By Rick Remender (writer), Jerome Opena (artist), Dan Brown (colorist)

The Story: Punisher meets his mysterious benefactor from the last issue, a tech-savvy man name Henry, who sympathizes with Castle’s war on Osborn but thinks information and propaganda are the bullets needed to take down Osborn.  Punisher reluctantly allows Henry to join the battle, and although their new strategy proves to be successful, it may be more than Henry can take.  He’ll need to make up his mind quickly though, because Osborn has taken notice of their actions against him, and has dispatched a villainous ally to express his displeasure.

The Good: After last issue’s largely unspectacular debut, I’m happy and encouraged to see thing are getting much better.  “Dark Reign” is the perfect vehicle for a Punisher relaunch, and Remender’s back-to-basics approach on this title reminds us what makes Punisher such a classic character.  Opena’s art continues to improve as he grows more comfortable with the cast, and his framing of the action sequences is every bit as intense as something you’d see in the movies.  The real surprise for me in this issue though was Henry, an ideological accomplice who believes in Punisher’s war even as he struggles to accept Castle’s brutal methods.  Henry’s presence adds a moral gravity that Castle may not want, but desperately needs.

The Not So Good: There was very little here that I didn’t like.  Although this is so far proving to be a rather slow-burning story, it is successfully striking a fine balance between excellent action sequences and more subtle moments of characterization that will pay off down the road.

Conclusion: Remender and Opena are a fine creative team and by bringing their talents to this book, Marvel has convinced me that Punisher is a title worth reading.

Grade: B+

-Tony Rakittke