Skip to content

Punisher #1 (of 4)

Comicscore Index
Generally favorable ratings

Based on 20 critic ratings.

Is this the return of Frank Castle – or the start of something else? Frank Castle has disappeared, but evil will always need to be punished. With all-new threats rising to claim innocent victims, criminals will need to beware of a dangerous vigilante hunting them from the shadows. Who is the new Punisher? What put him on his path of vengeance? And when the smoke clears, will he even make it out alive?

It’s John Wick meets The Fugitive in this action-packed new saga from Ringo Award-winning writer David Pepose (SAVAGE AVENGERS, MOON KNIGHT: CITY OF THE DEAD) and Eisner and Harvey Award-nominated artist Dave Wachter (PLANET OF THE APES, X-MEN LEGENDS), as the Marvel Universe meets the next generation of punishment!

Publication Date
Kindle Edition
Print Lenght
33 pages
Amazon ASIN

Cover Artist

20 Critic Ratings & Reviews from:
  • 100

    Comic Watch

    Punisher #1 is an excellent reinvention of the character, modernizing a key Marvel figure by altering the source DNA that influences the vigilante. Pepose channels the spirit of action films like John Wick and The Fugitive to develop a twisted, compelling lead that soaks in the harsher elements of the mantle and thrives in the non-stop execution of these changes. Working in tandem with Watcher’s art and Brown’s coloring, which bolsters itself on the blending of sci-fi and gritty revenge, the book creates a rich tone and aesthetic that stands apart from the typical Punisher story.

    This is an excellent jumping-on point for anyone interested in the espionage/street-level vein of Marvel but had issues with the Frank Castle element of the Punisher mythology. It also scratches the itch of classic Punisher stories, delivering a twisted sense of justice on the remorseless criminals and supervillains of a world filled to the brim with ineffectual heroes and cycles of crime and non-punishment.

  • 100

    But Why Tho?

    It’s also a fantastic action comic with some innovative sequences. Both faithful and futuristic, it is very unnerving to see someone other than Frank Castle carry that costume. But it’s a concept that is not completely alien, especially to this writer who has already sampled this experiment in a previous series. Ultimately, the comic warrants picking up to ask the same questions for yourselves.

  • 100

    Monkeys Fighting Robots

    PUNISHER #1 launches a new character and the creative team creates an epic adventure that has me excited for the next issue.

  • 100

    Un Cómic Más

    Pepose achieves a beginning with an accelerated narrative pace and makes clear the motives of this new Punisher and in parallel we see his killings.

    Art has many textures and details that offer a gloomy and dramatic tone in a context of extreme violence and blood.

  • 100

    First Comics News

    It happened- Frank Castle is no longer The Punisher! But since he’s moved on it looks like Marvel has given us a new vigilante to carry on in his name and that’s Joe Garrison, a former black-ops agent for S.H.I.E.L.D. who shares the same dilemma that Castle did when it comes to his family (It feels lazy but then again, David Pepose needed a reason for Joe to take on the Punisher mantle instead of a guy with special skills going out to kill people for the sheer fun of it. I mean, this is not a Steven Seagal movie); Despite this being the first issue, I feel as if Joe Garrison already has a handle on dealing out vengeance due to the action being hard-hitting AND a Mr. Hyde appearance thrown in for good measure because after reading this, it feels like an old-school Punisher story….only that it stars a new guy in the role so is the potential there? Yes and from the looks of it, Punisher fans old and new will find this to be another thrill ride of bullets and weapons.

  • 96

    Nerd Initiative

    Matt: Overall, this first issue sets the brutal tone for where this story can go and is a big step into bringing the punisher back in a very big way.

    Marty: Punisher promises an exciting new chapter in the Punisher legacy, combining compelling storytelling with dynamic artwork and memorable character interactions.

    Ken: No Frank Castle, No Problem. Pepose blends the classic Punisher themes with a new character with excellent writing. The action flies off the pages via Wachter and Brown’s vision of unrelenting fury. With the action cranked up to a fever pitch, there is no way you want to miss this book when it drops on New Comic Book Day!

  • 92

    The Comicbook Dispatch

    On first blush the new PUNISHER series seems to be returning to the original concept behind the character. It’s not complicated, and that makes for a story and character that are easy to get into. The art is the perfect tone setter for the story Pepose is telling. As an issue designed to introduce a new series with a new protagonist, PUNISHER #1 is effective and holds a lot of potential.

  • 86

    Monkeys Fighting Robots

    Punisher #1 is a fun issue that should bring in new fans while keeping older ones. David Pepose writes a good script that gives us a new character who seems interesting. The art department had a big hand in making this book a success. Their work and love for the material shows on the page.

  • 85


    Given the tech and the background of Punisher, I’m on board for more. It’s unclear how deep it’ll get with the man behind the skull, or even if he’ll continue to use the name, but there’s enough here to get hardcover Punisher fans excited while drawing interest from casual Marvel fans.

  • 84

    Graphic Policy

    Punisher #1 delivers a new main character, new mission, new sidekicks, and lots of new weapons. But, at its core, it’s the same tale of revenge taking the concept of the character back to his roots. This is a more grounded take on the character, taking things down a notch from the ever convoluted and “superheroic” nature of Frank Castles’ version. Here, we get what works and works so well, a tale of revenge with the action of John Wick. It’s simple and straight to the point and some times that’s exactly what you’re looking for.

