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Review Group Week 242 - FRANKEN-CASTLE #21

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Punchy

Staff Writer

Postby Punchy » Fri Oct 01, 2010 6:17 am

I pick Ultimate Comics Thor #1, because I picked a Pak/Van Lente Hercules book last time, and because doing 2 Remender books in a row is no good. So Hickman it is, his work always provokes controversy and debate.
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Zero

Zombie Guard

Postby Zero » Fri Oct 01, 2010 7:10 am

:smt023

Frankencastle #21

The Punisher has a dubious history when it comes to stories that take him away from his usual environment. When Garth Ennis brought the character back in his Marvel Knights story, he decided to simply ignore the mess that came before. Will the next Punisher writer do the same?

Starting with he good. Mutti's art in the epilogue is competently 'urban and gritty' and Brereton's pulpy painted art is perfect for a story featuring the 70's monster characters fighting on monster island. The colours are brash, the style is old school, and it's always clear what's going on and how people feel. Hell, you could probably tell this story well enough with most of the narration removed. Which would be a good idea.

Sentence fragments. Dead Wife. Angry. Clichéd tough talk. Punish things. Grr.

No, I didn't like the narration. I like the Frank Castle who's dead inside and thinks only with cold military precision and regret. I like the Frank Castle that sets old men on fire and uses landmines like they were going out of fashion. I like Ennis's Punisher and Aaron's Punisher because of the subtlety and depth they bring to a potentially one note character. For all I know Frank's been written well when he's not under the influence of mystic stones and undeadness, but here I didn't find him interesting at all.

I didn't fancy the story when it started, and this confirms that it wasn't the thing for me. I did like the art though so points for that.

6
User avatar

Punchy

Staff Writer

Postby Punchy » Fri Oct 01, 2010 7:25 am

Remender himself is the next Punisher writer! He's doing a 5-issue mini returning to New York with Frank taking on 'The Jigsaw Brothers' (The original, and Stuart Clarke from Fraction's run).
User avatar

Zero

Zombie Guard

Postby Zero » Fri Oct 01, 2010 7:29 am

That doesn't make him the next writer, that makes him the same writer. There was an ad for this next thing in the back of the book. Although it will be interesting to see if he makes much mention of this whole jig.
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Punchy

Staff Writer

Postby Punchy » Fri Oct 01, 2010 7:31 am

Zero wrote:That doesn't make him the next writer, that makes him the same writer. There was an ad for this next thing in the back of the book. Although it will be interesting to see if he makes much mention of this whole jig.


I imagine he might, even though he's been a Frankenstein, the character of Frank Castle has remained pretty much the same guy throughout Remender's run.
User avatar

Zero

Zombie Guard

Postby Zero » Fri Oct 01, 2010 8:59 am

OK. Once you've read the issue in question can you fill me in on whether Frank's internal monologue all grunty because of the bloodstone or if that's just how Remender has been writing him plz.
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guitarsmashley

Regular-Sized Poster

Postby guitarsmashley » Fri Oct 01, 2010 9:31 am

Zero wrote:OK. Once you've read the issue in question can you fill me in on whether Frank's internal monologue all grunty because of the bloodstone or if that's just how Remender has been writing him plz.


The internal mono kind of took me out of everything.
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Punchy

Staff Writer

Postby Punchy » Fri Oct 01, 2010 9:47 am

Zero wrote:OK. Once you've read the issue in question can you fill me in on whether Frank's internal monologue all grunty because of the bloodstone or if that's just how Remender has been writing him plz.


Maybe it's to do with the fact that as Franken-Castle, his mind is falling apart, and he needs to take these pills to keep his thoughts together.
User avatar

GLX

Outhouse Editor

Postby GLX » Fri Oct 01, 2010 10:12 am

Punchy wrote:I pick Ultimate Comics Thor #1, because I picked a Pak/Van Lente Hercules book last time, and because doing 2 Remender books in a row is no good. So Hickman it is, his work always provokes controversy and debate.

:smt023

3MJ

Postby 3MJ » Fri Oct 01, 2010 10:49 am

Read this today.

Is this just how Punisher gets back to normal? That's it? I mean the whole thing was very by the numbers for what I've been led to believe is a very out there story. It's not your average Punisher story no, but the whole internal monologue was very simplistic, and with this being the last issue of a storyline it certainly didn't make me want to pick up what has come before.

