Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Remender, Huat & Loughridge
Frank Castle’s soul dies in this issue. Castle squares off with The Hood in a battle in which you know going in that neither is going to die. This comic explores aspects of their lives that would allow them to battle and escape but still present more of a psychological confrontation. It’s a very good issue because it brings Frank to a gut-wrenching decision, even if the events leading up to moment are very sketchy. The final result appears to be the mental defeat of Castle. This comic ventures down a path we don’t normally see the Punisher take.
The comic book’s major story can’t be discussed without spoiling some of the surprise so this is your final warning to stop reading if you don’t want anything spoiled.
The Hood’s lackeys battle Frank. Eventually they capture Frank and bring him into the depths of the Hood’s plan. Frank is reunited with Microchip, who stands by the side of the Hood. The Hood reveals he isn’t really interested in killing Frank. Instead he offers relief for Frank of the life as the Punisher. All Frank has to do is murder GW Bridge, his cop friend, and in return his whole family is to be returned to life, as would be Microchip’s kid.
The comic presents an interesting question about what drives Frank. Is Frank so accustomed to feeling fire and revenge that he is simply fueling his vengeance with the hate from the previous people he’s killed? Or is he literally avenging his family’s deaths with each person he kills. If it’s the former than he no longer has a connection to the deaths of his family and this deal won’t come close to fulfilling the mark. On the other hand, if all he wants is family back then this is the answer. Just kill one more person and it all ends. Albeit he would have to kill a good guy, but it would be the final death.
Secondarily, could Frank return to the life of father and husband with all of the blood on his hands from all of the years of killing? Can Frank be Frank anymore or is there only the Punisher left?
Frank’s solution isn’t shocking at all, but it is something that is difficult to watch unfold. This is where the issue is at its strongest. Frank is forced to make a difficult choice and he makes his choice as the Punisher and not as Frank. In this moment though, the Punisher seems to kill Frank and by default, kills off everything the Punisher was. When the comic concludes it appears the Punisher no longer has a soul.
The artwork is good. There are some good action scenes that the art plays up well, but the comic excels the most when it deals with the final decision at the conclusion of the issue and Frank’s reactions. It’s a horrific scene and the artwork depicts it masterfully.
I can’t say this is among the very best Punisher comics I’ve ever read because I find the whole magical aspect of raising the dead to be a little too out of the ordinary. However, the moral questions and the solution presented here makes for a very compelling story. I definitely recommend it.
4 out of 5 geek goggles