Friday, May 3, 2002

The Punisher: Welcome Home, Frank (Marvel) - I've heard this is some sort of updating for The Punisher but wouldn't know, having read little of his other exploits. Mainly that's because he's been some sort of right-wing icon, a vision of what Batman would have been like if he was a psychopathic gun nut. Putting a compulsive mass murderer at the center of a book certainly has its black comedy aspects but those never arose in any of the little I've read before: supposedly since he kills only criminals that makes him a "hero." This tpb collects the twelve issues written by Garth Ennis who never seems to know exactly what to do with the character. The dark humor comes through on occasion (though unfortunately Ennis' idea of the grotesque is too close to slightly matured Nickelodeon--Marilyn Manson say--and not any real surrealist/Rabelais/Lynch unsettling subversion or assault) and the bits about The Punisher's daily life have an amusing if somber interest. But there's not much of an overall story which only dilutes any impact. Supposedly The Punisher is trying to bring down a mob family but since he can wade through the swarming thugs and do pretty much anything he wants why doesn't he just end the whole thing in the second issue? In the introduction (which I read last as usual) Ennis claims he's making simple "entertainment" which is a honorable goal but hardly an excuse. He invokes John Woo apparently not noticing that Woo's protagonists tend to end up destroyed both mentally and physically.


Sentence of the Week: "My own study investigates the very different way in which Run Lola Run interrogates multiple performance of identity, suggesting a reading of Tykwer's film as a modern day manifestation of Lola incorporating significant elements of the Pandora myth; in Tykwer's film, Pandora is portrayed as a redeemer associated with life and hope, rather than as a destroyer or sacrifice, linked with degradation, death and despair, as in Berg's opera and other earlier works." (

Why spend the money on grad school when it's easier to learn to write like an academic than it is to learn to think? Toss in buzzwords (interrogate, suggest, reading), jam separate sentences together with a semi-colon, pretend you've proven something you haven't (such as, er, suggesting Lola is something like Pandora and then discussing the film's portrayal of Pandora--which does not actually exist), etc.