Frank Castle’s LA fun gets a little less fun for him this issue, as he goes face to face with Electro and the true scale of the Dos Soles cartel gets a bit clearer. Nathan Edmondson is doing a fantastic job so far at mixing a Punisher crime story with a Punisher superhero story, and, as I’ve said before, this really is the perfect compromise between MAX and the Marvel Universe.
The action picks up with Frank up against Electro, and I liked how realistically Edmondson treated this, as Punisher really was out-matched. To Spider-Man, Electro isn’t really that big a threat these days, but for a normal human like Frank Castle, he is hugely dangerous, so much so that he is forced to hide and retreat. If Frank is going to take down Electro, he needs to be able to plan, some good old fashioned internet argument style ‘prep time’. Frank hides until night-time, when he calls Tuggs to come pick him up and take him back to the city, and discuss his next move.
The Howling Commandos are still on Frank’s trail, and we see them at the scene of Electro’s attack, and also looking through Frank’s military service records. Edmondson is taking it slowly with this plot, but it’s working. We the readers know that the Commandos are out there, but the Punisher himself doesn’t, so there’s a nice bit of added suspense. Another subplot that’s moving along nicely is Officer Sam, who we see in the diner worrying about the escalation in crime on the streets and, unusually for a cop, siding with the Punisher, saying he has the right idea. She even puts on the ‘memento mori’ ring from #1. We only just had a ‘Lady Punisher’ in Rucka’s run, so I don’t think that’s what Edmondson has planned here, but it is interesting to see where it goes. I thought she was going to be a love interest for Frank who loved him but hated the Punisher, but nope, this is something different.
This issue also focuses a bit more on the Dos Soles themselves, as we see their leader, Guillermo, chastise Electro for making a scene. We only get little teases about his true plans, but they look big, we see boxes full of the chemical weapon, and to him, the Punisher is a mere annoyance he doesn’t want to be distracted by. This is a level above regular Mexican gang stuff, they are partnered with AIM, and in a few weeks, once the plan has worked, Guillermo says he will be ‘untouchable’.
After finding out the Dos Soles’ location by beating up an informant, the issue ends with Punisher assaulting the Dos Soles’ base and basically wasting fools in classic Punisher style. As I said about previous issues, Mitch Gerads’ art really shines in these action scenes. They are fantastically paced and feel very cinematic. I know comics shouldn’t try and be movies, but this felt like an awesome action movie scene. Certainly better than anything in the two Punisher movies at least! Frank takes out most of the average Dos Soles, but, like at the start, he doesn’t have enough for Electro, who sneaks up behind and fries him, capturing him for the boss to take care of. Frank said he needed time to prepare, but I don’t think this is quite what he meant!
This was another strong issue from Edmondson, the action was exciting and the plots moved forward, you can’t ask for much more.