Daredevil/Punisher #2 Writer: Charles Soule Layouts: Reilly Brown Artist: Szymon Kudranski Colors: Jim Charalampidis Letters: Clayton Cowles Publisher: Marvel
Marvel continues to capitalize off of the success of the successful debut of the Punisher in Netflix’s Daredevil season 2 with a crossover mini-series. The two New York based characters have had a rivalry for decades and has been one of the more alluring ones in comics. The two have always been more street level heroes, dealing with inner-city and domestic problems, not involving themselves in the big events. While that may turn off some readers, what’s drawing about their conflict is their philosophical differences that happened to be highlighted in the Netflix series. Criminals commit crimes, Daredevil hits them and they get back up, the Punisher hits them and they stay down. It’s a line that all superheroes have to face at some point and this relationship has exploited that to its fullest.
So what has caused these two New York crime fighters philosophies to clash once again? In the opening issue, one of Matt Murdock’s defendants, Antonov, is unable to get a fair trial in New York City. A routine prisoner transfer from NYC to Texas is engaged but matters become much more complicated when the Punisher gets involved. He’s looking to put the scumbag away…permanently. After an intense high-speed car chase, they’re able to pull away from Castle but are ambushed by Antonov’s men. This follow-up issue opens with the Daredevil and his new protegé Samuel Chung, Blindspot separated. Murdock is faced off against Antonov’s men with his radar-sense temporarily damaged. While Blindspot finds himself defending the gangster from the bloodthirsty Castle.
Writer Charles Soule once again takes advantage of the already established morality differences between Murdock and Castle. Already the physical altercations are exciting and the idea of Daredevil’s radar-sense temporarily disabled always makes for an engaging fight scene. Theres quite a bit of inner-monologuing from Matt and it’s spot on. He’s always grappling with the dilemma of what qualifies as justice and what’s pure vengeance. After being put in a humbling situation where he’s virtually helpless, he starts to question his entire moral code and ideological stance. He begins to consider Frank Castle’s point of view and that maybe his way is the more strategic/effective action. It gets to a point where you worry whether or not Murdock has lost the philosophical battle, or maybe you’re saying “it’s about time”.
While this puzzle makes for a solid scene, the turn happens somewhat quickly. It would have been stronger to see this built up with more time, however this is just a 4 issue mini-series so the comic is disabled with its constricted time frame. Fortunately Matt’s inner-struggle allows Blindspot to take center stage and has a great character moment. He’s become the wildcard in this series, something that I hope Soule continues to build on moving forward and we see played upon in future stories.
Szymon Kudranski continues art duties on this book and he once again showcases a solid grasp and understanding of tone to his line work. There’s a lot of smoke throughout the battle scenes which is a great addition. The set pieces, being back allies and rooftops as well work perfectly. Fights taking place in dark back allies really gives this comic a sense of grime and grit that fit the vibe that a crossover between Daredevil and Punisher call for. While the rooftop scrambles make for some exciting and tense moments. There’s great detail to Kudranski’s pencils but if there was one gripe with it would be his facial work. It’d be nice to see more emotion out of them, sometimes there’s some great still frames but other times the characters look uninterested in their actions.
When it’s all said and done, Charles Soule’s second chapter in this Daredevil/Punisher crossover is a satisfying installment. He’s able to grab the voice of the characters mindsets as well as convey the atmosphere of the world these two live in. Again the shift of Matt’s mentality is too abrupt but that’s the problem writers ultimately run into when executing a mini-series. The action scenes are engaging, the character moments are intriguing, and the artwork fits the writing, so what more can you ask for.
Score: 4 out of 5
Review by Eric Bradach
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