Frank Is Back In Punisher: Soviet #1
by Josh Davison
Mild Spoilers Ahead
The Punisher discovers a hit on the Russian mafia that resembles his own work. It was professional, brutal, precise, and happened before the Russians could get a shot off. Naturally, this piques Frank’s interest, and he gets some info on this Russian crime family, headed by a man named Pronchenko, from one of his contacts in law enforcement. The Punisher learns of convoys Pronchenko is moving across town; apparently, he’s getting out of the life and planning on moving out of town. Frank can’t let that happen, as Pronchenko needs to pay for his crimes. Frank hits one of Pronchenko’s convoys and gets a hostage.
Punisher: Soviet #1 marks the return of Garth Ennis to the saga of Frank Castle. This time, Ennis is joined by Jacen Burrows, Guillermo Ortego, Nolan Woodard, and letterer Rob Steen.
One might expect an epic and explosive return, and, make no mistake, there is plenty of action and bloodshed in this issue. However, the book deliberately opens with business as usual for the Punisher.
The story proceeds in methodical and investigative manner from there. Frank has a lead, he chases it, and it builds up to the man behind all the Russian hits at the end of the comic.
Don’t get your hopes up; it’s not the Winter Soldier or Black Widow.
There really is something to say about how classic Punisher MAX this all feels. Ennis hasn’t lost an ounce of his knack for writing Frank Castle, and Jacen Burrows is a hell of an addition.
Burrows’ artwork is almost calm and downplayed, as it was during his tenure on Moon Knight. That allows for the brutality and death to stand out all the more. The world feels grounded and plain, and then it suddenly becomes cruel and coated in the dead. Ortego’s inking is neat and emphasizes all the right details, and Woodard brings a cold and foreboding palette that lights up when the action starts.
Punisher: Soviet #1 is the return of Ennis for which we were all hoping. It’s brutal, methodical, and looks fantastic. Needless to say, this one earns a strong recommendation. Feel free to give it a read.
Punisher: Soviet #1 comes to us from writer Garth Ennis, artist Jacen Burrows, inker Guillermo Ortego, color artist Nolan Woodard, letterer Rob Steen, cover artist Paolo Rivera, and variant cover artists Casanovas; and Jacen Burrows with Nolan Woodard.
Final Score: 8.5/10