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The Punisher MAX, Vol. 1: In the Beginning (The Punisher MAX #1)

4.16  ·  Rating Details  ·  952 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
Prepare to be punished! For the first time ever, Marvel's one-man-army takes center stage in a no-holds-barred Mature Readers series! Writer Garth Ennis and artist Lewis LaRosa take Punisher to the MAX - literally - as the hunter becomes the hunted! Frank Castle's old associate Micro is back, and he's after Frank. But first, he's got an offer for Frank that he'd better not ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published November 1st 2006 by Marvel (first published January 1st 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,407)
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Apr 03, 2015 Lono rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites

I HATE writing reviews for books that I love. I feel like I can’t do them a bit of justice. That said, In the Beginning set the standard for any and all Punisher stories that followed. This is Ennis at his absolute best. Garth recreated the Punisher in his own dark and violent corner of the Marvel Universe. This shit is grim. As are all of Ennis’s Punisher Max stories. No rubber bullets, light-hearted superhero stuff, or happy endings. So if hardcore noir is not your bag, best look elsewhere.


Jesse A
Sep 12, 2015 Jesse A rated it liked it
Decent introduction to The Punisher. Seemed a bit forced in some places.
Sam Quixote
Jul 08, 2011 Sam Quixote rated it really liked it
Frank takes on the mob, yes again but they don't learn y'see?, but this time the government is after him and a figure from his past - Micro! It's up to Frank to take down the bad guys and turn down the government who wants him to hunt terrorists undercover - but will they take no lightly?

If you haven't read Garth Ennis' excellent first run on Punisher, you're going to love this. It has all the hallmarks that made Ennis so beloved to comics' fans - action, violence, fast paced stories and well r
Nov 29, 2011 Mike rated it really liked it
Dead f'ing serious. This is the concrete-hard world of the Punisher that we'd dreamed about all these years. And for Ennis (who usually goofs around with some crazy people and scenarios) to play this story and characters razor-straight is a sight to behold.

Frank is the picture of conviction, and the enemies arrayed around him are just as serious, almost as psychopathic. The tension is so thick it's hard to breathe. When the action finally explodes it's sharp, brutal and shocking - just like we w
Aug 10, 2011 Sonic rated it really liked it
Brilliant and brutal! Since these Ennis-era Punisher books all have great cover art by Tim Bradstreet, I can never tell them apart or know which ones I have read already, but if I see one at Half-Price-Books I will sometimes pick one up knowing that I MAY have already read it.

I HAD already read this one, this I realized soon enough, but I also realized that I didn't care,
this is good writing!
And my memory is fuzzy enough that it was a mostly fresh read.

Ennis's characters, the set-up, the plot tw
Jul 07, 2014 Brent rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics, fiction, crime
Garth Ennis leads a particularly fine bunch of creators in the gun-ugly stories of Frank Castle, The Punisher. Lewis DeRosa admirably captures mooks in his pencils, but this is stellar inking work by the always on-target ink artist Tom Palmer. Palmer does not overwhelm the pencils but interprets them, and in this young artist's work, he adds experience and heft in his use of line and shadow.
warning: this is The Punisher: it's derivative; it's violent +; and, in the wicked hands of Garth Ennis, i
Andy 117
Dec 28, 2014 Andy 117 rated it really liked it
Out of all the superpowered government agents, interdimensional overlords, walking atomic bombs, animal-human hybrids, and actual Gods that inhabit the Marvel universe, the most out-of-place is undoubtedly The Punisher. In a New York in which teenagers swing around on spider webs, billionaires build invincible flying exoskeletons, and the smartest man on the planet has a body like a super-nubile Stretch Armstrong, Frank Castle just has no feasibility. Much like Casey Jones in Teenage Mutant Ninj ...more
Joe Young
Apr 16, 2011 Joe Young rated it really liked it
Garth Ennis - writer
Lewis Larosa - artist

