Re read this recently, and whilst I realise its much maligned I'm struggling to see why its disliked so much.
Dont get me wrong, its far from my favourite run on the book and I doubt that any of the stories would make my top ten - certainly not my top five - but having read it again for he first time since its release I'm far from offended by it.
I found the Civil War tie-in to be just fine, Franks behaviour is in character an I liked his almost hero-worship of Cap.
I really enjoyed the one shot in the Bar with No Name, I thought it was an amusing issue to see all these C-list villains getting drunk and going on about how they used to be a big deal. It was a real nod back to a more innocent time in comics.
I realise that the arc with the Hate Monger in is what gets alot of people because Frank kills an innocent, but what I would say is that theres nothing wrong with the story itself and as for the killing, first of all Frank was brainwashed and secondly, theres pretty much no hero out there who hasnt been brainwashed and plenty of them have done alot worse that Frank whilst under the influence. I mean just how many people did Logan kill during Enemy of the State, and despite being probably the toughest of all heroes he's probably had his head messed with more than anyone.
So yeah, Frank kills someone who didnt deserve it - so what? Thats pretty much standard fare for all heroes at some point in there career. Lets look at it this way, theres a debate over on the Avengers board about whose the biggest dick between Tony Stark and Wonderman and both of those guys despite being 'virtuous' characters have killed more innocents than Frank who is a cold bloodied killer.
I also liked the showdown between Frank and Bucky - again, a nice little tip of the hat to just how much Frank respects Cap, and I enjoyed the World War Hulk tie in with the Venom suit (which was pretty cool)
I do have to admit that after this issue I find the series pretty difficult to read but that is almost entirely down to Chakins dreadful art work.
Like Blackstone, it's the killing of Stuart's girlfriend that made me drop 616 Punisher. I was actually enjoy Fraction's run until that point. I almost didn't think he did it at first. I had to re-read it and kept buying issues to see if it was some hallucination or memory implant. When it turned out that it wasn't, I dropped it in disgust.
True, other heroes may have killed innocents by accidents but they aren't Frank Castle. It goes completely against his character and would completely invalidate why he become the Punisher in the first place.
Oh and Wolverine's a caricature who's killed more innocents in his "un-brainwashed" state than most villians have done in their lifetime.