Review: Punisher Max #16

Published on August 16th, 2011

I really have to thank Jason Aaron. The man is an amazing writer, I don’t think that I’ve picked up a book written by him and was disappointed. A year or two ago when I found out he was going to be taking over the Punisher MAX series, I was skeptical. Garth Ennis had left the series and it just wasn’t that great anymore and I wasn’t sure that renumbering it with a new writer would make it any better. Sure, we got the return of the amazing Steve Dillon on art, but I didn’t think anyone could write the Punisher as good as Ennis. I was absolutely wrong. This has been such an amazing comic book and every issue has been pure gold. With Punisher MAX #16 we finally get to the conclusion of the Frank storyline and it was an amazing ending to a fantastic story.

punisermax16In this story Frank Castle has been in prison recuperating from his fight with Bullseye. All the inmates want to kill him and Frank is about ready to let them kill him. While Frank is getting ready to meet his maker he’s been remembering how he got to become The Punisher.

I had no clue where Aaron was taking this story. After Bullseye claimed he knew what was going on in Frank’s head when his family was murdered, I didn’t know what to think. At one point, I thought Castle wanted his family dead so that he wouldn’t have to face being a regular family man. In this issue we find out what Frank wanted when his wife and children died. Obviously, he loved his family and would never wish any harm on them. Sadly, Aaron brings us to the conclusion that Frank just wasn’t strong enough to be the father and husband he was supposed to be. If he had admitted it sooner, maybe Maria and the kids would still be alive, but things didn’t work out that way.

This was one of the saddest stories I have ever read in a comic book. Oddly enough, even though at the end, Frank is left with nothing, the fact that he’s come full circle and is forced to face what he’s done with his life, at least for me, there seemed to be a feeling of hope. He’ll never make up for letting his family down, but he can still try to make up for it.

I know it sounds like I’m just kissing Aaron’s ass, but this story had me on the edge of my seat for the last couple of months. It’s pretty rare for me to get into a comic book as much as I have with this one. This isn’t the normal Marvel Universe, for all I know, Aaron could actually kill Castle off for good. The thought of Frank just giving in was not a pleasant one for me. So, I feel that I have to thank Jason Aaron for getting me to care about The Punisher again. Every issue leaves me wondering about where the Hell they’re gonna go from here and this latest issue is no exception. Frank may be out of prison, but with no money or any place to go and being on the top ten most wanted list, what’s he going to do?

Ken Zeider