4/5 stars

The great Garth Ennis writes stories that are dark, violent, gripping and oftentimes funny as hell. He would seem to be the perfect scribe to write for Marvel's darkest knight, and Ennis' work on The Punisher Max series is quite good indeed. However, the stories do seem to be a bit ... strained(?) at times. The Punisher, as imagined by Ennis, is simply not a fun or funny character. More than that, he is a character almost incapable of humor, joy
Mark Desrosiers
Jul 06, 2010 Mark Desrosiers rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
This series gets gruesome right from the start -- a graphic full-page featuring Frank Castle's massive hand covered with his son's brains -- more sinews and tendons and other gory atrocities flooded my retinas throughout. Illustrator Lewis Larosa leaves nothing to the imagination (as far as exploding skulls are concerned), while writer Garth Ennis conjures a cool Mafia-based revenge plot populated with hilarious characters and nutzoid violence.

But the thing about the Punisher is: he's just a ma
Gayle Francis Moffet
Jul 25, 2014 Gayle Francis Moffet rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics, 2014, july-2014
Well, that was more gore than I was expecting. Which is a weird statement to say because I've read Preacher and The Boys multiple times, and you think I'd be desensitized to the gore of Ennis by now, but here we are.

A very strong first arc, well plotted and interesting the whole way through. Felt a couple of the secondary characters fell a little flat, which is rare for the Ennis I've read, but if you're a fan of his work, it's well worth a read. If there's one Marvel character Ennis was born to
Peter Derk
Feb 11, 2014 Peter Derk rated it really liked it
Dig it.

Nice, serious, old man Punisher. And betrayed by his only friend in the world. Very nicely done. Garth Ennis even manages, well, almost manages to go down his regular pathways he uses to make characters seem nutso.

You know, the one thing, I didn't think the idea of "hunting" Bin Laden would age so poorly. Somehow it turned from a crazy, but legit, legitimately crazy idea to sounding like a novelty.

This could, however, be entirely the fault of this guy (
Artemiy Nizovtsev
Nov 20, 2015 Artemiy Nizovtsev rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics, marvel, marvel-max
That was pretty good. Apparently, before this "volume 1", Ennis wrote about 50 issues of Punisher already, but didn't know that when I started reading. But anyway, this felt like the beginning of the story anyway, so I guess it is okay to start here.
The story felt a bit thin and a bit too long, but the feel, the violence, the atmosphere of the book is, of course, something else entirely. This is what Garth Ennis does best. And it really shows.
Now I am not sure if I should just keep reading this
This will always be the Punisher that I love. Ennis is at his goriest but also this isn't as ridiculous as The Boys or Preacher. Intense adult action.
Dec 11, 2014 Harun rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Garth Ennis, Punisher yazmak için biçilmiş kaftan özellikle MAX serisi.
Oct 06, 2012 Rodrigo rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
I wasn't a reader of the Punisher, I started reading this because I've read many of Garth Ennis previous works and felt this could be a good character for him to work with. I was curious and I was hopeful.
Ennis is a good storyteller and gives a solid story arc. The art has its highs and lows, but it's never bad.

Reading this story in a TPB you can see how the pace never slows down, and the tone is kept for the whole six issues. Sometimes in a TPB you find some filling pages, or some filling issue
Oct 14, 2011 Jean rated it liked it
Recommended to Jean by:
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 14, 2012 Phil rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics, crime
I've been a Punisher fan since I was a kid, but I wasn't reading much in the way of mainstream comics when the MAX series was being published. I'm glad I got around to checking MAX out, however, as it (or at least this volume) is the purest Punisher I've ever read.

Although he was introduced in an issue of the Amazing Spider-Man, the Punisher has always occupied a sort of uneasy place in mainstream comics. After losing his family to the Mafia, Vietnam vet Frank Castle takes up his guns and decide
Jul 02, 2011 Joseph rated it really liked it
Given away (to Craig?)

I bought this on a whim (there was a sale), and while I can't say that I didn't like it, I'm still not sure ... well, what the point is. I mean, sure, there's violence and cussing and sexual content, but ... why?

I guess my real problem is that this book lies right on the border between being a superhero comic and a crime comic. Frank Castle doesn't have any superpowers, nor do his adversaries, yet their abilities lie well beyond the realm of the probable.

