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Comic reviews Dec 2006 -Punisher #41 (Max/Marvel Comics)

Posted by Adrian on December 12, 2006


Punisher #41 Man of Stone Part 5 of 6

Garth Ennis is such a credible writer. Very creative and able to handle a few publications at once. Yes there are criticisms of writers that spread their work out, hence effecting their quality. Ennis is an idea factory, most idea’s he projects onto comics are very current and contemporary. World issues, terrorism and economic situations. Nice amounts of cynicism, and cold reality at so called ‘surgical wars’, wars of terror and inner urban conflicts. Marvel obviously lets him have a free reign on The Punisher MAX line, as I mentioned in an early review on the Civil War Punisher written by Matt Fraction. Marvels’s MAX comic line gives the explicitly that Ennis’s Punisher needs to have. The Punisher is a killer. In which Ennis uses the Punisher to confront the core, and critical injustices in the world. The Slavers, that dealt with the inhuman sex slave trade, Barracuda about dealing with Corporate/company crimes. Man Of Stone is another social and political confrontation. As usual Ennis intertwines a lot of stories at once, which is his skill as a writer in redeveloping and re-appearing old foes and other characters that have appeared in Frank Castle aka The Punisher’s life. The underline aspect in Man Of Stone, as Ennis has mentioned in his short, but significant comic 308. A conflict in Afghanistan, ‘everyone dies’. It’s an obvious commentary on ‘forever wars’ – or the futility of a conflict in Afghanistan and similar modern day conflicts.

A Russian General Nikolai Alexandrovich Zakharov (Man of Stone), trying to reinstate Russian dominance again in Afghanistan, is approached by Rawlins, a kinda sniffling and half assed ex-CIA plotting idiot. He wants the Punisher dead, or at least offers to have the Punisher delivered to Zakharov. So there is a mutual agreement that the Punisher can be resurfaced. As Zakharov will use the Punisher’s capture for his means as well. The bait. Punisher’s on again off again F-Buddy Kathryn O’Brien, ex wife to Rawlins

O’brien and the Punisher have so far destroyed most of Zakharov’s ex Russian Marines. Although the General isn’t such a push over, as he has a wild card strapped to his helicopter, which is a Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB). The General threatens to level a near by village, unless the Punisher gives him self up. The meet up is a the local village, where the Punisher is captured taken inside the chopper and the pathetic Rawlins somewhat interrogates him. But the Russians want him unharmed at this point. The Generals henchman throws Rawlins across the floor of the chopper, before he could do any permanent damage to the Punisher. The way Rawlins has been abused by his Russian partners has been amusing in this arc, adds to the pathetic nature of the character. At this point we know Rawlins is waiting for his moment. Suffice to say, O’bien attaches her self to the chopper (as it takes off) The Punisher (who hid a razor blade under his skin), cuts free his restraints and attacks the Russian henchman, shoots up the pilots, chopper is out of control General wants to release MOAB – but O’brien has cut the MOAB release cables connected to the chopper. So now the MOAB is stuck to the Russian chopper. She jumps off the undercarriage, Rawlins jumps of the chopper out taking the fat General with him (using him as a human landing pad), the last remaining Russian henchman jumps out after Rawlins (after he realizes that Rawlins has attempted to kill his beloved General). Finally the Punisher jumps out, obviously close to O’brien as The Punisher is able to shield O’Brien. Sort of a comedy of errors and blind luck. The chopper goes down with the MOAB. The artist Leandro Fernandez gives some great details with the concluded huge MOAB explosion and the Punisher shielding O’brien. Nice full page art.

In someways it is an anti-climax. The General lying (presumably critically injured) after Rawlins used him as a landing pad. Rawlins then able to distract and cut the throat of the Generals last remaining henchman was just too easy. To have the Russians build up a formidable force and then have them allow a pathetic character like Rawlins tow along. Which he eventually ends up outliving his Russian superiors. I guess that is fate, and that’s Ennis’s irony in his comics. I was disappointed that Katherine O’brien was killed. She was a good character. Her death occurs after the Punisher and her walk away from the chopper and the MOAB explosion. Only to have her step on a land mine. It was abrupt and sad ending for her. A strong female character snuffed out of a comic again. It happens a lot in Daredevil, either they get snuffed out or just disappear of the rader. She didn’t have to die, I could have seen a spin off series with her in it, would have been great seeing a MAX series with Katherin O’brien. Oh well not to be, she is dead. Her last words, ‘get Rawlins’. Her messed up, betraying, pathetic ex husband. He has luckily gotten through most of the Man Of Stone arc. But I presume #42 of The Punisher (conclusion of Man of Stone) is where it will end for him.

Again sad to see O’brien go, I liked her.


One Response to “Comic reviews Dec 2006 -Punisher #41 (Max/Marvel Comics)”

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