Written by Marc Guggenheim
Art by Leinil Yu
I picked this issue thinking that possibly it would be the connection between last year’s Punisher War Zone miniseries and a prequel to the current Thunderbolts series. I quickly realized this is just a standalone story, yet one that is still firmly set in continuity of the whole Marvel Universe. It is difficult to say when exactly this occurred in continuity, but that feels relatively irrelevant.
I have always enjoyed the Punisher when he was set up as Marvel’s Batman. Not that he’s a costumed dark knight who never kills, but rather even if he’s not the smartest or strongest person in the room he’s methodical enough to always make it out and never rely on luck. When I started reading this comic it became very apparent that this is the character trait that Marc Guggenheim is going for in this Punisher story, which was the same in his War Zone miniseries last year. Marc does a fantastic job building up the drama and delivering an authentic feeling court drama featuring the Punisher. I don’t think I’ve ever read a mainstream comic like this. I’m sure there have been Daredevil comics with intense courtroom drama, but I’ve never read them. Because of that, this feels very fresh and new to me. Marc is also a fantastic writer, and has a great way of crafting dialogue with punctuation and dialect to drive scenes and help you understand the characters. Even without the art, just by reading the dialogue I would not find it difficult to picture this entire comic in my head. He really goes above and beyond in this issue to draw the reader in to the story.
I know I may get some flak for this, but I’ve never entirely enjoyed Leinil Yu’s art. He is a fantastic artist, but I think from the Secret Invasion story line and his artwork on New Avengers prior to that, I never liked how he drew women, especially Spider-Woman. He took an elegant female character and made he feel harsh and scratchy. With that said though, his art work is perfect for this book. He does a great job of making the expressions of characters, especially Frank Castle, subtle yet powerful. Also, with my prior criticism of his work, in this book he makes the strong female character attractive and stays away from making her feel harsh or giving her large angular cleavage.
If you are a fan of the Punisher, this is a must read for you. Especially if you were a fan in the 90s, and the violent turn taken in the Garth Ennis line of this character’s series wasn’t your favorite spin on the Punisher, this turn back towards moderate, still dark and violent but not gory, storytelling is very enjoyable and feels like a solid continuation on Greg Rucka’s fantastic run.
Rating: 4 out of 5