By Nathan Edmondson & Mitch Gerads
The Punisher has been one of the strongest titles of All New Marvel NOW! so far and it’s no surprise to see that trend continue with the title’s fourth issue – putting Punisher against Electro (who’s making an appearance in the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man 2) in a very brutal way that certainly makes this one of the darker Marvel titles on the market right now, more in tune with the likes of Black Widow than Nova, for example.
The Howling Commandos may have missed the chance to strike on the Punisher who is still busy fighting Electro. It’s a very awesome, action packed and fun issue that continues the strong form of this series. The plot is developing now as Frank must escape from the Dos Soles, and this arc is shaping up to be very awesome indeed and is certainly proving so far that the move to Los Angeles was a positive thing for the character.
Mitch Gerads once again does a stellar job on the artwork, with some amazing visuals – the fact alone that he does both the colours and pencils counts in his favour, and that he pulls them off wonderfully well with some great designs of Electro for example make this series a must read – the combination of Edmondson and Gerads is a match made in heaven and it’ll be interesting to see what Gerads can continue to bring to the table artistic wise.
There are also some short and brief flashback panels in this issue that are handled well, exploring Frank’s past – and it’s great to see that Edmondson has pulled them off perfectly so that they don’t clog up the main narrative. There’s no real storyline, it’s just memories – but it’s a nice touch indeed and shows just how Castle has changed as a character.
If there is one problem with this series it’s that the Howling Commandos thread is not moving anywhere fast – and with the introduction of a new character towards the end we may not see it progress any further next issue. Hopefully this will gain some momentum soon though, because it’s starting to detract from the main ongoing narrative.
The Punisher is certainly an incredibly good title right now and will certainly continue to appeal for fans of the darker side of the Marvel Universe. There’s an interesting cliffhanger that introduces a new character towards the end of the issue, and it should be good to see how Edmondson handles that character in particular in the upcoming issues.