I picked up Greg Rucka's Punisher issue #9 today. It is a great issue. It went very fast. In a good way. The pacing was breakneck, the plot twisted, the "big event" was set up for next month, and we saw some great little character pieces from Frank Castle and Rachel Cole Alves. If you thought you knew what was going to happen next at the end of Issue #8, guess again. Of course, after the 22 pages flew by, I wanted to shout "RUCKAAAAAAAA!" because it is very hard to read a breakneck page turner like this and have to wait weeks to months to TURN THE NEXT PAGE!
In any case, I highly recommend the issue, though it is not an issue to begin with. The story is building from a slow boil to a raging one, and now, with the three book crossover next month (Avenging Spider-Man, The Punisher & Daredevil) things are really starting to pop. Of course, if you really want to be ready for next month, it also helps to read at least the first six issues of Daredevil's latest run (which I just have (also recommended)) because a lot of the set up is in those books for the "event."
For me, Rucka continues to reliably deliver in a complex and very satisfying way. The Punisher has never been so interesting and compelling for me, and his little corner of the Marvel Universe may be the best place to be for solid characters and action at this time.
And here is what some others have to say:
IGN (8.5/10) "Greg Rucka's take on the Punisher continues to reveal new interesting layers to the character, and that's saying a lot considering he's often deemed a one trick pony. If you haven't been reading this series, it's in your best interest to pick it up from the beginning to see what all the fuss is about. The Punisher still remains one of Marvel's best books."
(more reviews to be added as they come out)
St. Patrick's day update (3/17/2012)
CBR (3.5/5) " As part of the ongoing "The Punisher" series, this issue is good; as a lead-in to that crossover, though, I'm not as impressed."
ScienceFictiondotcom (Verdict: Buy) "This book just kicks all kinds of ass! It’s incredibly well-written. The characters just ooze reality! Frank Castle himself is a cypher, but everyone else has layers and layers of depth that is being peeled away ever so slowly. Sure, it’s very gritty and violent, so if you are averse to that, this isn’t the book for you. But honestly, I myself don’t typically like violence or the mafia genre, but this book is so impressive, I can’t help loving it."
The Outhouse "Another very strong issue of Punisher, and one that does a good job of organically setting up the Omega Effect crossover."
Punisher Central (B-) "This issue does give readers some action and some interesting plot points."
iFanboy [review by Andrew Gaboury] (Story: 5/5 - Excellent, Art: 3/5 - Good) " This book is just consistently good and it should be excellent with the return of Checetto."
March 20, 2012 update
Henchmen-4-Hire (1/5) "Holy crap this is a terrible comic book."
Weekly Comic Book Review (B) "This isn’t a bad issue by any means and it’s competent in both art and script. But it’s not anything more than that. It felt as though Rucka was running in place here. This is the first stumble this series has had but, given that this issues entire problem was a lack of significance or real meat on the bones, I imagine it’ll be quickly forgotten."
Weekly Crisis (Verdict-Buy It) "This series continues to deliver and it doesn't look like it'll be slowing down anytime soon."