Written by Marc Guggenheim
Art by Leinil Yu
This issue (in conjunction with the previous issue) is efficiently written and expertly penciled. All-in-all, these two issues are fantastic examples of comics at their best. The story told within is crafted perfectly for the tale being told and the execution of this story also hits the mark. This story is a great example of the types of stories that can be told perfectly in comics, but not as well in any other medium.
While this story may fall under some radars, if you are a fan of the punisher or court room dramas I cannot insist you pick this up more. The whole story paints a great portrait of who Frank Castle really is. All along the notion that he is mentally ill is constantly thrown around, but by the end you realize not only is he perfectly sane, but he may also be one of the smartest people in the room.
Guggenheim tells this narrative through a War Journal perspective that gives great insight into the Punisher’s thought process while not giving away the end game. Guggenheim draws the reader in by throwing them off balance with presumably obscure and coincidental bits of information. He also makes the obvious move of bringing Matt Murdock into a court room drama set in the Marvel Universe. Having his lawyer perspective played out in the scene gives snippets of their relationship away while also being a great cameo for those of us that love the Marvel continuity. I can honestly say that there was no part of the writing of this issue that I didn’t love. It was so well done, that when I was finished with issue one I wanted to go back and reread both issues immediately. If anything, issue two feels slightly better written than issue one, but it is fairly nominal in difference.
I believe this issue may contain some of Leinil Yu’s best ark work I’ve seen in comics he’s drawn. He steps up his already great game and delivers not only some of his best work, but also crafts a well told story through his art. Some artist can get too obsessed with working outside of conventional paneling that they can lose focus on the story they are trying to tell. Yu brings in just enough traditional panel work along with nontraditional schemes to make a court room drama actually seem exciting. If I could fault any one detail, there is a panel where Matt Murdock is smiling that makes him looks villainous. It actually works, but that one panel stumped me for a second and I had to read that page again.
I cannot stress how much I recommend this issue (and the first one in this two issue series). The lack of a Punisher series right now has created a vacuum, and these two issues have filled it. After Rucka’s run and Guggenheim’s two miniseries, Nathan Edmondson has a very high bar set for him. For those whose last Punisher series was Frankencastle, not so high a bar.
Rating 5 out of 5