Welcome to the "Punisher" #2 commentary. There are some big things happening in the life of Frank Castle these days. Each issue of "Living in Darkness," the first arc, holds one or two giant reveals, big twists, and some of the best action ever put to paper, all of it leading to an escalation of Frank's war and his targets. Issue #2 brings a monumental change to Frank Castle's status quo and to the series in general.
Given these changes are happening at a rapid pace, it seemed like a good idea to walk through some of the thinking and what these "modifications" mean for Frank's future.
My name is Rick Remender, the writer of the series, and I'll be wasting your time with my ponderous explanations and scattered recollections.
Please note, there are many, many spoilers coming up.
So, I love this sequence. Not only is it perfectly executed by the brilliant and beautiful Jerome OpeÃ±a, it marks the first stage in the ascension of Frank Castle as a major threat to the super villains of the Marvel Universe. Enough hyperbole...
Under Osborn's regime there are many, many underground outlets engaged in weapons trading, drug dealing, organ harvesting, prostitution, smuggling and all that good, fun stuff. Frank's new pal Henry has uncovered a big arms dealing ring hidden within this pawnshop. Frank goes in with no other knowledge.
Can you hear the wind blowing in that shot?
Henry has hacked an old Cold War era S.h.i.e.l.d. surveillance satellite that he uses to help frank out on his mission. Having an eye in the sky is a giant new advantage.
Really great shot by OpeÃ±a. So the guy is looking at an x-ray readout of Frank on his crappy old computer. The pawnshop is officially got something going on.
I'm glad Jerome established that buzzsaw in the background. It comes in handy in a page.
Gates slam down, locking Frank in. Giving this already odd scenario a twist. The guy could see Frank was armed in panel 1 and so he locks the doors?
Lights go out. This was something I had a tough time with at first. When the lights went out my first instinct was to have each panel sort of covered in shades of blue. Michelle Madsen did that over Jerome in "Fear Agent" and it worked great, but here, it seemed like it wouldn't play out as well.
Jason Aaron, who graciously was helping me work this scenario out, suggested I cross cut between pitch black and illuminated panels as Frank fired on the Black Stream guards. It's a really great effect. Tip of the hat to the Alabama Corn Snake.
And here Jerome really regrets drawing all that detail in the pawnshop, as he has to shoot it up. These soldiers are members of a new organization known as Black Stream. Who do they work for? You'll find out at the end of this issue.
Henry is proving his worth here, helping Frank through the darkness to avoid being killed.
And the return of the concrete saw.
That guy is having a bad day all of a sudden. Bet he wishes he hadn't locked himself inside.
One thing we'll e seeing a lot of in the next year of "Punisher" is the secret world, this hidden crime infrastructure throughout New York, high tech labs and brothels hidden within dilapidated old builds. Osborn and his partners have moved crime off the street in order to maintain deniability.
There you have it.
A mission to take down a shop dealing in illegal weapons leads Frank to a life changing moment. This is Frank's new arsenal. I delight in the possibilities. The thing about Frank is that he's only limited by the quality of his weapons. If you gave him the right tools he'd march headlong into a bout with Galactus. As the Dark Reign changes the shape of the Marvel Universe, it also changes Frank Castle from a street vigilante with some great guns to the new dark super soldier equipped with the tools to take down the biggest villains in the MU.
I'll buy lunch for the person who can list all the weapons and where they come from-- including the guns. Lunch is expensive. You gotta earn that shit.
If you aren't reading the book, I hope this sequence will motivate you to give it a shot. We're cooking up a gumbo of wonderful-fun, high-octane, comic bookery. Once things get moving they don't slow down till the big reveal at the end of issue #5. You won't want to miss it.
"Punisher" #2 is on sale now from Marvel Comics.