Writer: Torunn Grømbekk
Art: Rafael T. Pimentel, Matt Milla, VC’s Corey Petit, Leinil Francis Yu, and Morry Hollowell
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: October 12th, 2022
OLD FRIENDS DIE HARD! Lady Bullseye failed. Lord Deathstrike failed. Every assassin sent to kill Frank fails. The leaders of the underworld – crime bosses, heads of terrorist organizations, and even a corrupt government or two come together to solve the growing problem of Frank Castle. Sharing intel, resources, and money, a collective underworld puts out a contract to kill Frank in this week’s Punisher War Journal: Brother #1 by Torunn Grømbekk. Let’s dive in and take a look!
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The concept in the Punisher War Journal: Brother #1 is pure gold. It’s actually so good that I’m shocked it’s taken writers this long to develop it in a story. It’s a shame that the concept is used on the Punisher (to be honest) BUT it’s solid gold. And what is that concept? Hire an entire world network to kill and target a hero (or villain for that matter) and get paid some serious bank. Imagine an entire planet gunning for you everywhere you go for thousands of dollars. Plus, if everyone puts their money together, the price goes so high that now all it takes is that one kill to be set for life. Or how about that one video tip for a couple of grand? Therefore, the Punisher working for the Hand has really done it this time providing readers with this side story about everyone’s favorite anti-hero but from a different perspective… one Billy Russo!
From kids to natives, to parents and trained assassins, everyone and their brother wants Frank and is willing to kill him for the money. The action is nonstop and the fight is relentless. It’s almost as if nowhere is safe from a variety of different weaponry and tactics. Yet that’s not half of this issue of Punisher War Journal: Brother #1. This sucker is violent, bloody, and extremely graphic. Bullets, on top of explosions, double covered with bloody slicing and dicing clutter each and every page.
However, Punisher War Journal: Brother #1 takes a rather clever turn while the question is posed as to whether or not Frank is willing to kill… like… everyone. Because the amount of people all across the world that are watching, live-streaming, and responsible for his whereabouts is in the thousands… if not more. Where is the line as to who Frank will actually kill? Technically, even kids are participating in trying to murder him. So, does he track them all down and punish them? Again, this issue was a very creative concept that not only provided readers with a rather straightforward, underground assassin-for-hire, strategy that hasn’t been visited for quite some time BUT also provoked some rather compelling arguments for Frank’s personal philosophy.
This is a perfect extra issue to tie into Jason Aaron’s Punisher ongoing. It adds a violently different perspective from the outside world as to what Frank is doing and does so if a rather crafty way. Punisher War Journal: Brother #1 is merely a bonus that every Punisher fan following the series should get this week. The writing is intense coupled with some fantastically graphic art to boot. However, the only knock I can give Punisher War Journal: Brother #1 is that it appears to not be “required” material for Aaron’s series. Meaning, you could skip it if you needed to and jump right into Punisher #7. However, it’s totally worth the buy. Plus, I sincerely hope this concept continues to get revisited in more detail by a writer down the line. And not just with Frank… maybe a specific Avenger, mutant, or hero? Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!