Frank is on the warpath in a foreign country and armed to the teeth. As he nears his target General Petrov, the need for his new hardware becomes more apparent. The hired S.H.I.E.L.D. goons that re-appropriated all the tech left when the organization collapsed are more than happy to take on the Punisher.
Writer: Mathew Rosenberg
Cover Artist: Clayton Crain
Artist: Guiu Vilanova
Colorist: Lee Loughridge
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Editor: Jake Thomas
Publisher: Marvel Comics
What You Need to Know:
Frank has been approached by the super spy himself, Nick Fury to clean up a mess on foreign soil partially aided by the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. The European state of Chernaya has gone rogue, taken over by a military leader and has acquired the resources Fury had stationed there. The Punisher has come looking for the man responsible. Aided by the War Machine armor, Castle has never been more of a one-man army.
(Warning, spoilers ahead if you haven’t read the issue)
What You’ll Find Out:
The Punisher is slowly trying to find his target and this issue, lands in a small town where a young male is being detained for ‘morality’ laws against homosexuals. The first guard is flattened by Frank’s rather sudden descent. All he wants is the General, but the other soldiers spit back retorts. Castle is a little offended and takes one on a high-velocity sky ride and with no suit to protect him, the soldier’s body is quickly pulled apart, as his suit warns him of such dangers. After freeing the boy, he asks the Punisher if he is here to free other civilians and shows him where. Frank approaches the facility and again gives them an option to surrender but is laughed at and gives an appropriate response.
When the freed prisoners tell him there are many other places like this, the Punisher figures it will be a good way to get the general to come to him and moves from camp to camp wreaking havoc. When he comes across one with no life signatures, he is suddenly attacked by another armored individual. This time he gives Frank the ultimatum to leave or surrender. Castle is here to do neither of those things and the mercenary is happy to oblige in a third option. While seemingly having the upper hand, the merc. is soon defeated by Frank. Now the real trouble starts with multiple armored individuals arriving and the option to leave is no longer on the table. This time they truly do have the upper hand and while he goes out fighting, things don’t end well for Castle.
What Just Happened?
Again we find Frank trying to locate the target as he would any mob boss or drug dealer, start with the foot soldiers and work your way through them till there is an answer. Castle then decides to get the generals attention by undoing all his work and freeing his prisoners. It doesn’t take long before he gets some of that attention in the form of the rogue S.H.I.E.L.D. agents that Fury had told him about. At first, there is only one to deal with, in a more advanced suit and trained how to use it. This makes the agent think he has the advantage over Frank but is quickly and brutally reminded what a real soldier is about.
Things get a little tougher from here on, this time there are multiple agents, all in better suits, with better training. Frank doesn’t let that intimidate him and while he hasn’t been trained how to use the suit, he still has a good understanding of what it’s capable of and how he can use some of that in less conventional ways. But try as he might, the odds are stacked too heavily in this fight against the Punisher and he is left in a rather dire position with a cliffhanger ending.
I must say, I am enjoying the art on this run from Vilanova, the clean lines mixed with the scratchy sort of texture give the grit that goes along with the tone of the story. The coloring from Loughridge is really starting to draw me in too, with more texture in the use of color for the gun blasts, repulsor rays, and fire bursts. Then there is the moody contrast of the dark blacks, grays, and blues with the bright oranges and yellows. Rosenberg peppers the story with more dialogue between Frank and the suit, basically like a secondary character. And normally Castle has someone to deal with all the technological worries of his gear, but this creates a different dynamic as he has to figure it out as he goes along. It’s still got the makings of a good Punisher story, but Castle is in unchartered territory and makes things more difficult, but somehow he manages to simplify it still.
Final Thought: The story is starting to get traction and the creative team has found the right mix of elements to tell the story well. Even after his mission is accomplished, there is so much more Frank could do with this suit. But first, he has got to get out of a rather deadly situation. Can’t wait for the next issue!
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