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Punisher #224: Review

May 2018
Matthew Rosenberg, Stefano Landini

Story Name:

Punisher: war criminal part 1

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Punisher #224 Review by (June 2, 2018)
There have been several Bar With No Name's catering for supervillains. The 1st was in Medina County in Ohio in Captain America #318-320. As far as I know subsequent apps have been in New York but it keeps moving around after being detected.

There have been several Scourge's but many of them like this 1 have sported the white garb of the 1st the Scourge of the Underworld who went on a spree killing supervillains. His career started in Iron Man #194 and ended in the CA issues above where he slaughtered the occupants of the Bar. He was actually a member of an organisation of Scourges including the later ones with the same costume. (Possibly Scourge I's apps were sometimes another member of the org.)
This makes it strange that the other villains would be pally with a Scourge dressed this way. But it's moot because this is his only app. As is Steel-Jaw's.

Punisher sided with Hydra in Secret Empire because he was recruited by his idol Captain America and was given free reign and resources to fight crime, which unfortunately included those designated as enemies of the regime. He was also told that Hydra would use a Cosmic Cube (Kobik) to change reality, and he could get his dead family back.




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Punisher #224 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
In the 1st arc in this Legacy series Nick Fury Jr gave Punisher the War Machine armour and told him to take down the military dictator of Chernaya. Well, Frank Castle did that - but he didn't give the armour back. He's got better uses for it back in New York.

Our scene is the Bar With No Name, a haunt for super-powered criminals. A headless body is thrown in, followed by the armoured Punisher who proceeds to lay waste to the patrons. A guy aptly called Steel-Jaw rushes him but Castle sticks an armoured fist in his mouth and fires a repulsor through the back of his head taking out someone else behind him. Soon there's only the barman left alive and Frank forces him to show him the door to the room where the bigger fish party.

Inside we see yet another Scourge of the Underworld playing cards with Bullseye, Grizzly, Rhino and Sandman. As War Machine breaks in Rhino makes a large hole in the back wall and they escape. They pile in to Grizzly's van, him and Bullseye in the front. War Machine gives chase, flying horizontally with his jet boots. Grizzly complains they're too heavily loaded so Sandman and Rhino throw Scourge out of the back of the van. Castle rockets through him ripping him to shreds.

War Machine has almost caught the van when suddenly a blast knocks him to the ground. It's Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers). Last issue Fury told her Punisher was on the loose with the armour that used to belong to her lover James Rhodes (killed in Civil War II but just resurrected in Iron Man #600 - I suspect this new Punisher arc happens before that). Now she's come to take it back.

Castle says he hasn't time for the good guy vs good guy fights the superheroes seem to enjoy - he has bad guys to catch. But Marvel attacks him anyway and Frank tells his armour to shoot back but avoid lethal force. The inbuilt AI recommends withdrawal so Punisher flees with CM in pursuit. The resulting midair clash of energies is seen by many NY heroes (Iron Fist, Moon Knight, She-Hulk, Luke Cage & Jessica Jones, Speedball, Daredevil, Hellcat and Spider-Man (Peter Parker)).

Carol challenges Frank's claim to be a good guy since he fought on the side of Hydra in Secret Empire. War Machine's answer is a rocket in her face. That still doesn't stop her for long after they both fall to Earth. But Punisher gets up 1st and slinks away to hide.

But he's found by Daredevil. They've clashed in the past because their methods and philosophies differ, but DD opines that Castle has surely broken even his own rules lately:- working for Hydra, assassinating a foreign ruler, appropriating a dead hero's weaponry. Frank tries to just walk away but DD challenges him to a fight. Frank warns him off because the WM armour is out of his league. When the Devil persists Punisher blasts him (mildly) in the chest and flies off (hid AI has told him Captain Marvel has left the area).

Nick Fury is coordinating the hunt and asks over comms if anyone can see War Machine now. Hawkeye spots him and looses off an arrow which lodges in the back of the armour. So Punisher zooms back and steals Clint Barton's pizza.

Castle makes it to a safe house (some kind of abandoned warehouse/factory). The arrow is still stuck in his armour and the AI tells him Hawkeye must have known about that weak spot. Frank wonders why didn't use an arrow that was actually dangerous. On a hunch he calls for a full diagnostic and the AI reports that the arrow delivered some trackable nanites. the heroes know where the armour is ...

... and War Machine finds himself facing Captain Marvel again. And this time she's brought help:- As well as the aforementioned Luke Cage and Spider-Man we see Beast, Cannonball, Falcon (Sam Wilson), Hercules, Quake, Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew), Thing, Tigra and U.S. Agent.


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Stefano Landini
Stefano Landini
Lee Loughridge
Clayton Crain (Cover Penciler)
Clayton Crain (Cover Inker)
Clayton Crain (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Cory Petit.
Editor: Jake Thomas. Editor-in-chief: C. B. Cebulski.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Beast
Beast

(Hank McCoy)
Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel

(Carol Danvers)
Daredevil
Daredevil

(Matt Murdock)
Falcon
Falcon

(Sam Wilson)
Hawkeye
Hawkeye

(Clint Barton)
Luke Cage
Luke Cage

(Power Man)
Spider-Man
Spider-Man

(Peter Parker)
Spider-Woman
Spider-Woman

(Jessica Drew)
Thing
Thing

(Ben Grimm)

Plus: Cannonball, Grizzly, Nick Fury Jr, Quake (Daisy Johnson), U.S. Agent, War Machine (Frank Castle).