The Punisher #2 follows the detectives trying to solve the massacre that occurred in issue one, as well as following Frank Castle as he tries to do the same thing, but with very different methods.
Being a big Punisher fan, I naturally picked up and read The Punisher #1. Overall, I really liked it, but it felt like the Punisher really didn’t have much of a place in it. Still, I decided I’d keep reading, and that was a good decision. Frank does have more to do this issue, and his smaller appearance in Punisher #1 makes sense now, because that’s what Greg Rucka is going for: he wants Frank to be a ghost, be an urban legend that people know to be true, but rarely see him in action. I give him big props for that, not only because it’s cool, but because it’s different. Ever since started Garth Ennis writing the Punisher back in 1999, a lot of other writers tried to emulate it, to various degrees of success (or failure), so seeing a new take on him is needed.
If you’re familiar with Greg Rucka, you know his style of hard-boiled detective stories, and that’s what he does here with the detectives, but he also takes that pulp style to Frank and that’s what makes it interesting. The violence is gritty, calculated and dirty, and it’s executed extremely well. Frank is still the bad-ass, but you (the reader) feel a bit dirty for reading it. The pacing is excellent, and it never drags on or wastes any panels, especially during the Frank scenes with no dialogue coming from him.
The artwork has the realistic and gritty art that any good crime comic has. The colours are just fantastic in a lot of places, and help to build the atmosphere, whether it’s in a grimy club or just a dark night on the streets of New York City. The two best parts of the art are definitely the atmosphere, and Frank’s appearances. Whenever you actually see Mr. Castle, you get a foreboding feeling that his victims must feel, and really gets off the angel of death vibe that they’re going for.
New Reader Accessibility Rating: 4. If you didn’t read last issue, you’ll be a bit confused, but not too bad.
Recommendation: READ IT! If you’re into crime comics and/ or The Punisher, you’ll dig this. If not, I still recommend checking this (and issue one) out to see if it’s your cup of tea.