Here are my nominees for this month’s crop of delicious covers.

Punisher 11

Frank is back...or is he? Well, sort of.

Story: Rick Remender
Pencils: Tony Moore
Inks: Tony Moore
Colors: Dan Brown

Wins:

  • If you like a good bizarro story about monsters featuring a version of Frank Castle that is bound to be a hero to a group of rejected creatures, this is the story arc you’ve been lusting for.
  • Tony Moore’s art is quite brilliant and really lends itself to the direction this title abruptly veered toward. He almost makes you feel empathy toward the monsters that are being sytematically hunted and killed.
  • The fact that Moore’s art is so fantastic and the fun factor that comes into play with this arc makes it hard to drop the title.
  • Moore’s version of Man-Thing is amazing. He took great time to make him as detailed as possible, and it really shows.
  • There are some brilliant splash pages in this issue. One of Man-Thing, and two of FrankenCastle. Thank you, Tony Moore!
  • Remender does a solid job with the dialogue, especially when Frank awakens after Morbius pieces him back together. Frank stutters and mumbles a bit, and it just makes the reader laugh.
  • I’ll have to keep the faith in Remender that he’ll somehow restore Frank Castle to his subversive, vindictive, baddie-killing bastard of a self.
  • The cover is superb. It’s one of the best I’ve seen in quite a while.

Fails:

  • This title just jumped the shark, though I can’t say I didn’t see it coming after Frank’s encounter with Daken.
  • I hope Daken fans enjoyed the slice and dice of Punisher in Dark Reign: The List – Punisher, because your pleasure is Punisher fans’ pain.
  • I started picking up Punisher because I was excited to have a book about Frank Castle in the 616. Now I’m not so sure I care to read it if this is the direction it’s going in. Is it a coincidence that Marvel re-launched Punishermax in the same week that this book does a u-turn?
  • This shift in story/character is surely going to alienate some Punisher readers.
  • Monster Island is a great place to take a break for an issue to mindlessly slaugher anything that moves, but to make a story arc out of it seems a bit wasteful.

Verdict: C+

Punisher 10

Punisher10

Frank is out to beat down The Hood like he does all thugs.

Story: Rick Remender
Pencils: Tan Eng Huat
Inks: Tan Eng Huat
Colors: Lee Loughridge

Wins:

  • The Hood’s resurrected rats are sytematically slaughtered straightaway by the brutal Castle.
  • Huat’s art is quite crisp and does well with the story.
  • Remender writes some great dialogue for The Hood. His work on this title is quality.
  • Frank ruthlessly refuses to kill G.W. Bridge to resurrect his and Microchips family, but Microchip does the deed and Frank kills their newly revived family members as quickly as they’re brought back by using a Hood minion to torch them.
  • Frank then proves to Parker Robbins that he cannot be manipulated by him, and makes him pay for his arrogance.

Fails:

  • Frank looks older when drawn by Huat. I prefer the way that Opena drew Castle.
  • Huat doesn’t capture the nuances of Henry as well as Opena. I loved the random stickers of Fugazi and posters of Black Flag, among other punk rock references that added nuance to the Opena run.
  • Punisher’s current outfit is a bit corny looking. I’d like it to have a more traditional skull on the front.
  • Frank’s arsenal of stolen weaponry seems to have gone missing. Maybe it’s all been blown to smitherines after his truck exploded. I’m sad to see the Ant-Man helmet go. I thought that was quite fun.

Verdict: B-

Here are my picks for this month’s most appealing covers.

Highlights from Dark Reign: The List – Punisher, and Dark Reign: The List – Wolverine.