The first year of Becky Cloonan’s exceptional The Punisher run took Frank Castle out of New York City for a thrilling, horrifying story that pitted The Punisher against an old military friend and his gang of mercenary drug dealer. And now that Frank’s mission is done, he’s headed back to his regular stomping grounds. Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire’s cover for next week’s The Punisher #13 immediately establishes a chilling sense of menace for Frank’s homecoming as he walks out of a subway station with a trail of blood behind him, and the skull design on the side of the skyscraper indicates that this is a city waiting to be punished. The darkness of that cover is a stark contrast to the brightness of the opening pages in the exclusive preview below, but there’s something especially frightening about seeing The Punisher’s work presented to the world in broad daylight.
The Punisher #13 is a standalone story featuring art from Kris Anka and colorist Matthew Wilson, and their time on the most recent Star-Lord series has given them a deep understanding of New York City that makes them a great fit for this issue. The splash page of a criminal hanging from a lamppost has a dramatic composition that is very much in line with the established look of this series’ first 12 issues, and the heavy shadows for Frank’s arrival add an ominous quality to a fairly mundane sequence of Frank pouring himself some coffee and settling back down in his underground safe house. This is when he realizes that there have been some unwelcome visitors during his time away, and the kids in the first pages are about to get scared straight when The Punisher comes to collect the weapons they stole.