Punisher War Zone #2: Black Widow’s Hunt

Frank Castle is on the run from the superspy once the Avengers take an interest in his punishing.

Iann Robinsonby Iann Robinson

Punisher War Zone #2

Punisher War Zone #2 has me a bit on edge. Not because of anything going on with the Punisher, more because of how this series is unfolding. The first issue wasn’t great, and War Zone #2 follows right in line with that. All of the tension, the darker themes, all the work that writer Greg Rucka put into Punisher for his run has not yet translated to War Zone. Granted, this is only issue 2, but with Rucka leaving Marvel unhappy and the forced joining by Punisher to the Thunderbolts, I’m afraid War Zone may become another casualty of the Marvel’s shell game of writers.

The Avengers, at the behest of Spider-Man, are trying to take Frank Castle (aka The Punisher) down for a list of reasons too involved to even try and explain. Not seeing Punisher as superhero-sized threat, the Avengers hand the task of taking him down over to Black Widow. First, the red-haired assassin tries to trick Castle’s former partner Rachel Cole-Alves.

When that doesn’t work, she goes back to good old-fashioned trained-killer tracking. Widow follows a bloody trail the Punisher leaves behind in Europe and Asia as he tries to stop an international drug and prostitution ring. When Widow finally confronts Punisher, he leads her on a chase to a small village filled with underprivileged kids. This is what stops Black Widow from continuing her pursuit, she suddenly needs to make sure these starving kids are okay.

The final pages of War Zone #2 indicate that Thor will be the next Avenger to try and stop The Punisher, so I’m holding out hope that these final issue of Greg Rucka’s otherwise brilliant run will pick up steam. I’d hate to see all that masterful work with Frank Castle end badly, though maybe that’s the point. Thunderbolts has already screwed up Punisher by having him join a team (and having him drawn by art hack Steve Dillon). My hope is that Rucka will want to put and decisive exclamation point on his time with Frank Castle.

Another problem with War Zone #2 is the art. Carmine Di Giandomenico is either a naturally sloppy artist or wasn’t given much time to pencil this issue. Everything in this issue feels rushed, from the blocky human characters to the overly dull backgrounds. Nothing pops, nothing looks like time was taken with it. Panel after panel, Punisher War Zone #2 comes off as rushed and slapdash.


(3 Story, 2 Art)