by Nathan Edmondson and Mitch Gerads
When the whole Secret Wars thing went down, people wondered what would become of their favorite Marvel titles, of which there were several. Prior to the big event, Marvel had some awesome titles going – one of them being Punisher – and readers worried that they would end abruptly and perhaps future titles would never be as good again (potentially when Marvel’s new number ones come out this fall)! Luckily some of these titles, including Punisher, have been drawn out a bit longer and given a chance to finish strongly, without Secret Wars events getting in the way–those events have not affected Punisher’s world, yet.
What started out as sort of a gang war in Los Angeles has pretty much blown up, and Frank Castle now has a lot more to clean up than those mean LA streets. The issue starts off in New York and quickly sees him shipped off to Iraq to fight what appears to be terrorists of some sort. It actually seems to overshadow what happened in the last issue, and doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense with the storyline – eight months have apparently passed, after all, so this issue seems kind of confusing when you think about the whole series. It was a good issue, though, if you don’t take into account what happened in the previous issue.
This one seemed to have a different feeling in general; it was still filled with badass Punisher ass-kicking, of course, but there was more of a war-like feeling to it, instead of the gang-busting thing he had going on before. It doesn’t seem like something that everyone will enjoy reading (even as far as Punisher fans go).
War-scenes in Iraq might not be for everyone; Punisher in general may not be for everyone either, but one thing everyone can probably agree on is how fantastic the art is, specifically in this issue. Punisher has taken a darker turn, and that’s very apparent with the way this issue looks. Everything is quite dark, many panels being all one color (sometimes with the exception of Punisher’s mask, or fire) but it’s absolutely mind-blowing. There are several panels that are absolutely incredible. There are a couple of full-page head-to-toe images of Frank Castle that are amazing – the detail alone that Gerads has put into just his uniform will just blow readers away. The series in general has had fantastic art, but this issue blows all that out of the water. Even if the story isn’t everyone’s piece of cake, the art makes this issue absolutely worth the read. It’s the kind of book where you’ll read it and then you’ll go back to look at the art again – it’s perfect.
Issue nineteen was kind of a confusing read, at first, but a good one nonetheless. It’s another Marvel book that will be hard to say goodbye to when it ends, but it seems as though it’s going out with a bang!