By Duane Swierczynski (writer), Michel Lacomb (art), Stephane Peru (colors)

When I first glanced at the cover I thought this was going to be some weird Punisher versus Moby Dick tale. As beautiful as the cover is, my interest immediately waned.

Thankfully, I was wrong. Set in Garth Ennis’ insane Marvel Max corner of the universe, this one-shot features the cold, ruthless, and gratuitous version of the Punisher that we all love. Clocking in at 35 pages, this story features Frank Castle toying with a trio of two-bit criminals as he tries to get to foil the plans of the bigger fish in the game – the Russians. What’s funny about these lowlifes is one of them is so cocky that he actually names his own yacht after himself!

The Punisher sinks their new yacht and puts some of his own goodies in with their life raft. What follows is a slow, sad series of events as the three criminals struggle to survive aboard their life raft. As hours and days pass, the criminals’ begin to lose any hope of being rescued. Then, paranoia and despair set in. The Punisher watches this all unfold from afar, taking pleasure in their misery.

Interestingly enough, the Punisher takes a secondary role in this book. Sure, he facilitates all the mayhem, but this story is really about the criminals’ struggle to survive out at sea. It’s obvious that these criminals will die, that’s just the Punisher’s way, but how they arrive at their demise is what makes this such a well crafted story. Great artwork by Michel Lacomb compliments this story. My only complaint is the $4.99 price tag – ouch. (Grade: B)

– J. Montes