kev17's The Punisher #49 - Widowmaker: Conclusion review

I Adore this story

 Five Mob widows vow revenge on The Punisher. 

I had a rocky introduction to the Punisher max stories. I started In The Beginning, with err....In The Beginning, after hearing so much hype about The Punisher Max. I was sadly dissapointed with the story. I felt Ennis was just making The Punisher into yet another comic book vigilante, rather than the psychotic killing machine i knew and loved reading about. I bought The Slavers on my birthday, and it had the same effect on me.Regardless i enjoyed them, but it wasnt the same as what i knew as the character.   Fortunately, because im one of The faithful, i bought another volume, Widowmaker, and it was damn near perfect. For contained within the book lurked the vengeful killer i wanted to read about,  as well as a terrifying examination of what violence can do to the human psyche.   
The characterisation of both The Punisher and his new ally, (sidekick is NOT  the right word for this lady) is spot on as far as both feel nothing that any rational human being feels just about every day. They are both two souls consumed by violence and vengeance, and the book is about how they move through their lives, feeling nothing but a need to kill. There is also a particularly sinister murder early in the book, that reveals a depth of sadism in the punisher.
Theres also an incredible ambush,(which is intercut with a sex scene) which is alarmingly violent but restrained and subtle nonetheless, rendered by the wonderful Lan Medina .Before Ennis had the Punisher speak like a detective, here he allows Castle to just do his thing, clearly showing that actions speak louder than words.    
A subplot of the story features detective Paul Budiansky (who featured in the crap fest Punisher: War Zone)  a wise talking cop beset by violence and a loosening grip of self control. He becomes central to the plot, as he symbolises what the Punisher is doing to society.
The antagonists of the story are five widows, all the left without husbands by you-know-who. The attempt to manipulate whats left of the Cesare crime family into a trap, laid out just for Frank Castle. Each widow's loss asks the questions: Who Punishes the Punisher?Are the widows justified?  In one particularly affecting piece of dialogue, one of widows, Annabella Gorrini, tells of the night the Punisher murdered her entire immiediate family, as she tried to hold on tho the little children from running out into the butchery outside. If theres any where you could learn to despise The Punisher, its here. The widows are each portrayed  in different ways: ranging from dignified and proud to amoral and greedy.They claim justice for their loss,  though not one of them has a shred of nobility. In the end they, along with every other chief character in th book, come to represent the several different strands of psychology that made The Punisher into what he is: A psychotic killer with only one reason to live: to deal out death any way he can. Like him or not, His books are always interesting.





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