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Thursday, December 03, 2009 

The writer who only made things worse for the Punisher

IGN Comics writes an interview with Rick Remender, who's taken up writing Frank Castle's book, and all he's got to offer is deja vu, and worse. As told at the beginning of the article:
Writers and publishers are always promising that their books will have major, lasting implications for their respective characters. Sadly, this doesn't always turn out to be the case. So it was that even despite Rick Remender's past track record, readers weren't quite sure what to make of his claims that major changes were coming for Frank Castle in Dark Reign: The List – Punisher.

As it turned out, though, Remender wasn't exaggerating one bit. Punisher was hit by a one-two punch in November. First, he was forced to torch his recently resurrected family and send them back to the afterlife. Then he was assaulted by an elite team of HAMMER agents. In the end, Frank was cut to ribbons by Daken and his pieces were tossed into a sewer. A tragic end for a tragic character.

But that's only the beginning of Frank's odd journey. In Punisher #11, Remender resurrected his hero as a Frankenstein-like monster fittingly dubbed Franken-Castle. Punisher has awoken to a wholly new and unfamiliar world, but it's a safe bet that some bad people will need punishing. We were recently able to get Remender on the phone, so we asked him all about the decision to kill Punisher and why the character can and should evolve in the Marvel Universe. Remender provided plenty of teases for upcoming issues, and even a glimpse of things to come in his other big Marvel series, Doctor Voodoo: Avenger of the Supernatural.
Gee, didn't Frank already go through something like that after his original 3 series were canceled in 1995, when he "died" and was later resurrected? And yet, that's nothing compared to the disgusting idea of having his family resurrected only to be forced to terminate them yet again. I shudder to think of what'll happen when Spider-Man and Uncle Ben Parker have the misfortune of going through with something as horrific as that. Besides, the Punisher's world may be a vicious one, but it's not meant to be a horror-genre title.

A little more from the interview:
We had a couple ideas of what to do once Frank had died. Ultimately the choice we made was the one that said when you have a world full of Silver Surfers and Galactuses that eat worlds and magical crystals and Spider-Men, this needed to be something that fit into the Marvel Universe and was big and fantastic and fun. So the rabbit hole we dropped Frank down was one with a lot of the Marvel monsters.

IGN Comics: And I guess this is a clear case where there's an advantage to having a Punisher series set within he Marvel Universe, because this is something you could certainly never do in Punisher MAX.

Remender: No, and nor should you. That's the beauty of having the two titles. There are people who want the straight Punisher, who want him out there taking down the mob and doing gritty crime noir stuff with all the ultra-violence and the great things that can happen in MAX. And you've got Jason Aaron with Steve Dillon doing it. There it is. There are people who don't think Frank can fit in the 616 universe. If you think that, then you have the MAX book.
And it seems we have the Punisher book set in the 616 world as well that's now churning out material worthy of a horror movie, and is probably even worse now than the MAX title. Really, I can't see much logic in Remender's words. But what really leaves me with a bad aftertaste is that Frank was forced to wipe out his own family again, which not only cheapens the original tragedy, it also insults the character, a very sad staple in today's comic book storytelling.

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Here's an experiment with readding the comments from the soon to be discontinued Haloscan server...

I don't think you'll have to worry about something like that happening to Spider-Man and Uncle Ben, Avi. Spidey will probably make another deal with the devil first.

Franken-Castle, huh? Besides being a terrible pun, it sounds like a White Castle slider made out of several different kinds of meat (which they may be, for all I know).
Thnunumber6 | 12.03.09 - 4:37 pm |

Who the hell is Rick Remender? A new Fraction pen name?
Degustein | 12.04.09 - 2:25 am | #

It's crap like this that makes me appriciate the MAX title (under Garth Ennis) alot more than Remender's bullshittery
Kory S. | 12.04.09 - 5:52 pm |

Disney has a kind of thermometer sort of doohickey somewhere.

It is the unbearableshit-ometer.

It is already nearly at the top of the column.

When the top is reached, expect marvel to get lobotomised back to the early 1960s only set now.

Quesada and co. have turned Marvel into Archie with Super-Nazis, and next will come the rubberising of the fangs to reduce the comics back to pablum.

And then they will be gone.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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