Mercy For Frank Castle In The Punisher #6

by Josh Davison

[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]

A broadcast comes out of Bagalia showing the Punisher killing a citizen journalist and threatening to do the same to everyone else in the nation. In reality, Baron Zemo has Frank Castle in chains, and he’s not getting out anytime soon. Helmut has made sport out of tormenting Frank, and Helmut has a special prison to throw Frank into when he’s done. Can the Punisher survive his stay in Bagalia?

The Punisher #6 cover by Greg Smallwood
The Punisher #6 cover by Greg Smallwood

The Punisher #6 finds our antihero completely at the mercy of Baron Zemo. Frank’s crusade against Hydra ended with Nick Fury giving the Punisher to Baron Zemo.

There are some parts in the margins of this that make the story much more interesting than at first glance.

Firstly, it puts Frank at the mercy of utter fascism, which, it’s worth reiterating, is more-or-less the ideological basis of everything the Punisher does. I love the Punisher as a character, but he is a fascist.

I don’t expect the experience to change Frank in anyway; one of the things that make him such a compelling character is how immovable he is despite being such a broken and violent person. Evil breaks against the Punisher, the Punisher doesn’t change to face the evil. It is in no way admirable, but it’s entertaining to read about.

You do see this inability to change his frame of mind when people in the Bagalia prison look to team up with him. Frank can’t shift his frame of mind to suit the fact that Bagalia, a nation of killers and fascists, would be putting good people into their prisons. These men literally have to hold Frank down while an honest-to-God nun vouches for them to get him to stop trying to kill them.

The Punisher #6 art by Szymon Kudranski, Antonio Fabela, and letterer VC's Cory Petit
The Punisher #6 art by Szymon Kudranski, Antonio Fabela, and letterer VC’s Cory Petit

Szymon Kudranski’s artwork continues to be a disquieting mixture of pseudo-realistic detailing cast against brutal violence. There is a prison brawl with Hydra guards where Kudranski’s artwork really comes to life, and it’s brilliantly horrific. There is still a bit of an uncanny valley in spots given the undetailed background and the 3-D rendering of the foreground, but it doesn’t hurt the overall quality that badly. Antonio Fabela’s color work continues to be quite moody and atmospheric, and it serves the overall book very well.

The Punisher #6 finds Frank Castle at a lower point than usual, but this won’t stop him from punishing every Hydra putz that is unlucky enough to challenge him. It’s another solid issue from Matthew Rosenberg, Szymon Kudranski, and Antonio Fabela, and it’s worth a recommendation. Check it out.

The Punisher #6 comes to us from writer Matthew Rosenberg, artist Szymon Kudranski, color artist Antonio Fabela, letterer VC’s Cory Petit, and cover artist Greg Smallwood.

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