Frank Versus The Thunderbolts In Punisher #14

by Josh Davison

[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
Baron Zemo has brought together a team of Thunderbolts to hunt down the Punisher for Mayor Wilson Fisk. Black Widow finds Frank to offer a hand, but the Punisher has never been known to be a team player. Zemo begins using “U.N.” troops to flush out Frank. In reality, those troops are former Hydra, and Frank takes the bait. Inevitably, the Thunderbolts find the Punisher, and it’s Frank against the likes of Moonstone, Radioactive Man, and the Fixer.

The Punisher #14 cover by Greg Smallwood
The Punisher #14 cover by Greg Smallwood

Punisher #14 finds our one-man army against the Thunderbolts and an outright army occupying the streets of New York City. Needless to say, Frank Castle needs help, but he will never ask for it and will fight it if offered.
Much of the comic is, once again, Baron Zemo doing everything he can to piss of Kingpin while still trying to flush out the Punisher. 
As a longtime Thunderbolts fan, I’ll take what I can in terms of Thunderbolts appearances these days (especially since the cruel cancellation of Jim Zub’s excellent yet short-lived run). That said, I do have to point out that we don’t really get much of the team outside of Zemo. Moonstone, Fixer, Ghost, and Radioactive Man have very few lines in this book. Also, I have no idea who Jigsaw is supposed to be dressed up as.
To my absolute delight, the Thunderbolts aren’t the only B and C-list characters to show up in this issue. Natasha procures some help for Frank, and it brings back a couple of characters who haven’t been seen in quite some time.
Unfortunately, the Winter Soldier doesn’t pop up again though.
The Punisher #14 art by Szymon Kudranski, Antonio Fabela, and letterer VC's Cory Petit
The Punisher #14 art by Szymon Kudranski, Antonio Fabela, and letterer VC’s Cory Petit

Szymon Kudranski once again gives this book a gritty and sometimes off-putting aesthetic that suits the Punisher quite well. The Kingpin’s body still looks very weird, and there is a distracting disconnect between foreground and background. That said, I can’t deny that Kudranski has a knack for the Punisher, and I’m glad to see him around still. Antonio Fabela backs Kudranski up well with a grim color palette also well-suited to Frank Castle.
Punisher #14 is an action-packed and often funny comic that continues the conflict between Frank, Zemo, and Fisk. The stakes are raised, more players enter the game, and I can’t wait to see how this all plays out. Punisher #14 gets a recommendation. Check it out.
Also, why were the Hydra soldiers wearing their Hydra uniforms under their U.N. armor?
Punisher #14 comes to us from writer Matthew Rosenberg, artist Szymon Kudranski, color artist Antonio Fabela, letterer VC’s Cory Petit, and cover artist Greg Smallwood.
Final Score: 8/10

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