By: Rick Remender (writer), Roland Boschi (art), Dan Brown (colors) & Cory Petit (letters)

The Story: Having been reborn as Franken-Castle, the former Punisher has settled in with the League of Monsters and is ready to start settling some old scores.

What’s Good: Let me toss out a caveat… I’m not someone who has been a Punisher fan for decades.  I know some hardcore Punisher fans aren’t thrilled with this Franken-Castle change of events, but I’m coming at this story relatively fresh.

As a recap, in Dark Reign: The List – Punisher, Frank Castle got chopped up into about 20 pieces and killed by Daken.  His pieces were picked up in the sewers by the League of Monsters and they reanimated him as Franken-Castle.  Personally, I kind of like this direction for the character because I’ve never thought that Punisher worked that well in the Marvel Universe because he can’t really go toe-to-toe with the super-powered set.  And if he isn’t going to be interacting with other superheroes and villains, why have Punisher in the Marvel U?

That being said, unless you’re just an offended Punisher fan, I don’t see how you can fail to enjoy the premise for this series right now.  Just as it’s always kinda fun when a hero gets a new power or gets a new uniform, this is the ultimate new power/new uniform combo.  I’m sure it won’t be forever, but let’s enjoy it while it lasts.

Beyond the changes to Frank, it is fun to see all the squirmy little monsters in this book.  This is where Boschi’s art really sings.  About 50% of the panels in this issue are just filled with monsters in all their tentacled/horned/fanged/shambling glory.  Good stuff!

The story is mostly incidental (for me) until the very end of the issue when we see that Frank has a list of folks who have done him wrong and he’s out to settle some scores.  Among the folks on the list is Daken!  That should be good!

What’s Not So Good: This is majorly a novelty.  As I read this issue (and enjoyed the hell out of it), I was mostly thinking, this can’t last… So, there is a small part of me that wonders if in 15 years we’ll look back and say, “Remember back when Punisher turned into Franken-Castle?  That was silly!”  But…..I’ll enjoy it for now and give Remender kudos for doing something different with the character.

I generally enjoyed the art in this issue, but it gets a little dodgy in a few panels (mostly in the beginning of the issue).

Conclusion: I love weirdness in comics and this is about as weird as it can get.  I think my pull list just grew!

Grade: B+

– Dean Stell