The Punisher: 7 Essential Stories You Must Read

5. Welcome Back Frank

It's safe to say that as DC broke new ground in the adult market with their Vertigo imprint, it had a knock on effect in the industry by highlighting just how tame other 'adult' comics were. The Punisher was perhaps one of the biggest losers in this regard as he was a character dying to break out of his PG pages into something that tapped into the violence and brutality the character and series had always wanted to be.

After the Punisher comic was cancelled in 1997, it fell upon one of Vertigo's best writers and creators, Garth Ennis, to revive the character in the unconstrained setting of the Marvel Knights imprint.

Taking the character back to basics and putting him back on the street among the scum, Welcome Back, Frank was a story filled with relentless gore, larger than life characters, and the kind of absurd humour Ennis became famous for with his creator-owned work 'Preacher' - from the downtrodden Detective Soap to the larger than life Russian to the Punisher knocking out a polar bear!

If Ennis achieved anything with this story, it was that he gave the Punisher his balls back after almost a decade of lacklustre stories.


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