Punishermax #7

Although Bullseye debuted at the end of “Punishermax” #5 and showed off his skills last issue, this issue gives readers a good look at how the assassin operates as he tracks down Frank Castle, revealing himself as completely crazy. But, his methods seem to be working, so who’s to say if he’s truly crazy — aside from acts like sleeping atop the grave of Castle’s wife or demanding to see every place in New York where Castle has ever killed someone. Jason Aaron’s interpretation of the character is wonderfully entertaining and just the right amount insane.

Aaron introduces Bullseye’s methods in a funny manner at the beginning of the issue while also providing a small amount of the character’s back story. The Kingpin’s reaction to Bullseye helps sell the assassin’s odd, eccentric behavior with Fisk increasingly impatient as the issue progresses. Bullseye shows an almost innocent enthusiasm that switches to cold anger quickly. He’s an intriguing character so far and the lengths he goes to to try and understand Castle are considerable.

Castle is juxtaposed with Bullseye and the similarities are not immediately obvious until a cut from Bullseye sleeping atop a bare mattress in a safehouse Castle abandoned to Castle sitting atop a bare mattress in another safehouse. Both are men of considerable determination and questionable sanity. Both study their opponents carefully, more hunt them than anything, but they are two different sorts of killers. Castle here at least shows an effort to maintain his humanity, while Bullseye doesn’t seem to care.

The differences are more pronounced when you see the characters. Steve Dillon’s Bullseye shifts between an angelic grin of pure joy and enthusiasm, and a coldly serious face of determination; Frank Castle is a man carved out of granite no matter what. Dillon’s style brings out the comedic elements of Aaron’s script, giving the book a tone that mixes the Ennis MAX and Marvel Knights runs.

As always, Dillon’s storytelling is strong. While Aaron writes some great one-liners, you don’t necessarily need to read the book to understand what’s going on. One of Dillon’s greatest talents is a crystal clear presentation of the plot. So much is communicated from the body language and facial expressions that Aaron could probably pull back a little more.

The Aaron/Dillon run continues on with the second part of “Bullseye” and it’s a very good comic. This version of Bullseye is entertaining and completely mad, and I can’t wait to see what he does next in his effort to kill Frank Castle.

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