Punisher: War Zone: The Resurrection of Ma Gnucci
By Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon
I think I’ve gotten sucked into reading Punisher comics just for the hope that Daredevil might show up. He doesn’t show up in this one and War Zone: The Resurrection of Ma Gnucci has done nothing to convert me to a full time Punisher or Garth Ennis fan.
I’m flabbergasted that this is actually a Marvel comic book. I’m used to a fair amount of violence from Punisher but this crosses a lot of other very strange lines. War Zone is also one of the film adaptations of The Punisher comics. I will stand by my opinion that there is actually not a bad Punisher movie. This one is over the top violent and has really fun cinematography. I don’t think that Ray Stevenson beats out my beloved Dolph Lundgren but this movie is still worth a watch.
It should be noted that the movie does not really resemble this book. I think they just took the War Zone title and changed pretty much everything else. So although the book is bad the movie is still quite entertaining. This review of the book contains some spoilers because I don’t actually think you’ll read the book so… enjoy.
The comic book starts off normal enough. Punisher has his eyes on the Gnucci family mafia and is looking to gain access to an inside man. In addition to the antagonist Gnucci family there is a totally separate bad guy who’s really just a racist asshole descended from a long line of racist assholes. He comes back in the end with the weirdest evil plot of all time.
On the side of law enforcement we have a very violent lesbian detective. She spends her free time physically assaulting the boyfriends of her cannot be tamed bisexual girlfriend. The whole thing is bizarre and feels offensive to myself, a bisexual woman. Look, bisexual and pansexual does not automatically mean promiscuous, can we just stop with that? Why beat up her boyfriends instead of just breakup with her? She’s a cheater and a bad girlfriend not a typical bisexual.
By the end of the run the Punisher has for absolutely no reason whatsoever torn off all of angry lesbian’s clothes. Basically we just have to see the woman of the book in her underwear and it has to be against her will because she is not into the Punisher.
She spends an entire issue in her underwear and it is never ever explained why. And then! Then! she just point blank shoots a civilian’s dog. Why?! What the heck is her character?! Only supervillain level evil bad guys go around shooting dogs! What is that?!
That brings us to one of the most unusual story arcs I’ve ever seen in comics. Especially the fairly family friendly Marvel comics. Punisher’s inside man gets a little brain damaged at some point along their journey and this causes him to decide to finally live as he’s always wanted to live. In a sexual relationship with a pumpkin.
Yes, you read that right. This man will be spending the rest of his days in love with, and making love with, a pumpkin. Yes, the gourd that most people use for flavoring during the fall.
At this point you must be thinking to yourself, but surely that was all just implied through a weird aside? No, no, it was a major plot point. So major in fact that they put it on one of the covers. Punisher War Zone: Pumpkin Edition.
There he is, on the cover with his lover, the pumpkin. That hole in the pumpkin is where he puts his penis. I’m sorry, I fail to see how a brain damaged man thinking he’s in love with an inanimate object is funny. And it must be trying to be funny right? Why the heck else would this be written?!
It disturbs me that this never seems to be mentioned in other reviews I’ve read of this comics run. Do other people not think this is unusual?
That brings us to the ending of this bizarre book. Even bigger spoilers ahead so be warned.
This whole time Punisher was trying to get to someone who looked like Ma Gnucci, but Ma’s been dead. Turns out that racist asshole from before has been kidnapping quadruple amputees and putting them through surgeries to look like Ma to confuse people.
Let me try to break this down. Ma Gnucci was a quad amputee when she was alive. That is how many people would recognize her. So we have a bad guy who has the means to put kidnapped people through surgeries to make them look just like Ma. It’s never explained why he wants to do this, but we know that he can.
But instead of just kidnapping anyone and making them look completely like Ma he only kidnaps people who are already quad amputees. Is making someone an amputee where he draws the line?! Does he have the surgical equipment for facial reconstruction but not for limb removal? No matter how I think about it it just doesn’t make any sense.
I originally gave this 2 stars on Goodreads but I changed my mind about halfway through this review. It’s really stupid and offensive enough to go all the way to the bottom.
However, if you read all of that and don’t believe me because it all sounds too stupid to ever actually be published, then by all means check Punisher War Zone and let me know what you think.
1/5 skulls 💀
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For a much much better Punisher check out Space: Punisher
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