I really enjoy the direction writer Nathan Edmondson is taking this book and this character. I like seeing Frank Castle out of his element and in a new city. The backdrop of the California desert works so well for this book and for the Punisher. It's an area that is explored quite a bit in television, but not so much in comics, and there's so many things that can be done with this setting because it's lawless, vast, and a lot like a modern day Wild West. New York City has become tiresome and redundant for Marvel books. The move to California is the most exciting part of this series.
There's three sentences of narration which brilliantly describe why Punisher exists in the Marvel universe and why he keeps going on, while he chases down some bad guys: "too dangerous for cops. not big enough for the super heroes. but a proper fight for me." This was the moment that felt like Edmondson was the perfect fit for this book. This shows a great understanding for who this character is and his roll in the Marvel universe. We see Frank working with cops here as well, which is not necessarily a new thing in this series or previous volumes, but it's always interesting to see Frank walk that thin line between lawless vigilante and honorary deputy.
Design-wise, there was a pretty cool scene where Punisher is chasing after some bad dudes and on top of the already cool flak jacket with the Punisher logo on it, Frank also wears a full ski mask that also has the Punisher logo on it. This is an awesome look and a good way for Frank to hide his identity, even though he's never been too shy about showing his face in the past.
Overall, Mitch Gerads does a phenomenal job with the art on this book. He and Edmondson sync up incredibly well and he is one hell of a visual storyteller. He's given this series a great look and feel which will keep old and new Punisher fans happy.
There's not an incredible amount of stuff to pick at here. It's a new take on Punisher, which is pretty cool, but the series, thus far, it just isn't an amazing book for me, yet, but it's getting there. Probably one of the most interesting runs of the book since PUNISHER: WAR JOURNAL.
It's always a bit scary when a new team comes in to work on The Punisher because he can be an insanely tough character to build a good story around. He's a guy with a bunch of guns, killing criminals, at his core. Either his stories are utterly amazing or his stories are absolutely awful. Luckily, Edmondson and Gerads are crafting something that is already off to a fantastic start. I highly recommend this issue and jumping onto this series.