Bueller... Punisher... Bueller...
Right off the bat, let me say that it's possible my review for this issue is influenced by how strongly it feels like an issue of "Gotham Central", which Rucka and Lark had worked on together years ago. Gotham Central was among the best books on the racks, and even today I get a strong emotional reaction just thinking about it. This issue (and more of the issues leading up to it than I'd realized until reading this issue) exhibits much of that earlier title's strengths.
The narrative on this title, from day one, has been split between the Punisher's perspective and that of the police officers "on his trail". This isn't something that's never been tried before, but it's never been done quite as well. Rucka is an absolute pro with "procedural" style storytelling that includes believable characters rather than snarky punchline-machines who whip off their sunglasses for dramatic effect. Lark is a magician when it comes to illustrating stories in this genre. I have been strongly enjoying regular series artist Marco Chechetto's work on this title, but this issue kinda makes me wish Lark would stay on. But no... "Gotham Central" is dead. It's time to move on.
When you get beyond the nostalgia for Gotham Central, you might see places where certain readers would feel this issue is a non-essential time-filler while waiting for the regular series artist to catch his breath. After all, it's partially a revisiting of a classic Punisher story from long ago, and outside of a few quick glimpses in flashback without dialogue, there's NO PUNISHER IN THIS ISSUE. Some might take strong issue with that as the character is one of those love-it-or-hate-it ones where plenty of readers are likely here for Frank and not for Greg Rucka's writing. The series up to now has been prepping us for there to be an issue like this, though, as we've been bounced around between at least three other regular characters who exist at the fringes of Frank's world. A Frank-less issue works well here, and it would work again. It's not a time-waster of an issue. It's a fleshing out of the world this story takes place in. Mike Carey has been having great success for the past few years in occasionally taking breaks from the core storylines in his title "The Unwritten" in which to expand upon or show a different perspective on events that have previously transpired. Greg Rucka makes it work very well, too.
This title started off slow for me, but it is getting stronger all the time.