Wednesday, January 30, 2013

NB of the Week


Punisher: War Zone #4 (of 5)
Written by Greg Rucka
Drawn by Carmine Di Giandomenico
 Let's play a little catch up. Rucka's run began with the slaughter of a wedding, leaving only the newly minted bride as survivor. Problem is that Rachel Alves is a US Marine veteran, having served two tours in Afghanistan. After the justice system fails her, she is taken in by Punisher, being taught his ways, trying to gain vengeance for those that wronged her. After a rocky journey, everything essentially came down to one mission gone wrong. Punisher was set up and Alves killed a detective. Alves turns herself in and Frank, having felt as though he let her down, is on the run from the Avengers and fights with what to do with her.
As Alves trial comes close, the Avengers are trying their best to get to Frank before he does something stupid(er). After taking down a drug house, Frank takes two people with him, giving them some skull jackets. Meanwhile, the Avengers devise a plan to trap him. Spider-Man looks from the building tops as Thor flies the skies and Iron Man stays put. Which was their mistake. As Iron Man goes over something very technical (I know that because I didn't understand most of the words), we get a small glimpse of a white skull emerging behind him. Back to Cap as he pretends to be the guard driving Alves, explosions change his course and Punisher strikes. Thor swoops down, releasing Black Widow who was pretending to be Alves. Spidey swings back to a courtroom where the real Alves sits waiting. As she sternly tells Spidey to "Go to Hell", Iron Man pops in for more protection. And promptly attacks Spidey. As he frees Alves, he tells her "We don;t have much time and I can barely manage to fly in this thing..." As we cut back to the final two pages, Cap realizes the fire they are taking are nothing but rubber bullets. As Widow brings the two Punishers into view, they find that these are the drug guys from earlier and that they've "been played."

Greg Rucka is probably the best thing to happen to Punisher since Marvel let Garth Ennis bring him back thirteen years ago. His crime writing and noir stance on Frank have given him a voice that not only separates him from the heroes he doesn't like but makes him stand out as one of the best written characters Marvel has had in a very long time. It's a damn shame that Marvel realized that because they mess up everything that's good over there (in case y'all didn't know, Rucka was told that they were ending his book so that Punisher could be on a team book that he would not be writing). I'm very excited to see what happens in the next/last issue.

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