Sadly D:ream lied to you.
After the giddy heights of last issue's Hellstorm appearance this issue is a bit of a come down. It doesn't deliver a single demon horse drawn chariot, not even one glowing trident and not a single devil's son sporting 80s new romantic fashion. A damn shame I'm sure you'll agree.
We have to cut our esteemed writers Christopher Golden & Tom Sniegoski some slack though, after the Son of Satan appears there's nowhere left to go but down. So in a heart-warming act of team solidarity Bernie Wrightson, Jimmy Palmotti and the rest of the art team step up. They take some of the load off our weary writers shoulders for an issue by dazzling us with some pretty awesome visuals. This issue has got a beautifully rendered flashback sequence that shows Frank crawling out of his grave and donning his mystical, uzi filled trench coat. Then they top it off with this bitchin' splash page:
Unfortunately Frank's magic trench coat doesn't contain a single mystical umbrella
That's just fantastic. Come to think of it there's a lot of fantastic art in all four issues of this series, I can't believe I've made it all the way to issue 3 without gushing about it. Wrightson and Palmotti make an incredible team on this book, every shadowy shot of Frank with his glowing head-symbol and guns is drool-inducing. Also putting the little head symbol on the skull in the Punisher logo on the cover - I loved that!
Anyway enough with the gushing, lets get down to the nitty gritty. This issue ties up all of the outstanding mysteries that have tantalised us for the past two issues with a neat little undead bow.
In the aforementioned flashback sequence we see how Frank came back to life after putting a bullet in his own head. We also see how he got hold of that snazzy, mystical trench coat of his. He...um...well, he found it in a dumpster apparently.
We also discover the deep, dark secret that ties Oliver, our chicken-gougony bad guy, to Frank and why all of Oliver's Matrix looking henchmen seem to know him. It's actually my favorite reveal of the issue. It's a cool idea and a hideous retcon all rolled into one. Check it out:
Oliver is...Mick Fleetwood! So that's how Rumours sold all those copies!
So before he looked like something you'd find in a KFC bargain bucket our man Oliver was in fact Frank Costa! Low down, dirty crime boss and the man responsible for the hit that resulted in the deaths of the Castle family. Not only that but he performed some magical, naked hocus pocus that turned all of Frank's Punisher kills into human sacrifices gorging him full of the demonic power that he is currently using in his attempt conquer the hell dimensions! Oh the humanity!
So that's why all of Oliver's badly dressed lackeys keep saying snarky, over-familiar things to Frank. It also why this half-naked reject from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome acts like everyone should know exactly who he is even though this is the first time Frank and we have ever clapped eyes on him:
Geez Frank, how many guys have you killed that you don't remember a big, bald guy with a ponytail?
"Whoa Whoa, hold up a second, I'm confused here. Wasn't Frank at the mercy of Oliver in that previous picture? Are we missing something?
Apologies my loyal readers, I kind of started at the end and went backwards there. You see Baldy McPonytail does the capturing. He nabs Frank and his poncy angel buddy Gadriel while they're paying a visit to the last of Gaddy's loser angel chums. The ones that Oliver hasn't yet smooched to death yet.
"Hold on, smooched to death?
Ah you must be new here. Check out the posts about the issues one and two. Dude's been smooching folks to death since this whole thing started!
Anyway as I was saying Gadriel takes Frank to meet the cast of 80s movie favorite School Ties:
At Smokey Joe's Cafe
Sadly our new buddies last all of four pages before a bunch of Oliver's goons led by Baldy McThunderdome show up and slice 'em up real nice. Despite being armed with mystical uzis and spiffy glowing angelic hands respectively Frank and Gadriel get thoroughly trounced and dragged off to Demon Headquarters.
Which leaves us where we came in. Frank and Gadriel in the evil clutches of Oliver a.k.a. Mick Fleetwood a.k.a. Frank Costa, reeling at the revelation that a chicken goujon is responsible for the deaths of his wife and children.
With all the mysteries unravelled and our questions answered the final issue can only promise much undead ass-kicking and death smooching. Is there any doubt about what you should do with that 3 bucks burning a hole in your pocket?
What do you mean you're going to KFC?
I made you hungry with all my chicken talk? Aw man!
Whatever. Go give your 3 bucks to the Colonel see if I care!