Sunday, October 3, 2010

Rayboy's Review: Franken-Castle #21 (Marvel)

The Punisher is a title that I haven't followed in many years so I really couldn't tell you what the character has been doing. Now I had read snippets about or seen promotional stuff for the whole "Franken-Castle" story arc, but I'm uncertain how long this aspect of the Punisher has been running.

However the recent solicitations for Franken-Castle #21 that revealed artist Dan Brereton's participation on this popular arc's denouement captured my attention. It seems that as part of the "Dark Reign" finale, Frank Castle (aka The Punisher) was dismembered and killed by Wolverine's son Daken and then reassembled as a Frankenstein monster by Morbius and the Legion of Monsters using the Bloodstone.

Apparently in his quest for revenge against Daken, "Franken-Castle" suffered even more abuse at the hands of Daken & Wolverine and ultimately had to retreat somewhere to lick his wounds and that place proves to be Monster Island.

Sent there by his associate, Henry Russo and the Legion of Monsters, "Franken-Castle" convalesces while the Bloodstone heals his body. Unfortunately as he recuperates, slaughtering a few of the islands large residents, Frank’s mind begins to fade into madness under the influence of the cursed gem embedded in his chest. The Legion of Monsters (Morbius, Man-Thing, Werewolf by Night, Living Mummy, etc.) travel to Monster Island in order to retrieve the stone and to help the Punisher; needing some special assistance to pull this off, they bring along Ulysses Bloodstone's daughter, Elsa.

For me this was a fun standalone way to participate in this story arc, but if Marvel had chosen to have Brereton illustrate the entire run in his beautiful painted style, I would have been all in from the start. Regular readers may be antsy to return to business as usual, however besides Brereton, another thing that grabbed me about this issue was the inclusion of Marvels terrific assortment of bronze age monsters; particularly with an artist who could present them in a way that paid homage to their classic "looks" while still seeming to be contemporary, too.

This may be the last issue of this storyline, but I highly recommend it to anyone who remembers how fun Marvels comic books used to be.


Anonymous said...

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Fritz "Doc" Freakenstein said...

Wow! What a waste of beautiful Dan Brereton artwork! I have never been a Punisher fan, so even this cool mash-up of the classic Marvel monsters wouldn’t be enough to get me to buy the book. Brereton has also done a story for Dynamite on Red Sonja Annual #3, which I’ll also pass on. I understand in these economic times that an artist has to take paying jobs where he can find them, but it’s too bad that Dan couldn’t just work on new stories for his amazing monster comic The Nocturnals.

Chuck Wells said...

Doc, I have no idea whether Brereton took this assignment for a big Marvel payday or not, but I do believe that the issue is worth picking up.

I would love to own an original Nocturnals page, but I've seen what Dan charges for them in person. I have no value judgement to make on his pricing structure and have to assume that he is able to move those pages for those rates, but they are a bit steep.

I also wish that more Nocturnals books were forthcoming!