I mean, I get that
David López
Jun 15, 2015 David López rated it did not like it
At this point is the worst graphic novel I've ever read. Unnecessary violence and a irrelevant storyline, an angry adolescent would have written something better.
Also the drawings like pictures are of high quality but lack any kind of artistic of emotional effect.
Henrik Emilsson
Jan 22, 2016 Henrik Emilsson rated it really liked it
Mer hårdkokt än så här blir det inte. Punisher är en arketypisk hämnare, vilket inte verkar så intressant. Men det görs så pass bra att det fungerar. Flera av birollerna är dessutom minnesvärda, vilket gör det extra kul.
Krystl Louwagie
May 20, 2012 Krystl Louwagie rated it liked it
I think this was well done for Punisher fans. For me, however, it was a little too political/mafia/gang/wars related. Ennis goes overboard with violence and sexual deviancy a lot, and that's even part of what I've loved about his writing-so over the edge. However, without a really strong plot and character development, it's not balanced and it really IS over the top for me. It's not the violence content itself, but it's what it's surrounded and balanced by. Although there really is some decent c ...more
Jan 08, 2016 Murray rated it really liked it
Unapologetically dark and violent. My first formal introduction to the Punisher's comics, and I'll definitely be continuing with this run.

Not one to be read while eating, though!
Oct 26, 2014 Tim rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Should be a good series if this one's anything to go by. Ennis is quickly becoming my favourite writer!
Mark Trenier
Jun 21, 2015 Mark Trenier rated it it was amazing
This series is awesome!My son got me hooked--I guess I'll have to read the whole series.
Jun 05, 2014 Anthony rated it really liked it
Recently discovered Punicher MAX and it is Good - it's the Punisher you want to read.
Jan 26, 2016 Art rated it it was amazing
This is the definition of Punisher.
Manuel Moreira
May 18, 2010 Manuel Moreira rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels, crime
I usually have mixed feelings about Garth Ennis' writing. His overly violent scripts sometimes seem to be produced for shock value alone. Other times, he can surprise us with incredibly heartfelt character moments.
Well, Punisher Max: In the Beginning is a little bit of both and, most of all, it's incredibly well done. Great dialogue, a good deal of (dark) humor and a script that gives Frank Castle (The Punisher) a sort of gravitas that the character hasn't had for a long time.
Jan 13, 2015 Rizo rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel, 2015
"Cuando peleas por la gente que controla el mundo [...]. Peleas en las guerras que ellos empiezan y fomentan. Matas a los monstruos que ellos crean [...] mientras ellos se hacen ricos con el petróleo".
CJ Louis
Jan 29, 2013 CJ Louis rated it it was amazing
This is amazingly written and drawn, the story is well thought out and put together. I really respect that the story follows a timeline and does not change to allow things in. Once I picked the first issue up I could not put it back down, I had to keep reading. This was time well spent and I recommend this series to all comic book fans and non fans.
Feb 16, 2008 Sadeea rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
TIGHT is all I can say about Volume 1 of The Punisher MAX series. Frank Castle seems to jump out of the pages in this novel. The art, dialouge, villains, all combined make one great series. A must read!
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Ennis began his comic-writing career in 1989 with the series Troubled Souls. Appearing in the short-lived but critically-acclaimed British anthology Crisis and illustrated by McCrea, it told the story of a young, apolitical Protestant man caught up by fate in the violence of the Irish 'Troubles'. It spawned a sequel, For a Few Troubles More, a broad Belfast-based comedy featuring two supporting ch ...more
More about Garth Ennis...

Other Books in the Series

The Punisher MAX (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • The Punisher MAX, Vol. 2: Kitchen Irish
  • The Punisher MAX, Vol. 3: Mother Russia
  • The Punisher MAX, Vol. 4: Up is Down and Black is White
  • The Punisher MAX, Vol. 5: The Slavers
  • The Punisher MAX, Vol. 6: Barracuda
  • The Punisher MAX, Vol. 7: Man of Stone
  • The Punisher MAX, Vol. 8: Widowmaker
  • The Punisher MAX, Vol. 9: Long Cold Dark
  • The Punisher MAX, Vol. 10: Valley Forge, Valley Forge
  • The Punisher MAX, Vol. 11: Girls in White Dresses

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