The Punisher #4
We pickup where we left off with Jigsaw disguised as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and “Frankie” in an NYPD holding cell. The sergeant agrees to hand the Punisher over despite Frank’s warning that the agents are not what they appear. Jigsaw breaks character and shoots the cop in the back before he can release the Punisher. The fake S.H.I.E.L.D. agents gun down the remaining police officers but one is able to pass his sidearm to Frank.
When the smoke clears…
Nick Fury is revealed to be the Chameleon. Meanwhile Jigsaw is taking on his third role of the book (this is turning into a Tyler Perry movie) as Captain Exposition: “Wall of bodies protected him from the blast.” He suspects Frank has escaped into the electrical room but: “He wouldn’t go in there if he could get trapped. He has some other…” Cap is right, the lights cut out.
A henchman produces a lighter. The electrical room door is now open. Having apparently never seen a movie he proceeds inside and gets shot in the back of the head.
After a protracted shootout the sound of sirens forces Jigsaw and the Chameleon to retreat. Frank is hit. He escapes through an air vent.
Frank tries his best to patch himself up at his hideout. The plot device, sorry I mean the TV informs us, I mean, Frank that he is being blamed for the police officers deaths. Black Widow puts a gun to Frank’s temple, no hang on, Frank Castle, no I was right the first time! As it turns out she is confident that he didn’t shoot the sheriff or the deputy and asks him what he’s going to do about Hydra.
Garron Winslow is the warm up act as new Hydra recruits are treated to a giant smelly Zemo facetime session.
Winslow makes to escape but as Frank tortures a Hydra agent (boo torture) he returns with the rings of the Mandarin and zaps the Punisher. TO BE CONTINUED…
The book opens with an arresting (zing) opening page, with some nasty close ups of Jigsaw and then we’re straight back into the action. Three pages in and a whole police station has already been killed off, I think Jigsaw must have been trying to beat the Governator’s time or something. So as with previous issues it’s very fast paced and the action barely lets up. I was once again responding verbally to the visceral violence on display and that’s down to Szymon Kudranski’s cracking art. Page six in particular (included in the recap above) has possibly the best combination of lettering and art that I’ve seen. It was also nice to see a return to the Punisher of the shadows from the first two issues.
That being said there aren’t quite as many standout panels as previous issues but to be fair that’s an incredibly high standard to live up to.
There’s less dark humour in this issue which is a shame but really my main problem with the book is that it continues the problematic portrayal of torture that was also present in issue two. I have written about this already so I won’t go into too much depth here, but briefly it is not the torture that bothers me, that is actually appropriate for the Punisher character. What I cannot abide is the book promoting the view that torture is an effective means of gathering intelligence. This is made even more frustrating by the fact that it occurs on the penultimate page. I was enjoying this issue and then it tripped the finish line.
Another action-packed Punisher comic undercut by pro-torture propaganda.
The Punisher #4: Same as it ever was
- Writing - 6.5/106.5/10
- Storyline - 6.25/106.3/10
- Art - 8.75/108.8/10
- Color - 8.75/108.8/10
- Cover Art - 8.5/108.5/10
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