Garth Ennis’ work on PUNISHER THE PLATOON explores Frank Castle’s transformation into the vigilante he is ultimately destined to become. In PUNISHER THE PLATOON #3, Castle finds himself in the midst of the Tet Offensive of 1968.

So far, it has been interesting to witness the development of Frank Castle prior to his transition into The Punisher. As the series has progressed, though, we readers have witnessed his descent into brutality. So, how does the third entry of Ennis’ series fare regarding the rest of the series? Find out below!

punisher the platoon #3
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

A Time to Kill

Frank Castle’s presence in PUNISHER THE PLATOON #3 revolves around the acquisition of weapons for his infantry. In addition to this, we find Castle exemplifying his leadership abilities amongst his comrades. During this era of Castle’s history, it appears as though targets motivate him.

He is incapable of failing a mission or his peers. As a result, we witness the origin of The Punisher’s relentless nature regarding his personal goals. Castle appears to follow a strict routine with the main objective being the acquisition of the target, whether that may be in the form of weapons in a warehouse or an enemy across a battlefield.

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I found the exploration of multiple perspectives to be a unique and interesting aspect of PUNISHER THE PLATOON #3’s narrative. Perhaps the most intriguing sequence that exemplifies this narrative element is the discussion between two comrades who are observing the warfare from afar. One of the characters, referred to as Ly Quang, expresses her desire to fight and immerse herself in the war, not necessarily for herself but out of loyalty towards the soldiers fighting.

Letrong Giap, on the other hand, counters her perspective, acknowledging the astronomical losses that most likely would have included Quang if she had been given a chance to fight. In addition to this perception, he chides Ly Quang’s objective perspective of the Vietnam War in general.

He interprets war, particularly the current one, as an entity that will persevere through time, even after it officially ends. As a result, war moves beyond a single individual, requiring people to stand beside each other. Overall, the narrative of PUNISHER THE PLATOON #3 is an engaging one due to its gritty nature. However, it does feel monotonous throughout. Because of this, I am ultimately left wanting more.

punisher the platoon #3
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

The Many Hues of PUNISHER THE PLATOON #3

The palette of colorist Jordie Bellaire is perfectly dim and fitting for Frank Castle’s character. There is still a hint of light that resonates throughout the issue, one that exemplifies the humanity that Castle still maintains. However, there is a looming darkness that Bellaire emphasizes throughout PUNISHER THE PLATOON #3.

Thus, Bellaire’s color palette is perhaps the stand-out aspect of this issue’s imagery as it perfectly captures Castle’s descent into his future self. Unfortunately, though, other elements of this issue’s artwork appear inconsistent regarding the solid, continuous tone.

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The illustrations of Goran Parlov do juxtapose Bellaire’s color palette nicely. His character designs are coarse and parallel the gritty world these characters are immersed in. As a result, the characters’ illustrations stand out, but this is primarily due to the fact that the backgrounds are minimal. Detail becomes lost in landscapes, therefore presenting some awkward panels that appear fragmented.

Despite these flaws, though, the contrast within the issue’s final panel is quite striking, rendering an intense moment even more impactful. As a result, the conclusion of this issue is one that will stay with readers, particularly due to the poignancy of the imagery.

What Lies Beyond

Though PUNISHER THE PLATOON #3 moves slowly, it does encompass various thematic elements that will be interesting to delve into in future issues. Garth Ennis and company have proven their prowess in handling a character such as The Punisher.

So, I am confident that future installments in this unique series will prove to be engaging and poignant. However, I believe it is vital that the series picks up its pace from this specific issue to truly capture the investment of readers.

PUNISHER THE PLATOON #3 by Garth Ennis, Goran Parlov, & Jordie Bellaire
Art 7.5
Characterization 7.5
Plot 7.5
Summary
Though PUNISHER PLATOON #3 has its moments of depth, it ultimately moves a little too slowly to be entirely engaging.
7.5
A Slow But Steady Tale
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One Comment

  1. Bek

    November 27, 2017 at 11:29 pm

    Point of clarification: Ly Quang and Col. Letrong Giap are not brother and sister. She is his subordinate that he’s grooming for command. They address each other as “brother” and “sister” not to indicate blood relation, but as a Soviet would use the term “comrade”.

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