So, this is apparently the last issue of this series... OOOOOK... This is one of the comics I subscribe to, so I knew something was up when it arrived and had one of those ride-along papers with it. By the way, the ride-along paper was pink, which in a way seems wrong to me, this is a Punisher comic book! Shouldn't the ride-along be black, or a dark blue or something? Anyway, I had heard this series was ending, but I didn't expect it to end so soon...
The remaining 4 issues of this subscription are being transferred over to,(drumroll please)Punisher! Whu-huh?!?! But, didn't Marvel just cancel Punisher War Journal? Oh, I get it, this is one of those deals where you end a series and then start it over again from issue #1 to get extra people to buy it. I don't know why Marvel doesn't just number every comic as #1 and just change the month. You know, something like Punisher #1(Jan. 2009), followed by Punisher #1(Feb. 2009)and then Punisher #1(March 2009), etc. Then again, if the Powers That Be over at Marvel hear about this idea, they might just do it! Anyway, enough complaining(for now...)here is the review for Punisher War Journal #26
Overall- What a decent little Christmas story this was. I really, REALLY enjoyed it. The story dealt with 5 real bottom dwelling losers, a bunch of petty thieves and the like, except for one of them, who killed a cop and broke out of prison. Besides him, the rest are a real bunch of young idiots. Well, one of these idiots winds up finding Stilt-Man's old armor. Just so you all know, Frank offed old Stilty back towards the beginning of this series. The idiot decides he wants to use the armor to become the new Stilt-Man.
Frank Castle(the Punisher, for those not in the know)sits waiting on the rooftop of an adjacent building with a Gatling gun, waiting for the 5 morons to walk out of the bar they were in so he could pick them off. The idiots can't decide which one of them should get the "honor" of being the new Stilt-Man, and begin to fight each other. Frank sits on the roof hoping they all kill each other so he doesn't have to waste the bullets on these idiots. The cop killer pulls a gun on the other 4 and tells them that he gets to wear the armor, or else. Before the cop killer can get into the armor, another one of the idiots pulls a gun and throws the cop killer out, telling him since he can't work with the group, he had to leave. The cop killer storms out of the bar, and Frank blows him away once he gets far enough away from the bar.
The idiots in the bar now decide to vote to see which one "deserved" to be Stilt-Man, reasoning that since this is America, they should settle things with a vote. The idiots unanimously elect the guy who found the armor to be the new Stilt-Man, with the rest of them operating as his henchmen. They even begin to discuss wearing matching costumes, so everyone would know they were members of the "Stilt-Man Gang". Holy s###, this is f###ing hilarious!
Frank continues to sit on the roof, waiting for the morons to emerge from the bar so he can take them out. While waiting, who walks onto the roof of the building Frank was on? The Rhino, complete with a Santa Claus hat on his horn! This just keeps getting better! The Rhino, who was there to feed Vulture's pigeons(!), asks Frank what he was doing, and Frank tells Rhino he was preparing to kill the new Stilt-Man. Rhino walks over and listens to the hearing device Frank was using to eavesdrop on the the idiots with, and asked Frank why he would kill these guys, telling Frank that they really sounded like a bunch of morons. Frank tells Rhino #1 that with that armor they could potentially be dangerous, and #2 to get lost!
Rhino tells Frank that he is supposed to kill the guilty, not the stupid, and the losers in the bar were just idiots with delusions of grandeur. Rhino then takes Frank's gun and presses it to his own throat, telling Frank that if he wants to kill the idiots, he'll have to kill Rhino first. Frank hesitates, and Rhino invites Frank inside, saying Merry Christmas, and offering up some eggnog. Frank tells Rhino to go back inside, or he would, "pour battery acid into your eyesockets and use your head as a toilet." Rhino, thinking he had offended Frank, pauses for a moment, shrugs and says, "Happy Hanukkah?" Now, I'm really in stitches!
Frank tells Rhino to get lost again, and Rhino finally leaves. The idiots emerge from the bar with one wearing the Stilt-Man armor, staggering down the street, while the other 3 happily chase after him. Frank watches in utter disgust, but realizes that, for maybe the first time ever, Rhino was right, and his job was to punish the guilty, not the stupid. With that, Frank leaves and this comic series comes to a close.
I really can't express just how much I loved this comic! The whole idea that someone would actually WANT to be Stilt-Man was funny enough, but the fact that 5 idiots were willing to kill each other to wear armor that was basically a metal suit with stilts was down right hilarious! The story had me laughing out loud at times, and the artwork was really good as well. I wish Andy MacDonald(artist)had been working on this comic in the prior issues, because his artwork is heads and shoulders better than Howard Chaykin's work, which was so bad it actually would hurt the story being told at times.
Matt Fraction(writer)should also be commended, because this was a really funny comic. It touched on many of the things that had happened previously in this series, like Frank killing Stilt-Man, blowing up Stilt-Man's funeral(which was held in a bar!), as well as his relationship with Rhino. I'd wholeheartedly recommend this comic to anyone looking for a good Christmas story, or just a funny self-contained comic book period. The part of this comic where Rhino wishes Frank a Merry Christmas and then, thinking he'd offended Frank retorting with Happy Hanukkah really had me laughing! All around, this was a great single issue and I'd have to score it at the very least a 9 1/2 out of 10... Who knew I'd enjoy this comic as much as I did???