17. The Punisher (Marvel Entertainment)
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artists: Michael Lark, Stefano Gaudino, Marco Checchetto, and Mirko Colak
For years, the prospect of the Punisher operating in the same universe as the Avengers made the stomach of almost every fan of the character twist in disgust. But somehow Greg Rucka has managed to make Frank Castle a viable part of the collected Marvel Universe again without losing his edge.
In the newly-relaunched Punisher, Rucka centers on the police force of New York (Detectives Clemons and Bolt in particular) just as much as he does on Frank Castle. The Punisher here is much quieter than he has been in the past, but Rucka has created such a strong supporting cast around him that his words aren’t necessary. These stories are driven by his actions, and there is certainly a lot of that to be found here.
The various artists involved have all done a great job, but Marco Checchetto is the main draw. His art is so detailed and dripping with scum and dirt that it seems tailor-made for this world. Along with Daredevil, The Punisher is one of those rare Marvel books that shies away from big story-lines and just focuses on being an all-around fantastic read.