2 out of 5
There’s a pinup in the back of this issue that features Frank, hanging from a helicopter, shooting a gigantic automatic weapon – surely larger than something someone could shoot one-handed – at some thugs in a speeding car, who grimace as the bullets shred through them. …There’s also a mounted gun visible in the heli, and a swiveling one attached below the door; the speeding car is also crashing through a ‘Dead End’ sign.
This pin-up is just that – a pin-up – but it’s indicative of where the headspace was at with Punisher during this era, and so Chuck Dixon gives us a rocks-dumb tale, scribbled on the back of a napkin, in which Frank is shopping for groceries when the store is robbed by four masked drug addicts, and so he proceeds to take them apart with flair and one-liners. These are Hollywood bandits; that is: they are the type of gang members / drug addicts who only really appear this way in movies / comics / etc., and not that there aren’t plenty of idiots committing crimes like this, just, y’know, they speak in stock faux-“street” slang and are all single-mindedly stupid and get hyped up about gettin’ that sweet grocery store cash to pay for their drugs.
While Dixon is doing nothing special here, it is a filler issue, and based on that pin-up – he’s giving the people what they wanted. But excepting one inevitable bit with lobsters that’s amusing, despite being telegraphed a million times, there’s nothing really exciting here, be it the action or concept or one-liners, and Tod Smith’s art is satisfyingly chunky, though almost completely lacking in a sense of geography, despite the issue taking place in an enclosed space with aisles…