Time to wrap up the Franken-Castle storyline. In the first part of this tale Frank Castle aka The Punisher was trying to kill Norman Osborn who set Wolverine's son Daken to kill him. Which he did. He sliced Fank into pieces but those peices were reassembled and given life again by some desperate monsters who were being hunted by a man called Hellsgaard and a small army of Japanese monster hunters. After overcoming his initial reluctance, Frank took out most of the army and with the help of Manphibian banished Hellsgaard to the limbo dimension he had planned to use to dispose of the bodies of the monsters he killed inside. However Frank was very badly injured in the battle and this half of the storyline picks up after he has spent some time recovering. His next job now the monsters are safe is to extract his revenge against Daken. But Daken is an accomplished fighter with claws and a healing factor just like his father. So defeating him will be no easy task, and how will Frank regain his normal human appearance? Read on to find out. Franken-Castle is written by Rick Remender with a variety of artists, Dark Wolverine is written by Daniel Way and Majorie Liu with art by Stephen Segovia and Paco Diaz.
This first chapter is drawn by Roland Boschi. We begin with Frank laid out in Morbius's operating table with Morbius saying there is nothing more he can do. The Muummy says they have other options, and they owe it to Frank because he refused to abandon him, because "he wouldn't let Hellgaard's massacre go unanswered". So reluctantly fetches the Bloodstone and places it inside Frank's chest saying it will regenerate him over time and it will also keep the stone safe. Morbius says it's power could make him very dangerous if he doesn't take his synaptic bonding pills and goes on a rampage. The Mummy says they owe him a chance at life, Morbius agrees but says if he is wrong:
Morbius: "We will be responsible for creating the worst monster this world has ever known".
Then we jump to one month later. Frank is still out cold. Henry has been taking care of him all this time. He wakes up grumbling about the music Henry is listening to.
"You find us some work?" repeats Frank. Henry says he has not because he's been cleaning his bedpans, watching his sutures, feeding him applesauce and juice and trying to set up a base in the Morlock hole they're living in. He's been tending to him like he his mother and he doesn't know why. So now the sarcastic crap has to end. Frank pauses, then apologises and calls Henry a "good kid". Now he will he find him some work?
He walks out into the Monster Metropolis and Manphibian walks with him, telling him after the assault on Hellsgarrd's castle there were "complications" and he shows Frank the prisoners they took. They don't know what to do with them and thought Frank might have some ideas. Frank puts a gun in Manphibian's hands and walks off. But Manphibian tells the panicking prisoners he isn't going to shoot them.
Frank is out and about driving his motorbike. Henry tells him over the radio he's putting some missions together for him. Frank arrives at the graveyard his family are buried in. He kneels by his wife's grave and touches the cold stone. Then suddenly two ninjas attack him. Frank tells them they crossed a line and grabs one by the leg and smacks the other one with him.
|A touching moment.|
Back at base, Henry says it all traces back to a "Lady Gorgon" who was one of the people who tried to kill Frank when Henry's dad "Jigsaw" put a bounty on him a few months ago. Because she failed she was cast out of "The Hand" a ninja clan who get up to all sorts of shenanigans in the Marvel Universe. He's found her, and she is in Tokyo. Frank tells him to gather all the intel for everyone on his list, he's off to Tokyo.
The next chapter is drawn by Jefte Paolo. Lady Gorgon is contemplating how to get her and her team back into The Hand's good graces. She has a sword called the "Izanami-no-Mikoto". It has a gem on it that glows when it predicts it will draw blood. She believes delivering the sword to Yoshiokya will restore them to their rightful positions in The Hand. A message is delivered to her, information on a man she killed to get Frank's attention during their previous encounter. This means he's here and out for revenge.
|Lady Gorgon in just her undies?|
She tries to dominate his mind, but the jumble it's in now means she can't. So she psychically links him with the ninjas that jump down to kill him "you will suffer each death". Frank doesn't care and hacks them all up. He grabs Lady Gorgon by the throat and says he won't give her an honourable death in battle. Then he tosses her off the roof. She survives the fall though and Frank jumps down after her.
She tries to psyche him out by linking him with the terrified driver of the car she is on. He crashes his bike in it and pulls the driver free before the car blows. Henry is still tracking her, she's gone to the heart of The Hand's district. She barges into Master Yoshiokya room where he is meditating and offers him the sword. He tells her to kill the man who hunts her, only then will she be able to rejoin.
|Lady Gorgon, neutralised.|
We then crossover with Dark Wolverine, art by Stephen Segovia and Paco Diaz. Daken is in a sushi bar being fussed over by some girls while he looks bored. He gets up and goes to the toilets and stabs a man inside there. He tells the other man standing there terrified that he is to call his primary client - The Silver Samurai - they need to meet tonight at his office about matters that can't be discussed over the phone. He leaves the man vomiting in fear.
