Here's another trade you must pick up. Especially if you are a Punisher fan, and more especially if you are a fan of cold, hard justice and payback.
The Slavers is one of those story-arcs that proves just how good of a writer Garth Ennis is. See, though The Boys and Preacher are great and, of course, his work on Punisher-- The Slavers shows he and do a hard story with hard (and I mean HARD) themes, douse them in some petrol and then light it up. I actually got physically angry reading this book. Angry in a way where I wanted to get a piece of heavy pipe and find the first motherfucker who abuses the innocent and then cave their skull in. Then go after their friends.
Yeah, The Slavers is THAT intense.
Through the usual bullet-soaked rain our story begins with Frank happening upon a women gaining vengeance for her dead baby. We then find out she is a slave in a well-oiled Eastern European based salving operation. You know, the kind of operation that abducts young women, turns them out, then makes them into sex-slaves, the playthings for those assholes out there who want to pay for it. It's all pretty damned horrible, and from the get-go "Kill them all, Frank-- kill them all" will become a mantra you mumble while reading this trade.
But the story gets tougher from there. Moments will come when you will feel punched in the gut, where you will want to reach into the pages and do some killing of your own.
That's the beauty of the story: It's ugly. It's REAL ugly, because we know this kind of shit happens on a regular basis around the world. We know that Garth Ennis is simply using Frank and a means to express his rage at the sheer, insane and evil injustice in the world. The Punisher is his tool, his poet of righteous violence. The Punisher speaks to us in such a way that no other driven sociopath can. He tells us that the world is a bad, bad place and it's best you hide under the bed while he shoots some bad, bad people in the face.
I would say the ending of this story is one of the most satisfying on record, and if I were a normal person I suppose I'd be a little ashamed for cheering and exclaiming "Yes, Frank! YES. Don't come back here, bastards".
The intesne brutallity of this comic is assisted in no small measure by the excellent art Leandro Fernandez provides. To be perfectly honest, I think he's my favourite illustrator on Punisher MAX to come along so far. What he shows us is the dark underside of the reality we live in. His images blur the lines between justs being a comic and a story that will grab you by the throat and throw you around until you don't know which way is up, down, or sideways. It's bleak and detailed and full of raw emotion. The shadows seen will speak to you more than the clear picture. The lines are pitch black and full of meance. The pages will speak to you with more than words, my friends. Though I have no doubt in Ennis' writing ability, Fernandez easily catapults his way to "amazing artist" with this series. Man, the whole package is just... as I said: Intense.
I may never need to read this story again, this being my second time through (the first time was with the singles). I bought the trade because I saw it on sale, and it needs to be on everyone's bookshelf, you know? The story resonates with me like no other in recent memory. It's just the kind of thing that will stick to you, and stick for maybe forever.
My sincerest thanks is extended to the creative minds behind this tale. It's rare that anything I read, and certainly anything I read with comic books, makes me feel something more than just mild amusement or happy to pass the time in an entertaining way. Goddamn, this book is good.
It hurts a bit, too. So you should be prepared for that.
More information on this can be found here.
Lethality: Total Party Kill. No one in the party makes it out alive. The way it should be.
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