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Campy Frank Castle doesn’t work for me. I enjoy humorous books, and silly’s okay with me in general, but in specific applications it just doesn’t work. And this is one of those cases where it didn’t work for me.
When this series launched it was over the top action, but the first few issues were pretty serious and had a specific tone that didn’t change. Suddenly, with the fourth issue, I felt that it all turned from an extreme – but serious – caricature of Frank Castle (which is basically a requirement to make him work in a world where he’s fighting super-powered villains), to an Adam-West-Batman romp. The final straw was the panel where Castle is shown wearing the cast-off weaponry of numerous heroes, but each one had been lovingly defaced by a Punisher symbol. Just the thought of a man as single-mindedly focused on his mission as Frank Castle sitting down at his craft table one night with a stack of super weapons to lovingly paint his little skull emblem onto each is too much to accept within the confines of the story.
If this was a straight-up spoof I’d find it funny, but that doesn’t appear to be what it is. The story is delivered in a way that I assume is meant to be taken somewhat seriously, but then it’s riddled by little phrases and visual cues that tell me it’s all a lark. The total product is simply too fractured to be appealing to me. The craft of the artwork is still good, but the visual choices didn’t all work for me. And the dialogue read more like Rick Remender cutting up with friends than it did like Frank Castle. After the first three issues, this was a terrible disappointment.
Art: 3 - Good