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The Punisher #8 - El Diablito Part Two Review

4

Frank Castle and a Special Forces team are being hunted by Crossbones. Can Punisher and the group escape or will they need to bring the fight to the Captain America villain?

The Good

Punisher isn't the easiest character around to write. Sure, he isn't exactly a complex character -- he's pretty much an anti-hero and has basically declared a war on crime. But bringing something new and refreshing into his violent world isn't an easy task. There's so many stories where it feels like we're just seeing more of the same with Frank. With this issue, co-writers Nathan Edmondson and Kevin Maurer give Frank's world a little variety by focusing on his military training. Yes, we've seen the dude come up with grand plans and take out enemies with lethal accuracy, but having Frank bump into a Special Forces team makes his training come straight into the forefront. It's no longer just running and gunning. He's applying tactics as he faces well-armed and numerous targets and, seeing as he has to communicate with an ally, he's keeping us in the loop. It isn't a whole new direction for the book, but it's just enough to give us a slightly different look at his struggles and keeps matters intriguing.

Much to my surprise, there isn't a big showdown between Punisher and Crossbones. A conclusion -- for now, at least -- is reached between these two, but when you have two characters that are this badass, you can't help but want to see them get brutal because it's loaded with so much potential. That said, I do understand why this direction was taken. I have some gripes with it -- I'll explain in "the bad" -- but considering the condition Frank is in and what it meant for someone else, the resolution is a somewhat understandable one and is clearly intended to open the door to the upcoming story with Black Widow.

Artist Carmen Nunez Carnero, colorist Antonio Fabela, and inker Terry Pallot get a few moments throughout the issue to really impress. Firstly, they're constantly switching up the perspective to make sure we always get a good view of the shooting. They know that's the biggest element in this issue and they make sure we're always getting the best look possible at what's going down. Secondly, there's one explosive moment that really leaves a mark and allows Fabela to hit us with some incredibly strong coloring. Prior to that, I was enjoying the visuals and they kept me engaged, but nothing really dropped my jaw. Then I reached that page and it totally blew me away. I also appreciate how they gave us a bird's eye view once the big shootout began. You can't help but gaze at pages like that and it really brings the scene to life as you imagine how each and every character is reacting.

The Bad

As I said above, I'm left with mixed feelings on the encounter between Crossbones and Punisher. I get Frank's been through hell, but an encounter like this has so much potential and honestly, we've seen Frank endure much worse. I know we'll see more of these two in the months to come, but a little more could have gone a long way and it feels a little odd to have Frank go along so willingly, especially when his peer has a firearm and Brock's back is somewhat turned. I understand why Frank did this and the implication is Brock is so tough that they don't stand a chance, but based on how everything was presented, it seemed like there was an alternative. Also, considering they've displayed Brock's strength, I think it's safe to say the villain can stop Frank without killing him, but that's just me. Sure, Frank's a tough cookie, but Rumlow has what it takes to knock him out and then he could cuff him.

Minor gripe:If you're going to focus on how well trained these individuals are, it feels odd to have the character then blatantly miss Crossbones -- especially when the foe's not in motion. I get that ripping Brock Rumlow apart with a SAW would bring the story to an abrupt halt, but it seems odd to make the guy totally miss with so many shots. To me, it would have made more sense just to have the character open fire on the other goons and that way no one is sold short.

The Verdict

This issue basically focuses on Punisher doing what he does best. He's facing an uphill struggle, yet he's still finding ways to systemically take down the bad guys. This isn't just Frank running through the jungle like a mad man and blasting everyone in his way, though. He's in poor condition and the creative team focuses on his intellect and tactics as a soldier. It's not bringing anything drastically new to the table, it's just a slightly different approach to what we usually see him do and the visual team presents it well. After having such an action-packed issue, the conclusion seems a little abrupt, but it's still a gripping ride and I'm excited to see where this book will go next.

9 Comments
Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

@k4tzm4n I thought Frank was going along willingly because he want's to know who's been sending all these guys after him and we will have his big showdown in the Black Widow crossover.

Online
Posted by k4tzm4n

@jonny_anonymous: He could hope for that, but right now, he sacrificed himself to spare his ally's life -- that was his deal with Brock. The problem is the guy totally could have shot Crossbones when the villain was just looking elsewhere and cracking his knuckles.

Staff
Posted by CaptainHoopla

Great review. Pretty much hits the nail on the head with my sentiments. It's kind of how I feel about the whole series, consistently good, but always seems just short of being great. And yeah, turning the page to where he's setting off the claymore, wow. Almost a full face melter for Crossbones.

Posted by k4tzm4n

Great review. Pretty much hits the nail on the head with my sentiments. It's kind of how I feel about the whole series, consistently good, but always seems just short of being great. And yeah, turning the page to where he's setting off the claymore, wow. Almost a full face melter for Crossbones.

Thank you. Have you seen Captain America: The Winter Soldier? I'm wondering if they wanted to scar Brock's face since it was damaged in the film.

Staff
Posted by CaptainHoopla

@k4tzm4n said:

@captainhoopla said:

Great review. Pretty much hits the nail on the head with my sentiments. It's kind of how I feel about the whole series, consistently good, but always seems just short of being great. And yeah, turning the page to where he's setting off the claymore, wow. Almost a full face melter for Crossbones.

Thank you. Have you seen Captain America: The Winter Soldier? I'm wondering if they wanted to scar Brock's face since it was damaged in the film.

Yes I have, personally loved it. I never even thought of that though, but it certainly makes me wonder now. Marvel seems to always say that what happens in the MCU doesn't effect the comics, but there sure are a lot of "coincidences" to suggest otherwise. I'm hoping he's masked whenever he's back in the films though, presumably Cap 3. Also hoping he's teamed up with Sin. I really loved them together in Brubaker's Cap.

Posted by sparty-dbq

I found the ending a little jarring. Makes me think that something bad happens to Frank because I doubt a whole year would go by without his name appearing in the news somewhere.

Posted by MegaHGFan

I really love this this series. The first six issues were great, but I think 7 and 8 might be even better. I think Crossbones is a much better villain for Frank than Electro. I also love the way this series captures Frank's humanity.

Posted by Armaghetto

Horrible, horrible, horrible art. I couldn't tell who was who. Been loving the series, but this...barf.

Edited by DocFishstick

This book has been so great.