All’s well that ends well and if this epic Punisher story can stick the landing it will definitely finish off a memorable first arc to the series. Is it good?
The Punisher #5 (Marvel Comics)
The nefarious gang known as Dos Soles plans to cause a city-wide blackout making all of Los Angeles vulnerable to their…I don’t know what exactly. See, up until this point, the motives of every player in this book have been more or less clear, but now, Dos Soles’s plans… aren’t. First of all, why the hell do they need a blackout to complete their plan? I get the symbolism: “You are losing power because we have Electro on our side!” And, “Two sons will rise out of the darkness!” But seriously, the blackout seems like it would affect the schemers just as much as the city and doesn’t really serve any practical purpose.
Secondly, the gang’s grand scheme is so flawed; even the awkward exposition in the middle of the book doesn’t make it any clearer. “When the gas is released,” says the Dos Soles leader, “… the city will be on its knees. And then every other cartel, every gang will have a chance, and just one…to follow me and my brother. A national gang.” So, because you are gassing Los Angeles, all sorts of evil people will be impressed and suddenly follow you? Or is it that they will be so terrified of what you might do to them that you’ve scared ruthless drug kingpins into submission? I just don’t understand how gassing a city leads to “raising an army.”
So where does that leave the Punisher? Where is our lone savior in the midst of all this madness? Where is the hero who will save us all when the evil gang is plotting our downfall? Oh, ya know, doing sit-ups. Yup, that’s right, the first appearance of the Punisher is him doing sit-ups. When he is galvanized by the appearance of his coyote, he still seems rather languorous in getting about his business. His whole attitude is just sort of relaxed, making him another confusing piece of the puzzle.
The only redeemable quality of this comic at all is the action. The Punisher is so badass and Mitch Gerards perfectly captures his seamless ability to take down baddies. It’s a blast to read and visually interesting. But there’s a hitch. While the artwork makes the action fun and exciting, the choppy and unnatural dialogue makes the comic almost unpleasant to read. The Dos Soles gang leader pulls out the “giving away my plans in the midst of a battle” cliche to make the dialogue just that much more cringe-worthy.
Is It Good?
This comic is really flawed, in a whole bunch of ways. From really frail character motives to nonsensical schemes, this comic feels rushed and contrived. It’s really a pity to see such a strong opening to a series dwindle into a sad, subpar ending.