[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
A billionaire named Caelus Drake prepares to launch his own spacecraft from Florida, and J. Jonah Jameson is eager to get a look at the inside. What he finds is the Punisher killing every astronaut on board. Jameson tries to stop him and accidentally initiates the launch sequence in the scuffle. This leaves the Punisher and J. Jonah Jameson on a trip to space, and Frank reveals that all of the astronauts were, in reality, Russian separatists. Drake and his crew work to get the ship back to Earth, but the alien Brood arrive and want the ship and its inhabitants for their own purposes.
The Punisher Annual #1 is an atypical adventure for Frank Castle. This comic is a bit more zany and comedy-oriented than your average Punisher issue, and, needless to say, Frank doesn’t usually associate with J. Jonah Jameson or alien threats.
Frank and JJ essentially serve as a comedy duo in this comic, with Frank playing the mostly silent straight man to Jonah as an awkward and out-of-his-depth stooge. It makes decent comedy, and neither one feels out of character given the situation.
The Brood don’t actually show up until very late in the comic, and the Annual doesn’t really go into what brought them there beyond their usual need for a mate. It’s a far cry from the Super-Skrull-centric Magnificent Ms. Marvel Annual #1 of a few weeks ago.
Adam Gorham is the artist on the main thrust of the story, giving an appropriately cartoonish style that doesn’t focus on too much of the gore and brutality of the book. It looks good and suits the comic well, and Matt Milla gives it a bright and energetic color palette. Szymon Kudranski illustrates a brief epilogue that is a bit more dark, and Kudranski’s artwork matches that tone shift. Erick Arciniega matches it with darker and more ominous color art.
The Punisher Annual #1 is a weirdly fun and humorous addition to the Acts of Evil canon. JJJ and Frank Castle make for a weirdly entertaining team, even as the comic feels very loosely connected to the Magnificent Ms. Marvel Annual #1 and what it seemed to reveal about Acts of Evil. In any case, it’s a good read and one worthy of a recommendation. Check it out.
The Punisher Annual #1 comes to us from writer Karla Pacheco, artists Adam Gorham and Szymon Kudranski, inkers Andy Owens and Szymon Kudranski, color artists Matt Milla and Erick Arciniega, letterer VC’s Cory Petit, cover artist Dustin Weaver, and variant cover artist John Tyler Christopher.
Final Score: 7.5/10