|Cover by Marco Checchetto|
The Punisher #5 (November 16, 2011)
Writer: Greg Rucka
Penciller: Marco Checchetto
Colorist: Matt Hollingsworth
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Whoa, where have I been?
I somehow managed to miss three Punisher issues and not collapse in a state of mourning at the absence of Frank Castle in my life. I guess I’m just an incredibly strong person.
Anyway, I still love this run though The Punisher #5 was definitely more of an interlude than an actual action-packed storyline continuation. At first that threw me but after I finished it, I genuinely appreciated this issue and the exposition it gave.
The Punisher #5 picks up three months after the sky-bound fight with the Vulture, and Castle is slowly recuperating and revving up his arsenal of weapons to take on the now powerful crime syndicate responsible for the Vulture and the attack on Rachel Alves’ wedding. Meanwhile, it’s Thanksgiving and all the major characters are celebrating in their own way. Castle finds himself on the receiving end of hero worship by a young boy whose parents are serving overseas, causing him to question himself a bit. Somehow this lonely kid manages to find the Punisher’s hideout in Rockaway and somehow he manages to survive this. Castle isn’t all murder all the time, I suppose.
Like I said, nothing really exciting happened in this issue but it was still great fun to read. Rucka, Checchetto and Hollingsworth have managed to craft a world that is both realistic and thoroughly engaging. All of the characters are interesting (except for the crime syndicate, which for some reason hasn’t really pulled me in yet but we’ll see as they get stronger) and even the scenes between Castle and his young fan (until he learns of Castle’s other identity, that is) are gripping. Rucka managed to take what could have been pure maudlin cliché and made it feel new and important even. It was just interesting to see Castle from an unfamiliar perspective and also see how Castle views himself (badly, if the cover is any indication).
Anyway, I’m excited to see this run continue and how Castle will return to the scene after three months of recovery. I’m also rooting for Detectives Clemons and Bolt and am looking forward to the tension between Castle, the detectives and this new powerful crime wave.