The Punisher #37


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The Punisher #37


  • Words: Garth Ennis
  • Art: Leandro Fernandez
  • Inks: Leandro Fernandez
  • Colors: Dan Brown
  • Story Title: Man of Stone - Part 1
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics/MAX
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Sep 7, 2006

General Zakharov last tangled with the Punisher two years ago when the American military sent Castle to Russia on a messy rescue mission. Zakharov plans to clean up.

Frank Castle is back in New York cleaning the streets of scum--killing crack dealers and tying up some of the loose ends that his line of work tends to conceive. Meanwhile, General Zakharov has likewise come to New York seeking information. Because of American involvement in a terrorist action on Russian soil that involved a super-virus and tactical nukes (found in Punisher MAX Vol. 3: Mother Russia), Zakharov was demoted. For an amoral power hungry patriot there must be payback.

Writer Garth Ennis is beginning his seventh story arc on this title, which could be more appropriately called: Garth Ennis’s Punisher. Ennis has written over eighty issues of The Punisher over the past seven years, including a beginning and ending for Frank’s reign of terror over the criminal world. Few readers of his stories will deny that his version of this character is the quintessential Punisher. This issue looks to kick off yet another strong and complex arc. I like that Ennis has created his own continuity within the title, bringing back characters that might have just as easily been forgotten and fulfilled their potential (as well as their likely demise). Zakharov, like Barracuda and the Russian, is a despicable inhuman monster who would kill a thousand kittens if it meant furthering his agenda or fulfilling a duty. It is easy to argue that each of Frank’s villains is just like him, but even as ugly and unforgiving as Ennis has shown Castle to be, there has always been a twisted sense of nobility that Frank carries--something that drives him to carve out the ugliness of society so that the average person isn’t exposed to it.

Once upon a time, Leandro Fernandez was not a favorite of mine. His art was simple and stiff and not nearly grungy enough for such a hard-hitting character. Whether it is his intimidating version of Castle, his amazing attention to detail and brutality in the action sequences or something else, he’s completely flipped my view of his work. With Dan Brown providing gloomy, textured colors to his more tailored pencils and brilliant shadowy inks, Fernandez has managed to become my favorite artist on the short list of fantastic contributors regularly rotating arcs on this title.

Over the course of the past year or two, Ennis has really been on his game with The Punisher. Even though this issue is the beginning of a new story arc, it is not really a good place for new readers to jump on because much of what is going on ties into previous stories. However, for veterans of the title this feels like another great start to a complex piece of storytelling.

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