound comic overall and will do well in appeasing die-hards. There’s nothing here that will blow you away and it’s several level’s below something like Black Widow #1, another debut from Marvel with a similar premise but a much stronger sense of scope, purpose and distinction. It’s a decent comic and not much else. Considering it’s purpose, to capture buyers excited about the upcoming season of Daredevil, that’s about as good as it get’s but if you read comics because you love them, don’t expect anything more then liking this.