Punisher War Journal (2007 Series) #11
Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: Heroes and Villains
Rating: Parental Advisory
Frank vs. Bucky, Bridge vs. Stark, Ian vs… himself?
Writer: Matt Fraction
Pencils: Leonardo Fernandez
Inks: Francisco Paronzini
Colors: Val Staples
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Editor: Aubrey Sitterson
Cover Art: Ariel Olivetti
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Matt Fraction’s typically entertaining Punisher War Journal branches off to three different stories this issue. The Winter Soldier tracks down Frank Castle to make him answer for daring to wear Captain America’s uniform. Iron Man tracks down G.W. Bridge to talk to him about his obsession with tracking down Frank. And Ian, the young man who wanted to be a cop (remember issue six?) finds himself on a psychiatrist couch.
All three stories in this issue work wonderfully. Bucky’s frustration with Frank can only be equaled by Frank’s frustration with himself, while Bridge still doesn’t really understand why he’s been behaving the way he has. Stark, meanwhile, has a surprisingly different take on Bridge’s obsession. And Ian – who from all appearances was a one-off character in a one-off story – turns out to be a more important character in Frank’s future than anyone would have guessed.
Fraction’s impeccable storytelling, as usual, takes all of these characters to somewhat unfamiliar places without compromising or betraying their established personalities in the slightest.
Fernandez and Parozini’s artwork is a rather striking contrast for fans used to Ariel Olivetti’s sharper, almost digital artwork, but it’s not bad in the slightest. It’s more traditional, more of a classic superhero look, and there’s nothing wrong with it at all. It’s just very different from what we’ve gotten in this title so far.
A very strong issue that isn’t so much a “done in one” story as it is an epilogue to what’s come before, while at the same time, being a prologue to what’s next.