Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Punisher #4

Cover by Paul Neary

The Punisher #4 (October 12, 2011)
Writer: Greg Rucka
Penciller: Marco Checchetto
Colorist: Matt Hollingsworth
Letterer: Joe Caramagna

I’m having trouble deciding which is my favorite Marvel discovery upon beginning this blog.

At first, it was definitely Avengers Academy but now I’m all about Thor and those crazy Asgardians but everytime I read Rucka’s Punisher, I love it more and more. So right now, it’s a toss-up between Thor and the Punisher. They couldn’t be more different but that’s fine since I am a very complicated person.

Anyway, The Punisher #4 totally kicks ass and for a long time after reading it, that was my only coherent reaction. Though this issue is not as action-packed as the previous one, it dealt with the fallout of the Punisher’s actions as a crazed vigilante and did a solid job illustrating the way in which the Punisher affects not only the bad guys, but the local community, the police and, in this case, the would-be victim of a wedding massacre several issues back. I’ve always really loved comics that portrayed even the lone heroes’ connection to their community; like how Batman is so connected to Gotham and vice versa.

I am also enjoying the main female character in this series, the reporter Norah Winters (they’re almost always reporters, I’ve noticed. If they’re not assistants or actual heroes/villains, they’re reporters. I’m not sure what to make of this just yet except that, in being a reporter, as Billy Crystal said in When Harry Met Sally, a woman is writing about what happened to other people, not herself). Of course, Norah Winters does get involved with the action of the plot and even plays driver to a wounded Punisher.

My favorite aspect about this comic was the brief glimpse into Frank Castle the man, though it was very superficial and decidedly on the Punisher’s terms. He finally spoke albeit very tersely and in mostly monosyllables. We did get to see one of his presumably many hideouts that contained an arsenal of weapons that, as a fan of first-person shooter games, terribly impressed me (though I know that if I saw even one gun in real life, I’d probably run screaming in the other direction). I also couldn’t help but enjoy how grimly stoic the Punisher is, especially when he attends to his own wounds in a veterinary clinic and leaves wads on cash on the table to cover his use of their supplies. I cracked up at that. The Punisher is like a darker, much, MUCH more violent version of a Gary Cooper archetype and I love him for it.

We’re also inching closer to understanding the Punisher’s involvement with the now widowed bride and also Detective Bolt’s relationship with the vigilante. There have been some hints but nothing substantial. I am also excited to see how far Norah Winters goes with her story and if she decides to publish it or not. Her involvement is similar to that of the reader’s and I know she is placed in this comic as our conduit to the action. That said, she is pretty fun and not terribly flat and one-dimensional. I kind of like her.

The art by Checchetto and Hollingsworth is still amazing and some of my favorite work I’ve seen in a long time. I love their rendition of New York City and their people are also decidedly non-cartoony and over-the-top.

In other words, I love this comic.

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