Monday, December 28, 2009

Franken-Castle Lurches To Life...And Into Our Hearts

What kind of upside-down world are we living in where suddenly The Punisher has jumped to the top of my reading list? After being lopped into cutlets by Wolverine Junior and left for dead, the Punisher has been rescued by Morbius the Living Vampire and sewn back together as an honest-to-Mary Shelley Frankenstein monster!And I'm loving it.

In a classic it's-just-so-crazy-it-might-work move, Rick Remender and Tony Moore have taken Punisher down a whole new rabbit hole in the Marvel Universe, taking him to his lowest point during Dark Reign only to dismember him and dump him square in Marvel's monster underworld...AS a monster. I don't have a problem with this at all, since I've always found the standard criminal-hunting Punisher an odd fit in the fantastic world of Marvel, anyway. I have bought Punisher solo comics in the past, even collecting the title regularly if a writer I liked was working on the book. I especially enjoyed Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon's Punisher series, at least before it got super-serious and super-grim. In general, "straight" Punisher stories bore me.

Punisher purists may be aghast at all of this, but there is a gritty crime-drama PunisherMAX book out there, not to mention the steady flow of standard Punisher one shots and mini-series that are constantly flowing from the MAX imprint, so as far as I'm concerned, why NOT make the Marvel Universe Punisher as far-out and superheroey as possible?

The Franken-Castle arc combines two creators I like with several characters and concepts I normally don't like to create a book that has so far been a true surprise. Normally I don't even like Morbius, but cast as the mad doctor that reassembles the Punisher to lead the Legion of Monsters in battle an army of cyborg samurai led by a disembodied skull in a robot body bent on destroying all monsters... well, whats NOT to like? Go, Franken-Castle, go!


Martin T said...

I agree, this treatment of Frank Castle fits in with the Marvel Universe better than the "standard" Punisher, in the short term at least.

Rick Remender is one of my favourite writers, and he's a great ideas man, but after the first issue or two I found myself enjoying the comic less and less (I can't put my finger on exactly why that was, maybe lack of substance?!), and I ended up dropping it at the end of the last arc. Now I'm tempted to pick it straight up again, especially with Tony Moore on the art. One to check out in tpb, I guess.

Mego Thor said...

As a Punisher purist, I am aghast at all of this! I was always of the opinion that the Punisher held the same role for the Marvel universe as Batman does for DC, non-powered guy in a world of supers. So much so that Punisher's writers often make the same "he's crazier than the villains he faces!" mistake as Batman's. Whenever he gets away from his "man with a gun takes revenge" index-card origin, it usualy leads to trouble. Anybody remember angel-powered Punisher?

That said, if you squint, the last pic looks like the Creature Commandos. It can never be wrong to copy bronze-age DC comics, can it?

Prior to reading this, I was blissfully unaware of the existence of Daken. Thanks, Brian. Do you have any plans on reviewing Mark Waid's Incorruptible?

Brian Hughes said...

I'm sure Frank will. return to "normal" soon enough, so worry not, my friend. No plans for anything with Incorruptible yet, but I like what I've seen so far!