Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Art: Syzmon Kudranski
Colors: Antonio Fabela
Letters: VC’s Cory Petit
Baron Zemo goes nuclear, Fast and Furious motorcycle chases, Sister Christian, epic explosions, and a relentless, punishing pursuit all in this week’s hi-octane issue of The Punisher #11 by Matthew Rosenberg. Let’s dive into this action-packed issue!
WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
Rosenberg opens the issue with a too fast and too furious motorcycle chase that reminded this action movie fan of multiple Mission Impossible movies. Bullets flew past everyone while Sister Mercy was drug off the back of a motorbike. After an explosion knocks out a few bikes, Frank finds Sister Mercy dead in the road, which amps our favorite anti-hero up to 11! Realizing that Castle won’t stop AND that he’s out for blood, the motorbike crew heads back to Baron Zemo’s tower for some assistance. However, the Baron gets word that the Punisher is still on his way, cuts his losses, and nukes the dang place in order to escape his wrath… or so he thought.
You see, Zemo announced to all of Bagalia that it was the Punisher who blew up the tower and blamed him for the violent interactions within the city while Baron Zemo hightailed it out of dodge. Frankie boy got wind of this, tracked down Zemo to the airfield, grabbed the plane tire, and hung on for dear life. Once again, this triggered more Mission Impossible vibes. Finally, in order to survive the Punisher’s onslaught, Baron Zemo ejected from the plane and ordered his Hydra team to shoot the plane down. The issue ends with readers wondering if Frank Castle survived. SPOILER ALERT… there is another issue after this so…
Secret Agent Frank Castle?
This was a fun read that elevated Frank Castle to ACTION HERO. However, I never pictured him this way before. Sure, he has military experience, and as of last week took down frost giants, hung in there with some of the deadliest villains across the Marvel Universe, and has even fought back the Hulk. But, this issue made him appear almost superhuman and overpowered.
I felt like I had to suspend my belief as to the Punisher’s capabilities, and felt as if he was almost a trained secret agent with enhanced speed, agility, and strength. Ultimately, I felt like I was watching Tom Cruise, Ethan Hunt, Jason Bourne, Jack Reacher, or even James Bond… but of course as a killer. Is that a bad thing? Well, I ask the readers that question. It’s not the Punisher I remember BUT it wasn’t a bad take or direction for the character.
At times, Syzmon Kudranski’s art mixed with the panel layouts made the issue confusing and disoriented. In addition, Antonio Fabela’s colors and inks were extremely dark making many of the characters unrecognizable. Granted, the inks helped elevate the mood and added depth to the issue, however, this reviewer enjoys seeing the faces of his heroes and villains through their fights and encounters.
That said, this art team amplified the level of tension and frustration that Baron Zemo had with the Punisher by taking away backgrounds, zooming in on specific word balloons, and adding lines to intensify the arguments. This art team helped set the overall tone of tension, aggression, and fear through each page. In addition, I loved that the bullets literally flew through one panel into the next. As much as the action sequences came off as confusing at times, a second read helped with the clarity and opened my eyes to some of the hidden nuances through the issue.
Let’s Land the Plane
As someone who doesn’t thoroughly read every issue of The Punisher, nor views him a favorite character, Rosenberg’s take felt different… but I really liked it. Now, I don’t know if that was Rosenberg’s intent but I highly enjoyed it. That said, I can also see how diehard Punisher fans may not like this take of the character. For this reader, the issue was exciting and fun. It felt like an action movie on steroids and I was happy to reread it in order to figure out some of the extra details. Secret Agent Frank Castle has a good ring to it! Maybe a direction for the future? We shall see.