The story of Sgt. Rachel Alves, who was widowed on her wedding day by the criminal organization The Exchange and became the partner of The Punisher, comes to its powerful end. After accidentally killing Detective Walter Bolt during the final battle with The Exchange, where Alves and Frank Castle/The Punisher were made to look like legitimate cop killers, Alves decides that she isn't like Frank and isn't as dead inside as he is, no matter how hard she tries. Frank tells her that no one "should be like me," then they part ways. Frank isn't about to let Alves succumb to her grief though...
Greg Rucka, one of the best writers in comics, has told a 16 chapter story about Rachel Alves, Detective Bolt, his partner, Detective Oscar Clemons, and the affect that The Punisher had on all of them during their war on The Exchange that rivaled any television crime drama's full season storyline (like the recently completed The Killing for example). Rarely in comics are readers treated to such a well constructed, well developed, and near flawlessly executed crime saga.
Speaking of well executed, Rucka created, and put through the wringer, some incredibly well developed and highly memorable characters throughout the series. Regulating Castle/The Punisher to an almost background plot device (albeit a very influential and powerful one), Rucka focused on the characters he created, and borrowed from other Punisher stories (and the Marvel Universe at large), and told their stories instead of rehashing The Punisher's origin and emotional trauma. It was a master stroke that breathed new life into a character who has been stale since the late 1980s.
Bringing this crime saga to beautiful life (for this final issue and for most of the other 16) was the brilliant Marco Checchetto. Drawing in a style reminiscent of Jim Lee's, but much cleaner and sharper, Checchetto brought a visual acuity to the character's look that hasn't been this sharp, striking, gritty, and shadowy since the original Punisher War Journal series from 1988, not so coincidentally drawn by Jim Lee himself.
I hate that Rucka is about to wrap up his stint on The Punisher by pitting Frank against the rest of the Marvel U in the upcoming, and re-launched, Punisher War Zone #1. I would rather (and could have) read 100 issues of The Punisher written in this vein by Greg Rucka instead. Rucka's The Punisher will be missed, but I'm happy that we got it for at least 16 issues.