“I am like a hurricane. My eye is calm, while I blow everyone away”, this is the mantra of Frank Castle and Greg Rucka takes it and defines it better than everyone else during his short run of the Punisher. However, his run doesn’t focus on Frank rather it focuses on Rachel Cole, I mean Rachel Alves. On her wedding day, a gang shot down her entire family including her fiance’s. Sound familiar? It should. This is a story which explains why Frank Castle is the only person who walks in the Punisher’s shoes. Greg Rucka starts the first half of the series with a silent Frank Castle. Unlike previous iterations which relied on his war Journal to narrate Frank’s motivation, Rucka lets action speak louder than words. With this silence, Frank’s mission remains pure. The reader doesn’t need to relate to the internal turmoil. They don’t need to find justice in blood shed. Instead, we are left with Frank punishing the guilty. In the second half, Alves finally joins Frank on his mission. Yet, Castle reminds her that vengeance is for the living. Her life, as well as his, was taken the day their lives were killed by the mob hitmen. She has two choices. She can admit her guilt turn herself in and restart her life, but she must know that who she was indeed killed. She will never achieve that same life ever again. It died. Or, she can keep on punishing the guilty and try to make sure that people who take lives will be punished. This is Frank Castle’s mission. He is a soldier and just like every good soldier he gave his live to this mission. During this run we run into Frank’s “closest” friends Spider-Man and Daredevil. Spider-Man is always the most disturbed by Frank’s mentality. Peter Parker can’t mentally cope with being friends with a man who is willing to splatter somebodies brains against the wall. He tries to make light of the situation with humor but inevitably it is just a cover up for what he knows will always happen. He is the brightest soul trying to escape the darkest pit of finality. The Daredevil is the man who feels failure next to Castle. He is a man who wishes he could reach and pull Frank back from those darkest depths, yet his hold never lasts very long if only he could save everyone. Frank Castle is the powerless man that every villain fears and he is the only person which no hero can save.
Marco Checchetto complimented this work better than any artist. There is always so much depth that you can scan the page three or more times and still find more details that define the scene. It can be from a little clip of Frank’s knees breaking when hitting the fire escape, a mini blurred portrait of the Daredevil flipping Frank off in a café, or Frank’s signature skull changing expression to match the panel. Checchetto gives us every little detail, even the stuble on Murdock’s face showing the age and wear of their mission is a treat.
Greg Rucka and Marco Checchetto defined the Punisher better than anyone ever could.