Review of Marvel Universe vs The Punisher hard back graphic novel.
Collects Marvel Universe vs The Punisher #1- 4
Writer: Jonathan Mayberry
Art: Goran Parlov
Review by Stewart Loud
Once again, Frank shows everyone what an uncompromising, unstoppable tough guy he is by kicking the spandex off of the rest of the Marvel Universe in this alternate universe/what if story of a world in ruins after the global epidemic of a doomsday virus that turns almost every single human being, super powered or otherwise, into a savage cannibal. Bring on the punishment!
Set 4 years after the initial outbreak, The story sees The uninfected Punisher living on an all but deserted Manhattan Island, hunting and killing the remaining super powered infected who have now banded together into tribes to hunt for people to eat whilst fighting each other for control of territory.
This book is a lot of “I can’t believe they did that to that character!” fun. Never has one comic had so many big Marvel characters getting shot in the head. Not even Punisher Kills The Marvel Universe comes close! Yes the title is a very good indication of what you can expect from this book as Frank goes about murdering his way through Marvels character roster and trying to protect the few remaining uninfected humans. Also, I’m not a big fan of Deadpool, who has a reasonably big part in the story, but even I enjoyed all the scenes with him running off his trademark mouth as Frank tries repeatedly to kill him, testing his mutant healing factor to the limit “I have a hand-crank tree shredder. Want me to go get it?” and the resourceful way in which Frank takes out the hulk is awesome!
Early on, there are a few nice flash backs explaining how the disease began to infect the populace and why The Punisher is unaffected by it. These do manage to add quite a bit of depth and feeling to the story which I always thought the Marvel Zombies books were missing. There’s a believable reason as to where the virus came from and a decent back story about how the government authorities and heroes tried to counter the epidemic. It isn’t just a case of, some zombies appeared from nowhere and twenty minutes later everyone in the world was either infected or eaten alive. Anyone who was as disappointed with how rushed the Marvel Zombies books seemed as I was should be pleasantly surprised with the thought that’s gone into setting this story up.
The virus itself wasn’t what I was expecting, More I Am Legend than 28 Days Later, with the infected having the ability to set traps, use rudimentary tools and weapons and in some cases talk. This isn’t the only similarity to I Am Legend though, with Frank living in lonely seclusion in New York with an enormous stock pile of assault weaponry in a constant game of cat and mouse with a horde of savage super humans led by one much more intelligent and dangerous savage superhuman. No, it doesn’t get many points for originality. But then what story of it’s genre does these days?
Punisher MAX veteran, Goran Parlov does the art for the book which can only be a good thing. With a suitably grizzled looking Punisher, shadowy scenery and chaotic fight scenes the story is always as interesting to look at as it is to read. The hardback release also has the script for #1 and a nice series of sketches in the back showing the creative process behind all of the the front covers.
A must for anyone who calls themselves a Punisher fan and definitely worth a look for Marvel and zombie apocalypse themed story fans too.
P.S. If anybody knows what it was that was supposed to have happened to Iron Man, in the slightly confusing bit where he gets bumped off, could they let me know. Does his suit just break down or what? Didn’t get that bit at all.