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: August 10, 2022
Punisher #5 spins a yarn of young love as readers learn the details surrounding how Frank first met Maria and how their romance changed the trajectory of the Punisher’s life. Was Frank’s future as the Fist of the Beast always part of a plan?
Is It Good?
Punisher #5 is a serviceable entry in the series, spending a majority of the time in a flashback showing Frank’s early years in middle school and beyond. We see how Frank made a reputation for himself, made friends, and fell in love as the urge for violence took a backseat to normal life. Tragedy has a way of resurrecting old habits.
The strength of this issue is Aaron’s deep character work on the younger years of Frank Castle. Whether or not that character work was needed is up for debate, but you can’t argue against its quality. We know from the previous issues how Frank had a propensity for violence, but you can’t connect the dots between anti-social brute to husband and father without help, so Aaron lays it out here in rich, dramatic detail.
That said, you could argue this is a breather issue as very little progress is made on the plot. Most of the issue is flashbacks. The events happening in the present, however, are impactful and intriguing. We learn the High Priestess is not human. We learn that Maria’s resurrection has limitations. And we learn the OG Punisher symbol may have a different origin from what anyone suspected. Again, these revelatory bits are intriguing, but there aren’t enough of them to make this issue truly satisfying.
The art is great in this issue. Saiz’s style is clean and sharp, reflecting the lethality of the ninja swords used to mete out swift death. Azaceta’s rough art style creates a clear line of separation between the present and the past, but his style may be too rough to rise above anything more than an acquired taste.
About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of ComicalOpinions.com, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.
Punisher #5 takes a semi-break from the main plot to show readers how Frank Castle matured in school with a chance at living a normal life until tragedy and circumstance put him on a darker path. The dramatic writing is well done, and the bits of information we get in the present is intriguing, but the flashbacks (which take up most of the issue) don’t do much for the present story.