Review by Ian Keogh
The thought may be that no matter how much in the way of hardware Frank Castle has, he’s seriously outmatched when it comes to involving himself in an invasion of elves, frost giants and trolls. He is, so Gerry Duggan cheats. We want the joy of seeing how the Punisher deals with creatures of myth and legend, so Duggan ensures he only faces off against numbers he can possibly handle, rather than the full on hordes.
Stringing everything together is the straight to video plot of the Punisher taking it on himself to lead a parade of hospital patients urgently needing treatment through the tunnels from New York, under attack, to New Jersey, which isn’t. To really underline his influences, Duggan has the Punisher accompanied by a squad of freed criminals who the Punisher charges with protecting the injured. Marcelo Ferreira’s art matches the plot, chunky, loose and gritty, but strictly no frills.
Most readers could have written this themselves. The twists are telegraphed, and the tough guy lines are ones mimicked across the English speaking globe by teenagers in front of mirrors after seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger movies in the 1980s and 1990s. Homage is all well and good, but some inspiration brought to the table is desirable.
A little more effort is made with the final piece, designed to lead into a new series, Punisher Kill Crew. Juan Ferreyra’s art is more welcoming on a story of Frank back in New York once the dust has settled, meting out his usual form of justice, rubbing up some celebrating Asgardians the wrong way and seeing off a few remaining monsters. There’s a nice cameo from Thor and a surprise ending that may or may not have some relevance when Duggan takes on a regular Punisher series.