Frank faces off against Red Vulture in a deadly battle in the skies high above the city that never sleeps.
I really can't applaud the art on this book enough. Checchetto's pencils and Hollingsworth's color perfectly compliment one another and each has a special synergy with Rucka's script. Checchetto's drawn the definitive version of Red Vulture. Those of you who aren't familiar with the character should know that the man on this cover is nothing like the monstrosity we see within this book's pages. Checchetto's take is downright unnerving and nightmarish and would definitely fit into Lemire's Animal Man/Snyder's Swamp Thing (you should be reading both by the way!). And Checchetto's ability to move the story along and pack his panels with such narrative potency is something that rarely seems so effortless.
This issue is easily the most action packed book I had this month! The battle with Frank and the Red Vulture takes up the entirety of this issue and there's never dull moment because of this. I love the way that Rucka trusts Checchetto to carry the weight of this story just as much as he does. This fight is ugly, nasty, visceral, brutal, and bloody from start to finish. This' exactly the kind of fight I want when Frank faces off against a costumed villain, especially villains with enhanced/meta/superhuman abilities. Frank will know he's been in a hell of a fight when it's all said and done. And I must applaud Marvel for not clamping down on the violence in this book.
Rucka's silent Punisher really aids in the success of this battle and provides perfect contrast to the nigh feral Red Vulture's one word screeches and exclamations.
Despite being a dark book by nature, Rucka has the ability to elicit some genuine laughs. And the nods to the other BIg Shot titles is a great touch which subtly builds a shared universe among these three titles and the greater Marvel U.
Despite the lump sum of this issue being a fight, there's still some strong character moments that occur and the focus is still shared with the supporting cast of the series. The use of Rachel Alves was excellent this issue, her "awakening" coinciding with Frank's broken silence was a great move on Rucka's part.
The covers for this series really are underwhelming and don't do it justice.
The first time I read through Frank/Red Vulture's fight I found myself a bit lost as to what was going on at times. Didn't have this problem in subsequent reads though. There was also some minor coloring problem's with Rachel's hair in a few panels
Rucka does a great job integrating the costumed elements of the Marvel U in this issue! But one has to wonder how he can continue to do so considering Frank's methodology. I really hope that he doesn't get stuck facing off against C/D list villains that marvel doesn't mind getting offed.
Buy This Comic
While not as strong as the first two issues this one is still great in it's own right. Rucka and co. continue to reestablish Frank in the Marvel U and hopefully they'll stay on this book for years to come. If you're not reading Rucka's Punisher you really ought to give it a try. It's only three issues in and for $3 you get a lot of a bang for your buck.