When you need revenge on a frost giant, fire demon, or High Evolutionary-built sharkbot, who you gonna call? The Punisher, of course!
What? It’s not like those wimpy Avengers have the stones to get the job done. And we’ve seen, in War of the Realms proper and in his own tie in mini-series, the Punisher makes for a strangely satisfying combatant in the world of Asgardian mayhem.
Maybe it’s because the otherworldly adversaries have such low opinions of mere mortal humans, and are summarily surprised when an individual who doesn’t even have powers becomes becomes one of their most persistent and terrifying threats. That’s what happened to Kasyckla the jotun, who killed a family (all but the father) in the Punisher tie-in, only for Frank to swear vengeance for the survivor. After seeing what the Punisher was capable of, when the war concluded, Kasyckla fled Earth and planned to hole up for 100 years, long enough for Frank Castle to have died.
Too bad for Kasyckla, in Punisher Kill Krew, the title character finds Toothgnasher, Thor’s magical, Santa’s-reindeer-like giant goat. He’ll use the beast to tow his battle van through the cosmos (yes, it looks as cool as it sounds), but not before adding some more check boxes to his hit list. It’s not just parents who lost kids in the war, but also the other way around. So Frank will have to find murderers who thought they got away with it from all over before he can erase all the red from the ledger.
For such a gargantuan task, though, he’ll need some help. The Punisher first heads to Svartalfheim to “recruit” himself a navigator, then it’s on to Counter-Earth, where he finds Foggy Nelson, of all people. Along the way he also rescues the Juggernaut from frost giant wizards and signs up the Black Knight (yeah, okay, he’s an Avenger).
Gerry Duggan returns to finish what he started in the mini-series, and sadly, it does feel kind of perfunctory. That initial effort was moving and powerful, playing with ideas of responsibility and whether you should keep promises to evil people/beings. Punisher Kill Krew hews more toward the worst Punisher stories, prioritizing gleeful violence over psychological analysis.
I mean, it is fun, as horrible as that sounds. Duggan makes it crazy and outlandish, as he does, so of course none of it should be taken all that seriously. And it’s hard not to fist pump when Frank’s own special brand of justice is meted out to the otherworldly monsters who have it coming. Just go into it expecting that, a few gags, and not a whole lot else.
Juan Ferreyra draws and colors Punisher Kill Krew, making it consistent, and he does good work with the crazier-looking monsters, who can look like they stepped out of someone’s overly-angular nightmare. The human faces and backgrounds are a little more washed out, though.
Punisher Kill Krew is a slightly disappointing conclusion for a sort of organic build that lasted the better part of a year. It almost feels like Duggan was surprised it actually got this far, and he just threw out some basic ideas to finish it off. That being said, you could do worse for a bonkers, cosmic murder travelogue. At least it’s not Space: Punisher.