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Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 2,535
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Subj: Re: Fractions War Journal.
Posted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 11:13:40 am EST (Viewed 267 times)
Reply Subj: Re: Fractions War Journal.
Posted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 04:30:01 am EST (Viewed 2 times)

    A small annoyance to me was G.W.Bridge. He was a VERY, VERY, VERY minor character, I know. But I liked this guy, despite him being minor. They made him fat (why?) and Muslim (only interesting to bring up if it brings something to the character, which it didn't).

I wont say I was annoyed by the physical/religious changes but I certainly saw no need or advantage to it. The impression I got was Fraction was trying to push the idea that Bridge was something of a relic - old, disallusioned and on the brink of retirement.

    The tone was uneven. People say that about Baron, but here, Castle was "funny"...but it didn't work. Those issues with Gibbon and Kraven JR. I wanted to care...but couldn't...

I dont think it was played for laughs deliberately. There was a degree of dry humour about Franks attitude, which I think can work with the character. It worked well enough with Ennis MK run a while back, although he's better than most at writing that kind of way.

    Then, there was the promise of something: Punisher taking on supervillains. Punisher found a former villain, reformed him. I figure Castle is gonna stockpile some super weapons and kill boatloads of supervillains. That was a constant disappointment time and time again. Nothing happened. The Bar With No Name that was blown up? That incident was undone in SHE HULK. Parnell Jacobs was killed? He was brought back later on as well.

A Punisher who is allowed to genuinely kill of named super villains is a pipe dream, it will never really happen - they will always be generic henchmen or clones or robots etc, and we as fans need to get used to that. What I would say is that Fraction and subsequently Remender also were probably given more freedom to do this than any previous writers.

I also think its important that we be fair and not hang either of them for things which other writers undid later on - yes, the explosion at the bar was later retconned in another title, but its hardly fair to blame Fraction for that.

    CIVIL WAR was garbage to me. The way the characters acted in CIVIL WAR was off kilter. The gimmick was loud and flashy and stupid. Why the HELL would Cap want Punisher on his team if he wants no bloodshed? Why the HELL would Punisher kill two people in cold blood in a room full of superheroes and act like "What did I do wrong?" Crappy writing and illogical. Punisher should have been on NO ONE'S SIDE and just gone on killing bad guys. Period.

I wasnt a huge fan of it either and whilst Cap letting Frank on the team didnt appear in character (pretty much nothing he said or did during the series was in character), I didnt have too much of a problem with Franks behaviour. As for why Frank killed two villains in a room full of heroes, we must remember that he was there somewhat under duress with the threat of being left tied up to wait for the authorities. Killing them publically certainly wasnt the smartest thing, but that said I imagine that he didnt exactly have alot to lose at that point so why not kill them?

    Castle killing that girl angered me. Frank Castle's whole entire existence is based on the fact that he has ZERO TOLERANCE for innoncent deaths due to what happened to his family. Writers go out of their way-this includes Rucka-to show Castle take his shots without killing innocents. Here, Fraction decides to throw that away. Not only that, Castle DOESN'T OWN UP TO IT. Not only does he murder an innocent girl. He lies about it. Any version of Castle I give a damn about has Castle avoiding that, or being torn about it if someone innocent dies NEAR HIM. Some stories, he turns himself in or considers suicide. In a 90s story, he told Wolverine: "If I ever go off the deep end, you come shut me down." (Carl Potts, Punisher writer and editor in DAMAGING EVIDENCE) I'm not interested in a Frank Castle that shrugs off innocent deaths. (or an IRON MAN-when did he kill innocents or WONDER WOMAN?) He was brainwashed? I. Don't. Care. Frank Castle has BROKEN that kind of conditionning before. One, in a story written by GERRY CONWAY-the character's damn creator. Once by Abnett and Lanning, PSYCHOVILLE. Nevermind that the brillant tactician that Frank his was nowhere to be seen: he acted like a braindead gorilla during that ENTIRE series.

