The people that Frank Castle goes after are often petrified of him. They know Punisher won't hesitate to put a bullet between their eyes and they know there's just no hiding from him. But what when happens when his target is someone really high up in the government? And what if the nation now thinks Frank's a bad guy, not someone attempting to clean up this ginormous mess? Suddenly, it's not so simple as identify a target and then shoot the target multiple times, is it? And that's one of the reasons why I'm really enjoying Nathan Edmondson's story. It brings familiar Punisher elements to many of it arcs, but then it tends to play out in unexpected or more interesting ways and all of this has been building up since the very first issue. Sure, it's a little odd Frank tends to get captured so much, but there's so many things that outweigh that. (And to be fair, one time was a deal that we didn't know about until after it played out.) In this case, the objective is to get a lot of exposition out of the way, but it's still handled in an entertaining manner and it never stays in one place for just too long. It's focused on presenting the facts but this doesn't make the issue feel slow, either. There's also a few messages thrown into the script; a supporting character is used to show just how much of an influence the media can play... you know, even when it isn't 100% certain about what exactly is going on. There's a ton of buildup here and now it's just a matter of seeing whether the next issue will give us some payoff. Fingers crossed, yeah?
The other reason I'm enjoying this series: Mitch Gerads. This artist puts so much creativity into the way we experience these panels and the way they're colored. Each scene comes with more than fitting tones and we're constantly getting absorbing and interesting views of what's going on. Little things like switching to the footage from security cameras or the way a certain cameo is slowly revealed are greatly appreciated and it goes to show just how much passion goes into the creation of these pages. Oh, and that cover? Amazing. It really is impressive how we get these brilliant covers and the interiors are equally clever.
This series continues to grow on me, but much of this one feels like it's there to justify what's going on in LA and why. Basically, it's setup -- the calm before the storm. Now, that's not to say it's a boring issue or anything like that. Telling us what we need to know is critical and it does have a few decent messages thrown in there. It's likely an issue that'll serve better in a collection. Also, it's a little disappointing there was nothing substantial with Sammy. After what she went through, I was hoping she'd begin to earn a little more of the spotlight. I'll just have to wait and see what they have in store for her.
Nathan Edmondson and Mitch Geards' THE PUNISHER continues to be a smart, gripping, and awesomely illustrated story. This chapter was pretty much all about explaining what's going on and why, so it may not be all that exciting, but it's getting important information out there and ends on a note that pretty much guarantees everyone will want to pick up the next issue. Man, now I'm left wondering what House of Cards would be like if Frank Castle was part of the story. Frank Castle vs. Frank Underwood? Place your bets!