Punisher Max: Issue 22: Final Issue: Review

Punisher Max has come to an end and writer Jason Aaron has given a satisfactory book ending to what Garth Ennis started 12 years ago. I can’t review this issue without giving mild spoilers: you’ve been warned!  In the final story arc The Punisher squares off against the max version of his greatest enemy The Kingpin.  In the closing moments of issue 21 we are treated to a violent shootout with Frank getting riddled with gunshot wounds but finally finishing off The Kingpin with a bullet to the brain.  Because its comic books and stupid crap can happen, I cracked this issue wondering if The Punisher would be alive or resurrected or something dumb, but nope, not the case here. Cold on a morgue slab, tag on the toe, Frank Castle is dead.  This issue is from the point of view of Nick Fury who opines over what a war-horse Frank was and is hilariously open about how much he hates cops.   When addressing a couple of detectives about the work that Frank has done punishing the guilty while wounded and fighting people half his age he goes on this tirade;

“He was still out there every night…Doing what you guys get paid to do.  Waging a fucking war, all on his goddamn lonesome, taking on the absolute worst this city had to offer…While you shitbirds were busy ass-raping immigrants and pepper-spraying  college girls calling it fucking police work, whinning all the while about overtime and your goddamn pensions like a bunch of fucking candy-ass pogues”

That’s par for the course with Jason Aaron’s excellent dialog in this series and his version of Nick Fury as a pissy, hard-boiled grizzled asshole is the perfect person to wrap up Frank’s legacy in this book.  There’s very little action in his issue following Fury tie up all of Frank loose ends, but acts as more of a retrospective for Frank Castle the man.  This book does however take a very pessimistic look at Frank’s legacy and what he has done over the last 3 decades and makes for a pretty depressing read at times.  A major part of the tone of this issue is really the back bone of this entire series which is Steve Dillon’s underrated artwork.  For years Dillon’s work on Preacher was his calling card, but as it stands, when I picture the grit and grim of the Punisher’s violent world, I picture Steve Dillon’s solid and beautifully violent work in this series.  Much like The Punisher himself Dillon’s bullshit free and to the point, never too flashy but always effective at telling the story. 

Although it’s an extremely dark and gloomy issue, the final pages really hammer home the ideals of The Punisher and how he’s effected society and what his final legacy is to the world.  It’s a little hokey in it’s delivery and if you are a fan of Welcome Back Frank and how it ended you’re gonna find this a little odd and forced but it works non the less.  All be it maybe Aaron could have extended this point a few pages further rather than walking the reader through this somber and depressing final issue before delivering his great point. 

Overall this is an entertaining read, all be it a  dreary final issue but it’s effective at making you remember what The Punisher was all about and how good of a series Punisher Max was as a whole.  The regular Marvel continuity version of The Punisher was a convoluted mess so they started from scratch in a more realistic way.  Garth Ennis started it in Marvel Knight’s Punisher Welcome Back Frank and Jason Aaron puts it to rest with Frank dispatching The Kingpin and going down in a hail of gun fire, the way it was supposed to be.

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~ by ATOM on February 9, 2012.

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