The Last Act Of Valery Stepanovich: ‘Punisher: Soviet #6’ Reviewed

by Josh Davison

Mild Spoilers Ahead

Valery Stepanovich is dead, but that doesn’t mean the mission is over. The Punisher has Konstantin Pronchenko’s sons give Valery a proper burial before shooting them in the head. Frank then goes to track down Pronchenko to fulfill Valery’s wishes. Pronchenko is meeting up with his U.S. Senator contact at a remote location and Frank is able to slip in with ease. He confronts Pronchenko and the Senator and he deals with Pronchenko in the manner that Valery would have wanted.

Punisher: Soviet #6 cover by Paolo Rivera
Punisher: Soviet #6 cover by Paolo Rivera

Punisher: Soviet #6 concludes this latest Garth Ennis take on the Punisher MAX continuity. Valery Stepanovich is dead, but Frank respects the man enough to carry on his wishes in regards to Pronchenko.

The assumption is that Valery wanted Pronchenko brought to some kind of proper justice and I thought that was true until the gruesome climax of the issue. I won’t spoil the surprise, but Valery’s plans for Pronchenko are arguably more brutal and cruel than simply killing the man.

It’s another unforgettable ending for an Ennis Punisher arc and it easily goes down in history as another hit from Ennis. It once again shows a more human side to Frank Castle. 

Despite the unfathomable cruelty Frank commits upon Pronchenko and the Senator, it’s clear that Valery Stepanovich touched something deep inside Frank. He genuinely feels for the man and he misses him in some part of his charred-black soul. 

Punisher: Soviet #6 art by Jacen Burrows, Guillermo Ortego, Nolan Woodard, and letterer Rob Steen
Punisher: Soviet #6 art by Jacen Burrows, Guillermo Ortego, Nolan Woodard, and letterer Rob Steen

Jacen Burrows once again puts in some great work in rendering this issue. The action scenes are satisfying and quietly brutal. Frank’s cragged and frightening visage remains unchanging, if a bit exhausted-looking. Guillermo Ortego provides some skillful inking and Nolan Woodard gives the book a well-balanced yet cold palette to match its cold-hearted protagonist.

Punisher: Soviet #6 delivers an unforgettably brutal yet emotional ending for this Frank Castle tale. We see the Punisher once again violently end a monstrous crime lord while experiencing genuine sorrow from loss. It’s a damn good comic and it easily earns a recommendation. Give it a read.

Punisher: Soviet #6 comes to us from writer Garth Ennis, artist Jacen Burrows, inker Guillermo Ortego, color artist Nolan Woodard, letterer Rob Steen, cover artist Paolo Rivera, and variant cover artist Takashi Okazaki with Morry Hollowell.

Final Score: 9/10

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