|Cover by Bryan Hitch, Paul Neary, Paul Mounts|
The Punisher #3 (September 7, 2011)
Writer: Greg Rucka
Penciller: Marco Checchetto
Colorist: Matt Hollingsworth
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Inker: Paul Neary
Until now, I haven’t seen a knife fight in free fall. I also have never seen a half-human, half-vulture acid-spewing creature claw at a vigilante like a piece of carrion.
So points to The Punisher #3 for showing me something new. I am warming up to this series quite a lot, actually.
It’s gritty without drowning in melodrama and violent without being over-the-top. Frank Castle has yet to open his mouth, except to grunt or scream, so I really feel as if I haven’t learned anything about this character except for superficial character traits. Obviously, that’s Rucka’s point and he’s doing a solid job in giving the reader an awesome taste of the Punisher without revealing too much of his role in the new wave of mob crime in New York.
His connection to the bride who witnessed her military wedding turn into a massacre is also slowly revealing itself, along with Detective Bolt’s link to the vigilante. Castle clearly has his foot in a lot of a doors but no one seems to comprehend just how much he knows, why he knows it and what he’s going to do with that knowledge. Like Batman, the Punisher is very much aware of what’s going on in his city, only he follows an even stricter moral code (one that doesn’t shy away from murder either).
I love Checchetto and Hollingsworth’s artwork. For a violent and grim comic, it’s frankly beautiful. The free fall fight scene was particularly engaging and dizzying, and I am thoroughly impressed with Checcetto’s rendition of this scene. It could have been a hot mess.
Hollingsworth, meanwhile, does play up the dark realism of the comic, especially with his use of blood red but it is not overwhelming. He contrasts the grim background with clear coloring of the characters. They stand out against the dark city without looking weak.
I highly recommend picking up this series, even though it did suddenly seem to take a fantastic and supernatural turn, which I was not expecting. Rucka, however, manages to balance it all out and for that alone I am very impressed.