Review by Frank Plowright
Considering both the Punisher and Bullseye have their names on the cover in big letters, precious little is seen of them in the opening chapter. That largely concentrates on what Nico Patrillo learns about his family’s mob history before the order is given to put out a hit on the Punisher. There are two problems with that. The only person who hears about it is Bullseye, and $10,000 is nowhere near enough for him.
Daniel Way takes the same approach to the Punisher as Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon did in Welcome Back Frank, playing the Punisher as the only efficient man in a world of comedy criminal incompetence. That being the case, it’s nice to see Dillon reprising his turn on Punisher vs. Bullseye. He supplies exactly the right kind of goofy gangsters with ‘taches in white suits, except the one that’s in a dress, fat useless sidekicks named Bobby, and his usual stiff-backed, bullet spraying Punisher.
Way treats the whole story like an old Warner Brothers cartoon with Bugs Bunny tormenting Elmer Fudd, with Bullseye in the Bugs Bunny role pulling the strings. It’s funny in places, but not enough of them, and even then it feels like Way delivering Punisher’s Greatest Hits, so there’s little in the way of originality, although a sprightly performance from Dillon manages to disguise that most of the time. Overall, there are some laughs to be had, but the plot is artificially stretched to fit five chapters. A tighter three would have been better all round.
Prices for used copies are very high as of writing, suggesting Marvel don’t consider a reprint viable, and digital is the way forward. If you’d rather have an actual book, there are plenty of better options taking the same tone, including several by Way.