Comic Vine Review


The Punisher #6 - The Exchange


After last month's issue, it's safe to say that Frank Castle is injured mentally, as well as physically; this month, we see that fallout.

The Good

There's an absence of dialog in this issue when it comes to its two main protagonists, and I think it's wonderfully executed. Frank doesn't say a word at all, and I think it reflects the loneliness and bleakness of last month's amazing issue.

Besides a glaring problem that I have in "The Verdict" (see below), the accomplice-turned-assassin character is being executed quite nicely. The duality of Punisher (in white snow camo) and her (in wetwork black) contrasts nicely, and looks to provide us with some conflict in the next two issues. My guess is that they'll be forced to work together to achieve the same goal, only to reach some impasse that they can't cross together: either Rucka is going to try to make it seem like she's a match for Frank, or they'll separate to reconvene later.

The fact that the "front page" of the Daily Bugle issue from DAREDEVIL #6 shows up on a laptop screen is a wonderful use of continuity. A+.

The Bad

Frank's killing of the guard in the opening pages didn't seem to fit the Punisher's MO; besides being a lackey for a larger purpose, he didn't seem to be hurting anyone. While the book has been a spot-on character study into Frank Castle otherwise, this moment made me cringe a little bit.

I kept trying to go back and find some reason why the ski security guys had to die, and didn't come up with anything good: if they were established to be part of the larger Exchange syndicate, maybe I could've seen why they were taken out, but for all we know, they were just doing a job.

The Verdict

If anything, this issue really reminded me of a PUNISHER MAX storyline where a woman that's crossed paths with Frank becomes an assassin to get revenge. It doesn't make this issue any worse, but it keeps me from fully appreciating it. I mean, I thought this was why Punisher was turned into Franken-Castle and back again: to get new, exciting stories. The fact that this issue feels cribbed from another series starring the same character leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Which is a pity, because otherwise Rucka is doing wonderful things with the character, and his characterization. It's rare that I thoroughly get a hero's motivation and psyche like I do with Frank Castle here, and that's cause for celebration.


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