By Rick Remender and Jerome Opeña
I am continually impressed with this book. It is SUCH a departure from the final Punisher War Journal issues that it’s hard to believe it’s the same guy writing it. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is exactly, but it’s good. Damn good. This reads like the MAX Punisher in the 616. He’s meticulous and the plans are well though-out, only the action is in the main Marvel universe. The fact that this opening story pits him against the Hood just sweetens the pot. This is a story that just NEEDED to be told, given the push Parker Robbins has gotten lately. How could Frank NOT target him? I love that we’re seeing the back and forth of their cat-and-mouse game here as they both try to cover their asses. I like Henry and the dynamic he brings to the book and I LOVE the Hood’s opposing tech guy. SPOILER ALERT! It’s Microchip. I had all but convinced myself it was Clarke from PWZ, but no. It’s Microchip. Clarke would have been cool since he’s the new Jigsaw… But the Hood used his freaky demon magic to bring Microchip back from the dead. That is AWESOME.
Now, I’m not sure exactly how or when Microchip died. I read both books, mind you, but I’ve never been 100% sure if the MAX stuff is cannon. I tend to lean towards the “no” side of that argument, so I’m not sure if the story where Frank blows his face off counts. It doesn’t matter, regardless. It’s just not that important. What IS important is that this book is smart, beautifully drawn, and is quite frankly everything a mainstream Punisher book should be. I’ve got a helluva soft spot for the stories Garth Ennis told in his Max run, but this is just as good, albeit different.
This one gets 5 out 5 dead Grizzlies.