Review: The Punisher Vol. 13 #3 (2022) by Jason Aaron, Jesús Saiz and Paul Azaceta

Art by Jesús Saiz & colored by Dave Stewart

Issue #3 came out last week and the big highlight this time was Frank’s first kill.
After the big controversy in issue #2 with Frank’s new childhood violence and “therapy”, we received a more nuanced explanation on Frank’s first kill and the motivations behind it. It’s not far off from the Frank that we know. Frank witnesses a brutal beating and murder with no one doing anything to prevent the situation. He tries to stay away from the situation, but couldn’t do it. He did the only thing he knew would silence the suffering of the innocent, his own justice.

Art by Paul Azaceta

I don’t know if Aaron was inspired by Punisher MAX: The Tyger, but there are some similarities. If we compare the two moments, the only difference is that in The Tyger, Frank couldn’t finish his mission to eliminate Vincent Rosa (The young man who raped his best friend that led to her suicide). In this issue, Frank does some prep work to accomplish his mission and successfully kills the aggressor.

Art by Paul Azaceta

And also part of another similarity, the aggressor was consumed by fire, just like in The Tyger when Sal Buvoli (Lauren’s brother and Frank’s best friend) set Vincent Rosa on fire.

Art by Paul Azaceta

This issue was also important to show to the readers that for the first time, there was some divergence between the Hand and Frank. The High Priestess tries to push Frank into being the Fist of the Beast, but Frank is shown to be solely focused on using the Hand to fulfill his mission and wage war on Ares, who is also clearly doing everything possible to “meet” Frank at any cost on the battlefield.

Another thing that deserves to be pointed out is Maria. The Hand gave her life in order to put Frank in his path as the Fist of the Beast, but as we saw in this comic, she’s not mentally well. At this point, she doesn’t even know she has been dead for years and that her kids are still dead. This is another problem that Frank has to deal with at some point in the future.

Final Thoughts

I think Jason Aaron dealt very well with Frank’s origin story that put him in the path of becoming The Punisher/ the High Slayer/Fist of the Beast. I’m not a fan of Frank being destined to be the Punisher since he was born though and I really prefer to believe that he was a “by-product” of causality and the death of his family…not his childhood or even the war.

In this run, Aaron has a lot for readers to “process”. Frank’s mission is to disarm these major terrorist cells. The High Priestess wants him to become the Fist of the Beast. There’s the war with Ares and Maria being delusional and more closer to the truth of what happened to her and their kids.
This run hasn’t convinced me yet. It’s better than the previous issue, but the future is still “blurry”. It can be a good run with a major twist or it can be a trainwreck.

Art by Jesús Saiz & colored by Dave Stewart

I will not end this review, without giving a word to the art. It’s been great. In my view, the art is the highest point in this entire run. Jesús Saiz is nailing every panel of this run with the help of the colors of Stewart. Great dynamic and shining panels. I also liked Paul Azaceta’s flashback scenes. This issue, Paul did his best work so far of this run.

Overall Rate: 7 / 10

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