Review: The Punisher #4 – Blood and ice-cream
Be warned – there are spoilers in this review, and dinosaurs and ice-cream
MADNESS AHEAD, TROUBLE BEHIND! The PUNISHER tracks the psychopathic FACE and his madness-inducing drug EMC to a derelict insane asylum! But Punisher’s got his own tail: DEA agents, and Face…DRIVING A TANK. The little girl in the Punisher’s passenger seat might be safer on the side of the road!
Hello, and welcome once again to my ongoing review for The Punisher series. We have now reached the fourth issue in the brand new run of these comics, and I think we should just dive right into the review. I’ll begin at perhaps the best place to start a review – at the beginning. I really enjoyed the opening panels for this issue. It’s almost always a good choice to open with a little bit of humour if the situation presents the opportunity.We see a man on the phone to the emergency services. He’s a civilian; not too happy about his present situation, and he is demanding that the authorities send some people out there right away because “…them psychos might hurt someone!”. Zooming out a little, we discover that this unfortunate man, along with his truck, has been completely overturned by either Frank Castle in his van, or FACE in his own vehicle. I thought it was funny. Totally expected, but still, it got a laugh out of me.
If you have read the above synopsis and seen The Punisher #4’s front cover, you’d be forgiven for feeling a little lied to. Both mention / show a tank, yet there are no tanks featured. FACE and his cronies are merely driving a truck. Fine, publishers need to try and drum up hype for a comic, but there are ways to do that without talking crap. This is The Punisher!
Anyway, that’s my only real issue with the issue (heh!), everything else is gravy. The plot has been advanced to the point where it no longer contains yet another agent chasing Frank, but rather an agent chasing Frank so she can discover the location of her close friend, and fellow DEA agent – Henderson; and there are some really nice looking panels this month. Particularly the panels showcasing the flaming wreckage of FACE’s truck. The colouring provided for those panels is actually rather nice. Oh, and naturally, bodies continue to pile up. Feast your eyes upon the best kill of the issue:
Speaking of nice art – the cover for issue #4 is quite good, isn’t it? I like it. Again, I’m not entirely sure where it fits into the story given to us here, but nevertheless, the use of colour, the pencils, etc… they’re very well done. It shows a partially silhouetted Frank Castle in the foreground driving towards his destination, while a squadron of faceless gunmen in military vehicles are trying to gun him down (unsuccessfully, obviously). The majority of the cover’s colouring is made up of various shades of burnt orange, and a very faded shade of blue, which offers one reason why this cover works well – these colours are, after all, complimentary to one another.
While the chase itself is okay, I must admit that I am more than a little disappointed by how easily the EMC fueled tough guy was dispatched by Frank. Seriously, these people are supposed to be super fucked up and unimaginably strong, yet Frank didn’t even break a sweat when causing this man to topple to his death. Yeah, okay, I know they have to keep it relatively short because we only have a finite of pages in a single issue, but c’mon, we’re supposed to feel like these guys will be a challenge for Frank, that they could really put an end to his life – I really do not feel that way about these guys. So far they are really underwhelming. This specific attacker was not a threat to Frank in the slightest. Though to be fair, he did get a pretty cool death. Take another look at above image, people. That dickhead got smushed. If there is one thing that the Punisher series always does well, it’s a death scene.
Speaking of Juniper, I’m not entirely sure how likely it is that we’ll see her again (at least in this story-arc). Frank has dropped her off at a gas station to keep her out of any danger and bought her some ice-cream, which both her and her dinosaur seem to have enjoyed (see, I told you there would be dinosaurs and ice-cream in this review). He did this knowing full well that she would be picked up by his police tail. Unless these law enforcers are completely messed up, I wouldn’t think that they would bring her with them on their chase for The Punisher. Having said that, Agent Ortiz is pissed! Really pissed. Now that her partner has been taken hostage by FACE and his group, I don’t think she really cares about common sense, she just wants to do whatever it takes to get him back; so she may bring Juniper along because Ortiz doesn’t believe her regarding her knowledge of The Punisher’s destination or something, I have no idea. We’ll just have to wait and see. All I know for sure is that with Frank about to come to the end of the road, and a super angry Agent Ortiz close by, the body count is surely going to dramatically increase.
And now, my friends, here we are at the end of this review. Overall, The Punisher #4 wasn’t a bad issue. Not the best so far perhaps, but not bad. The story is advancing; characters are converging; and FACE is making increasingly reckless decisions in his fight against Frank Castle, something with is undoubtedly going to lead FACE to his downfall (I can definitely see FACE losing his face in some way during his death scene). Let me know in the comment section below about what you think of the story so far. What were you favourite moments? Hell, why not go right ahead and pick out your favourite death scene in the run so far? FYI, the next Punisher issue is released on Wednesday, 7th September, so I hope to see you next time when we’ll be discussing the events that occur within those pages. Cheers, everyone.
Written by: Becky Cloonan.
Art by: Steve Dillon.
Cover by: Declan Shalvey.
The Punisher #4 is available now.
Image credits: Marvel Comics.