The "Punisher: War Zone" round-up continues. Frank Castle's grudge match with Ma Gnucci and Elite comes to a head in this penultimate chapter. Trapped in an ambush, the Punisher and Charlie Schitti have to escape from Elite. Explosive hijinx ensue.
This book is, without doubt, a guilty pleasure. It takes everything wacky, bizarre, grotesque, and obtuse about comics and puts it right there for the reader to enjoy and soak in. Take the cover image of the quadriplegic Ma with her wig falling off into the hellfire behind her. Sheer visual poetry.
Ennis puts aside no reverence for any character in this story as every single character has a moment to be truly human and react to the world splintering apart around him (or her).
Dillon's art is every bit as dead on as it was when I first saw it back in "Animal Man" many, many moons ago. His line work is crisp and clean, with broadcast emotion and attitude. With no unnecessary lines muddying up his effort, Dillon has got to be a colorist's dream. Hollingsworth sees the openings and colors them, not overrendering, as has become the trend of late, but filling the panels with color to enhance the desperation and destruction within this story.
This story is an unapologetic romp through the Punisher's corner of the Marvel Universe, complete with Ennis's internal dialog through the Punisher's mind. Ennis gets the character and the character breathes through Ennis. With all of the pieces of the past four issues converging in this issue, it is almost a shame to have to wait to wrap up this story.
While the Punisher movie may not have hit home with fans or the general public, this Punisher story offers big screen excitement and action with damage and mayhem as only Ennis can imagine it. The fact that Dillon renders it so vividly makes me actually wonder if perhaps Dillon and Ennis aren't one and the same.
At any rate, this is a great read, definitely not for the younger readers in your households, but a definite suspension of reality for older readers. Any fan of Frank Castle is missing out if this book isn't in their hands. Hell, even readers who aren't Frank's biggest fans would surely get a kick out of this book. I know I am.