He leaves the restaurant and detects Frank following him and attacks him from behind. "You look different. Have you had some work done?" he sneers at Frank who answers him with a laser to the head that Daken just manages to dodge. He says to Frank that he gets the pleasure of chopping him to bits all over again. Frank says if he is trying to piss him off, it won't work - "Little boy, I'm always pissed off."
|Let battle commence!|
Frank: "But I'll do you a favour. The same favour you did for me. I'll take it slow. And save all the important parts for last."
He pulls out a knife while Henry tries to warn him over the radio about his vitals. Then Frank notices one of the people in the same room as him and Daken holding her son saying "please don't hurt us."
Frank punches a hole in the wall and goes through into an underground tunnel, Daken follows so they are away from innocent civilians now. Frank takes a pill while Henry scolds him over the radio. "Stop whining" says Frank. "I hate you" responds Henry. "No. You don't" replies Frank looking a little pensive.
Frank: "You don't know what it's like to hate. To have your entire life become nothing more than an expression of hate. Nothing else matters. Nothing else can compare, or taste as sweet".
And we see Daken having regenerated his broken arms clench his fists and snarl. Then we're back in the Franken-Castle series with art by Tony Moore again. Daken has changed into his brown Wolverine costume and is tracking Frank through the sewers.
Daken: "Stale. Blood of an old man too dumb to know he's already dead... because I'm coming Frank. I'm coming to kill you all over again!"
He shouts down the sewer that did anything The Punisher ever do change anything? He also knows what's in Franks chest and he wants it. Jumps down and lands on some disturbed ground and it collapses into a hole full of bladed spikes. Frank comes and stands over him. He bellows at Frank that he'll kill him again. Frank says he didn't kill him, he was just the "gun I used to shoot myself" But he is feeling better now.
|Inconvenient brain spasm.|
Frank takes a pill and pulls himself together. He picks up his gun and says he is going to kill Daken, so Henry can help or shut up. Henry says he'll help but there has been a complication. Before he can tell Frank what it is, Daken attacks and cuts off Franks ear. He knocks Frank down and rips open his chest to reveal the Bloodstone. He stabs Frank in the throat but Frank is unphased and grabs Daken by the neck hurling him through a wall, across a station platform and onto the train tracks.
But as Frank comes after him, Daken slices off his power supply and knocks Frank onto the tracks. He tries to get the Bloodstone again, but Frank grabs him and a track and electricity surges through him electrocuting Daken. Then a train appears, Frank jumps out of the way but it hits Daken and runs him over. He is still mobile and staggers off to heal up.
He runs into a building site and thinks rambling thoughts about the Bloodstone and how Frank is "a gift-bearing angel resurrected and sent down to me. Straight from Black Heaven". Then Frank swings towards him on a crane hook. Frank knocks him onto some metal poles running him through as he remembers their battle when Daken killed him. Daken snaps the poles and charges at Frank who riddles him with bullets then slices him up with a circular saw.
Wolverine: "Kid's a knucklehead. But I can't have you killin' my boy Castle".
Back in the Dark Wolverine series, same artist as before. Wolverine tells Frank to get lost before things turn ugly, "too late for that" says Frank and they start fighting. Wolverine slices off two of Frank's fingers. Henry tries to warn him things are going bad but Frank can't hear.
|Oh great. Wolverine.|
Frank picks up Wolverine and is about to dump him in the concrete pit when Wolverine comes too and slices off Franks fingertips saying he won't let him near Daken. Then he collapses and Frank tells him "he isn't worth your protection". Henry finally gets through to Frank that he needs to leave and Frank starts to walk away from the unconcious Wolverine. He drops down into the sewers and climbs up some way away.
And he is hit by a truck driven by Daken. Almost out cold, Frank can't do anything to stop Daken cutting the Bloodstone out of his chest. "So sorry Frank" says Daken, "you lose again".
|Daken about to take the stone.|
The Japanese police have them surrounded. They tell Daken to raise his hands and drop to his knees. Daken says he will in a moment and punches Frank in the face. Then he starts laying into the police, not noticing that Frank has managed to get in the truck. Frank then hits him with it and crushes Daken into another vehicle. The police surround Frank, but he doesn't speak Japanese and they don't understand his warnings about Daken...
...Who starts tossing cops about like they were nothing. He yanks one out of a car and runs his claws through his head, saying he sees them thinking about their terrible life choices, not too different from what he sees in Frank's face:
Daken: "Dusty old turd from an entitled generation doesn't know when to shuffle off to the old folks home."
