The War of the Realms: The Punisher #1 (of 3)
Writer- Gerry Dugan
Artist- Marcelo Ferreira
“After laying waste to nine of the Ten Realms, The Dark Elf King Malekith and his powerful allies have finally brought the War of the Realms to Midgard- the last realm standing! Malekith opened a portal in New York- home of the Punisher. Now Frost Giants and Dark Elves roam the streets, and Frank has to face literal monsters to protect the city’s innocents.”
A piano teacher is helping a student at the local music store when Frank Castle, the Punisher, bursts through the door looking for piano wire. The piano teacher, fearing for his life, gives Frank what he needs. Frank sets up a trip wire between two lampposts which decapitates a dark elf and stops giant wolf creatures from attacking the citizens of New York.
Next, Frank comes face to face with a Frost Giant named Kasyckla. Frank throws two grenades at the giant’s feet, which explode and knock the monster off balance. Frank uses a nearby gas tanker and a lighter as a trap that causes the giant’s head to catch on fire. Enraged, the giant throws a car full of people at Frank. Thinking Frank dead, the giant walks off. Frank goes to rescue a man trapped in the car, but as the man pleads to save his family first, it’s revealed they didn’t survive the accident.
As Frank carries the injured man to the nearest hospital, he asks the Punisher to avenge his family and kill that monster. Frank responds by saying, “There is no place in the universe that is safe for him now.” Arriving at the hospital, Dr. Baldwin tells Frank they are evacuating the hospital to New Jersey and using the Lincoln Tunnel as the path to help immobile patients to safety.
Elsewhere in the city, a fire demon kills the driver of a correctional facility bus. Frank kills the demon with a flare through the head, saving the criminals onboard. Frank boards the bus and tasers the guard and speaks to the prisoners. Frank needs a few bad men to help some good people by transporting the hospital staff and patients through the Lincoln Tunnel. Frank drops a bag of weapons before the men. One of the criminals is dumb enough to try to attack Frank and is killed by the Punisher.
Dr. Baldwin and the hospital staff begin their journey through the Lincoln Tunnel and are ambushed by a dark elf, who is killed by gunfire. Frank and the prisoners have arrived to help. Frank tells everyone to walk twenty yards behind him, follow every order he gives, and he will get them through this journey safely.
I picked this issue up because I was interested in seeing how a normal man with only guns and his will to survive will take on the magical monstrosities of the Ten Realms. Frank has stepped up in a big way to protect the citizens of New York because as he puts it “good, hardworking people are being slaughtered and it’s his problem now.” Frank’s mission of protecting the innocent and punishing the guilty has reached a cosmic level in this miniseries. The evacuation through the tunnel plot is a callback to Stallone’s Daylight and Stephen King’s The Stand and I cannot wait to see what dangers lurk in the darkness for Frank and the rest of the survivors.
Next issue: MONSTERS, MONSTERS EVERYWHERE! Punisher leads his band of criminals and hospital patients through the Lincoln Tunnel, but traffic is the least of their concerns. Hordes of monsters from every realm are using NYC as a hunting ground, and the hospital denizens look like easy prey. In the dark, surrounded by monsters and with only his wits and weapons, Frank Castle may have never felt more at home. In Stores May 22, 2019.