Artist: Carmine Di Giandomenico
The final issue of Greg Rucka's run on Punisher has finally arrived, and I'm both happy and sad. Happy that the issues out as I've been excited to read it, but sad in the knowledge that this is Rucka's last issue on the character. Also after dropping Thunderbolts due to it's poor quality this will probably be the last time I see Frank for a while.
After helping Rachel Alves escape prison, and stealing a set of Iron Man's armour the Avengers are assembled and out to take down Frank once and for all.
This was a brilliant issue, and a tremendous way to end Rucka's run on Punisher. Ruck has done a fabulous job over his run, and although this wasn't the best overall issue that he's written it was still very very good, and up there with the best Punisher story/series endings. In this issue Ruck continued to produce the exciting, suspenseful plot line that I have loved from his run, and he showed that even with the entire Avengers against him that he's not easy to beat. As I've said over my reviews for the rest of this series, I was expecting a big fight between the Avengers and Frank that lasted a few comics, but having built up to this big fight I think that it was really good, and might not have been as good over multiple issues. This may be the end of Rucka's run on Punisher but I for one am interested on what he will work on next.
The artwork throughout this series has been amazing, and Carmine Di Giandomenico has really done a fabulous job. As I've said with each review, I still would have liked to have seen Marco Checchetto doing the art on the series, but Di Giandomenico has been the perfect replacement, and I'm happy that Checchetto has still been able to do the covers. Di Giandomenico went above and beyond with this issue, as everything looked visually stunning. With a big fight between the Avengers and any character is a challenge, but Di Giandomenico really pulled it off, and it looked amazing. I also really liked the colours throughout this series, and think that Matt Hollingsworth has done a brilliant job of setting the tone of the series.
I loved the sequence at the start of the issue with the Avengers regrouped and focused on finding Frank. What I really liked was that it was explained exactly what happened to Iron Man in the previous issue, and it made Tony look a bit silly. Actually Tony looked silly through quite a bit of this issue, and I liked that as being probably the smartest Avenger, Frank made him look the dumbest. It was also nice to see Tony in the old red and gold armour, as with Frank nicking his new black and gold armour he needed something to wear.
The interaction between Frank and Alves was also interesting. What I liked most about this sequence was that Alves didn't actually know exactly what Frank's mission was. It was also nice to see Wolverine in this issue as due to helping Frank in the first issue Captain America left him on the sidelines. I won't say what role Wolverine had in the comic, but it was very nice to see him.
Finally I'll talk about the fight between Frank and the Avengers. The fight was nothing short of epic. Although I hoped for a good fight from Frank, and knowing that he was capable of it, I still always expected to see him get obliterated, so I was happy to see him put up a fight. Rucka put a lot of thought into the fight as he would have to have Frank fighting using tactics, as it's what he's used to having been in the army, and what he'd need to do against all the superhuman's. What I really liked about the fight was that Frank got the opportunity to fight nearly ever member of the Avengers on their own, which gave him more of a chance. My favourite fight was probably Frank against Black Widow, although Frank against Thor was also very good. In fact it was all good.
My favourite part of the issue however was seeing Frank face to face with Captain America. I won't talk about what happened as to avoid spoilers, but I will say why I liked it. Having known Frank's history pretty well, I know that Frank looks up to Captain America. Having known this I was looking forward to see the two fight each other, or even just confront each other during the series, and kept thinking of possibilities. In the end I wasn't surprised with what happened between the two characters, and was very happy.
This was a fabulous issue, and a brilliant way to end Rucka's run on Punisher, and will miss it. I would highly recommend this issue, as well as both this series and Rucka's entire run as it's been a truly wonderful ride, and he's created some of the best Punisher stories ever. I am now going to wait to see when Frank will next appear besides in the Thunderbolts.