Written by: Matthew Rosenberg
Art: Szymon Kudranski, Antonio Fabela, and VC’s Cory Petit
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: January 30, 2019
Matthew Rosenbergs Punisher is definitely one of the books I look forward to each month. Frank Castle has been a character that has always resonated with me, a broken man with a set of skills and a mission of revenge, It’s a trope that never ceases to reel me in. Badass characters like Bruce Wayne, Rambo, John McClain, Jack Bauer, and John Wick have always been my favorites and Frank Castle has always been in the middle of all of that whether it is the comics, underrated video games, awesome B grade movies or the stellar Netflix series its a character that I have always been drawn to.
Rosenbergs Punisher has scratched all my itches so far as a Punisher fan and this issue while definitely being the slowest and most character-driven issue I think Matt has written so far which is a run, for the most part, has been pretty balls to the wall Frank on a mission leaving a pile of bodies in his wake tale that is totally right up my ally it seems like an issue that needed to be there to really give us some more emotional attachment to some of the new characters introduced in the last issue and I thought did it quite well while still giving us some badass Frank beating the piss out of hydra prison guards that we love.
The book starts off with some Hydra agents sitting in a car discussing a possible mutiny against Baron Zemo fearing their usefulness will be shortly coming to an end until the fake Punisher comes along to ruin their day.
A the majority of the rest of the issue is basically building some connection and back story between Frank and his new allies that we met in issue #6 and the sister trying to convince Frank to lead the other prisoners in a revolt against the prison with Frank being less than interested and Frank just generally having some fun beating the Hydra prison guards asses repeatedly and ending up in solitary.
In an interesting twist while Frank is in solitary Taskmaster comes and tells him that Zemo wants him alive and wouldn’t be allowing him to be killed much to the dismay of the Hydra guards that are receiving routine beatings from Frank however a loophole remains that even though they may not be able to kill Frank they can certainly do some damage to his friends.
One of the agents decides to try and mess with the nun and Frank steps in and takes a savage beating for her and is beaten to within an inch of his life awaking in the infirmary with the good sister sitting by his bedside where he finally agrees to lead a coup of the prison.
This issue is definitely a bit slower than the pace of the issue leading up to this and takes some time to build some of the relationships especially between Frank and the Sister.
Probably the part I enjoyed the most was the flashback to when the sister first encountered Frank which was a flashback to an arc from 1987 and had the art style from the period to match which I really thought was cool. I’m assuming its legit as while I’m a Punisher fan I’m not going to lie and say I was reading the character back then but it’s something that I’d like to see more in comics and the idea that Matt Rosenberg has gone back in the character’s history and pull something like that and a character like the sister and bring it into a story in 2019 and link the eras really reinforces the writers reverence for the character.
Definitely a linking issue but still had enough Frank beating some ass to be enjoyable and the flashback was just really cool.