Marc Guggenheim and Leinil Francis Yu turn in a solid first issue for this new Punisher mini series. If this spins off from something going on in the main Punisher title, I don't know. I quit reading Punisher again after Franken-Castle ended. 'Trial' looked too good to pass up though, and I prefer to follow Frank Castle's exploits in mini series anyway.
Even out of his skull shirt Castle is rendered as a very imposing figure by Yu. Yu's a new name to me, but I'll be looking out for him in the future.
Guggenheim writes Castle really well. You feel like The Punisher is almost manipulating all the proceedings like a puppet master. Guggenheim creates a palpable tension that's too big for this flimsy little format.
The Punisher has always been a complex and problematic character to root for. Even as a kid growing up on action films like Rambo, Silent Rage, and Commando and loving every issue of the Punisher I could lay my hands on. I still agreed with Daredevil and Batman that killing for any reason is wrong. Punisher comics filled that existential void and that outrage at the out of control crimes against humanity; where a jail sentence just seemed too light. Punisher is a power fantasy, but a sinister one. The kind of cowboy justice Frank Castle doles out would lead to a frightening redneck dystopia in the real world. Which may be one reason it was always satisfying to see Daredevil or Captain America kick the piss out of Punisher every once in a while.
For anyone who's not been following The Punisher for the last few years, the various series have been strong since Garth Ennis left. I was disappointed to see Castle restored to health after an amazing run as Franken-Castle so I dropped the book (and well, I'm also on a budget), but The Trial of the Punisher is a good reason for any old fan to come back.