WRITERS: Greg Rucka
ARTIST: Mico Suayan
COLOR ARTIST: Matt Hollingsworth
LETTERS: VC’s 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: July 4thth, 2012
Published monthly by Marvel Worldwide, INC.
Price – $2.99
(23 Pages, single-issue, color)
INTRODUCTION: (From page 1)
For months, The Punisher has been preparing to destroy the criminal organization known as the Exchange, a group comprised of former henchmen from a variety of super-villain groups, led by ex-AIM scientist Stefanie Gerard and her second-in-command Christian Poulsen.
At the same time, Marine Sergeant Rachel Cole-Alves has likewise pursued the Exchange, attempting to exact her bloody revenge for the injustice the organization has done her, the murder of her husband, her friends, and her family on her wedding day. It is a quest that has brought her into Frank Castle’s sights, and now an uneasy alliance has been formed – for now, they work together to make the Exchange pay.
Meanwhile, Detectives Walter Bolt and Ozzy Clemons have the unenviable task of trying to track the Punisher’s actions while they too, attempt to build a case against the Exchange. A job made all the harder by the number of bodies that keep turning up, bodies dropped by Cole and Castle. Making matters worse for Walter Bolt, his encounters with the Punisher have made him into the NYPD’s newest poster boy, a local media celebrity, and “super-cop.”
Thus far, the Exchange has survived by keeping its profile low, and by never underestimating the Punisher. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been enough, and the question isn’t whether the Punisher is gunning for them, but rather when.
The answer is now.
Rucka follows up his Rachel and Frank confrontation issue last month with an issue that has the two of them working together towards a common purpose. Rucka expertly sets up a heist-like story where Frank and Rachel impersonate other people to get onto a yacht that is hosting an auction. This yacht also seems to contain something very important to Frank and Rachel, that they will eventually use in their fight against the Exchange.
Interestingly enough however, Rucka doesn’t quite reveal what it is exactly that they are after. He instead keeps the reader on the edge of their seat by creating an interesting story of Rachel and Frank working towards a common purpose in an environment that is really out of their normal element.
Rucka clearly works hard in this issue to show just how far Rachel has come in her skills and in her understanding of how to be tactical. Rachel steals the show while Punisher creates a distraction. Rucka even makes Frank interesting while he is taken out of the picture for most of the issue.
Rating – “A”
Mico Suayan comes on board as another guest artist in the series to give Marco Checchetto a break from his duties. Chechhetto does however put forth the effort to create the cover of this issue, which is one of my favorites so far in the series.
Suayan brings a grittier, more traditional styled take on Punisher. Shadows and line-work are a heavy focus and some of the familiar darker tones that Checchetto usually brings are missing. This doesn’t take away from the story however, because Suayan does a very good job at keeping the visuals interesting and fun.
The one downside to the art in this issue are many of the facial expressions. It seems like Suayan over-exaggerated many of the characters even when it was not necessary.
Rating – “B”
(WARNING – THIS SECTION MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS)
This issue is actually very simple with it’s storyline. Punisher and Rachel infiltrate a yacht that is hosting an auction that Exchange members are at. Punisher and Rachel both go dressed up in their best outfits with Rachel wearing a red dress and Punisher in a suit with shades on to cover up his eye injury that he suffered months ago at the hands of the vulture.
It isn’t very clear exactly just what they are after on the boat but it is clear that the plan is to create a diversion and then to steal an item that is being displayed at the auction. This item is something that previously was used by Doc Ock. This could be the first clue to the upcoming mini-series that Rucka mentioned in a recent interview called “Punisher:War Zone” where Frank will be going to battle with the Avengers. It is very intriguing and what is the most interesting is that Rachel still hasn’t been able to exact her revenge on the Exchange.
Rating – “B”
The story is incredibly entertaining. From Frank and Rachel becoming imposters in formal wear to Frank allowing himself to be captured and interrogated to allow Rachel to rig the yacht to explode, there’s lots to have fun with.
Rucka is creating one-heck of a run with his take on the Punisher. It is unfortunate that it will be coming to a close in just a few months…
Rating – “A+”
OVERAL RATING OF ISSUE: “A-”