I’m new to The Punisher. I’ve seen the horrible movies that they’ve made, I’ve owned t-shirts with the skull logo dozens of times throughout my life, but I never actually sat and read an issue or trade that featured the character in the lead role. After reading PunisherMAX by Jason Aaron, a series that takes place in a much more violent alternate universe, I was ready to get another dose of the character as fast as possible.
I was lucky that Greg Rucka and Marco Checchetto are continuing that same magic in the traditional Marvel Universe.
This issue drops us in on the story of Rachel Alves as she searches for purpose in avenging the deaths of her family and friends at her wedding. Frank Castle (The Punisher) has taken her under his wing, but she’s letting her emotions get the best of her. What follows is one of the coolest silent sequences I’ve read in a long time.
Rucka writes Castle as a determined man who walks the earth “dead” in order to complete the mission at hand. Rachel is a girl who wants to use her emotions to fuel her crusade, and it’s a method that Castle just can’t abide by. The tension in the way the two characters interact is thick enough to bleed off the page, and it shows in the silent scenes more than anything.
Checchetto is an artist I’d never heard of before. His sequence in the rain where Rachel and Castle settle their differences is one of the best fight scenes I’ve read this week. It’s all about anger and frustration, and Checchetto conveys it all with no help of dialog from Rucka.
The Punisher isn’t the most popular hero in the Marvel Universe. He has his method, and many people don’t agree with it. But what can’t be argued is just how well Rucka and Checchetto do with a character that is sometimes associated with just shooting without any substance.
These bullets have backbone.