Just last week, Rick Remender’s infamous Franken-Castle story arc had come to a close. Never have I seen a more divisive reaction to the character’s developments in all his history. At least with his whole Punishment Spectre-lite run, just about everyone hated it. I thought the whole Frankenstein concept was interesting and fun and I’ve seen many agree with me, but I’ve seen just as many hate it with the fury of a million Nick Furys. My local comic shop for months had a bulletin board with nothing up it other than Punisher #11 with a sign over it saying, “DISGRACE!” I kept forgetting to lovingly lick the covers of whatever Punisher issue I was buying while at the register.
Since Matt Fraction took up the character in Punisher: War Journal, Frank Castle has become more and more involved in the greater Marvel Universe. Outside of Jigsaw being killed off (and then being replaced with another guy taking up the mantle several issues later), not much carried over into Rick Remender’s Punisher run other than his latest injection into the superhero scene. The problem was that the Dark Reign banner put Frank’s writing in a corner. With Osborn and Hood in charge of things, he obviously had to be itching to take care of them, but even as the protagonist, he can’t. There’s far too much plot armor to work through. So how does one write a story about Frank Castle being completely impotent as an unstoppable vigilante?
The first ten issues of Punisher and the one Annual take their time to get to something super-strong. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fun bunch of issues, but the first five-issue arc is so closely melted into the second five-issue arc that there doesn’t appear to be much more than wheels spinning in place. There is one piece of interest in all this in the introduction of supporting character Henry Russo. Henry is a young hacker who tracks down Frank and makes himself the third man to take the role of Punisher’s tech-savvy sidekick. I really like Henry and want to see more from him. Thankfully, he’s gotten play in other stories like Deapdool: Suicide Kings and Anti-Venom: New Ways to Live.
Yes, yes. I’ll get to the next We Care a Lot soon. I promise.