Greg Rucka Secretly Revives Gotham Central…

….In the form of a Punisher comic?!
So for those who haven’t heard of the series; Gotham Central was a long-running, critically acclaimed police procedural comic written by Rucka and Ed Brubaker, mostly drawn by Miahcel Lark. Although adored by fans and the critics, the series suffered from consistently low sales and was ultimately cancelled after something like 40 issues. And has been mounred ever since.

…Which is why Gotham Central fans should now rejoice that Rucka has taken over Marvel’s ‘The Punisher’, and rebooted it with a fresh focus. Immediately people noticed that this was a more considered and planned-out approach to the character than had ever been seen before, and word-of-mouth began to spread. Even Comics Vanguard, which initially thought this was going to be a terrible idea, were swiftly proven wrong. Even us!

It’s slowly become apparent over the past few months that what Rucka is going here isn’t so much writing a Punisher book as he is reviving Gotham Central. To drive the comparison home even further, Lark returns for the current arc, which sees a copycat killer who may or may not actually be assisting Punisher in a murder spree. Frank Castle himself only appears in a brief, wordless cameo. The meat of the issue is a conversation between two cops assigned to bring him down.

Rucka, of course, is one of the best writers in comics, and his character-work is stunning. The two central characters here feel more fleshed out that any supporting characters in the Marvel Universe. They have unique tics and ways of speaking which make them feel realistic and interesting. The Punisher finally seems like a character who fits into the Marvel Universe, rather than a wish-fulfilment fantasy. By giving us this approach to the character, which sees him through the eyes of a competent police force, fans actually get to see an active law-enforcement within the MU, rather than nameless cannon-fodder.

And editor Steve Wacker isn’t afraid to make it crystal clear that Rucka is reviving Gotham Central. The title page is EXACTLY the same as the title page for Gotham Central. From the layout of the page down to the font used – it is EXACTLY the same. And y’know what? Gotham Central was an absolutely fantastic series, so I guess that means that The Punisher…. Is a great…. Comic….

Man, that was hard to write. But it’s true! Realistic, fascinating, clever and intriguing, The Punisher is well worth your time.

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