Frank Castle aka the Punisher is at war with the criminal element. He blames criminals in general for his family being gunned down. Now armed with his military training, vast arsenal, and determination, he takes the battle to those who he deems worthy of being punished. No prisoners will be taken.
The Punisher is on the trail of an unfortunate drug trafficker who found his way into his gun sights. The target comes under fire by a lone woman, whom is eventually chased into an alley and saved by the Punisher. When she awakens, the Punisher listens to her story and learns a lot of people will have to die to set things right. -summary
I have heard that Garth Ennis is not a fan of superheroes, to be even more correct, I've heard he doesn't like them at all, and he mainly prefers those closer to reality, free from the super-freezing breath and energy attacks. His passion for the gritty and down to Earth characters can be felt in all of his stories, and this is exactly what makes his take on the Punisher so interesting. Ennis continues to focus on haunting storytelling, characterization, and brutal action to deliver another smash of a story. Punisher MAX Volume 5: The Slavers may not be better than the previous story Up is Down and Black is White but it's no less gripping. This TPB collects Punisher MAX issues 25-30.
The plot follows the Punisher after he meets up with a girl by the name of Viorica, whom happens to be a prostitute on the run from an outfit that enslaves girls in Albania, and ships them to wherever they decide to set up their forced prostitution ring. At first, Punisher was going to leave her to the cops, until she mentions that they killed her infant. Since he experienced the same loss with his own children, then learns there are plenty of more girls brutally forced into this; he knows these evil people have to die in the worst way.
The story is gripping despite the lack of originality, and it's no doubt the characters are the glue holding it together. More than likely the reader will feel compassion for these girls, whom are being kidnapped and raped repeatedly, as well as a deep loathing for their tormentors. When Castle finally administers his demented sense of justice, it's very hard not to be on his side. There are several side stories worth mentioning, such as a power struggle within the organization, as well as how deep their fingers are in the NYPD, with all these threads being wrapped up by the end. I enjoyed that the Punisher's battle against these thugs was far from easy, as they were soldiers whom collected their bearings really quick under attack, and began flanking with suppressing fire which created some believable action.
Lee Fernandez's artwork is still amazing at this point. I love his dark atmospheric backgrounds; he makes alleyways, random streets, and even warehouses feel like hellish parts on Earth, with the right amount of blackness that compliments the dark content. The artwork has some very depressing moments, as you will even see the photo of Vioirca's dead baby. I enjoy the artwork, but I can imagine content like that being too much for many people. And of course, the action and torture scenes are very graphic which will more than likely appeal to the action fans.
Outside of the disturbing content and at times artwork; I can't think of anything bad to say about this story. It's a very good follow up to the previous stories, and like them, it stands really well on its own making it newbie friendly. Still, I wouldn't recommend coming into this volume first, because the previous four are so good. If you enjoy action stories with some very good character development, then you can't go wrong with this book at all.
Pros: - Very strong storytelling from start to finish
Cons: -Can be very disturbing for sensitive readers.
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Serious gamer and hardcore comic reader.
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