Overview

The Punisher #34

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The Punisher #34

Credits

  • Words: Garth Ennis
  • Art: Goran Parlov
  • Inks: Goran Parlov
  • Colors: Guila Brusco
  • Story Title: Barracuda ? Part 4
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Jun 7, 2006

The Punisher gets all he can handle and then some when Barracuda comes to town.

What do you get when you’re in the middle of the ocean with a great white shark bearing down on you and there is a gangster bleeding out a few feet away? If you’re the merciless mercenary, Barracuda, you have nothing to worry about because you’re sitting in a big boat with a beer and a shotgun. If you’re Frank Castle, the Punisher, things aren’t looking too good…

The above describes just a single scene that takes up about a third of this issue. It also gives textbook reasoning as to why Garth Ennis is the perfect writer to take on this book in the current MAX/explicit content format that Marvel is allowing for the character. The expletives fly, as do the blood and guts, which is exactly what one would expect from an anti-hero who has committed his life to wiping criminals from the face of the Earth. The Barracuda may be the most "Ennisian" personality the writer has brought to the book so far, and the Punisher, plot and pitch black humor are all benefiting from the new character.

The Punisher has one quality as a book that I don’t particularly care for, that being the revolving artists. Every six issues we get somebody different, which is something Marvel has done with its middle-sellers for years I suppose. This arc is Goran Parlov’s turn at the helm, and fortunately he is as up to the task as Ennis. Parlov is very well rounded as an artist, giving equal quality in his expressive characters, action and gory detail (though there is a particularly jarring shot of a shark that probably should have been edited). If Marvel ever did decide to give the book over to one artist, Parlov would be a fine choice. Brusco sets mood well with his selection of color palette, especially in the moments between some of the mobsters where one turncoat is forgiven and one where a mouthy subordinate gets what is coming to him.

Though it started slow and easy, Barracuda has developed into one of the stronger arcs of The Punisher in quite a long time. Garth Ennis has already left an indelible mark on the character; now it’s just a matter of taking the ride to the next destination and seeing what other sick and twisted developments are along the way.

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