Thursday, June 28, 2012

My Heroes Have Always Been Monsters Part 15


 I've been a Punisher fan since middle school when I started reading Marvel Tales which were reprints of old SpiderMan comics. I started buying them with the appearance of The Punisher and continued to follow the exploits of Frank Castle through various series with all their highs and lows. Though morally and politically I've been more of a Daredevil guy, but I've always been a violence head and The Punisher always delivered on the action. But eventually the character lost my attention with a decline in quality story telling and, hell, hasn't he killed all the mob guys yet? I came back to Punisher with the Garth Ennis/Steve Dillon Welcome Back, Frank mini-series and the following on-going series, but that hit a wall creatively as well and I had to walk away again.
Then Dark Reign happened, when Norman (Green Goblin) Osborne takes over SHIELD and sets up some bad guys as  the new Avengers. This spun out of the event mini-series Secret Invasion, which I didn't care about, but Dark Reign was one of the most compelling ideas Marvel had come up with for a while. With Dark Reign came a new Punisher series by Rick Remender with Norman Osborne in his cross hairs. This was the Punisher doing everything you loved to see the Punisher doing, but with some new gadgets (Ant Man's helmet) and some new twists. Remender lined up some back from the dead D-Listers (like a guy in a bear suit) controlled by The Hood for Punisher to burn through.
I don't want to give away too much of the story, because you should really check it out, but all you have to do is look at the images above to get the idea and we get the return of the Legion of Monsters (minus Ghost Rider).
For me this was a geek dream come true. Bringing back the Legion of Monsters and finally doing something new and unexpected with the Punisher was a sure fire way for Marvel to get my cash. It's rare that either of the big two puts one of their A-Listers through such a radical change (and make it work; see the blue and white Superman post Death of...). I know a lot of comic readers who groaned over the story, but really-you can accept multiple individuals getting exposed to various kinds of radiation and getting super powers instead of cancer, but you're gonna bitch about Punisher being resurrected as a Frankenstein monster? Well, I hope they're happy because Frank is back to normal. The current series is still very good, but I think we've seen the high water mark and it's full of stitches and mechanical parts.

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