The Punisher: Six Hours to Kill

The Punisher: Six Hours to Kill
The Punisher Six Hours to Kill review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Marvel/Max - 978-0-7851-3182-3
  • Release date: 2009
  • UPC: 9780785131823
  • Contains adult content?: yes
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: no
  • CATEGORIES: Action Thriller, Crime

Frank Castle has faced plenty of testing times over the years, but Duane Swierczynski manages a new threat by having the Punisher injected with toxins that will kill him in six hours. It’s an incentive for co-operation. His abductors want a man dead and want the Punisher to do the killing, hence the title, and if he manages it he’ll receive the antidote. That may seem somewhat the rookie mistake, as Frank is hardly a man to shake hands and let bygones be bygones, so the likelihood is that there’s no antidote.

The target is a high level businessman in Philadelphia, and Swierczynski keeps his connections open to readers, spending some time with them. In the meantime Frank works his way around the city and the race against time isn’t overplayed. We all know the Punisher’s not going to die, but having his reactions a little slow due to the poisons running though his veins makes for suspense as the stakes are raised. Michel Lacombe’s art veers too much toward cartoon exaggeration when the Punisher takes a beating, but otherwise the pages play well with light and shadow and he supplies action and detail to high standards. The mystery sustaining the story is just how the Punisher’s going to get out of a clever trap, and Swierczynski has that covered all the way to a smart ending.

A second, shorter outing by the same creative team sets the action at sea, which is certainly different territory, and Swierczynski differs it further by concentrating on the Punisher’s targets for the most part. He’s listening in as they gradually fall to pieces. This time the ending is overplayed, and Lacombe seemingly drew it first as the art isn’t quite as polished, but ‘Force of Nature’ still pushes most of the right buttons.

As this is under the Max imprint, plenty of swearing features, and the entire content is also available in Punisher Max: The Complete Collection Volume 5.