Punisher War Journal #12
It was somewhere in the middle of the 3rd page or so that I realized the Punisher wasn’t about to fight the Hulk.
In this issue, the Punisher picks up from where Captain America left off at the end of the Civil War, upset that the Capes spend all their time these days beating each other up, thereby leaving “the regular people to fend for themselves.” With those angry words, the Punisher embarks on a brief mission to save a little girl and her kitten by chopping aliens up with a pair of chain-saws. He saves girl and kitten and returns them to their family, who’ve chose to stay behind during the WWH evacuation.
This is kind of a silly, little issue, but Matt Fraction uses it as an opportunity to sneak it a little bit of wry commentary on Marvel’s 2 big, recent crossovers, and some politics as well. I couldn’t help but think of New Orleans when an old, black man tells Frank, “We apparently didn’t merit seats in the evacuation. Our invitations must’ve gotten lost in the mail.”
The best thing about this issue is the interplay between Frank and Clarke. You can almost see a smile on the Punisher’s face when he and Clarke say “Staten Island Ferry” in unison. And I’m sure Clarke was all kinds of proud to hand Frank a giant weapon and say, ‘It’s a gun, Frank. A gun that shoots swords.”
9 pages from the end, though, Fraction and artist Ariel Olivetti reveal their plan. It’s another alternate Punisher costume, this one based on Venom.
Remember this from just 5 issues ago?
Will we see another Punisher costume variation in issue 17? Here’s hoping. It sure is entertaining.
The issue concludes with the Punisher repeating his new-found refrain “I’m here to help.” Is this Matt Fraction searching for the heart of gold that’s sometimes missing from the Punisher’s portrayal in that other series? Is that appropriate though? It’s interesting that the new War Journal, between the curvy, smooth, puffy artwork and the comic timing of the dialogue, presents and less gory version of the Punisher’s life-style. It seems a lot less dark, and a lot more like, say, Ultimate Spider-Man. The book does seem to be finding it’s feet though, and I enjoyed this issue much more than I expected to.
Punisher War Journal #13+14
Well, well. Just when I was starting to like this series …
(Can you believe I bought this many issues when I wasn’t even liking it that much? Well, I guess I bought the first few because of the Civil War, and then issue 4 (the funeral issue) was simply amazing. I’ve read it several times since. But I really didn’t get much out of the Hate-Monger story. I really didn’t.)
So, these issues were quite funny at times, I really liked a couple of the gags Fraction pulled with Spidey. And, I’m really excited to see Kraven back in some form. He’s a pretty great character. (Though I’m not crazy about Kraven-ito’s Tarzan-the-musical haircut.) Fraction must have gotten some fan-mail about the D-List villains he packed into issue 4, because several of that type show-up in this story as well. A nice touch. I have to say, however, that Cory Walker (#13) and Scott Wegener (#14) are not artists I’m excited about seeing on this book.
Luckily, a peek into the future shows that I’ve little to worry about since we’ll soon be seeing Howard Chaykin taking over the art after the Kraven story concludes. Sweet.