The Weekly Pull (1/30/13) – PUNISHER: WAR ZONE #4

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On the track to completion, and Greg Rucka’s total run on the skull-breasted vigilante shifts into its final moments. PUNISHER: WAR ZONE #4 is here, but can Frank Castle stand against the Avengers? And more importantly, why should he have to?

No I’m serious when I ask why the Punisher is even still fighting the Avengers at this point. In the issues leading to this one, the Punisher’s female sidekick Sergeant Cole-Alves was found guilty of killing cops. At least one of those murders factually were committed by her, but it was more manslaughter than anything. But she’s going to the chair anyway because New Yorkers are insane and want the blood of a Punisher, even if it’s just the rookie female Punisher and not the regular one.

No offense to New York residents, though I stand by my statement that you are an insane lot.

Why is this important? The Cole-Alves thing, not the New York mania, I mean? Because last issue, the Punisher had an encounter with Thor that ended with the two sharing brewskis and talking about what exactly Castle is fighting for. The implication being that Frank can’t let Cole-Alves be executed. And then Thor just lets him go.

I’ll repeat that. Thor, knowing full well all the Punisher has done and how much he’ll do in the future, just lets him go. Keep in mind, this is the guy the Avengers just agreed needed to be brought down once and for all, so they should be looking for every opportunity to capture him and end his mad crusade. Heck, Captain America planned for it to happen, much to the dismay of Iron Man. He rightly questioned whether that was the smart thing to do.

Don’t take this to mean the story doesn’t work. Much of the installments preceeding PUNISHER: WAR ZONE #4 pushed forth the legitimate idea that the Punisher, regardless of his brutality, is doing good in the world by cleaning away the scum of the Earth. Additionally, the Cole-Alves character still needs resolution, or at least needs to be placed. But then again, it seems like Thor allowing Frank to escape with just a talk was an attempt to pad for time. It’s implied the talk had an effect on Frank, but this miniseries could be over already if not for the near misses on the part of Black Widow and Thor.

Then again, I can’t think of what I could cut out of the book that could reduce it by an entire issue, and yet still feel like a satisfying story. This will undoubtedly read much better in trade form.

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