I dont think its fair to suggest that Frank wasnt seriously effected by the killing, but at the same time I'm not sure if having a heart to heart with Stuart Clarke and trying to explain what happened is any more in character. I'm genuinely stuck in my opinion as to whether Franks behaviour here is in character or not - its not like he's ever admitted any of his other mistakes to anyone, he just goes away and processes it and feels bad which is kind of what he did here.

As far as brainwashing is concerned, I accept that hes successfully broken brainwashing in the past - as has pretty much every other hero at one point or another - but at the same time pretty much every hero has also succumbed to brainwashing too, so I dont think its realistic to believe that Frank should NEVER be allowed to succumb to it or that he is simply too mentally tough. If Cap can be brainwashed, or Spidey or Logan then we have to accept that Frank can too.

In Psychoville things were different as he wasnt under any pressure to kill anyone at any time, he was simply being conditioned so that he could be used as a killer in the future. In War Journal Frank was under the influence of hate rays compelling him to murder at the material time.

    And that rant: "I'm Captain America, bla bla bla." What was that?

That was a psychological trick, claiming to be the great white aryian hope of America - a guy who most of those racist rednecks probably admired - in an attempt to gain time and sow doubts amongst his captors. Thats how I read it anyway and it seemed a pretty clear ruse for me.

    Stupid scenes like that WORLD WAR HULK thing. Guns that throw swords (really? Stuart couldn't scare up an armour worth a damn, like a Stark Level suit for this? What went through Fraction's mind for this stuff?)

Yeah, the sword-gun was lame, although I thought the Venom suit was great - much better and more interesting than some sort of Ironman armour knock off.

    I quit the series shortly after that. I finished after the Jigsaw thing that ruined Lynn Michaels, by the way. (Just because a character is minor doesn't they deserve to be thrown away like that. A writer with talent would have made something with here. Brubaker brought DAKOTA NORTH in DAREDEVIL and made something interesting with her. Didn't kill her or brainwash her or whatever.) And that was just a waste of time and opportunity.

I agree that the series got more confusing and less interesting after this point, although personally it was Chakins art ruined it for me - I find any title he illustrates simply becomes unreadable. I'm also a big Lynne Michaels fan and thought it was a complete waste of the character. You wont get much argument from me about anything that occurred after the WWH tie in.

    Then Remender came along. He made Punisher a drunk and a Frankenstein monster and built on the crap Fraction did and added with his own crap.

Remenders run is a whole other debate - I'm specifically talking about the issues Fraction did on his own. In short I think everything Remender did prior to Franks death at the hands of Daken is actually pretty cool, but everything he did after his resurrection is probably the worst Punisher Ive ever read.

    Fraction and Rememnder is just one run. Renumbering, retitling be damned. And one gets the impression they didn't care about the Punisher, they didn't understand him, they didn't think he was interesting so they messed with HIM, tinkered with him, butchered him, tore him down.

Like I said, I think Remenders first ten issues are actually very good and well within character. It just went crazy-ridiculous after that.

    Though I had my problems with Rucka's run, it was more obvious to me the respect he had for the roots of the character: Castle was back as a cold, methodical soldier. Not a deluded maniac, not a Frankenstein monster or an angel or a zombie. Issue 12 in his run, that issue, in my opinion, is better than almost 50 issues of Fraction/Remennder. In that issue, I can only see that Rucka GETS IT. The series could have been quicker paced, could have used more Frank some issues, could have been more accesible to casual readers. But the character was not as ruined or destroyed as what the other two guys did with it. I recognized Frank Castle here.

Although conversely Ruckas run is pretty much the exact opposite to what you say you wanted from the book at the top of the page - no capes, not allowed to kill any supervillains and the only gadgets we get are a webshooter and an adamantium tipped bullet. Rucka gave us a pretty much generic crime series where Frank only kills nameless henchmen - its far closer to Punisher MAX was than 616 is.

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