- Written by: Jason Aaron
- Art by: Jesús Saiz, Paul Azaceta
- Colors by: Dave Stewart
- Letters by: VC’s Cory Petit
- Cover art by: Jesús Saiz
- Cover price: $3.99
- Release date: May 25, 2022
Punisher #3 takes readers back to a simpler time when 10-year-old Frank Castle felt the pull of violence to stop the screaming voices of the innocent in his head. Was the Punisher always destined to be the King of Killers or is something darker at play?
Was It Good?
Punisher #3 is another solid entry in the series by writer Jason Aaron. The abundant number of kills come fast and furious. The art is great. And the mystery of Maria’s resurrection appears to be taking some unsettling turns. That said, there’s an increasing amount of sameness in this issue compared to the last, and it’s starting to feel like a slow train going nowhere.
When last we left the Punisher, readers were shocked to find out the Hnd had been watching and nurturing Frank’s killing instincts since he was a young boy. Some readers and pundits were rightfully off-put by the retcon to Frank’s origin because it diluted the tragedy of his family’s death as the overriding source of his motivation to become a killer. By painting Frank as a born killer from an early age, it makes the loff of his family incidental. Frank loves his family, but in this new version of the Punisher’s origin, their death makes no difference to his mission.
Still, Frank’s love for his family drives him into submission to the Beast, knowing that resurrection is possible. The power of his family’s resurrection secures Frank’s obedience to the Beast, and the scenes involving Maria are a potent mix of hope and revulsion. Frank’s tie to a resurrected Maria forms the emotional undercurrent of the story, but everything around the scenes is filled with non-stop killing. And the non-stop, over-the-top mass killing is where the series feels like it’s starting to tread water. Frank hints at continuous killing until his war is over, but there’s no clear definition of what “over” truly means, and it comes off as killing until there’s nobody left to kill, which isn’t very interesting.
In between the current day developments, readers get a flashback to Frank’s first kill as a boy. Strangely, it’s less shocking than you might expect and true to a traditional Punisher character, except in a child’s body. The killing doesn’t lessen the impact of the retcon, but it makes Frank’s childhood less complex, and not as easy to dismiss as saying “he was always a psycho.”
The artwork in this issue is very good. The coloring has an airbrushed quality that looks a little odd on the skin (faces, hands, etc.) of exposed characters, but the visuals are generally solid.
About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of ComicalOpinions.com, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.
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Bits and Pieces
Punisher #3 is another solid entry in the series with plenty of violence, great art, a flashback that fills in lanks about his past to make his retcon a teeny bit more palatable, and strong emotional bits surrounding Maria. That said, the well-choreographed violence is starting to feel like more of the same without a clear direction for Frank’s mission.