Punisher Max #13
A man punishes himself for trying to be happy.
Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Steve Dillon
May 11, 2009
Frank Castle's run as the Punisher comes to an end as he is wounded and put in prison, surrounded by numerous inmates who would love to put him down for good. The story also continues to delve into how he was the Punisher long before his family’s brutal murder.
Dillon is charged with repeatedly drawing head shots as the narrative constantly switches back and forth from Castle's past with his family and his current predicament in jail. Any other artist might have turned in a boring pile of mug shots, but Dillon nails each panel by showing Castle's wide eyes devoid of enthusiasm and human life. Castle feels like a fish out of water playing house instead of shooting up criminals, and it is the constant dull look in his eyes that sells how true that sentiment is.
Returning home from war, he sees his kids, has sex with his wife, and gets a job in the meat packing district, but he cannot find happiness. Aaron crafts a beautifully twisted moment where for one instant Castle feels joy: his asshole boss gets his hand stuck in a meat grinder. Aaron's ability to dive into his main character's brain and emerge with gloriously grizzly material to show the reader is uncanny, if not somewhat unsettling.
Aaron was once asked how he can write about the military without ever having fired a gun himself, and he replied, "Well, I haven't raped anyone either, but that's never stopped me from writing about that."
Rating: 8.5 out of 10