So, back on Wednesday, June 20, Greg Rucka's twelf issue of The Punisher came out. Summer has gotten very busy, so I was late to the store (again my local place, Beyond Comics) to buy it, and I am late for my commentary and aggregation of other reviews.
So sue me.
*******************************Some Spoilers to Follow****************************
I liked issue 12 a lot. The art was top notch, and once again we got to see the range of characters featured in the book all following their agendas and pushing forward on this story arc dealing with the criminal organization known as The Exchange. The story's focus is on Marine Sargeant Rachel Cole-Alves again, and I have to say I thought the story was going to zig when it zagged. My reading of things at the end of the Omega Effect was that Daredevil had perhaps talked her off the path of vengence and that Frank was not going to go looking for her unless she wanted to be found.
Well, no, totally misread that. Rachel is planning more against the Exchange, perhaps even (reading between the lines) going down in a final blaze of glory before the cops can catch up to her. This is not what Frank wants, not because he wants to save her, it is because his own plans require more planning and finer execution.
So, he manages to track her down and he gives her a choice, either you are all in, dead to the world all except the mission, like him, or you get out and try to tell yourself you can go on.
The issue was low key, but intense, and sets us up for the roller coaster ride to plunge off the brink once again.
I look forward to more.
But don't just take my word for it. Here are some other views:
CBR (5/5 stars) "The Punisher" #12 is the first book I would hand to anyone who asked me why I like Greg Rucka's writing so much. While this is a very solid twelve issues into Rucka's work on the series, this comic is a shining example of a great shared universe adventure and everyone in the Punisher's sphere of influence gets some panel time."
Spinter's Reviews "Greg Rucka and Marco Chechetto's leisurely paced relaunched "Punisher" series continues in much the same vein, . . .The character confrontations culminate with the fight between Frank and Rachel, which feels somewhat overlong and predicated on a piece of a particularly loaded symbolism. Chechetto's solid, clear work gets overtaken by a particularly intrusive piece of special effects when it gets to the featuring the two characters trading punches in the rain. The resulting sequence is at least a page too long and muddy, which takes away from the intended effect of shock and emotion."
Talking Comics "Greg Rucka’s run of The Punisher has been a must-buy since the beginning and issue #12 keeps that trend moving along nicely. From a visual or narrative standpoint you really can’t lose here. Checchetto’s artwork and Hollingsworth colors are a treat for the eyes and Rucka’s dialogue, especially his work with Frank this issue, is fantastic. Do yourself a favor and pick this book up. You won’t be sorry."
Punisher Central (A+) "There are two components to this issue that really drew me in. First was the artwork. From the cover to the last panel on the last page, Marco Checchetto’s work is second to none. Second is the leading up to the confrontation between Frank Castle and Rachel Cole-Alves. This meeting lives up to the hype and it leads to a very satisfying conclusion."
Sequnetial Review (8.5/10) "These bullets have backbone."
The Mamals "Rucka's take on the Punisher continues to fascinate me and just might be my favorite part of this comic book. I think this might be my favorite issue of the series so far because of the conversation between Castle and Cole-Alves."
Thor's Comic Column (4/5 stars) "Rucka’s Punisher continues to do a fine job of telling crime-comic stories in a superhero universe."
IGN (8.5/10) "Throughout Greg Rucka’s run on The Punisher, Frank Castle has said, at best, 7 complete sentences. In issue #12, he finally speaks his mind to Rachel Cole-Alves about, what else, the mission. Remarkably, though he speaks more in this issue than he has in the series total so far, Rucka still positions Frank as merely a driving force for the other characters. We’re not interested in what Frank is doing so much as what he’s causing other characters to do."