Dark Reign: The List - Punisher #1: Review

Oct 2009
Rick Remender, John Romita Jr.

Story Name:

A good lie

Review & Comments

4 stars

Dark Reign: The List - Punisher #1 Review by (May 16, 2018)
This is 1 of the Dark Reign: The List 1-shots, between DRL: Secret Warriors and DRL: Hulk. Like most of these issues this is more significant for the Punisher than for Norman Osborn who made the list. This is an extreme example 'cos Frank Castle winds up dead - but this is Marvel so it doesn't end there.

Punisher spent #1-10 of his 2009 series waging war on Norman Osborn. During this period he used fancier gadgets than usual, many of them shrunk with Pym Particles - also in other apps at this time such as Deadpool: Suicide Kings. In this era he also worked with his new sidekick Henry Russo.

Since #10 he's abandoned Russo but joined Code Red to work with Red Hulk in Hulk (2008) #14-17. Then he fell under the control of Nightmare in Dr Voodoo #3, and in a tale in Girl Comics #3 he lured a chat-room paedophile out and killed him. And then in a flashback tale in #1 of his 2011 series.

Norman Osborn has come here straight from DRL:SW. Daken was last in New Avengers Annual #3. But they'll both move on to DRL:Hulk.

Meanwhile Punisher and Henry will continue in Pu(2008)#11 as a group of Marvel's supernatural characters rebuild Frank Castle as Franken-Castle through to #21, where he'll be magically restored to normal.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Dark Reign: The List - Punisher #1 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Punisher's current sidekick Henry Russo is zooming through New York on his jet-powered skateboard. He's trying to get in touch with Frank Castle to warn him that Norman Osborn is sending the whole of H.A.M.M.E.R. to kill him. But Frank won't answer (since he learned Henry is the son of his enemy Jigsaw in #10 of the 2009 Punisher series).

In the HAMMER helicarrier Osborn (in his Iron Patriot armour) is doing just that, and he's throwing Daken of his Dark Avengers in too. They have a fix on Castle's current position. (Punisher tried to assassinate Osborn in Pu(2009)#1 and since then has been attacking his criminal empire. In retaliation Osborn sicced Hood and his gang on him.)

Frank is in his battle van on a pier nursing a wounded arm. He's been waiting for Osborn's attack and his alarm system warns him of HAMMER's approach. On Norman's orders HAMMER planes bomb the pier. But a techie tells Osborn that Castle's life signs indicate he escaped. Norman sends in ground troops, glider troops and Daken.

We learn that Punisher used up the last of his store of Pym Particles to shrink and escape. Back at full-size he's located by Henry. But Frank KO's the kid and leaves him in a dumpster - either Russo's working for Osborn or he'll be safer like this if he's not.

Next he's found by some glider troops (on gliders based on that used by Osborn as Green Goblin). Because they're the law Castle doesn't kill them. He knocks them of their gliders with a whip strung across the alley. Then he drops into a sewer as more glider troops wing him in the leg. They toss small bombs down after him (again styled on GG weapons, pumpkin bombs - but these look more like Pac-Men). Punisher takes the brunt of the blast on his shield (like most of Castle's current stuff pre-shrunk by Pym Particles?), but breaks a leg.

He can still force himself to limp along the sewer. That's when Daken finds him. It's a battle of claws against a high-tech blaster. Daken closes in and sinks his claws into Castle's side. But Punisher makes him disengage by ripping off his lower lip with his teeth. Another blast has Daken down, and Frank says Osborn should have sent the real Wolverine after him.

Punisher gets away up to the surface. But he's made the fight personal for Daken now. However as Dark Wolverine follows up the access ladder a bomb goes off that Castle planted on his arm during the fight. That slows him down a bit.

Punisher climbs to a rooftop where he faces yet more HAMMER troops. He reaches into a bag and pulls out another miniaturised weapon, which becomes a big gun. But Daken wasn't slowed for long and has caught up with him. Now it's another claws vs blasts battle, until claws slice through the big gun. So Castle pulls out an ordinary handgun and shoots his foe in the face. Daken stops that continuing by stabbing Frank's wrist.

Castle gouges an eye and stabs Daken in the neck. Daken replies by slashing Frank's throat open. Then he starts to dismember his enemy 1 limb at a time. 1st the arms, then the legs, then the head. Osborn gets the news from his monitoring techs that Punisher is dead this time. And Daken kicks the pieces off the roof.

John Romita Jr.
Klaus Janson
Dean White
John Romita Jr. (Cover Penciler)
Klaus Janson (Cover Inker)
Dean White (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Joe Caramagna.
Editor: Axel Alonso. Editor-in-chief: Joe Quesada.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Patriot
Iron Patriot

(Norman Osborn)

(Frank Castle)

Plus: H.A.M.M.E.R., Henry Russo.

> Dark Reign: The List - Punisher: Book info and issue index

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