War of the Realms: The Punisher #2 (of 3)
Writer – Gerry Duggan
Artist – Marcelo Ferreira
Recap – “After laying waste to nine of the Ten Realms, the Dark Elf King Malekith and his powerful allies brought the War of the Realms to Midgard, beginning with New York—home of the Punisher. Frank was battling a Frost Giant when an innocent family got caught in the crossfire. Only the father survived. Frank took him to the nearest hospital, where he met Doctor Baldwin, who was trying to evacuate her patients out of the warzone. Wanting to help, Frank rallied a bunch of prisoners to act as bodyguards for the helpless hospital residents as they ventured into the Lincoln Tunnel, not knowing what monsters await them in the dark…”
Doctor Baldwin is pushing a patient in a wheelchair and they are stopped abruptly when the Punisher and the prisoners encounter a troll. The troll picks up a prisoner and rips him arm off and throws the man to the ground and stomps on him, killing him. A panicked prisoner orders Frank to shoot the troll, but Frank shoots the prisoner instead. Frank shoots the troll in the eyes, blinding the monster. As the troll howls in pain, Frank finishes the troll off with a grenade. As the group catches their breath, it is revealed they have reached the midpoint of the tunnel.
Frank sees a burned-out vehicle which triggers a flashback to happier times with his wife and children driving through the Lincoln Tunnel. Frank orders the prisoners to check for any survivors while the hospital staff and patients sit and rest to figure out ways to ration their food and water.
A prisoner named Ferrante asks Frank what will happen when they get to Jersey but Frank retorts it’s still a long way from Jersey. Their conversation is cut short when Fire Demons attack looking for their troll companion Kenrog. Frank and the prisoners defend themselves against the demons as gigantic Hell Hounds arrive. Most of the prisoners are eaten and killed by the demons and hounds. As Frank hears Doctor Baldwin cry for help, a prisoner tells Frank they will hold the line while he goes to check on the doctor. As Frank turns around, another prisoner wielding an ax hits Frank in the head, knocking the Punisher to the ground. Ferrante picks up the gun Frank dropped, shoves it in Frank’s face, and says now’s a good time for them to talk about what happens when they get to Jersey.
Frank is left in a precarious position at the end of the issue. I have a feeling that either a) Frank has a plan already in store if/when the prisoners would eventually betray him or b) the prisoners will be attacked by some sort of monster which will kill them and save Frank. Have no fear, True Believer! The Punisher will ultimately survive his trek through the tunnel because he is an important member of Freyja’s Strike Team in the main War of the Realms miniseries. Duggan has done a great job with ramping up the tension and overall pacing of this series and I look forward to the nail-biting conclusion.
Up Next – LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL? Frank and his crew have almost made it to the other side of the Lincoln Tunnel. But his band of killers is shrinking, and the monsters keep coming. Who will survive to New Jersey, and what will be left of them? In Stores June 26, 2019.