Goodbye Franken-Castle, hello Frank Castle
Writer Rick Remender has introduced a new facet to the Punisher mythology with his Franken-Castle story line.
This is not your father’s Punisher mag. Remender had already won over readers with his Punisher War Journal series along with co-writer Matt Fraction. The following series (simply named Punisher, not to be confused with… Punisher) saw a return to the Marvel Universe as Frank used super-powered tools to deal out justice to super-villains who were getting in his cross-hairs. The result was that the Punisher made new, more powerful enemies resulting in his assassination by the big man himself, Norman Osborn. The Franken-Castle run has been ripe with bloodshed and bullets (the wallpaper of the Punisher-verse), but with the added absurdity of horrific monsters and murderous samurai sworn to eliminate the impure.
Cut to ribbons by Wolverine’s son, Daken, Castle’s body parts were re-assembled into a horribly monstrosity, a parody of life. Taken in by the Legion of Monsters dwelling in the sewers of NYC, the Punisher took on a new war, one against the wicked monster-hunter Hellsgaard, himself an undead skull trapped in a suit of armor. The supporting cast of the Punisher, usually consisting solely of Microchip, was altered to include the man-Thing, Werewolf By Night and Morbius, the Living Vampire. It was a bizarre decision that challenged readers to say the least. The comic has been beautifully drawn by fan favorite Tony Moore (the Walking Dead) with a gorgeous fill-in issue by Dan Brereton to boot!
The 21st issue will mark the end of the experiment, a decision that I can understand but I have to confess that I will miss the monster-mag approach that made the series far more interesting than it ever was before (for me, anyway). The fan response to the Franken-Castle run has been positive, but controversial. Many readers claim to adore the comic, but it’s not the Punisher. This November, those fans will get their comic back, but readers will have lost a stellar horror mag.
Replacing the Frankencastle series will be a new 5 part mini-series by Remender and Ghost Rider artist Roland Boschi.
PUNISHER: IN THE BLOOD #1 (of 5)
Written by Rick Remender
Penciled by Roland Boschi
Cover by FRANCESCO MATTINA
Frank Castle is back. Back for revenge. Back in New York. Back to cleaning its streets. Back together, healed and strong, his mission resumed as he partakes in the sweet wet work, and notches up one of the highest body counts in Punisher history. Cyber sensei Henry Russo is back, keeping Frank proficient with an eye in the sky. Others are back as well – two of Frank’s most sadistic enemies united in a new vindictive plot: Enter the Jigsaw Bothers!
32 PGS./Parental Advisory …$3.99
This December, Marvel will release the entire Franken-Castle story line in one hardcover collection. I heartily recommend picking it up or giving it as a holiday gift for that ‘special someone.’