The top Italian mob bosses of New York are in a frenzy over the rise of black gangs, the “Ivans,” and Frank Castle, the infamous gunslinging Punisher. Eye-patch-wearing Don Rigoletto hires an elephantine bodyguard, a newcomer to the crime underworld by the name of Wilson Fisk, who claims to be a close friend of the mythical “Kingpin,” a boss of all bosses, who will put their fears to rest — provided that the arrogant dons set aside their differences and take orders from the Kingpin.
Rigoletto introduces Fisk in a meeting of the dons, a gathering reminiscent of a scene from The Godfather. One don’s capo has a good laugh at Fisk’s promise to bring in the “Kingpin” – spouting off that there is no such man. Fisk, of course, shuts him up . . . for good. So the council offers Fisk a challenge: off the Punisher, and then they’ll take Fisk into their trust and see about this Kingpin character.
But Fisk’s attempt to punish the Punisher doesn’t work out
quite as well as he’d hoped, and, as it turns out, Fisk has some plans of his
own for the gangster tribunal. Meanwhile,
I’m not going to come out and say that this comic is a literary masterpiece, but there’s more to it than just Jason Aaron coming up with new, gruesome ways to show one guy killing another. Though there is that. It’s about greed and the sacrifice of principles, either due to obligation or ambition. Or is there a difference? And it’s about questioning the line between good and evil — whether it actually exists.
The Punisher has always been a great character for exploring those themes, and now is as good a time as any to jump in and start reading. That’s one thing I love about most Punisher stories: they’re somewhat self-contained, and you don’t have to grasp a whole intricate web of relationships and years of history to understand and enjoy what’s going on, unlike the plethora of Marvel’s X-titles.