Frankenstein’s Vigilante

Punisher #11

Okay, I think we all know by this point that I’m a sucker for monsters. And this one was high-concept enough that it was particularly appealing. In the previous issue of this comic “Punisher: Dark Reign – The List #1” (Thanks for the heads-up, Todd), Frank Castle met up with Wolverine’s rotten son Daken and got cut to pieces, literally. And I’m not using the word “literally” for emphasis — I mean, there went Punisher’s head, there went his arm, there went his leg… So Frank Castle’s dead, right? Well, maybe not. A bunch of mole people collected the Punisher-chunks and carted them away into the sewer, under the protection of the Man-Thing. And Frank gets stitched back together and returned to life by Morbius the Living Vampire, with half-hearted assistance from Jack “Werewolf by Night” Russell and a bunch of other monsters. Why? The monsters of the world are being hunted to extinction by a bunch of high-tech samurai, and they need a soldier like Frank to help them with battle tactics. Unfortunately, Frank’s brain isn’t really firing on all cylinders yet, and he tends to have trouble with anything outside of his personal war on crime. Is he going to be able to help the monsters who saved his life?

Verdict: Thumbs up. And not just because of the mad concept of turning Frank Castle into a patchwork monster. If that was all there was to this, it wouldn’t be worth squat. What I enjoyed about this was Frank’s reaction — even in the midst of his post-reanimation freakout, he expresses deep cynicism, and the trigger point for his rage is the memory of his dead family. And even when he’s calmer, he has the old Frank Castle attitude, and he seems deeply conflicted about having to deal with a bunch of monsters, freaks, and bug people, when he normally focuses on organized crime. There’s been some serious thought put into Frank’s character and reactions, and the results are pretty entertaining. Is it bizarre? Oh, yes. I’m sure Frank will be back in his old body eventually, gunning down mobsters left and right — but I’ve got no idea how they’ll get there from this point. I hope it stays cool, because it looks like it’ll be a lot of fun to read.


Wonder Woman #38

Wonder Woman’s enemy Alkyone has married Achilles and been declared Queen of the Amazons. Wondy, meanwhile, is in prison, under a death sentence. She refuses to escape because if she does, Hippolyta, her mother, will be killed. Artemis plots revolution, Achilles chafes at Alkyone’s plots, Donna Troy searches for Hippolyta, and much darker bargains are made with much darker powers.

Verdict: I’ll give it a nominal thumbs up. The story isn’t that bad, but as I’ve said before, I’ve pretty much had my fill of grim stories here about gods and mythologies — it’s gotten to the point where that’s almost the only story that’s being told in this title, and that needs to change.


Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! #10

Billy is still unwilling to change into Captain Marvel because Cap has started acting evil. He and Mary are on their way to see the wizard Shazam about this, but they get distracted by a bunch of normal passersby who are robbing a bank — they’ve all been hypnotized by a felonious rocker named Axe. Mary tries to handle the problem solo, but gets hypnotized, too. Can Billy save everyone without resorting to changing into Captain Marvel?

Verdict: I’m gonna thumbs-down it. Part of it was that Axe just wasn’t a very good villain. Part of it is that this is the first all-ages title I’ve seen that combined a complicated multi-part storyline with no recap of previous events. If you’re going to go with continuing storylines in an all-ages book (something I’m just not convinced is a good idea), you’ve got to give new readers some idea of what’s gone on before.

No Comments

  1. Todd Gray Said,

    December 2, 2009 @ 6:41 am

    Allow me to play the clifff Claven card here…”WELL ACTUALLY, the Punisher was carved to bits in the one shot PUNISHER: DARK REIGN – THE LIST #1. It was part of the LIST series of related one-shots.” Ahem.

  2. Scott Slemmons Said,

    December 2, 2009 @ 7:06 am

    Thanks, Todd — fixed. 🙂

  3. Sado Said,

    December 2, 2009 @ 12:28 pm

    I’m glad the Punisher is cashing in on the recent popularity of zombies. I mean, if they decided to cash in on the popularity of “sparkly vampires”, I think I would cry.

    It’s the lesser of two evils.

  4. LES Said,

    December 2, 2009 @ 1:55 pm

    I am not a comic chick, but I read your blog everyday. Your witty concise writing, and your dedication to your craft put your blog at the top of the list. I was drawn in by your funny, brillant titles. I tried to resist…but tiny titans became known to me…I’m hooked!!! Great job, and thanks

  5. Scott Slemmons Said,

    December 2, 2009 @ 3:38 pm

    Thanks, LES — good to hear I’ve been able to steer you to some good titles. I appreciate you visiting and reading. 🙂

  6. swampy Said,

    December 2, 2009 @ 7:50 pm

    now if we could sic Frankencastle on the Twilight idiots…lol