Punisher (2014) #3 (Marvel)

CREDIT: Marvel Comics

Rating: 4/5 – Frank Castle punishing LA continues to impress.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Chris Stark.

Whenever a new Punisher series starts, I am always skeptical. After all, how many times can you just have the Punisher going around and gunning down mafia members? But for some reason, more often than not, that seems to be the only time the Punisher really works. Thankfully, this newest incarnation of the title mixes a lot of aspects that worked in past Punisher stories into one really entertaining new story.

The Punisher first appeared in Spider-Man years ago. Since then, mixing him with the regular heroes has proven to be a challenge. Unless it is a street level hero like Daredevil or Spider-Man, the Punisher seems like an extra piece to a puzzle that just doesn’t fit anywhere. But Nathan Edmondson does a very good job incorporating Frank into the Marvel U without all the capes and superpowers.

I believe the change of scenery and tone of the book are a big factor in my enjoyment of it. Frank is now based in LA instead of NYC. There is a lot more crime and a lot less heroes. And the Punisher states that he takes care of the jobs to big for the cops and to small for the capes. And that I think is where this book hits its stride. We have A.I.M. and Electro working with a drug cartel and in possession of a chemical weapon. It’s not world threatening but it is bigger than the LAPD can handle.  The art on the book is also quite a change from many past Punisher books. It still has that gritty and sketchy look but also has a lot more of a clean feel to it.

Mitch Gerads does a stellar job showing us the Punisher we know yet bringing in different aspects we rarely see, like Frank smiling. The coloring on the book is also more vibrant and brighter than I’ve seen in recent Punisher stories. One page is completely cooler colors, bright blue and purple. I cannot remember the last time we have ever seen that.  I decided to wait to let this book go a few issues before making a statement on its quality. However, I have to admit, I enjoyed issue #3 just as much as issue #1 and the story continues to grow into a very interesting tale.  I hope the creative team sticks around and keeps up this pace for a long time to come.

Reviewed by: Chris Stark
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