Not a great story by any stretch of the imagination, and I don't think the art was incredible either. Better than average sure, but not the top of the pile, even just on Marvel books.

Overall I'd give the whole thing a 5.5 Close to pushing for a 6, but so utterly serviceable that I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.
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Stephen Day

Wrasslin' Fan

Postby Stephen Day » Sat Oct 02, 2010 8:52 pm

I haven't read any of the twenty previous issues of this series, but thanks to the synopsis on the first page I didn't feel like I was lost in any way. With that I was able to jump right in an enjoy this issue. I don't feel the need to get the issues that I missed, but I will say that this one was fun to read. The Punisher running around on Monster Island in an insane state being chased by the Legion of Monsters is such a weird concept that its hard not love it.

I don't know if I like the way Elsa Bloodstone was portrayed this issue. but then again I haven't read anything with her in it since Bloodstone, the series that introduced her back in 2001. I remember her as a nice teenage girl just discovering that Ulysses Bloodstone was her father. That's the version of the character that I like, not the gun toting woman with anger issues I found in this issue. I am willing to accept that the character has developed in her various appearances in the past nine years, but I will say I don't have to like the result of that development.

Having gotten that off of my chest, let me gush about the rest of the issue. I loved the six issue spread near the beginning of the issue with Castle hunting monsters. I loved seeing the various Marvel monster characters running around hunting Frank Castle. I loved seeing Morbius. I loved seeing the Man-Thing. I loved seeing the Living Mummy -- he's been a long time favourite of mine among the marvel monsters.

The main 22 page story was very enjoyable for me. I can't say the same about the nine page backup feature though. I've never been a huge modern day Punisher fan and normally, this issue being an enjoyable exception, don't buy anything with him in it if I can help it. Those nine pages of the Punisher being the Punisher is the type of stuff that really doesn't interest me. Considering that the Punisher was back to his old self at the end of the regular 22 pages, I found that entire section to be both unnecessary and unwelcome.

7 out of ten for a fun issue that was brought down a little bit by a tacked on ending that wasn't really needed.
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48THRiLLS

Review Grouper

Postby 48THRiLLS » Sun Oct 03, 2010 7:29 pm

FRANKEN-CASTLE #21

I am pretty mixed on this comic. I remember reading the first issue for the group and enjoying it, I am not sure why I didn't continue getting it (most likely because I am not a big fan of the Punisher) but I have not read any of the issues in between this and the first. I do think turning Castle into a monster is a fun hook and I enjoyed most of this comic... everything up to the end, him just magically turning back into his normal self because of some rock in his chest is weak... and then how it is left off in the very end with him back in New York doesn't make me at all interested to pick up where this leaves off. It felt like they rushed the transformation from monster to man because it seemed like he was Franken-Castle one page then blam-O he is Frank on the next.

I will say after reading this I will definitely pick up the trades at my library cuz the idea of Frank hanging out with all the other Marvel monsters sounds fun and very un-Punisher like... and the art is absolutely stunning.


STORY - 5

ART - 9

OVERALL - 6.9
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Punchy

Staff Writer

Postby Punchy » Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:31 am

Franken-Castle #21 - Untitled - Remender, Brereton, Mutti and Malison

Story - Garth Ennis has a lot to answer for. Ever since the Northern Irish genius turned his twisted mind towards Frank Castle, a lot of fans have expressed the opinion that his way is the only way. That the Punisher only works in a realistic, MAX, crime setting, that putting the character into the actual Marvel Universe is wrong. Now I'm not saying that I didn't enjoy Ennis' run on the Punisher, it was a masterpiece, but this view is incredibly reductive, ignoring the facts that the Punisher worked perfectly well for 30 years in the Marvel Universe before Ennis changed things, and also that Ennis' run itself featured many familiar MU characters, such as Daredevil, Wolverine and Nick Fury. Ennis' run may have been definitive, but it shouldn't restrict the character.

Which is why Rick Remender's take on the character is so refreshing, rather than attempt to follow Ennis' template, he just went for it, and threw Frank into the Marvel Universe with gay abandon, putting the character into some of the weirdest corners of the Fictional Reality you could think of, turning him into a Frankenstein's Monster along the way. I never thought I'd read a Punisher comic which featured Morbius, Man-Thing, Living Mummy and Werewolf-By-Night. It was a total unexpected delight, providing that there can still be unpredictability in the Marvel Universe. It may have been total madness, but it was still however, The Punisher. Throughout this whole crazy storyline, the actual personality of the Punisher/Franken-Castle has remained the same as ever, he has the same drive, the same anger, he's the same guy. But with a metal arm and stitched on head. This is what the myopic MAX only people don't understand, through his inflexibility, the Punisher is actually one of the most flexible characters in comics, much like Batman, he has a very well-defined motive and characterisation, and can easily be dropped into almost any genre and remain the same.

