In the wake of the War of the Realms, a father named Jones had his entire family crushed and immolated in a car wreck at the hands of frost giant Kasyckla. Several children were also left orphaned by the murder of their entire families. While the chaos may be a regular semi-annual and fairly mundane motivator to fight for the likes of Thor and the Avengers, Frank Castle is a man that understands that singular loss can be grounds for eternal war…and he’s promised Jones and the newly “war orphans” their pound of flesh. Having already forcefully recruited the captive dark elf navigator Belith and freed Matt Murdock’s best friend Foggy Nelson, the last issue ended with Frank coming across another addition to his unit, the mighty Juggernaut. With the power of the avatar of Cyttorak by his side, the threat level and bodycount potential of this Kill Krew has just taken an exponential leap.
A) Narrative Set-Up: As much as this miniseries has been a joy in pushing the mannerisms of Frank Castle to near MAX levels within a 616 environment, it has equally been a joy for its interesting character dynamics and rich cast of supporting players for Frank to reflect off of. With only three issues left, this issue is a celebration of those alliances that have carried the book forward and a triumphant showcase for the monstrous power of Cain Marko aka Juggernaut, who crosses paths with Frank Castle for the first time!
In the midst of frost giant murder, we find the time to showcase the speed, brute strength and childish heart of the Juggernaut, play off of Foggy Nelson’s legal tact and charming reluctant heroics and give a shout out to the quiet and loyal Toothgnasher, Thor’s goat who made this whole adventure possible! Every cast member gets a good moment in. As always, Gerry Duggan reorients the story back to highlight the majestic violence of Frank in a display of dismemberment and postmortem torture against some frost giants that results in a hilarious projectile vomit gag from a visibly shaken and sickened Foggy Nelson and Juggernaut. Not solely used for comic relief, Foggy sets up next issue’s meeting with Dane Whitman a.k.a. The Black Knight in a sequence featuring the interruption of a hilariously unexpected post-credits pizza party for the heroes of the War of the Realms. This series continues to feel like the richest parts of an MCU movie fueled by the toxic bloodline of The Punisher.
B) The Art: This issue straight destroys it in the art department. Juan Ferreyra steps it up this issue with some sickening dismemberment and gory explosions that perfectly meld slapstick sensibility with some realistic portrayals of savage violence. Even though the violence in portrayed through otherworldly beings, it doesn’t feel toned down or off kilter from what things would look like if real humans were the targets of the actions here. Juggernaut’s savage strength results in limbs flying left and right and blood flowing from multiple orifices from clearly battered and free falling bodies. When Juggernaut cracks open a frost giant like a Halloween pumpkin by doing a straight Donkey Kong Country jump on its head, it’s an impact you feel. Toothgnasher’s singular headbutt of a frost giant gives that sickening knockout vibe that every good Worldstar HipHop fight video provides and Frank pays tribute to some of his Vietnam era days with torture featuring some “under the fingernail” action with some blades.
Outside the action, Ferreyra also excels in the humanistic elements by showing expressions in all of their hilariousness and shock perfectly and giving Frank yet another dope “eyeless” set of panels. That’s all matched up against a meld of wonderful colors from set pieces featuring Frank and Foggy’s in a Mount Doom-like frost giant lair and the bright red Juggernaut spewing neon turquoise blood in the wide open blues and whites of Jotunheim. It was also so nice to see Ferreyra have the opportunity to draw other main heroes from the 616, even if it was just for a cameo.
A huge shout out has to be given to Tony Moore for the excellent cover featuring Frank in the series’s signature Dovahkiin helmet battling a corpsepile of trolls. Moore revealed that his cover was a beautiful tribute to Frazetta’s “Jaguar II” painting. Frank’s black and white nature is always a nice contrast to colorful environments.
Overall Verdict: Kill Krew continues to be a strange, strongly humorous and excessively violent adventure and a refreshingly ambitious exercise in stretching the comfort zone and narrative potential of The Punisher. A truly memorable miniseries that should be a go to in any future recollections about the adventures of Frank Castle.
Next up on October 23rd, the Kill Krew recruits the Black Knight!