DEADPOOL VERSUS THE PUNISHER #4
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Penciller: Pere Pérez
Colorist: Ruth Redmond
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Release Date: 4/12/17
Deadpool Versus The Punisher has been building up to a dramatic conclusion for some time now and we’re sure to get that in the fifth and final book. The addition of Taskmaster as a foil for the plot has been one of Fred Van Lente’s smarter moves. Tony Masters has a history with both men going back some ways, more so with Deadpool, but he’s had his run-ins with the Punisher; most notably when he was competing against Tombstone for who could murder the most people. As such, he makes a perfect villain for both of these two to take on at one point during their kerfuffle.
Plot: After a Taskmaster henchmen blows Wade’s brains out (once again) and wipes his memory, this time Deadpool wakes up on a boat, discovers Hudson Banks hiding from the “the Skull Men” aboard a ship headed straight for The Bank’s personal island, which just happens to be a Scrooge McDuck-style vault in the middle of nowhere. After a brief conversation with the child, Deadpool steps in and helps the Punisher fight Taskmaster.
Deadpool Versus The Punisher really delivers on this front. The fight between Taskmaster and the Punisher was beautifully done, but it ratchets up a level once Deadpool steps in. All of a sudden, Deadpool Versus The Punisher becomes Deadpool and Punisher Versus Taskmaster. Though Deadpool and Punisher manage to eliminate Tony Masters with the help of Hudson, we are left with a cliffhanger on what happens to the Bank, with the obvious implication being that Taskmaster’s villains have killed him. Even with the appearance of The Bank’s death, we can be sure this isn’t the last we’ve seen of him in Deadpool Versus The Punisher.
Story: The story for Deadpool Versus The Punisher is one that delivers on all fronts. Not only do we get gorgeous battles between the titular characters, we also get the added bonus of Taskmaster taking on our heroes as the real villain of the story. We don’t know how Deadpool Versus The Punisher will end, but something tells me that our two heroes will team up once they realize what’s going on, more specifically, once Deadpool realizes The Bank has been screwing him the whole time. .
That deeper level I was talking about in my last review finally pays off in Deadpool Versus The Punisher book four. Wade finally figures out how Frank has been wiping his memory and we’re left with Frank taking a bullet to the head, something Frank Castle is usually good at avoiding. Of course, Frank is complicit in his own shooting. After all, he tips off Deadpool that he’s known what’s been happening the whole time while the last thing Wade remembers just happens to be something Frank remembers, as well. This little tip by Frank leads directly to the bullet in his head and the perfect set-up for the final chapter of Deadpool Versus The Punisher,
Art: Ruth Redmond and Pere Pérez continue to kill it with Deadpool Versus Punisher and this issue is their pièce de résistance. The artwork done during the fights with Tony Masters are incredible and completely reminiscent of previous works featuring the Taskmaster. They use visual aids to illustrate from whence Taskmaster learned that particular move set. This isn’t new to Taskmaster panels, but Redmond and Pérez pull it off with aplomb.
As the series builds and builds, it also builds and builds in an artistic sense. With each and every issue, Redmond and Pérez grow, mature, and create a wonderful environment from which the story draws strength. In this issue, they opted to give The Bank an island designed like a bank. Very DuckTales, but also very awesome, which in large part comes from the Scrooge McDuck-y-ness of it all.
The art in these books are some of the best that Marvel have churned out during their relaunch, in my opinion. It’s detailed, colorful, and at the same time delivers that comic feel that Marvel fans know and love. There are so many memorable moments in this series, from the grin to the Bank’s island to the fights between the main characters, Redmond and Pérez have this series on lock with their art.
Verdict: Deadpool Versus The Punisher continues to be great fun. Each book is better than the last and each book picks it up a notch from the last. I remain convinced that book five will be an all-timer, but I could just be that engrossed with the series. Whether or not book five is the culmination that it should be, book four delivers in a way that we had yet to see in the Deadpool Versus The Punisher series. — JW
Rating: 4.25/5 Stars