Daredevil/Punisher #1 Writer: Charles Soule Layouts Reilly Brown Pencils: Szymon Kudranski Colors: Jim Charlampidid Letters: Clayton Cowles Publisher: Marvel
The rivalry between Daredevil and the Punisher is one of most alluring conflicts in comic book history. These two characters share the same end goal, but it’s the philosophical difference and actions they’re willing to take in order to achieve them is what divides them. Recently we’ve seen this executed to the highest of standards in Netflix’s Daredevil Season 2. The most captivating moment in that season however wasn’t the physical battle between them, it was the rooftop exchange of the moral codes of Matt Murdock and Frank Castle that had my eyes glued to the screen. Our first chapter in this mini-series unfortunately focuses on the combat rather than the mental battle but that doesn’t mean that this is an intriguing one.
A simple prison transfer from New York to Dallas for one of Matt Murdock’s defendants becomes much more complicated when the Punisher gets involved. He’s looking to put the scumbag away…permanently. Now The Man Without Fear and Blindspot must protect this mobster from the former soldier out for vengeance.
The synopsis is as straightforward as they come but sets up what we all want, the two different ideologies collide. You can guess pretty much every plot point that happens before they come into fruition but the key word is execution, and writer Charles Soule has proven that he knows how to hit all those points correctly. A high-speed chase takes up the majority of this book and it’ll hold your attention. The addition of Blindspot is an interesting one, as this is his first introduction to the Punisher. He has a couple of witty reactions when he first confronts Castle and it’ll be intriguing to see whether or not he’ll bring a new dynamic to the philosophical battle.
There are some strong inner-monalogues from Murdock where we get his point of view of the difference between him and Castle. Be that as it may, there is no one on one exchange between the two conflicting ideologies. Rather, it’s presented to us visually and while that’s a strong element of comic book story telling, you want to see the dialogue battle as well. Yet this is just the first installment of this four issue mini-series and it does what it needs to, set up the premise and grab our investment for the follow-up chapter. Being that Soule is a real life practicing lawyer, it’s a good bet that we’ll see this and my expectations for it are high.
Capturing the writers tone should always be the goal of the art team, Reilly Brown, Szymon Kudranski, and Jim Charalampidis are able to hit that in strong fashion. Readers coming to this book who gained interest in Daredevil and the Punisher from the Netflix series will not be disappointed, as the visual style of the book is reminiscent of the show. Long time readers of these characters will be satisfied because the series has done a terrific job of capturing the lure of the two. There’s solid detail in the pencil work and you’re always feeling the motion during the high-speed chase. The dark, grim colors and shadows compliment nicely as both Murdock and Castle’s worlds aren’t pleasant ones to be in.
Daredevil/Punisher #1 is a solid, straightforward, no-nonsense book that fans of the characters tug-of-war will enjoy. Charles Soule delves into a premise that’ll provide us with what we all want to see. While we don’t get any dialogue exchanges between the two conflicting ideologies, there is some inner-monolague work and tone fitting visuals to feed us that hunger. Soule is a competent writer and the smart money is on that this is leading somewhere good.
Score: 4 out of 5
Review by Eric Bradach