Basically after Garth left the book, a trio of crime novelists were brought in to each contribute an arc to the story. Gregg Hurwitz wrote the first one called Girls in White Dresses, which I had read a while ago and wasn't a huge fan of even though one of my favorite Punisher artists, Laurence Campbell, did the interiors. I just felt like the storytelling could of been better and clearer overall, and while its not a terrible arc, the fact that it directly followed Ennis did not do the story any favors.
To keep it short, Six Hours to Kill was a fine enough story, definitely worth a read if you're a Punisher Max fan, and although it doesn't quite measure up to Ennis' run either, not much really does so I think you'll be entertained by a good Punisher story if you give it a chance. Welcome to the Bayou was a much different story, and if Six Hours to Kill was more of a straight up hard-boiled crime story, WTTB was a southern fried horror tale in the vein of the Hills Have Eyes… with Frank Castle. Goran Parlov, a frequent Ennis collaborator on his run provides the art, and this helps give the story a Barracuda vibe throughout (Parlov drew the Barracuda arc and mini during Ennis' run). Overall the story was again fine, but in many ways was fairly clique (because of course all rednecks in the backwoods want to throw bbq's with the "other" white meat as the main course). It was a short, amusing story that moves well though, and again worth reading if you're a fan of the Punisher, or maybe horror stuff like "The Hills Have Eyes" or "The Devil's Rejects."
This book takes place hundreds of years before the first film, when humans could still speak and they lived with (but apart) from the Apes in an uneasy peace. A peace that is shattered when the Ape lawgiver is killed by a mysterious human assassin. In the first trade, collecting the first 4 issues, the simmering water reaches full boil by the end and I absolutely cannot wait to read the next collection to see what awaits the two races. Social commentary about our culture and world has always been embedded in the Apes mythos (thankfully not too on the nose, but its there), however, what I really loved about this story was the family and relational aspect. The Apes and humans at this point in the world have practically lived side by side for generations, and that has led to some complex interweaving of relationships, such as the mayor of "Skintown" (the human settlement) and a high ranking Ape having been both raised by the elderly lawgiver who was slain. The tension that erupts from the assassination brings certain relationships to the forefront, and it has the effect of really investing the reader in what is happening, because you understand the characters and their history. Kudos to Daryl Gregory for crafting such a deep, rich world in the span of only a few issues, I really hope he is on the book for the long term.
If you have even a passing interest in the world of the Apes, or maybe saw the recent movie, do yourself a favor and read this book. And you know what? Even if you haven't ever been interested before, you should try it anyways.
This is just damn dirty good comics.