Thursday, November 19, 2009

Punisher #11 – Franken Castle - A Review

Punisher #11

Publisher Marvel

Writer Rick Remender

Art Tony Moore

Colors Dan Brown

Format $2.99, 23 pages of story and art

Normally I don’t like doing a review unless I have enough to say about to fill up a few paragraphs. Also I don’t like to just go out and do negative reviews, because it is very easy to criticize creative work and especially super hero comics because by their very nature they have outlandish ideas at their core and you can tear those things about like it was tracing paper.

Rick Remender has been a favorite writer of mine. I have been anxiously awaiting the last chapter of Gigantic; I have followed Fear Agent and hope that one day they will do a hard cover collection of that series. His first 10 issues of this series were okay, the first arc was very good and the second arc was okay. The Doctor Voodoo series has my interest and has potential to be very good. I can guarantee you that many people will love this arc and be laughing their asses off as they read it and I probably should do that also, but I won’t.

I love having fun with characters and having humor in many books is a good thing. Hercules from Marvel does a great job with humor and Power Girl from DC is a book where humor is sprinkled throughout the book and it works well. Even books like the Giffen/Dematteis JLA did a good job with humor. Humor can be found in all sorts of books and situations and you can have a funny page on page one and a serious encounter by page three and it can work, but it has to be within the context of the character and still show the character some respect.

The FrankenCastle story is a joke, but it is on us. The Punisher at its core is an over the top concept, but you have to approach the character with some respect. Frank is human and does what he does because he believes that killing the bad guys is the only way to stop them. Given what happened to him we can at a minimum understand why he believes what he does is right. Maybe we also have a secret fantasy that his way is the right way because we see miscarriages of justice occur in our legal system and want to forget that we rather err on the side of caution to protect people then kill everyone and let God sort it out.

This issue Rick Remender has turned Frank Castle into the Frankenstein Monster and it is a comedy. At the core of the story the idea that all the Marvel Monsters have had to retreat to an island and are now fighting for their lives is pretty amusing. Having Frank being rebuilt into a Frankenstein Monster is amusing. As a side story or a one-shot not tied into any continuity it is an amusing piece with some terrific artwork by the talented Tony Moore. As part of a regular series where we are suppose to buy off on this being part of Frank Castle’s continuity it is a crock of sh*t. Pure unmitigated crap.

The character of Frank Castle was supposed to be baseline human. He is one of the few non-powered types roaming the halls of the MU. He was chopped up into many pieces, his head taken off, his arms and legs cut off into multiple pieces. In this issue the molvoids gather up his pieces and cart him off to Monster Island. There a haggard Morbius puts him back together and he is for all intents and purposes the Frankenstein Monster.

In reading the book we are having some fun with Morbius, Werewolf by Night, the Living Mummy and putting the old Legion of Monsters together using Frank as Frankenstein. I get it, but the writer and the editor did not get it. This makes a mockery of the character Frank Castle. He is now a punch line. Instead of a cold harden killer of bad guys, he is a freak of nature and a walking joke in search of villagers to scare off. Even when they fix him and bring him back to normal, he no longer has the ability to be killed and therefore he is no longer human. Even though logically I know they will never kill the character, taking away his humanity changes the essential nature of the character. I’m dropping this book. I will continue to buy Punisher Max, but this Frank is now dead to me, if not to anyone else.

Apparently I had more to say then I thought.

Grade F – Disrespecting the character is always a losing proposition in my book.


  1. I think you need to apologize somemore before you get critical. ;-)

  2. True :) I like Remender and felt bad that I torched this book. Once I started it got easier.

  3. I been a Punisher fan since '72 and I was totally appalled by this idea. It's like, we have no clue what makes him work, so, let's make it into something seriously beyond the character. Why not just make Spider-Man gay and have him wear a pink and purple costume? Sounds just as good to me...


  4. Batman died, oh wait, time travel arc. Captain America was assassinated, but not for long. And Frank Castle's re-animated corpse stalks the sewers of NY...I have no way to express my lack of faith in comics. All hale the mighty dollar, I guess.

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