5. THE SLAVERS (2005-2006)
If there is one thing that Garth Ennis’ Punisher run was best known for it was the fact that he always found a new way to frustrate the character. All too often, writers would try and integrate the Punisher into the larger Marvel Universe with a square jaw, heroic smirk, and a happy ending. Simply put: Ennis' Punisher never smiled. And in the Slavers story, Ennis found a new way to infuriate Frank Castle, by introducing the somewhat taboo subject of sex slavery to the book.
When Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Steve Ditko laid out the foundation for what became the modern Marvel Universe, we’re pretty sure they never dreamed about stories involving sex slaves. However, Marvel’s Max line is strictly for adults, and Ennis is one of the few writers to add actual depth and intricate plots to go along with its extreme violence.
The Slavers introduces a truly disturbing subject and uses the Punisher as a mouthpiece for Ennis’ obvious disgust on the matter. After rescuing a young girl from some would-be rapists, the Punisher listens to her disturbing life story and sets out to end the ring of forced prostitution and abuse once and for all. The pure anger and the violence that the Punisher enacts is a long time coming, and anyone with a pulse can’t help but smile as he guns down these sociopaths with stoic satisfaction.