This week we’re checking out the current run of Marvel Comics’ popular antihero and vigilante, the Punisher.
Frank Castle was a stand-up family man, as well as a decorated veteran soldier, until his wife and two children were killed by the mob after witnessing a murder in New York's Central Park. Losing everything, Castle plies his deadly skills from the Marine Corps with lethal efficiency.
After avenging his family, Castle now calls himself the Punisher, waging a one-man war against the mob, organized crime, gangs and any other low-life criminals that threaten the innocent.
The Punisher’s biggest struggle has always been he’s waging a war he cannot win as he’s just one man against an unending supply of criminals in need of punishment.
The vast majority of super heroes in the Marvel Universe see Castle as no better than the criminals he fights against and not one of the good guys.
Nick Fury, director of S.H.I.E.L.D., views the Punisher as a tool he can use to correct an international crisis — the failed democratic republic of Chernaya has been overtaken by military warlord Armand Petrov with the help of some rogue S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. Fury needs the Punisher to remove this threat before conflict escalates.
The Punisher may be a one-man army but he's going to need a lot of help to take on an entire army in a war torn foreign country all by himself.
Fury provides the location of a United States naval air base housing some high-tech weaponry. Fury promises the tech will level the playing field as long as Punisher can snatch it without causing any casualties and returns it when he's finished the mission.
The tech turns out to be the heavily armed War Machine armour created by genius Tony Stark, Iron Man.
As he tries to locate Petrov soon after arriving in Chernaya, Punisher finds the oppressed public are good people in dire need of salvation.
Luckily, breaking up the forced labor camps turns out to be a great way of attracting attention.
Unluckily, the rogue S.H.I.E.L.D. agents have armour suits of their own that is newer, more technologically advanced and they've been trained to use them.
Good thing Castle is a quick learner and resourceful, because he doesn't have his old pal Micro to maintain any combat damage sustained to the suit. Furious, Petrov globally broadcasts that Punisher's invasion of Chernaya will be retaliated with nuclear force.
At least Punisher knows he is making an impression but, with the stakes higher than ever he'll need to complete this mission fast.
Now that the word is out what will the rest of the super hero populace think about Punisher wearing their fallen comrade’s costume?
The Punisher: War Machine is written by Matthew Rosenberg, drawn by Guiu Vilanova and coloured by Lee Loughridge.
Rosenberg performed well keeping the core of the Punisher character intact while upgrading him to a power level on par with other major super heroes.
Vilanova and Loughridge display a gritty scenic vista matching the tone of this adventure.
There is also the added bonus of Punisher’s appearance bearing a remarkable resemblance to Jon Bernthal who is currently playing the character on the Netflix series’ Daredevil and Punisher.
Randy Wagner is assistant manager of High Octane Comics. For more, visit 250 Third Ave. or call 250-377-8444.