The Punisher Vs. The Taskmaster In The Punisher #9

by Josh Davison

[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]

The Punisher is executed on live television from Bagalia, but he real Frank Castle is in the final stages of his prison break. Unfortunately, one of his cohorts failed to kill much of the Hydra guard staff, and Frank must take the guards on alone. Worse yet, Taskmaster arrives to take on the Punisher. At the capital, Baron Zemo and Jigsaw watch all of this transpire, and Zemo is not pleased.

The Punisher #9 cover by Greg Smallwood
The Punisher #9 cover by Greg Smallwood

Punisher #9 shows us the final stages to Frank Castle’s prison break in Bagalia. Things don’t go entirely to plan, but the Punisher has never been one to shy away from improv when the need arises.

That said, there isn’t a lot of meat to this issue. Frank has to make a final push out of the Bagalia prison, and he has to deal with the Taskmaster in doing so.

The fight with Taskmaster is by far the highlight. Tony Masters is a favorite Marvel villain of mine, and it’s cool watching the Punisher throw down with the skull-faced assassin.

There is a short scene with Zemo and Jigsaw boiling mulling over what to do with Frank that is fairly entertaining. Zemo has a half-plan to turn Frank into a Hydra super soldier, and it ends in rage and a butler murder when he sees what Frank has done to his prison.

The Punisher #9 art by Szymon Kudranski, Antonio Fabela, and letterer VC's Cory Petit
The Punisher #9 art by Szymon Kudranski, Antonio Fabela, and letterer VC’s Cory Petit

Szymon Kudranski makes it all look as intense and unnerving as it should be. The violence at the prison ends in an inferno with bodies everywhere. The fight between Frank and Taskmaster is well laid out for the most part. It is a little weird how tightly Zemo’s mask hugs his face. It usually hangs a little more loosely, but that is an admittedly minor gripe. On the whole, the book looks good, and Antonio Fabela’s color art compliments Kudranski’s style well.

The Punisher #9 feels a little frivolous at times, but it has its high points. Getting to see the Punisher fight Taskmaster and Zemo banter with Jigsaw isn’t nothing, and the end product is both gritty and a good bit of fun. This one is worth a recommendation. Feel free to check it out.

The Punisher #9 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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