Tuesday, 21 February 2017

The Punisher #9 - Marvel Comics

THE PUNISHER No. 9, April 2017
For a twenty-page periodical which is almost entirely devoid of its titular character, Issue Nine of “The Punisher” must have absolutely delighted its audience with new regular artist Matt Horak’s horrifically bloody depiction of Drugs Enforcement Agent Ortiz’s fight with the EMC-crazed Face. It's certainly hard to find fault with a Becky Cloonan narrative that somehow balances the disconcerting disgust of a one-handed homicidal maniac drooling over the prospect of eating a woman’s tongue first before sucking out her eyeballs, with Frank Castle’s tender burial of the “kindly old lady” Ethel in the Backwoods.

Quite possibility the main reason behind this comic’s “literally explosive” success however, is the Pisa-born writer’s penchant for providing it with an incredibly pulse-pounding pace, that starts with an ambulance ride from hell, momentarily fixates upon the desire of an insane drug-taker to cook a human alive, and then concludes with a shock ending which sees Olaf’s fire sale protocol being engaged; “I told her. One %$#@ thing I ask, don’t mess with the %$#@ basement door.” Such a dynamically diverse narrative really is hard to decry, and it’s easy to see why Editor Jake Thomas’ “mouth fell open” when “Becky sent in the script” and he saw she was “swinging for the fences on bringing the craziest $#%@ to this story she possibly can.”

Somewhat more subdued, but ultimately far more deadly than Ortiz’s tumble amidst the trees with a blood-soaked Face, is the American author’s attempt to give some additional depth to the decorated marine’s former commanding officer by way of exploring his domestic home life. It hardly comes as any surprise that the Condor operative’s wife has “started divorce proceedings and will “be moving back in with my mom this weekend”, considering that the mercenary has “been gone for almost a month on business” and threatens to “beat me black and blue if I ever event try to open the [basement] door.” But even so, the callously nonchalant nature in which he reacts when he realises his wife and baby child have been blown to smithereens by the boxes of C4 explosive he packed his “man cave” with, takes his cold-heartedness to another level…
Writer: Becky Cloonan, Artist: Matt Horak, and Color Artist: Frank Martin


  1. From this review it looks like the story is back on track again. I hope so as I have always liked the Punisher and I want the series to succeed, despite the loss of artist Steve Dillon.

    1. The writing was spot on Bryan. Sadly I won't be getting any more issues though as I'm not completely convinced by Horak's artwork, and frustratingly "Marvel Worldwide" have decided to stop including the digital code for their current issues. I know you're not a digital fan, but for me, I like to buy a comic and be able to re-read it at any time.