Writer: Gerry Duggan, Artist & colourist: Juan Ferreyra, Letters: Cory Petit.
"Punisher Kill Krew #1" cover art by Tony Moore
A couple of months is an eternity in comics, and this summer's mega-event "War of Realms" is practically ancient Norse history by this point. But whilst Marvel may have already swiftly moved onto the next big thing, Frank Castle hasn't.
When the war came to Earth, The Punisher was on the streets of New York fighting on the front lines, when an innocent family were killed by the Frost Giant Kasyckla, who escaped back to Jotunheim whilst Frank tried and failed to save their lives (See War of Realms: Punisher #1).
Yes, Frank Castle has some unfinished business, and he's prepared to cross the dimensions themselves to settle it in Punisher Kill Krew #1!
After a succinct intro page that brings the reader quickly up to speed, we're straight into the action on the streets of New York, where ironically we find Frank Castle using speed as a deadly weapon with a little vehicular assault whilst battling against a Frost Giant and a handful of Dark Elves; before finishing them off in one of the most glorious examples of overkill you're likely to see this year!
A couple of recap pages remind us that the crux of the story involves Frank hunting Kasyckla and trying to keep the promise he made to just one man to avenge his family's deaths at the hands of the monster. However, like any good fantasy story, he inevitably finds himself getting involved in a side quest (I'm looking at you Skyrim!) when he is introduced to a group of orphans who all lost their parents during the conflict, and few things resonate more strongly with the Punisher than children suffering as a result of someone else's turf war...
How Frank relates to these kids in order to obtain the information he needs to identify the next bunch of monsters to add to his hit list, is a scene that maybe won't win Frank any awards for trauma therapist of the year, but does remind us that whilst the Punisher may be a lawless vigilante, under all that rage and violence, there's also a human being and a man who was once a loving father himself.
Frank successfully hunts those targets that can be found within New York itself, including a giant carnivorous plant that he leaves needing a tree doctor, and making a member of the undead just plain dead, whilst still finding the time to enforce "New York Central Parks general regulations on dog walkers" - it soon becomes obvious that most of his objectives are hiding elsewhere in the nine realms.
Otherworldly travel requires otherworldly transport however, but (perhaps a little too conveniently) Frank finds exactly what he needs, obtaining a new ride of the giant, hoofed, horned variety that's going to take him and his battle van full of guns to hit the enemy where they live!
One of the most frequent complaints from comic book fans regarding big events involving so-called "Earth shattering" occurrences is that they are rarely ever mentioned again once they are over. Punisher Kill Krew (along with last months excellent Jane Foster: Valkyrie #1) kicks that trend by being a rare example of a book that seeks to ask the question of "what happened next?"
It's a fun and easy read, helped along nicely by excellent art from Juan Ferreyra, and whilst its emphasis is definitely on over the top action and dark humour, it's also an issue that trades heavily in Frank Castle's two main psychological commodities as a character: revenge and guilt- managing to successfully and sensitively convey that just because the war has ended doesn't mean that the suffering has.
"War of Realms: Punisher #1-3"
"War of Realms: Omega"