The Burning Of Bagalia In The Punisher #11
by Josh Davison
[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
It appears that Jigsaw and his men just killed Sister Mercy, and the Punisher isn’t going to let that go unanswered. He’s snagged a motorcycle and is pursuing Jigsaw’s crew into the capital of Bagalia. As the battle approaches Baron Zemo’s tower, Helmut is trying to impress ambassadors from other nations into commencing trade deals with Bagalia. Zemo and the ambassadors spot Jigsaw and Frank as the latter closes the gap on the former. Zemo isn’t happy that Jigsaw has failed him yet again, and Zemo is more willing than ever to do anything to see Frank Castle dead.
Punisher #11 is the cathartic issue this book has needed given the recent issues of Frank being at the mercy of Baron Zemo, Hydra, and Bagalia. Zemo and Jigsaw have had their way with Frank Castle and his reputation, and now Frank is finally able to strike back.
This comic shows the Punisher making a violent beeline for both Jigsaw and Zemo. Frank wastes anyone in his way and paints Bagalia in fascist blood.
Zemo and Jigsaw become more comedic figures in this issue, and I’m not entirely sure how to feel about that. Despite him frequently flip-flopping on whether he’s a Nazi, Baron Helmut Zemo has always been one of my favorite Marvel villains (thanks to Thunderbolts as well as Ed Brubaker’s Captain America). Seeing him made something of a Hogan’s Heroes stooge here is a little disappointing, even if the nature of Nazis is that they’re often garish and theatric. Jigsaw just has some glib gallow’s humor here, and that is fairly fitting for Billy Russo.
Szymon Kudranski does a solid job with all of this, and he certainly knows how to make Frank Castle look like a frightening and murderous juggernaut (not that Juggernaut). There are still moments where the art lingers in the uncanny valley, but it doesn’t sink the book by any means. The shadowing does obscure some of the panels to a somewhat bothersome degree too. Antonio Fabela’s color work is grim and appropriate, and it does some good tone-setting for the already hellish atmosphere of the book.
Punisher #11 is a fun ride that finds our favorite psychopath tearing through the Nazis and killers of Bagalia. Zemo’s reckoning is coming, and it will come at the end of the Punisher’s gun. This one gets a recommendation. Check it out.
Punisher #11 comes to us from writer Matthew Rosenberg, artist Szymon Kudranski, color artist Antonio Fabela, letterer VC’s Cory Petit, and cover artist Greg Smallwood.