Frank Castle was a decorated Marine, a genuine and good citizen, and a family man. When his family was taken and killed, so was he. Instead, his new persona, The Punisher, took over.
This Halloween edition of The Punisher follows a man who follows the Punisher who follows a criminal. Sound confusing? It’s not, at all. Mamdouh is a cop whose father (also a cop) was killed by a man named Nicky. He wants revenge. The Punisher is after Nicky for a different reason: Punishment. When they all finally confront each other at a residential house, Mamdouh holds a gun to Nicky’s head. The Punisher, however, reminds him that his father wouldn’t have shot an unarmed man (he let the Punisher go in the past).
Writer Gerry Conway’s script is filled with emotion. Mamdouh narrates the issue with his own personal thoughts about the Punisher. He often suffers from a very contradictory mindset about how his father was wrong and he is right and killing people will lead to a better world and such. It sounds like he has his mind set, but judging by the amount of time he spends talking about his father’s point of view, we can sense some hesitation in his own actions. We also see a hint of the Punisher’s softer side when he talks Mamdouh out of killing Nicky. Frank is all for helping innocent people, but when it comes to the guilty (like Nicky), he shows no mercy.
Felix Ruiz’s illustrations really help create a dark and moody tone for the issue. The line work isn’t the cleanest, and there are extraneous lines creating distortion and shadow on the characters. This messy art style gives the story a really mysterious tone that emphasizes the Punisher’s status as an antihero. There is a lot of heavy shadowing to foreshadow the danger that looms over Mamdouh and Nicky. The Punisher’s reputation is clearly presented in this issue, especially with Lee Loughridge’s dark colors.
This is a great issue for all fans of the Punisher and even new readers, as it is published as a one-shot. For readers of really dramatic, intense storylines, this is one you can’t skip out on.
Written by: Gerry Conway
Illustrated by: Felix Ruiz