The penultimate storyline in Garth Ennis’ classic run on Punisher ended today, and it was good.
This issue marks the return of the popular Barracuda character, who has determined he will gain revenge against the Punisher, and he decided to do so by kidnapping the Punisher’s infant child (who the Punisher did not know he had until now). At the end of the last issue, Punisher thought he had defeated Barracuda, but something snapped in Barracuda, and the crazed ‘Cuda attacked Punisher at the end of the issue, leading to this issue.
Well, right off the bat, this was one extremely violent comic book. It definitely earned that “Explicit Content” warning on the cover.
The Punisher and Barracuda brutalize each other, and in these scenes, we are probably lucky that artist Goran Parlov seems to have rushed the early parts of the book a bit, as done in a clearer style, it would probably be a lot grosser – like when Punisher uses a pliers to rip Barracuda’s nose off his face.
Here, while Barracuda chases down the Punisher, we get flashbacks interspersed telling the whole story of Barracuda’s ugly, violent life. It is brutal, but explains Barracuda so well – until he meets one of the most violent ends you’ll see in a comic (matched with a flashback that describes the Punisher about as well as you can get, as we flash back to Punisher’s friend, Yorkie, which is where Barracuda learned of Punisher’s child – “He’s going to kill you. Not over me. You’re going up against him, so he’ll kill you. Because you’re a joke, in spite of it all. And he’s the most dangerous man who ever walked this Earth.”
That certainly does describe him well, no?
The book ends with a nice exchange between the Punisher and the sister of the baby’s mother, and here, Parlov does a really nice job with the artwork, particularly the facial features (especially a flashback to the baby’s mother – SUCH a nice, subtle job).
Here, Ennis has the Punisher basically cop to his one-note nature of the Punisher, as he himself admits that he is barely a human being anymore – and that he could not raise the child, even if he tried, because he WOULD see something in the papers, and he WOULD be forced to do something about it – because that’s who he is.
He is stuck in “the long, cold, dark night that I’ve made of my life.”
It’s certainly be sad to see Ennis leave this title.
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