Tuesday, January 03, 2006

I'm Not too Big to Admit I Was Wrong

Today is "Best Mini-Series" day, but if I were to name the three best miniseries I read this year, they would be the first two issues of Revelations, the first three issues of Supreme Power: Nighthawk, and I'd still be one shy finishing the trifecta. What I'm saying is I don't read many miniseries, so I'm really not in a position to rank any of them.

However, in keeping with the spirit of the day, I'll review the most recent miniseries I've read.

A month ago, I declared Punisher vs. Bullseye a cookie cutter miniseries that spent far too much time setting up a joke about a crossdressing mob boss at the expense of featuring either the Punisher or Bullseye. I wrote it off and advised everyone, even the most ardent Punisher fans, to steer clear.

I take it back.

While my criticism of the first issue stands, number two manages to work in all the ways number one didn't. Frank Castle is still awaiting his first line of dialogue, but he's not relegated to just a brief mention in a flashback this time. Again, we don't get a huge knockdown, drag out between Punisher and Bullseye, but what we do get is actually better.

This issue starts with Bullseye surprising Nico, the crossdressing Uncle Fonzie's nephew, in the shower. He agrees to take on the half-million dollar hit on the Punisher, but demands half the money upfront. The none-too-bright Nico's only response is, "I know who you are. You're Bullseye."The punchline is a tribute to Steve Dillon's rendering of facial expressions.Bullseye figures the best way to find the Punisher is to find mobsters convening in groups. Knowing the Rossi family will be meeting at a restaurant, he determines where the Punisher will set up, then gets the drop on him. Later that evening, when the Punisher shows up and realizes someone's watching him, we're treated to the best Bullseye scene in recent memory.By the way, when he's cupping his hands to his mouth, he's saying "Duck!"

By the end, we're all set up for a big shootout between Punisher and Nico's goons and Bullseye. The book is a good mix of humor and violent undertone, a nice reminder of Garth Ennis's early Marvel Knights Punisher, before he could go over the top with disemboweling Serbian gangsters as a form of interrogation.


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