DEADPOOL VERSUS THE PUNISHER #1
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Penciller: Pere Pérez
Colorist: Ruth Redmond
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Release Date: 4/12/17
Murder is a nasty business, but few people have the executive-level skills required to take on either Deadpool or The Punisher, so what happens when these two sociopaths find themselves in each other’s way, basically everything you could expect from Deadpool Versus The Punisher and then some. There are rarely dull moments with these characters in their own books, so here’s to hoping the series’ main man in charge, Fred Van Lente, continues to bring the interesting plots, delicious action scenes, and a memorable battle between these two.
There have been a couple of misfires in the Versus line. Some of them have been let downs. Deadpool Versus Carnage saddened me with its rather bland story and action sequences. Out of the gate, Deadpool Versus The Punisher already has more going for it than some of its predecessors. The cover used a playing card theme and in sticking with that vernacular, the first issue is pocket aces.
Plot: Frank Castle ends up in Wade Wilson’s sites after he lays waste to a betting parlor taking wagers on how long super-hero fights will play out. Our unfortunate venture capitalists are mowed down and plays a last-ditch card hoping to spare his life; he’s going to give Castle a man simply known as The Bank, which is also Wade Wilson’s compatriot, financier, accountant, and his biggest client. This means Deadpool is forced into action against Frank if he’s to save his friend.
Story: Van Lente has done a good job balancing the two characters. It’s never too much of one or not enough of the other, you feel like you got everything you wanted out of this first issue and it all starts with the writing understanding what the reader wants. People don’t pick up a Deadpool or The Punisher book to “read the articles.” To paraphrase Garth Ennis’ foreword of Welcome Back, Frank, this book gives the reader a “laugh, a thrill, and plenty of sustained automatic weapons fire.”
Rather than reinvent the wheel, Van Lente is creatively using the elements of each character to his advantage. Wade has a less strict policy in relation to his moral compass, Frank’s is firmly affixed north and little to nothing stop him in his tracks. It’s also enjoyable that Van Lente announces a winner at the end of the first round, and one would assume he will do this moving forward.
Art: Pere Pérez does an outstanding job of drawing up both characters. His work on The Punisher isn’t too far removed from the work Steve Dillon is doing with Frank in his self-titled series. Deadpool is as animated as ever and the gore in the book is simply perfect. It’s nice to see a team in Van Lente and Pérez giving the readers what they want on all fronts. It’s going to be wonderful watching Deadpool get his revenge on Frank in the second book.
Verdict: Deadpool Versus The Punisher is a certifiable hit. The book gets it, gets the content, gets what the readers want, and understands how to deliver action in conjunction with story. Getting a perfect blend of these things isn’t always easy, but Van Lente and Pérez deliver like the veterans they are.There is no question in my mind that I will be finishing this series. The only reason it’s not a perfect five is because I think there were a couple places the dialogue could have been a touch more realistic. Other than that, it was a reader’s dream. — JW
Rating: 4.75/5 Stars