And he tosses Frank into a neon sign which collapses on top of Frank. Daken drags him out continually trash talking Frank about his age, "a sad ego pleading for relevancy" which was what lead Frank to target Osborn a man "fantastically out of your league". He leans over Frank saying he couldn't even protect his family when the cops open fire on him. He runs into cover and where the bullet wounds were suddenly there are tumourous skin growths. Confused he tries slicing one off making him yelp in pain.
|Frank really likes to vent.|
Frank: "Your boy's a ruthless, blood-soaked monster! How far's he gotta go before you do somethin'? The cur's gotta be put down - and you know it."
Wolverine just reponds with silence. Daken hijacks a helicopter but Frank and Wolverine jump on it and in the struggle the helicopter crashes into the roof of a building.
Daken climbs out of the wreckage to come face-to-face with Frank's big gun. Frank says all his big talk was funny coming from Daken.
Frank: "Reputation coattail rider, dressed up like someone else, lecturing me about overcompensation. I built my own reputation. Ground up. You? Snuck into the show on another man's back. You're just a poser".
Daken is covered in more fleshy growths. As he lunges at Frank in a rage, Frank punches a grenade inside him and it blows. Daken then explodes into a mass of lumpy flesh which ends up covering the whole rooftop
Wolverine asks what Frank did. Frank says the Bloodstone is a healing relic, he figured when he saw the first tumours it might react this way to Daken's healing factor. "Your idiot kid gave himself super lupus". Wolverine tells Daken what a disappointment he is as he cuts the Bloodstone out of the mass of flesh. Daken says "likewise". Wolverine then puts the Bloodstone back into Frank's chest.
|Wish I had a Bloodstone in my chest.|
Final chapter now, art by Dan Brereton, Andrea Mutti and Luca Malisan. Frank has decided to go and heal on an uninhabited island. Actually it's Monster Island but it was the closest Henry could find. Henry tells him they can't have him around people until he gets a hold of himself.
Henry: "Dig in - recover, The Bloodstone will do its work if you let it. Once you're mended you hit me back... we'll come get you".
The line goes dead and Henry says Frank won't be happy about this. Morbius says it was their only option after the mess in Tokyo. Henry wonders if he'll be safe there, Morbius says it's not his safety he's worried about.
We then jump to some weeks later. Frank is fully healed and human again. His mind though is in bad shape. He can think of nothing but vegeneance, on everyone. Especially those who left him here. The Bloodstone is feeding his revenge fueled nature and he is mentally talking to his dead wife Maria all the time.
Frank: "I am Frank Castle. I am The Punisher. I am going to fix the world".
At the Hall of Monsters the assembled squabble over whose fault it was that Frank's gone as mad as he has. Then Elsa Bloodstone, the English monster hunter, daughter of Ulysses Bloodstone and one of the stars of the amazing NEXTWAVE series appears saying she'll help them fix the mess they made.
|Fabulous hair Frank!|
Manphibian tries to calm him down but all Frank can think is he brought someone here to kill him. He and Elsa get into a punch-up. She holds her own saying she's fought Frankenstein and that Frank is no Frankenstein. Manphibian, The Mummy and Jack argue about what to do and Jack decides to take Frank on directly. Frank fires on him but bullets don't phase Jack, then the Mummy uses bandages to smack Frank into a tree and Elsa fires a bullet that goes through him.
He and Elsa struggle and Frank pushes her face into Man-Thing's hand and she burns at his touch. Jack snatches her up and dunks her in water. Frank asks why he cares about a monster hunter. Jack says she doesn't deserve to die. She's just doing what her father taught her, "I don't agree with her methods, but her intentions are clean". Frank says if he kills her he'll be saving the lives of all the monsters she'll kill in the future.
The Mummy: "It is not your responsibility to kill anyone capable of crime. That is the road of a tyrant. You kill those who prey on the innocent. The stone is destroying your ability to see the difference. Taking away your one redeeming quality...that you only kill those who deserve it".
Silently Frank pulls the Bloodstone out of his chest and gives it to Elsa, then he turns his back on all of them and walks away saying "we're done."
|Seriously Frank. Learn to gratitude.|
He tells them to put their guns on the table, "I understand one of you recently graduated to cop killer" he tells them. They both accuse each other, but Frank says the cop was killed with a .357 Magnum. That leaves G-Dey off the hook. He then tells G-Dey to pick up the Magnum and shoot his friend in the head. The terrified G-Dey does so.
Then Frank tells G-Dey he is going to send a message for him. He puts a sign round his neck and tells him to stand by the window and G-Dey "leaves" the room in a hail of bullets, landing on the hood of a car and the sign has the Punisher's skull symbol on it and the word "BACK" written on it. And that brings The Franken-Castle storyline to a close.
|Yes, most definitely back.|