Freed from prison in the supervillain-run rogue nation of Bagalia, Punisher does what he does best and kills a lot of bad guys with a maximum number of bullets and explosions. As the chaos unfolds and Baron Zemo sees his dream of legitimizing Bagalia as a recognized nation literally burning to the ground around him, Jigsaw makes a very good point:
Meanwhile, the Punisher has a tank. Need I say more?
Big explosions. Big action. Writer Matthew Rosenberg goes completely gonzo ’80s action movie this issue, throwing away any and all pretense this book may have previously had about being abut anything other than over-the-top insanity. And it’s a Punisher comic, so why not? There’s no better vehicle for wacky, prolonged violence unto bad guys. And to a certain extent, it’s dumb fun – and that’s okay.
To that end, though, it can’t be said that this issue has any real substance. From start to finish it’s literally just the Punisher killing Hydra goons in ways that are generally obvious in their set-up. Even when Rosenberg’s not completely telegraphing how a scene will play out – the dam sequence being the obvious example here, though I don’t want to spoil it – there aren’t any stakes, just a series of highly-staged sequences that allows Frank to kill as many people as possible for the sake of it. The real dramatic meat doesn’t come until near the end of the issue:
The other problem I have with this issue is how inept Baron Zemo comes off as. He’s one of Marvel’s A-list villains, and here he comes off as completely hapless.
I get that this scene is played for laughs, but doing so undermines Zemo as a threat. And since we know Zemo, as an established villain, won’t be killed, the only purpose he serves is as a straw man for Punisher to rage against. There’s also this grating bit that is completely out of character:
If a writer clowns on his villains as a threat too much, the story winds up with zero tension, because there’s never any question as to how the hero will prevail. This issue winds up lost somewhere in the middle between Cool Punisher Kills and Comically Inept Villainry, and as a result becomes a forgettable wash.
With an over-reliance on big action scenes and generic cannon-fodder, no-stakes cardboard cut-out villains, this issue of Punisher winds up being a misstep due to leaning too far into the character's action roots. It might read better in the context of the entire story once this arc's all said and done, but as a single issue, its lack of depth or really much of anything interesting renders it almost instantly forgettable once done reading.
Punisher #10: Tropical Island Getaway (With Explosions)
Writing - 5/105/10
Storyline - 7/107/10
Art - 7/107/10
Color - 8/108/10
Cover Art - 6/106/10
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