Review (With Spoilers!): The Punisher Vol. 13 #8 (2023) by Jason Aaron, Jesus Saiz and Paul Azaceta

Another month has passed and this new run by Jason Aaron continues to pave a new direction for The Punisher that barely resembles the character as we have come to know him. Is it a bad thing? Well, maybe not for some fans. But, old school fans might struggle with reading this run, especially those who just wanted to see The Punisher on the streets hunting down common criminals.

Jason Aaron continues to show Frank Castle’s journey on the path to becoming the “Fist of the Beast”. In this issue, we are presented with two new upgrades aka “Gifts from the Beast”: super strength and healing blood. During his daily ritual of decapitating criminals, Frank is pestered by The Archpriestess, who is advising against a conflict with Ares due to Frank’s defeat in issue #6. Frank, however, is open towards conflict and is willing to invite Ares to his doorstep. As a demonstration of his new strength and confidence, Frank releases several criminals and gives them the opportunity to fight him. The fight ends with Frank disemboweling and exploding their limbs using just his fists and demonstrating healing from impalement by a sword. For those waiting to see Frank pick up a gun, he finally wields a red pistol with the new skull logo on it by the end of this issue. The ammo for this pistol is from his broken dagger during his fight with Ares in issue #6. Hopefully, he uses more guns than just this pistol. There also appears to be a changing of the guard, with Frank now having several Hand minions giving their loyalty to him over the Archpriestess. With Ares at The Hand’s citadel doors, we see Frank Castle getting ready for the big battle with most of his powered senses awakened to face the God of War.

This run has been showing a lot of flashbacks from Frank Castle and Maria’s “alleged” past. Continuing from last issue, this issue also focused on Maria’s point of view when Frank returned home from the war. The flashbacks show both Frank and Maria in therapy and Frank’s struggles in slowly transitioning into civilian life and becoming a “good” parent and husband. In the present, we also see Maria gaining her memory and consciousness back more and more…and along with that questions about her condition. Maria is becoming more of a nuisance to the Archpriestess, who is keeping her sedated with drugs. It remains to be seen how Maria will react to learning about her death and the death of her children as well as Frank’s time as The Punisher. With the flashbacks slowly inching towards the Central Park massacre, it also feels that there is a BIG retcon imminent.


So far, this issue has been the highest point of this run. I have my complaints that I’m sharing with you in every issue, but the artwork has been great. Jesús Saiz’s artwork has been stellar, with great lines and gruesome shots. Saiz has crafted great fighting scenes and very beautiful landscapes surrounding The Hand’s citadel. Paul Azaceta’s work with the flashbacks has been really good and these two make a great duo. I can’t forget Dave Stewart, who has been coloring this book and has been giving great personality to these illustrations.

Final Thoughts

This run isn’t for every Punisher fan. Those who are more “open minded” regarding big changes to the core of the character can read this and get entertained. For those looking for classic street level crime stories, you won’t get anything of it. This issue felt like a mild filler. Ares has been at the citadel gates since issue #7 and this big confrontation has been teased since issue #1 or #2.

RATING: 7/10

Next Up! Issue #9 on January 18th.

1 thought on “Review (With Spoilers!): The Punisher Vol. 13 #8 (2023) by Jason Aaron, Jesus Saiz and Paul Azaceta”

  1. “For those looking for classic street level crime stories, you won’t get anything of it.”   Yep that’s me you are talking about.  I sure miss my Gart Ennis view of Frank Castle with the extra bit of the Marvel Universe not a part of it.  I still appreciate these reviews and get them whenever posted.  Gotta stay up to date with what happens to the character.  Thanks! “Do not think you can be brave with your life and your work and never disappoint anyone. It doesn’t work that way.”


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