Reviews and Recommendations by Mel Odom, Professional Writer

ULTIMATE AVENGERS 2 #1 by Mark Millar and Lienil Francis Yu

Only Mark Millar would have the brass to take a violent, lone wolf like the Punisher and roll him into a new Ultimate Avengers Black Ops team. If someone had asked me, I would have said it couldn’t be done. Frank Castle isn’t a team player. He’s never been a team player. I didn’t want to see him as a team player.

But no one asked me, and Marvel went ahead with Ultimate Avengers 2 without asking. I found it all on my own, and I was immensely surprised. I liked it. I really, really liked it.

Millar puts his artist to work in the opening pages of this comic, and Lienil Francis Yu certainly rises to the task. The first few pages are some of the bloodiest vigilante action you’d ever want to see in a comic. With all the angles and perspectives Yu throws in, the opening action scans like a big-screen movie (none of which have seemed to be quite able to capture this side of Frank Castle).

The Punisher blazes through the villains like they were pop-up targets at an FBI Hogan’s Alley run. And even after all those hundreds of issues of his own book, in the capable hands of Garth Ennis and others, Frank Castle has never been more savage or more deadly. Maybe the violence goes on a little long for an origin story setting up a new team of Avengers, but I appreciated every panel. This is what the Punisher is all about. I just don’t know if he’s going to be able to transcend to a team, or if the team is going to survive him.

The quick flashback to Castle’s life in the Ultimate universe is a lot like our own. No sense in messing with a winning hand. But it was still touching and Yu’s imagery is touching and deep.

However, I was surprised when the Russian thug the Punisher goes after later in the comic actually hands Castle his head. The scenes are gritty and action-packed, and the revelation of the Russian thug was unexpected and well thought out, setting up what’s probably going to be one of the major conflicts of this new series. Can’t wait to see how that works out.

After the Punisher is brought down, the pacing speeds up and we get the hard sell approach to the new team from Nick Fury, who’s decided to open up his own Black Ops version of the Avengers. Of course, Castle is plenty willing to get back in the field and start taking out bad guys.

The new costume takes a little getting used to, I have to admit. But after I looked at it a few times, reminded myself of the hidden bonuses it’s supposed to give the Punisher, I’m really ready to see it in action. Gotta wait till next issue for that, though.

I’m also really curious about who the rest of the Black Ops Avengers will be. From the teaser we get at the end of this comic, it looks like one of them is going to be Luke Cage, but they’re billing him as the original Hulk, which sounds intriguing and weird all at the same time.

Millar and Yu have done an excellent job of locking me into the series. Give it a try and you may find the idea has the same effect on you. One thing about it, this series is gonna have a serious bodycount.


2 Responses to “ULTIMATE AVENGERS 2 #1 by Mark Millar and Lienil Francis Yu”

  1. The Punisher in a team, a strange thing to believe.I’m guessing it’ll be a drug in the next chapters.

  2. It was an interesting take overall, but there is a reset sequence. 🙂

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