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Punisher #226: Review

Jun 2018
Matthew Rosenberg, Stefano Landini

Story Name:

Punisher: war criminal part 3

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Punisher #226 Review by (July 1, 2018)
Baron Zemo hasn't surfaced until now since Secret Empire.

Crossbones had a minor role working for Hydra in SE. Since then he's only been in a villain crowd in the last issue of the 2017 Defenders.

Ghost was last seen in the SE tie-in Thunderbolts #12 (another last issue) but working independently *against* Hydra.

Taskmaster was 1 of Hydra's Avengers in SE. He's been the busiest since then, returning to his mercenary ways in Spider-Men II, Despicable Deadpool #297-298 and Domino #1-2.

Hawkeye has been seen quite a lot since Secret Empire. He was in many episodes of Avengers: No Surrender. And significantly for here he starred in the Legacy issues of Tales Of Suspense which brought back to life (sort-of) Black Widow.

BW died in SE. But in TOS a clone was activated with all her memories. Since then she's been given 1 of the Infinity Stones in Infinity Countdown (but that possibly happens after this story arc concludes).

Winter Soldier was also involved in the TOS story.

Mockingbird has also been busy since SE, but in various Spider-Man comics having a relationship with Peter Parker.




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Punisher #226 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Punisher has the War Machine armour and he intends to use it to make amends for siding with Hydra during Secret Empire. He's currently invading CIA HQ to get information on where the Hydra leaders are hiding. While 1 man phones his boss a female Agent tries to shoot Frank Castle but the bullet ricochets of his armour and wounds her. The man directs him to the room with the Hydra files.

With a lot of help from the armour's AI Castle manages to download all the info (and erases all data on himself as a bonus). As heavily armed and armoured Agents prepare to break in on him he flies out through a wall and away. Another Agent contacts *his* superior - Baron Zemo of Hydra.

4 hours later 2 Hydra Agents are standing on a rooftop looking out for Punisher when he turns up and kills them. Then he blasts through the roof, kills some more guys and destroys some escaping cars with missiles. He confronts Zemo who shelters behind a force field and offers him tea. And unveils his counter-plan - Crossbones, Ghost, Taskmaster and some Agents with big guns.

Crossbones and Taskmaster are faster than armoured Punisher even though Zemo has provided them with (lighter) armour. Crossbones tags him with a bomb on the back of his armour. Then Taskmaster tries to behead him with his sword, but the neck armour holds up long enough for War Machine to knock him out and use his sword to kill the Hydra Agents. Crossbones attacks with more special weapons finishing with plastic explosive on WM's helmet. But Castle still has Crossbones on the ropes until Ghost intervenes. His intangibility protects him from Frank's weapons and then he sneaks up through the floor to cause the suit's AI to malfunction. And the War Machine armour falls to pieces.

Taskmaster pins Castle's hand to the floor with a knife, and Crossbones prepare to shoot him in the head. But Zemo wants to savour the moment (typical villain mistake). While Taskmaster tales a selfie with Frank, Zemo prattles on about how working for Hydra was the only time Castle was on the winning side. And soon their Steve Rogers will be out of jail and Hydra Nation will rise again. *Then* he says Crossbones can kill Punisher.

But it's too late as an acid arrow hits CB's armoured mask. Black Widow, Hawkeye, Mockingbird and Winter Soldier have taken over the room. Castle stabs Crossbones in the foot and Widow punches him out. Bucky Barnes takes on Taskmaster while Hawkeye and MB face Baron Zemo and more Hydra goons. But Clint Barton complains when Punisher just shoots the goons. Ghost ghosts out through the ceiling and kills the lights. When Hawkeye gets a flare arrow going they find that Zemo has gone.

Castle loads the pieces of War Machine armour into a bag he finds lying around. Hawkeye says Nick Fury Jr sent them to get the armour back. Frank says he needs it to kill everyone in Hydra before they stage their comeback. Clint says he can't let him do that. Then Black Widow zaps Barton unconscious with her Widow's Bite, followed by Mockingbird. She says she's not following Fury's orders, and Winter Soldier seems to be with her. They'll join Punisher on his mission.


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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.

Baron Zemo
Baron Zemo

(Helmut)
Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Hawkeye
Hawkeye

(Clint Barton)
Winter Soldier
Winter Soldier

(Bucky Barnes)

Plus: Crossbones, Taskmaster, War Machine (Frank Castle).