It's the Punisher Vs. Bullseye Vs. Kingpin in the latest issue of Jason Aaron and Steve Dillon's run. Trust me, you don't want to miss this.
Credits & Solicit Info:
Written by Jason Aaron
Artwork by Steve Dillon and Matt Hollingsworth
Frank makes a bold choice when he decides to go after a dirty cop on the Kingpin's payroll. Having the psychotic assassin Bullseye hot on his trail is one thing, but can the Punisher hold off the entire NYPD as well?
Jason Aaron is one of the most popular new writers in comics today, Scalped is of course rightly hailed as one of the best comics on the stands, his Wolverine is spot-on, and he even made people like Ghost Rider. GHOST RIDER! But for some strange reason, his run on PunisherMax seems to be flying under a lot of people's radars. Maybe the shadow cast by Garth Ennis is too long, maybe people love Franken-Castle so much they can't so much as contemplate going back to a pure crime Punisher book. Who knows, and who cares, because they are wrong, PunisherMax is bloody amazing, and this issue is perhaps the best yet.
Since #1, Aaron's take on the Punisher has been to compare and contrast our pal Frank with the Kingpin, to show how the two men, while at eachother's throats, are actually similar. It's a very similar technique, and one which has been enhanced by the addition of MAX Bullseye to the equation. This issue is a study of 3 different men, and the lengths they will go to to achieve their goals, and just how fucked up they are.
And trust me, this book is fucked up. Bullseye's is the most fucking brutal. He kidnaps a family, attempts to live as a family man, just like Frank Castle was, and then engineers for them to be killed in a Park, just like Frank. It's an attempt to get inside what makes the Punisher really tick, It's really and truly quite disturbing. But then it's also quite funny, and it's an incredibly inventive way to try and take out Frank. Maybe I'm just a psycho like Bullseye, but this was brilliant storytelling. MAX Bullseye is just such an amazing character, after only 3 issues, I think he's one of the most interesting villains I've come across.
Frank's portion of the book deals with him torturing a corrupt Cop, he removes fingers, ears, and even threatens the man's unmentionables. And then when he recieves one particular piece of bad news... Frank crosses a line, he crosses a big mother-loving line, and from this point on, you know Aaron isn't going to hold back, I don't think even Ennis' Punisher did what he does here.
The Kingpin's story is disturbing on a different level to that of Frank and Bullseye's, as it deals with the cold-heartedness of Wilson Fisk, and what he did in #5, which if you haven't read yet, do so immediately, it's the cruelest, most fucked-up thing you'll read in comics. I love it. You can sense the pain underneath Fisk's exterior, you can see why he does what he does, but you can also understand why his wife, Vanessa acts as she does.
Steve Dillon and Matt Hollingsworth provide the art for this issue, and they do a reliably excellent job. Nobody draws violence and viscera better than Dillon, and while his art may be one reason why people keep comparing this to Ennis, it's still a perfect fit, the violence is great, the dark humour is conveyed very well. A story like this doesn't need flash and bombast, it needs Steve Dillon.
This issue is one which tells 3 stories of 3 very disturbed men as they circle around eachother, anticipating a big showdown, when the 3 stories dovetail into one breathtaking page of gun-shots which actually left me breathless, (well, maybe not quite, but it was great) if you aren't shocked and excited and desperately anticipating more, you may be in a coma. If you've been avoiding PunisherMax, you've made a huge mistake. If you aren't squeamish, if you aren't afraid to have your perceptions of what is acceptable and morally right in a comic changed, pick up this issue and be blown away.