In this last chapter of War Journal, the writer divided the story into two parts. In the first part of the story where she had focus on Maria and Frank’s relationship, and the difficulties Frank had adjusting to civilian life, and the second part where we actually see Frank in action, shows that despite striving to have a “normal” life, the other part of Frank Castle thirsting for action took over.
The couple therapy “issue” is an overly explored subject in this saga. Jason Aaron, has made more than enough mentions in the main saga mentioning Frank’s problems in adjusting himself to his civilian life, but apparently, editors and writers seem concerned with reinforcing this “detail” with readers.
In the first part of this book, the action is slow, where we see a lot of interaction between Frank and Maria and how interacts with his neighbors.
The second part of this story is where the action really happens, especially featuring the presence of a mobster gang that Punisher readers are already familiar with… the Gnuccis!
Apparently, the Gnuccis crossed Frank’s path long before Garth Ennis‘ story happened in “Welcome Back, Frank” arc. And it will be here that Torunn explores the “anti-hero” side of Frank who comes across suspicious goings-on in a house in his neighborhood.
Lots of action and hand-to-hand combat could serve as the introduction to a prequel to “Year One,” where Frank attacks the gang to save people held captive by the Gnuccis. This was the part that for me “saved” this issue and made it feel like a “Punisher” comic book. I’m ok with seeing some in-depth analysis of Frank’s persona as long as it fits the character and doesn’t get overused.
Djibril Morissette-Phan was a very competent artist in this story. I wasn’t surprised by a few panels where he did a close-up of the character’s faces, but overall he captured the style of this story well. The action scenes and the dynamics between panels are reasonably good.
There is not much more to explore beyond the above. The second part of this story will satisfy the Punisher’s fans and who knows, maybe some were satisfied with the first part with the tiresome theme of a “marine” still with the fire of war inside him, but unadapted to civilian life.
I liked that they introduced the Gnuccis, not calling into question the story written by Garth Ennis. Ma Gnucci barely crossed paths with Frank, but Russian did, he had some interaction with Frank but nothing beyond words. But, I really doubt he would forget about them or didn’t know anything about the Russian in “Welcome Back, Frank”. But again, I can deal with this.
Torunn Grønbekk did a good job writing these War Journals. Overall, I really think that we got more Punisher in these issues than in the main series. War Journal: Base, in my view, wasn’t as good as Blitz, or Brother. But it was worth the action scenes.
Overall Rate: 7 / 10
Coming up next week, PUNISHER #10