Garth Ennis does it again...
Too often a milestone issue # is hyped beyond belief, and then when you finally read it, the issue doesn't live up to expectations. Something is pulled out of thin air to try and make a "moment" in the book, and it's usually mediocre and not well thought out. After reading Punisher #50, it actually feels like Frank Castle's past actions have led him to the final moments of this issue.
Garth Ennis has once again gone into the mind of the Punisher and it works very well. It would be easy to continue writing the character as a simple cold blooded vigilante with no emotions, but Ennis takes another step into Castle's psyche in this issue. Instead of trying to change the character to make him more complex, he thinks of ways to explain how he is without changing him and accomplishes the same thing. I'm not sure if this would have worked with someone else writing the story, but Ennis makes it work as usual.
Something else that is very rare in this issue, is the return of a villain. It's rare because they're mostly all dead. Don't think that the return of Barracuda is the only thing that comes back from the past to bite Frank in the ass. Things are taken from several past story arcs here to create a real "moment" for the character of Frank Castle in the closing moments of this story. This could very well be the most interesting and important Punisher arc told in years. Maybe some people won't feel the same way, but what is being done in this issue has never been done with the Punisher in over 30 years of his existence. The fact that this is also a MAX book written by Garth Ennis means that anything could happen by the time this arc is finished, and the possibilities are very dark for more reasons then one.
The only complaint I have about this entire issue is the art. It might be more of a personal choice however as I've never been a fan of Howard Chaykin's style. I'm sure some people out there greatly enjoy his work... otherwise I'd question what he's doing in mainstream comic books. I must say however, out of all the work he's done that I have seen, this is probably his best stuff. Still not a fan, but I thought it was greatly improved over what I've seen in the past.