This issue marks the last issue of The Punisher using War Machine’s armor. Following the Secret Empire debacle, Matthew Rosenberg ended Frank’s time in the suit in the most honorable way he could. And it was a blast!
I haven’t had so much fun reading a Punisher run since the days of Greg Rucka. Matthew Rosenberg has truly created one of the most badass Punisher runs since the Marvel Knights days.
The main draw of this issue was the fight between Iron Man and “War Machine Frank”. And we have it. It’s a great fight between the two, but don’t expect a “winner” from this encounter because you will not have it!
During this issue, Rosenberg gave us action-packed storytelling with The Punisher entering many fights with certain characters. Rosenberg always delivered a focused Frank and this continues. Despite all the distractions trying to stop him, Frank is determined to cut the head of the “snake” (HYDRA). I really liked the final pages and how Rosenberg wrapped up this series. It was honorable and respectable, contingent on Frank being the one to end it.
The artwork was superb and continues what Guiu Vilanova showed us during this run. Guiu Vilanova grew a lot between The Punisher #218 and this issue. When he started his War Machine armor wasn’t sharp enough to my eyes and looked bulky. Fortunately, he improved it a few issues later with a fancier and more “athletic” design. I really liked his splash pages and dynamic panels. Lee Loughridge’s colors were an important element, setting the perfect tone for the series. Not too bright or too dark. It was very adequate for each scene.
Final Thoughts: I had a blast reading this series. Matthew Rosenberg revamped and unleashed The Punisher within the limits of his being in the Marvel universe. He didn’t fall into the common mistakes of downgrading Frank’s skills towards other characters and went the other way around. Rosenberg respected Frank Castle, his fandom and portrayed him as what he is: the most dangerous non-powered human being alive.
Final Arc Rating: 8.5/10