By Matthew Rosenberg, Guiu Vilanova, Lee Loughridge
What happens when you give one of the most dangerous men in the world his own war machine? This is the question being answered in the newest story arc for The Punisher. What’s most odd about this premise is that it hasn’t ever happened before. There are risk factors with a loose cannon like Frank Castle getting a hold of a suit like this, but it’s not like he’s gunning down hard-working single mothers. The hard work falls on Matthew Rosenberg as he attempts to show us that anti-heroes can get their hands on ultimate weapons and do the right thing.
If we’re being honest with each other, this has been a really fun story arc. Matthew Rosenberg has come up with a cool concept and has been knocking it out of the park. Punisher is a character that doesn’t really get support in the United States because he’s a glorified vigilante, but Rosenberg is doing a wonderful job of showing us how other cultures celebrate Frank. In one instance, after saving someone, he is thanked with dinner from the boy’s mother. What’s great about this issue is that Rosenberg is allowing us to see what a great hero Frank could be. While killing people isn’t how the U.S. does it, you’d be naïve to think that there aren’t people out there who completely agree with Frank’s methods. Rosenberg also gives us a hint of what happens when an American goes rogue overseas. This usually never ends well, but makes for an interesting cliffhanger.
The pencils this issue are handled by Guiu Vilanova with colors by Lee Loughridge. There is a real gritty feel to the art this issue and it works wonderfully with the story that Matthew Rosenberg is telling. Guiu Vilanova has some great panels in this issue, and the first couple of pages draw you in and set the tone for the rest of the book. Punisher in a war machine suit squashing someone and then dragging another person to a high altitude looks great. As Frank and one of these croneys ascend, Vilanova’s art looks great. The look on the mans face from the force of the wind as they go higher is really cool to see. Another thing about the art that is intriguing is the resemblance Vilanova gives comic book Frank to Jon Berenthal. While he only takes his helmet off for a few panels, you can easily see how similar the tv and comic characters look alike. The colors by Lee Loughridge are a huge boost to Vilanova’s pencils. Loughridge is responsible for making this issue pop, and he uses a dark palette that works wonderfully. Bright colors on pages where most things are dark and silhouetted, only to be lit up by gun fire, will catch your eye. The art for this issue just feels right. Pencils and colors seem to come together so easily that it makes the issue more fun to read, and it feels like the artists had just as much fun working in it.
The Punisher has been an impressive title since Marvel Legacy launched. The action and social commentary by Matthew Rosenberg have really made this an enjoyable read. You can’t say enough about how fitting the art is for this book. This seems to be a rare instance where everyone working on the title is the perfect fit for it. Keep up the great work!