Punisher #13

A comic review article by: Jason Sacks
Editor's Note: Punisher #13 arrives in stores tomorrow, January 27.

I haven't read a Punisher comic in years – yeah, I'm sorry, I've never picked up any of those apparently great Ennis issues. I will one day, promise.

But I'm only slightly behind the curve with "Frankencastle", which is just a weird enough concept that I can't help but to be intrigued by it. Of course, it helps that the comic is by the team of Remender and Moore, whose work I adored on Fear Agent.

And what did I find inside? A pretty damn fun comic in which the Punisher was turned into a Frankenstein's Monster with some enormous, giant guns.

Having not read the previous few issues, I was unprepared for the very clever new appearance of the Punisher, all pale skin and stitches mixed with a few pieces of heavy machinery. Leave it to Tony Moore to create an appearance for this absurd character that is fun, weird and compelling.

The villains of this storyline are a creepy looking floating skull in a robot suit who leads an army of undead cyborg samurai. I think the floating skull guy was a villain in an issue of Tomb of Dracula in the 1970s, but I guess that doesn't really matter, since for Remender's purposes he really seems to exist in order to shout lines like "Bring the good doctor. I would like to torture him."

The Punisher has allies: Morbius the Living Vampire, looking a little ragged under Moore's artwork, the ever-feral Werewolf By Night, and the ever-mucky Man-Thing, as well as a mummy and fire creature who appear at the end of the issue. Each of the monsters gets their moment in the spotlight, especially the Werewolf, who shows himself to be a bad-ass fighter.

The issue is all-out action like some of the best issues of Fear Agent. And like the best issues of that wonderful series, it's tremendously well-drawn, and Remender's script stays just on the right side of total lunacy. This issue has almost no resemblance to the revenge fantasies of traditional Punisher comics, but it works as all-out wacky fun punctuated with fun one-liners and terrific artwork.

I feel like I still haven't read a real Punisher comic in years, really, but I really enjoyed this thoroughly oddball Punisher comic.

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