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'Punisher' #11 recontextualizes Frank Castle
Marvel

Comic Books

‘Punisher’ #11 recontextualizes Frank Castle

Ambitious, perfectly paced, and will have you gripping your chair in anticipation.

It has been a long road for the new Punisher maxiseries, but it’s coming close to its end this week. Jason Aaron, Paul Azaceta, and Jesus Saiz have embarked on recontextualizing the character while setting him on a supernatural story that leans into the rage and ability to kill deep in Frank Castle’s soul. The series promises to change the character forever, and up until this week, I wasn’t sure what it all meant. But in this penultimate issue, things fall into place and become more clear.

Punisher #11 is largely about Frank’s wife, their marriage before she and their kids died, and the truths she uncovers. Through expertly written captions, Aaron reveals things about their relationship that changes how we see things. Frank wanted to bring her and the kids back after a career of killing in their name and seeking vengeance. But what does that information do to Frank’s wife when she uncovers it? There are interesting things revealed, understood, and telegraphed here that help us understand Frank better. It also helps us understand that bringing her back came from a bad place. A place of confusion, misunderstanding, and maybe even lying to himself.

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These ideas are juxtaposed well with flashbacks to the days before Frank lost his family and the present, where we see the Punisher fight A-list superheroes. It’s a good dance, as each scene plays off the other and builds toward the final moments of the issue.

Saiz draws the scenes in the present with cool magical effects and some really trippy blood globules coming out of Punisher’s mouth. Props to Matt Hollingsworth, who colors the issue. From these effects to the subdued color tone in the flashbacks, it’s all working well to capture the atmosphere and lighting.

In that blood globule scene, Doctor Strange tries his best, but it doesn’t last long. Soon they’re fighting, and Saiz dazzles with his renderings of Wolverine, Captain America, and all the magical flame effects Punisher has flowing around him.

Punisher #11

That red stuff is weird.
Credit: Marvel

Azaceta’s flashbacks are also excellent. They add an indie comics feel that helps set the flashbacks in a different time and place. He does an excellent job making Frank look lost and disconnected. A vital element of this issue is how it shows Frank’s family life wasn’t perfect. Far from it, and Azaceta makes us believe it. Punisher may kill to avenge his family’s death, but Azaceta makes you believe there may not have been much of a family left when they were killed.

The captions are in the voice of Frank’s wife, who remembers the past while comparing those notes to what she learns in this issue. There are some great bits here that put you in her shoes. Reanimated by the Hand, one can imagine she’s disoriented and not herself, but Aaron makes you believe she’s a fully formed person. A line like, “I couldn’t move. Couldn’t see the children. That was even worse than the pain,” makes you feel the haunting final moments of her life.

Punisher #11 is thought-provoking, revealing what kind of family Frank Castle had before it was taken from him. This helps recontextualize the series, Punisher himself, and how he will be changed forever once the series ends. Punisher is ambitious, perfectly paced, and will have you gripping your chair in anticipation.

'Punisher' #11 recontextualizes Frank Castle
‘Punisher’ #11 recontextualizes Frank Castle
Punisher #11
Punisher #11 is thought-provoking, revealing what kind of family Frank Castle had before it was taken from him. This helps recontextualize the series, Punisher himself, and how he will be changed forever once the series ends. Punisher is ambitious, perfectly paced, and will have you gripping your chair in anticipation.
Reader Rating1 Votes
9
Great pace and plotting as the story dances between flashback, and two key scenes
Caption capture the humanity of Frank's wife
Ultimately the story makes you think about Frank and his state of mind now, and when his family was still alive
The cliffhanger doesn't do a lot in setting up where we go from here
9.5
Great
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