Happy Wednesday! Despite being the first of February, it hit 60 degrees Fahrenheit, with sunny skies and a warm breeze. I can’t possibly be expected to work on a day like today. So, I made it to our local comic book store before my typical 5pm drunk set in – and you, fine readers, you reap all the benefits!

While we are dealing with unnaturally spring like weather here, Frank Castle is knee deep in The Dead Winter. As the police are beginning to tighten their own investigation of Frank’s connection to The Exchange murders, he and Rachel Cole-Alves begin a tentative, if brief, partnership as they search the remains of The Starbucks Staff Retreat The Exchange’s ski chalet for further information they can use to put more nails in the company’s shiny corporate coffin. Meanwhile, Managers-Of-Year, Stephanie Gerard and Christian Poulsen break into a S.H.I.E.L.D. safehouse – because they’ve had so many good ideas that have helped The Exchange out, already.

Greg Rucka continues to slowly unwind this tale, as he has over the past seven issues. Seven months in and Glee The Exchange is still breathing despite Frank’s efforts. So, should you continue to invest your time in this series?

Answers and spoilers after the jump.

"No, you say good-bye first!" "No! You!"

Sure, Rucka is telling this story in his own good time, but it’s worthwhile keeping up with it. He’s assembled a rich cast of characters that all deserve their own moments to shine. The previous issue, for example, was pretty solely focused on the relationship between Detectives Clemons and Bolt. Rather than drag us out of the story, The Punisher and the effect his actions have on the people around him continued to be illustrated while we learned more about how Detective Ozzy Clemons ticks. Still waters run deep with that one. Issue 8 is an intersection of the storylines of Frank, Rachel Cole-Alves, Stephanie Gerard, Christian Gerard and the detectives. About the only country that isn’t heard from is Norah Winters, and I have to wonder at what point the ace investigative reporter figures out that Rachel has been sneaking around in her notebook.

Marco Checchetto turns in some fabulously expressive artwork in this book. The first seven pages or so of this issue are practically dialogue free, but the characters communicate with each other and the reader loud and clear thanks to Checchetto’s masterful penciling. The art is complemented well by Matt Hollingsworth’s use of color, particularly as we zero in on a bit of a surprise reveal at the end of the issue.

Stick with this book. We’re going to get some payoffs soon and storytelling like this in a decompressed book doesn’t come around as often as we deserve.

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