Punisher War Journal # 14
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Scott Wegener
The Punisher is all about killing bad guys. Here he has tried to kill Rhino, only for Spider-man and the son of Kraven to become involved. Kraven won and we join Rhino in captivity for part 2 of Hunter/Hunted.
This is one hell of a middle part of a story. The main arc here is great. The conflict between Punisher and the new Kraven is well set up and this issue is all about setting it up to be nearly impossible for the Punisher to win. There’s nothing fancy about it, but the issue heightens the sense of danger so acutely. The lack of significant depth in the characters keeps this from being great, but the plot itself is tight and effective. Besides, you don’t read Punisher for great characterization, you read it for the interesting ways in which he attempts to kill bad guys and, generally, succeeds after getting his ass handed to him.
The subplot here about a spy woman flying around feels tacked on. The blurb pre-issue lets us know this is likely GW Bridge recruiting his anti-Punisher team. That’s nice, but really, letting us know in issue would help more than awkward first person narrative from the spy. I’m sure it’s going somewhere, but the way in which this was handled left me no interest in seeing that.
If you like Punisher overcoming odds and killing super villains, this is an effective set up for that. Fraction has a great sense of plot and what to put where, making for an effective book aimed right at its target audience, which it hits with a bullseye. Just like the last statement, the book is a cliche Punisher story, but it’s still effective.