Writer: Daniel Way
Artist: Steve Dillon
Colors: Guru eFX
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Cover: Julian Totino Tedesco
Variant Cover: Billy Tan
Editor: Jordan D. White
THE STORY: Red Hulk explains to Deadpool that he depowered Samuel Sterns (formerly supervillain The Leader) and is now feeding him power on a very temporary and limited basis to get information he needs. Meanwhile, Punisher and Venom are helping the citizens of Kata Jaya fight General Awa, their dictator, and Elektra is in the hands of Sterns’ brother, Madman. When Red Hulk and Deadpool bring Sterns to Punisher and Venom, Venom objects and Punisher shoots Sterns in the head.
MY THOUGHTS: This book’s first issue showed real promise in my eyes, but the second issue became a confusing mess. As of this third issue, we have now hit a level that I can only describe as ten kinds of bland. Try as I might, there’s just nothing to really get into here.
And I’m at a loss for how you can even make this concept bland. We’ve got Red Hulk, Venom, Punisher, Deadpool, and Elektra teaming up to go take out some mofos. At very least this book should be fun, and at best it should be a violent opera of killers and villains. So for me to be entirely and irrevocably bored by issue 3 would be damn impressive if it wasn’t so infuriating.
Not only are the story and the storytelling bland, but the art here is just as boring to look at. For the first two pages after the recap page, featuring the Punisher telling some soldiers to shoot a monkey, I was lamenting the relentlessly blue skies filling every panel as just a very wrong choice for the scene and the book in general, and very uninspiring to look at. I wanted some red in the panel somewhere to break it up and highlight the red skull on Punisher’s chest. Then we switched scenes and I remembered to be careful what I wished for. In this scene, we had Red Hulk and Deadpool (both characters who are predominantly red with just a splash of black) in a shipping container with backgrounds of solid red. I asked for a BIT of red, not panels that were nothing but. This made for an effect that was every bit as uninteresting as the blue, if not more so. And the whole issue continued pretty much in that way, with outdoor shots that were either too blue or entirely brown and indoor shots that were 99% red with a hint of black. The writing does nothing to carry you through the reading of this issue, so it really falls to the art to make your eye flow from panel to panel and page to page, and this art did the opposite. If the issue wasn’t so short and light on content I don’t think I would have even made it to the end.
This is also one of those issues that’s just a reviewer’s nightmare, because when nothing inspires any interest or thought, what is there really to say? I could sit here and call out each individual page and scene as bland, but let’s face it – we’re all tired of that word already, aren’t we? Even thinking back on it is just boring me. And really, that’s what makes a bland issue even worse than a truly bad issue. At least with an issue that is spectacularly awful there are things to talk about and it stokes your passions, even if in a bad way. But this issue? You begin to forget it the moment you’re done with it.
So why go on through a long review when I’ve already said all there is to say? This is a much shorter review than I typically like to put out, but frankly I have to rely on the issue I’m reviewing and this one just doesn’t support a longer review.
GRADE: 1.5 regrettable purchases out of 5. If I’m this bored, it can only get better from here, right? Right?