Punisher: Soviet #5 Review

by Nick Devonald on March 11, 2020

Writer: Garth Ennis
Pencils: Jacen Burrows
Inks: Guillermo Ortego
Colours: Nolan Woodard
Letters: Rob Steen

Punisher: Soviet is definitely one of my favourite Garth Ennis Punisher stories. There have been some real highlights, one of my favourites being Pronchenko’s wife, Zinaida Sebrovna, in the previous issues. She had an intelligence and self awareness which was refreshing and almost made her a match for Castle. She’s sure to remain in the memory long after the story has finished.

This arc of Punisher has been a bit different to a lot of the other ones. We spent a lot of time meeting Stepanovich, and learning his back story, and setting up a good partnership with Frank. The last issue was the start of the fight against Pronchenko. This issue moves all the pieces into place for a dramatic showdown in the concluding issue. And intriguingly enough Stepanovich has a different fate in mind for Pronchenko which I can’t wait to learn about as the series concludes.

It’s as brutal as we’ve come to expect from Punisher Max and Garth Ennis, worthy of the explicit content on the front cover. This issue lives up to all the issues that have come before as well as setting it up for an explosive conclusion. Punisher or Ennis fans shouldn’t miss this. One of the best additions to this series has been introducing new characters who readers immediately warm to. It's not all about Frank. This story is as much about Stepanovich, and I really hope that Punisher: Soviet isn't the last we see of Sebrovna.

Jacen Burrows pencils and Guillermo Ortego’s inks have been excellent throughout this series, and this issue is no exception. The quieter moments are just as well done as the full on shoot-outs and action scenes that no Punisher series would be without. There is a particular lifeless corpse near the end of the issue where you can see the light fading out in the corpses eyes as they die which is particularly well done. You’ll know it when you come across it.

Nolan Woodards colours have likewise been good throughout the series. The lighting stands out as a highlight in this issue, we have a sunrise near the start, or a fire lighting the night sky towards the end of the comic which particularly standout, or muted colours in a flashback, which serve as just an important storytelling device as anything else in the issue. It’s little details, easily missed, which add extra to the story.

One of the best Punisher series in years, the fact it’s Garth Ennis and under the MAX label just reinforce this is how Punisher stories should be told. Art and colours which live up to the high standard of Ennis’ plotting and storytelling, furthering the plot, make Punisher: Soviet a must read series. As the penultimate issue all the pieces are in place for an all out bloody and violent finale.

Our Score:


A Look Inside