THIS BOOK IS GLORIOUS! You pretty much know what you’re getting when you buy this issue, the title is fairly self explanatory. It’s the Punisher, he’s in space and he’s killing space mobsters. Aside from that, is there any surprise to be found in the first issue? Yes, there is! In space, Frank has a ponytail.

Space: Punisher
Writer: Frank Tieri
Artist: Mark Texeira
Publisher: Marvel
Age: Older Teens

Now, granted this whole concept may seem silly and pointless to a lot of readers (Frank in space, not the ponytail). But these silly escapades are almost necessary for the Punisher every few years. He’s a character whose origins are incredibly dark and stars in stories that are even more grim, so it’s easy to slip into one-dimensional nihilism and violence. These little alternate-universe-side-stories and comedic escapades add a different twist to the character that increases his depth as a concept and allows fans to appreciate him in a more rounded way. This is why the Punisher is friends with Archie. This is also why Garth Ennis had such a damn good run on the character, straddling both absurdity and brutality.

Another fine example of this is the recent Franken-Castle, featuring a similar mash-up of Frank Castle with a genre classic as well as some beautifully painted art by Dan Brereton. In Space: Punisher we have beautifully painted art supplied by Mark Texeira, making his return to the character. He captures a wonderfully retro sci-fi feel for the book, making it seem like a classic pulpy galactic adventure. With the Punisher dual-wielding sonic laser pistols. The inside cover features a bonus pin-up poster that makes the book look like it could be an installment in a movie serial and boasting the tagline “IN SPACE, NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU DIE!”

In terms of story and action, Frank Tieri does a good job of jumbling together schi-fi archetypes with recognizable Marvel mainstays to create an interesting universe for the Punisher’s space voyage. This isn’t going to be hailed as an extraordinary paragon of literature, but the book is a guilty pleasure. It reads fast, has action and most importantly it’s fun to read. Like many alternate universe Marvel stories there are enough re-imagined cameos to keep fans smiling. Within the first few pages Frank blows up a planet. He has a plucky robot sidekick named Chip. Issue #2 advertises a fight with Space-Hulk. This is going to be a mini series that’s over the top in a lot of ways, but most importantly it will continue to entertain.