Marvel continued to publish Punisher MAX after Garth Ennis departed, but the book was never the same. There were even some good writers and artists involved, but nobody got the character the same way…and they all kept trying to get him the same way.
Then, a little indie upstart named Matt Fraction took on a relaunch of Punisher War Journal, with Ariel Olivetti on art. The painted, clearly defined, brightly colored (by Dean White) book stood in stark contrast to the artists who worked with Ennis. And the writing was without bitterness–Punisher even makes jokes in his interior dialog!
The first arc was a Civil War tie in, too, which was even further evidence that this wasn’t going to be like all the other Punisher books.
In the end, Fraction’s run is probably my third favorite one–after Ennis and Greg Rucka.
We’ll definitely be looking at more issues from this series.