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The Punisher #3

Punisher #3

Rating:
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The Punisher has sought to differentiate itself from previous incarnations of the book by changing its locale to sunny Los Angeles where Frank Castle can find himself terrorizing entirely new ethnic groups than the ones he'd chased around New York. The most enjoyable departure, however, is stepping away from the film-noir style of visual storytelling and allowing Mitch Gerads to create a colorful and appealing world for Frank to terrorize said ethnic groups.

Gerads visual dynamic allows the series to stand apart from it's drab and depressing predecessors.
Gerads visual dynamic allows the series to stand apart from it's drab and depressing predecessors.Mitch Gerads
The Punisher #3
The Punisher #3Mitch Gerads

You can only see Punisher blow up a car or feed someone to a wild animal so many times before it begins to feel tedious. Gerads always finds the most stunning way to depict even the most mundane encounters and, in doing so, helps place Punisher alongside more hip and noteworthy books like Hawkeye. No matter what is going on, the reader finds themself slowing down to absorb warm colors and feel the heat of a burning boat or the tingle of ambient electricity. So it's very appropriate this title so quickly introduces Electro as it's high-profile villain.

The battle between Electro and Punisher doesn't go far towards enhancing the story, though. In fact, until the previous issue, the only story there had been was Punisher trying to discover a secret weapon. Now that we know that weapon is Electro everything seems to have stopped.

The lingering presence of the Howling Commandos in the book is a bit like the leftovers you keep putting off. They sound good at first, but every time you see them in the fridge you push them further and further back until you're no longer interested in eating them and actually dreading dealing with them at all (I have to clean out my fridge).

For a loner, murdering psychopath (and we can still call him a psychopath because of all the violence, right?) he sure makes a lot of friends. So, now we have two or three different supporting characters we don't really know waiting to be developed, or... I don't know... punished? I have to imagine if Frank saw them driving and talking on their cell phone instinct would just take over. So they really end up taking time that could otherwise be used to develop a story with richer qualities other than "a Hispanic gang wants to use Electro to take over the city".

The Punisher is just three issues in and hopefully it takes off soon because it's beautiful to behold. Despite all of its attempts to be unique from the multitude of other Punisher books, however, this one is still just Frank showing up and shooting things.