But alas, all good things come to an end, and this issue features the last appearance of Franken-Castle, and it's a distillation of all that made this series great. Franken-Castle is on Monster Island, fighting a lot of giant-Godzilla monsters, and then the Legion Of Monsters and Ellie Bloodstone show up and he fights them. It's crazy 4-colour goodness, but at the same time, it's still an examination of who Frank actually is as a character, about what defines him, about what makes him The Punisher. The Living Mummy really nails down what the Punisher is. Again, very surprising.

At the end, Frank is back to normal, and he heads back to New York City, for a coda story leading into Remender's upcoming 'In The Blood' mini-series. Remender gets to stretch his more traditional Punisher muscles here, using Gang-slang, and having Frank take out some Hoods. In the end, I have mixed feelings about this, it was a thrill to see The Punisher back in black, but I also really loved Franken-Castle, and am sad to see it end so soon. Sigh, we'll always have that time you flew a Dragon and fought Nazi-Zombies.

Artwork - This issue features the work of two different artists, and they provide a wonderful contrast. Dan Brereton returns to paint the main story, and it's wonderful, his work looks like Pulp-Novel covers, and this style is perfect for a story featuring so many weird and wonderful monsters, it looks larger than life and is just great fun. Andrea Mutti's work in the coda brings us back down to Earth, the colour palette is darker, and it's more realistic. They both show the two sides of the Punisher, he can be a dark crime character, or be just as comfortable in the craziness of the Marvel Universe, it's up to the writer to walk this tightrope, and Remender does a good job of it, but he needs artists like this to convey the duality.

Best Line - I found much of Ellie Bloodstone's dialogue to be hilarious, Remender actually made her sound British, but this is the best one 'I've fought Frankenstein -- and you, sir, are NO Frankenstein'

8/10
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guitarsmashley

Regular-Sized Poster

Postby guitarsmashley » Mon Oct 04, 2010 1:08 pm

So by the time Elsa Bloodstone showed up I just got horribly bored with this issue.Between Frank's innermonologue and Elsa's "Hody you do govner" this issue just dragged and dragged and in the end a piece of mystical stone healed frank...and his bionic arm...and his brain that was ut back together...and his rotting flesh....and his whatever else was wrong with him... I called it back when this started that they were going to screw this up especially when it came to his return and they did. The best part of this issue was the last 5 pages that was a punisher story the rest was just weak and the art was pretty awful. I don't care for painted comics especially not ones that look like colored pencils.

4
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Kerny

Review Grouper

Postby Kerny » Mon Oct 04, 2010 2:24 pm

Franken-Castle 21

Finally got my DCBS this week so I can do a lil something-something

All in all, this comic was a bit of a let down, yet it remains a good comic in my eyes. It is a let down because this is the worst issue in the whole Franken-Castle story, and I thought the previous issues were borderline amazing. If not for the standards set by its beginnings, this would probably fare better.

The return to Frank Castle is fine. The 'out' is simple and natural to the story. Another even crazier explanation might have been better, given it's a story involving Frank Castle as a Frankenstein killing monsters and hanging out with the Manphiban. Despite the cool visuals, it is fairly boring issue. Frank goes back to normal, kills things, gives up stone, voila. The monologue is also tedious and overdone in parts. The 'weeks later' intro into Circle of Blood was great. Vintage Punisher. As much as I enjoyed Franken-Castle as a whole, it was great to see Frank being Frank, especially with the MAX title being delayed to hell.

Someone said Dan Breton is one of the most underrated of the comic painters and I tend to agree. Lovely pictures of Frank killing monsters and a bright color palette. Unlike other painters, Breton's work has energy, life, movement, and feels like comic book art and not just some posed men and women doing poses while wearing funny clothes *coughAlexRosscough.* I'm not familiar with Andrea Mutt's work, but I liked it here. It gets the job done and people die well. Frank himself looks kind of odd, but it's a short sequence, so it doesn't bother me too much.

Story 6
Art 8
Overall 7

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