The Punisher #5
Writer: Becky Cloonan
Artist: Steve Dillon
Colors: Frank Martin
Letters: Cory Petit
Review by David Hildebrand
Just when you think The Punisher can’t get any more hardcore, Cloonan and Dillon blow all of your expectations away. Each issue raises the bar of violence a little higher and reminds me of the Marvel Max days. The story is getting more intense and this creative team keeps the blood flowing in the fifth issue.
First let me start out by saying I have fallen in love with the villain Face. I believe I might have mentioned this before. But seeing him stand casually in front of trophies that he’s made of severed human faces mounted on the wall is so wickedly delightful. That guy could easily be a James Bond villain. I love it! And once again he proves here how ruthless and vicious he truly is. I can’t wait until he and Castle finally face off.
But let’s move on! At the end of the last issue, DEA agent Henderson was captured by Face during a firefight. Castle saved little Juniper and DEA Agent Ortiz has pretty much reached her boiling point. The Punisher #5 is where things start to get a little crazier. Castle and Agent Ortiz agree to play nicely enough to join forces while they attack Condor’s production facility, Exeter Asylum. Face isn’t the favorite of the Condor outfit at the moment since he’s blamed for the Punisher finding the facility. The baddies start to pump the EMC through the ventilation system turning the foot soldiers into super crazed killing machines with scenes reminiscent of 28 Days Later. Ortiz and Castle fight for their lives as they face the drugged up enemy, while Condor plan out their next move.
The Punisher gets more entertaining as each issue is released. Cloonan continues to better capture the essence of Castle, especially in The Punisher #5 where Castle uses a very bad situation to motivate Ortiz not to look away from it, but to embrace it and use it to make her stronger. I think this is one of the more stronger and potent scenes of the story so far. Very powerful stuff here. Dillon purely shines in this issue. I think it is by far his most expressive show of talent up to this point. Martin’s colors and shading are still on point. I loved seeing the skull lit in the background as Castle sneaks in to assassinate an unbeknownst enemy. The color red will soon be in shortage if all this keeps going. It’s a sexy, violent book that oozes style.
Buy It! Seriously. You know what I’m going to say. Just do it already! I try not to be biased because of my almost too dangerous love for The Punisher, but every time this series starts over, I get nervous that I’m not going to like it. I’m so psyched that I don’t even feel close to that with Cloonan’s current run. Each issue feels like she gets more comfortable with Castle and doesn’t hesitate to throw danger in his path for him to overcome. If you haven’t checked this book out yet, then smack yourself, because I can’t reach you.