  • 84

    The Fandom Post

    The Punisher is off to a good start but we’re also in a place where I think Marvel is doing this wrong. This kind of book needed to be an OGN that dropped at once to tell its tale and establish things. It’ll be interesting enough on a monthly basis but this is a big ask with a $6 cover price even with the strong script and great artwork. It offers a lot but the character is a problematic one in terms of its lineage. I do like how things unfold here and how Garrison’s SHIELD background provides for a different flavor of the concept while still being basically the same. And that he’s not terribly concerned about his life anymore after what happened, so being given the mantle of the Punisher doesn’t even phase him. I’m curious to see where it’ll go but it’s something that I wish had been delivered differently so that the story could get a full execution at once.

  • 80

    Multiversity Comics

    A strong introduction for a new character, with enough parallels to Frank to carry on the legacy of the Punisher, and artwork well-suited for the story.

  • 80

    Derby Comics

    Frank Castle is off in Weirdworld, currently leaving Earth-616 without someone assuming the Punisher moniker. Enter Joe Garrison, the protagonist of David Pepose and Dave Wachter’s series. He’s assumed to be a new Punisher by the media after taking out an entire gang of baddies in gear which looks far too much like Frank Castle’s iconic skull logo. Garrison, a former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, wants nothing to do with the title or his old job, though he appears to be somewhat amenable by the end of the book. Pepose does a great job introducing this brand new character and giving him a backstory that makes him both immediately compelling and sympathetic, yet lacks complexity to make him more than man driven solely by revenge. Wachter’s art sets a dark and gritty tone that’s perfect for a Punisher series and his designs for Joe’s high-tech futuristic weapons are really neat. Pepose will need to double-down on making Joe his own person and not just a stand-in for Frank Castle.

  • 75

    Caped Joel

  • 70

    Fans of classic Punisher stories will find something to like about this. The story is well told and largely fits the mold of what readers expect from a comic that carries this specific title. A few edits here and there could totally change this from being The Punisher, starring Joe Garrison, to The Punisher, starring Frank Castle, and it might be one you’ve probably already read. Which is largely the biggest issue with the new Punisher #1. There’s nothing yet revealed that makes this feel unique on the whole, no specific take on the idea of a gun-toting, revenge seeking maniac in a world with superheroes and super villains, but the potential seems like it could be there… eventually. Right now though, it’s kind of just what you expect from The Punisher, just starring another guy, which feels like not enough.

  • 70

    Major Spoilers

    All told, Punisher #1 feels like Marvel making a conscious attempt to address the unsavory elements of Punisher’s fan base by altering aspects of the premise, modus operandi, and most of all, the symbol, to something new, and for the most part, it works for me. I am not, however, a hardcore fan of Frank Castle and his high-caliber ideas about justice and I have a feeling that portions of Punisher’s existing fans are going to be crying “ripoff,” “woke,” or other meaningless buzzwords, but it’d be great to see this new take stick around for a while.

  • 70

    Lotusland Comics

    Meet the new Punisher, same as the old Punisher. Well, not quite. David Pepose, Dave Wachter, and Dan Brown usher in a new era of punishment without Frank Castle in the comic simply titled ‘Punisher.’ It’s not a complete reinvention of the deadly vigilante as Pepose offers some new wrinkles in the form of Joe Garrison whose backstory isn’t too far off from Frank’s and his focus on tearing through the criminal underworld hits that sweet spot for longtime fans who’ve seen this before. Joe does have some backup so he’s not a loner and as ex-S.H.I.E.L.D., he can handle himself even against some surprising opponents. Pepose’s story construction makes Joe’s introduction easy and quick to follow while establishing everything we need to know. The action and requisite violence are all handled with deft execution by Wachter’s precise and energetic fight scenes that provide the type of chaotic verve you’d want from a Punisher book. Brown’s mix of dark and bright colors adds some dynamic touches to this gritty setting while highlighting the contrasting old-school action with the newer use of technology in the story. ‘Punisher’ doesn’t revolutionize the character’s mythos but relishes in the comfort of basic primal ass-kicking. Perhaps, a tad too familiar and well-traveled but it’s too early to write off the ‘Punisher’ just yet. If you’re a fan who misses the old Punisher, then let the new ‘Punisher’ remind you what made him so great to begin with.

  • 56

    Geek'd Out

    Granted, this is only one issue, and I don’t know what the creative team is planning. Pepose’s script, while not especially exciting or unique, does what’s expected of it, and Wachter’s art has a scratchy, pulpy quality contrasted by surprisingly bright and vibrant colors at times. There’s potential here, but I don’t know how well this Punisher will be received, or if will even endure long enough for them to deliver something worth reading.

  • 55

    Weird Science Marvel Comics

    Punisher #1 is a weird comic because it tells almost the same origin story as Frank Castle’s Punisher with a different man. There’s nothing different about Joe Garrison’s Punisher to set him apart from Frank Castle except his name and a slightly different costume. Considering the original is still alive and kicking, there’s no point to this comic.

  • 50

    Wakizashi's Reviews

More From Punisher (2023)