"THE PUNISHER" No. 8
(The Dead Winter)
WRITER: Greg Rucka
ARTIST: Marco Checchetto
COLOR ARTIST: Matt Hollingsworth
LETTERS: Joe Caramagna
COVER: Marco Checchetto
ASSISTANT EDITOR: Ellie Pyle
EDITOR: Stephen Wacker
EDITOR IN CHIEF: Axel Alonso
CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICER: Joe Quesada
PUBLISHER: Dan Buckley
EXEC. PRODUCER: Alan Fine
Release Date: Feb 1st, 2012
Published monthly by Marvel Worldwide, INC.
Price – $2.99
(32 Pages, single-issue, color)
INTRODUCTION: (From page 1)
“The One Hundred Days have passed, and the uneasy silence has been broken; the Punisher is back, and the bodies are again stacking up to prove it.
Stephanie Gerard, leader of the Exchange, has turned to her partner in crime, the EX-S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Christian Poulsen, and given him a very simple directive: stop the Punisher once and for all, before the Punisher stops them. For more than solely professional reasons, Poulsen has eagerly set to do her bidding.
Unknown to the Exchange, the Punisher is only one of their problems. Marine Sergeant Rachel Cole, the sole survivor of a massacre that turned her wedding day into a bloodbath and turned her from bride into widow, wants revenge for the injustice done to her. Exploiting her friendship with the reporter Norah Winters, Cole has begun identifying – and eliminating – targets.
It is a trail that leads Cole to upstate New York, where members of the Exchange gathered under the cover of a “business retreat.”
But the Punisher, too, has found his way upstate in pursuit of his quarry….”
Greg Rucka is once again in top form in this issue of ‘The Punisher’. Rucka creates through his story-telling a mysterious Frank Castle that readers can identify with but do not learn much about. In past Punisher titles Frank Castle has been front and center on every page but Rucka has decided to go in a different direction. A clear example of his style is found over the course of the first seven pages where Frank says only one line. Funny enough…. that is the last thing Castle says in the entire issue. Rucka relies on peripheral characters and tells their story as they are related to the overall story-arc and leaves the artwork from Checchetto to tell the infamous story of the Punisher. This process ends up turning each precious word spoken by Frank Castle to be all that much more meaningful.
Rating – “A”
As stated above, Rucka seems to have complete confidence in the style that Checchetto employs to visually move the story forward. There are moments early where the story is being moves completely by the artwork. Mysterious shadows, blood soaked furniture/pavement and a series of dead bodies lay covered over the first few pages. Mood and theme seem to be an important component to the overall feel of what this book is truly about. At first, a reader may think that this style is for just this one issue but it really isn’t. This style has been consistent in every issue so far and seems to reinforce the dark/mysterious direction that it will have from here on out.
Rating – “B +”
Rucka is moving towards what feels as something really “BIG” in the story. It is still a little hard to figure out exactly where it is all going but each issue has provided just enough to keep the reader engaged with both the characters and the movement of the plot. Little by little, details are starting to emerge using references to other characters in the Marvel U. and it is intriguing to try to put the puzzle pieces together as to where it is all headed…. especially with the knowledge that us Punisher fans are aware of with the upcoming “Omega Effect” (April issues of Avenging Spider-man, Daredevil, The Punisher) crossover.
Rating – “B-“
Each character is meticulously crafted by Greg Rucka. Every other character in the title outside of Frank Castle has been fleshed out over the past eight issues. Rucka has created characters that fans can engage with and be interested in. It still amazes me that this is a Punisher title and Frank Castle doesn’t seem to be the main character the majority of the time….. and I am perfectly fine with it. It seems to fit. This issue also begins the further development of two female characters that fans have been wondering about. Stephanie Gerard, leader of the Exchange and Rachel Cole-Alves, a former Marine Sergeant. I am personally wondering just what Punisher fans can expect in the upcoming months as Frank begins to have an informal partnership with a woman that has similar life experiences to himself.
Rating – “A”
Issue No. 8 is a solid entry to this run of the Punisher! It provides readers with a moody atmosphere, a tense standoff, and a trap that seems to be set for both Frank Castle and his new ally. It shows that Rucka has carefully planned out the direction he wants to go in and I am personally excited to see if this run can continue the momentum that it has built up to create one of the best titles on comic book store shelves today!
Rating – “A-“
OVERAL RATING OF ISSUE: “A-“
Reviewed by Neil Byce