With this issue, Nathan Edmondson really ramps up the stakes of the story, as not only are the Dos Soles getting closer to their big attack on Los Angeles, but the Howling Commandoes get more and more dangerous, and another surprising player comes onto the scene.
The issue begins with Sidewinder, the head of the Howling Commandoes, being contacted by whoever it is that hired them, and being told to stop pussyfooting around The Punisher, and to just kill him. It’s still a mystery who hired them, but we do see that someone has surveillance on them. They are spying on Frank, but who’s spying on them? I get the feeling that Frank is involved in something much bigger than he’s prepared for.
But more immediately, he’s got to deal with being tortured and electrified by Electro. Del Sol doesn’t want Electro to kill Frank, as he plans to sell him to the highest bidder, but Electro seems to have other ideas, and wants the Punisher all to himself. Electro’s attacks trigger flashbacks in Frank’s mind, and I think we can guess what to, the deaths of his family, which, not matter how many times you see it, is always tragic. With that motivation fresh in his mind, Frank is able to escape. He pushes his chair backwards out of the window, and onto the warehouse floor. Surrounded by Dos Soles and unarmed, Punisher needs a weapon, and fast. He grabs a canister of the mystery gas, which stops the thugs from shooting at him, and then he throws it. Whilst they scramble to stop it from landing on the floor and presumably killing all of them when it breaks, Frank is able to punch one of them out, grab his gun and kill the others in one fluid movement. Mitch Gerads’ art always shines in these action sequences, his Punisher is a serious bad-ass.
Del Sol and Electro retreat, but not before blowing up the entire base… with Frank inside. He of course survives to regroup with Tuggs and Loot and get ready for the final push to stop the Dos Soles’ chemical attack.
There’s an interesting scene where Officer Sam hears about the Explosion on the TV and looks at her Badge. I really hope we’re not getting another ‘Lady Punisher’, but let’s wait and see. I really liked the scene at the Dos Soles’ new base, where Electro finally snaps against Del Sol, and tells him that he doesn’t work for him, and doesn’t appreciate being ordered around like this. It looks like Electro has hidden goals all of his own, and I like that he’s not just hired muscle. In a series that’s mostly street-level, his powers are massively significant.
After Tuggs leaves Frank (and his awesome underground bunker, you should be able to have one of those on GTA V), he heads home, where he is attacked and captured by the Howling Commandoes. It’s all happening at once for Frank, and he’ll probably be faced with a hard choice next issue, does he stop the Dos Soles? Or does he try and save Tuggs and get exposed to the Commandoes?
The issue ends with a very interesting scene indeed, as we learn that AIM have more planned than just a gas attack. They approach none other than Domino to break into a SHIELD building whilst the Dos Soles attack is happening. Is this chemical bomb all just a distraction for something bigger? Oh man. I actually think AIM are the big cheeses in all of this, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were the ones who hired the Commandoes. How awesome would it be to have an epic Punisher Vs AIM storyline? I am surprised to see Domino back doing stuff like this, when most recently she was a heroic member of X-Force, but I suppose that’s her character, she’s just out for money.
This was the best issue of this book so far, all of Edmondson’s various plot threads are coming together, and things look grim for Frank Castle, I can’t wait to see how bloody it’s gonna get.