Current Reviews


Punisher #43

Posted: Friday, January 12, 2007
By: Kevin Powers

Writer: Garth Ennis
Artists: Lan Medina (p), Bill Reinhold (i), Raul Trevino (colors)

Publisher: Marvel Comics (MAX)

Thank you, Garth Ennis. You may be one of the most sick and twisted individuals that ever put a pen to a speech bubble, but thank you. This is the Frank Castle we know and love, and he’s only in the issue for the first two pages. I was excited when Frank Castle was brought back to the mainstream Marvel Universe in Civil War. But with the recent happenings in that story and my overall disappointment with how it all went down between my two favorite Marvel characters (Captain America and Punisher), I thank Garth Ennis for reminding me why Punisher went under Marvel’s mature MAX line. I thank Garth Ennis for reminding me why the Punisher seems much more suited to thugs and mafia types than pulling the trigger at the first sight of a guy with a flaming pumpkin for a head.

Everything that the Punisher has done in the past 42 issues of the madness and violence this series entails is about to bite him in the butt. I’m talking everything, even back in the first issue when the Punisher wipes out an entire mob family with an M60. A group of widows have gotten together to devise a plan to kill Frank Castle and avenge their husbands. While the animosity and tension between the women is blatantly clear, they have one common goal: the death of the Punisher.

Through the initial introduction of the widows, the apparent ringleader actually makes a valid point regarding the Punisher’s character. This is brilliant writing by Garth Ennis and genius in the way he brings many of the major events from the MAX run to a head. The widows’ ringleader makes the point that the deaths of their husbands had nothing to do with the death of his family and that he needs to be brought to justice. This is an extremely valid point, and an organized group of Lady Punishers is born.

A new female character is also introduced, no doubt to replace the sorely missed O’Brien. The woman doesn’t even hesitate to offer coitus to an unsuspecting man who tries to hit on her at the bar. During their rendezvous, she beats the crap out of the guy and through the art and the dialogue, the first REAL glimpse of the character is given. And on the last page of the issue everything becomes clear. Minor Spoiler: Our new Femme Fatale has it out for our new group of Lady Punishers.

While the Lady Punishers all describe how their husbands were lost at the hands of the Punisher, two things become evident. The first is in regards to the story itself: the men were basically killed out of their own stupidity and their own overconfidence, thinking either the Punisher would never find them or each had a chance against the Punisher. Artists Lan Medina, Bill Reinhold and Raul Trevino do a great job capturing the emotion and the violence of the incidents as the women describe them.

But that brings me to the next element made clear through the women’s description. If you have just jumped on to this title and missed the first few arcs, the three pages of description do little justice to really capture the chaos that has ensued over even the last 20 issues. There has been so much blood, so much pure madness, that going back to actually see these events happen is worth the time and money.

This looks to be yet another promising seven issue story arc by Garth Ennis featuring great art, plenty of blood, guts, sex and guns. Not to mention the Punisher is once again caught in a treacherous predicament where including himself, three ultra-violent parties are all included.

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