Comic Book Review – The Punisher: War Machine Volume One

Frank Castle has been around the Marvel Universe since his introduction in Amazing Spider-Man #129 in 1974. Over the years, writers have tried to reinvigorate the Punisher with varying degrees of success (see FrankenCastle and Supernatural Angel of Vengeance as two examples). One volume that I feel was a bona fide hit was during Marvel Legacy’s soft reboot – The Punisher: War Machine.

The Punisher stops a weapons deal between local gangsters from New York and a squad of hitmen from the European country of Chernaya. As Frank returns to his van, he is surprised to find Nick Fury Jr. waiting inside for him. Fury has an interesting proposition for Frank. Over dim sum, Fury tells Frank that General Petrov has seized control of the country Chernaya via military coup. It’s not until Fury tells Frank that Petrov has been killing his rivals, including small children, that Frank’s interest piques. Fury’s mission for Frank is to take Petrov down by any means necessary. However, with the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D., some agents have joined Petrov’s side to protect him and carry out his orders, utilizing battle armor modeled after the Iron Man design. Fury has a weapon to help Frank with his new mission and all he must do is steal it from the U.S. Air Force – that weapon is the War Machine armor. After successfully finding and liberating the armor from its storage unit, Frank heads to Chernaya. Fury tells Frank that he must return the armor once the mission is completed, but Frank has other ideas…

Writer Matthew Rosenberg and artist Guiu Vilanova take Frank’s mission of punishment and vengeance global in The Punisher War Machine Volume 1. I liked how Vilanova drew Frank Castle to look like his real-life television counterpart played by Jon Bernthal. It takes some time for Frank to get a hang of using the armor and the interactions he has with the A.I. are sometimes funny. Just when it seems like Frank is in over his head, the skills and know how he learned in the military and life on the street takes over. Frank will complete his mission by any means necessary…pick up this volume to check out and see if he is successful or not.