No Mere Trophy Wife: ‘Punisher: Soviet #4’ Reviewed

by Josh Davison

Mild Spoilers Ahead

The Punisher and Valery Stepanovich ambush the convoy carrying Konstantin Pronchenko’s young wife. The two men kill everyone except for the wife, Zinaida Sebrovna. Frank and Stepanovich take her alive for interrogation. Firstly, they want to know how she’s still alive, as Pronchenko has gotten bored with and killed his first four wives after three years. Zinaida has been with Pronchenko for five. She is also shockingly calm in front of Valery and Frank and this bothers them. They realize why Zinaida is so calm when more of Pronchenko’s men arrive.

Punisher: Soviet #4 cover by Paolo Rivera
Punisher: Soviet #4 cover by Paolo Rivera

Punisher: Soviet #4 finds Frank and Valery capturing Pronchenko’s wife, Zinaida, in the hopes that she can help them get the upper hand against Pronchenko.

Zinaida really does break the mold in how calm and rational she is about her situation. She is aware of the kind of person she is, the kind of people she associates with, and what she wants out of life. She understands how and why her choices have led her to this place at this time. She wants to live, so she knows not to rile Valery and Frank.

Despite all of this, there is something sly about her self-explanation and Frank and Valery are reticent to fully trust her.

The comic isn’t entirely interrogation, of course. We get a nice shootout at the opening with the convoy and we get another when Pronchenko’s rescue team shows up to save Zinaida.

Punisher: Soviet #4 art by Jacen Burrows, Guillermo Ortego, Nolan Woodard, and letterer Rob Steen
Punisher: Soviet #4 art by Jacen Burrows, Guillermo Ortego, Nolan Woodard, and letterer Rob Steen

Jacen Burrows once again impresses with this issue. The shootouts are clear, coherent, and bloody. Characters are expressive and there is something innately different about Zinaida from the first moment we see her. Frank is the hulking and grizzled bastard we expect him to be. Guillermo Ortego provides the visuals with great inking work and Nolan Woodard delivers a moody and grim color treatment.

Punisher: Soviet #4 continues Frank and Valery’s war against Pronchenko, this time striking at those close to the Russian crime lord. It’s a tense and informative issue that shows us more about Pronchenko as well as the kind of woman with whom he’s saddled himself. It’s another solid issue and it earns a recommendation.

Punisher: Soviet #4 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 Esad Ribić.

Final Score: 8/10

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