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The Punisher, Vol. 1: Welcome Back, Frank

(The Punisher by Garth Ennis #1)

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  4,961 ratings  ·  182 reviews
The Punisher, aka Frank Castle, returns to Manhattan to take on Ma Gnucchi and her crime family, and on the way he battles The Russian and encounters a vigilante squad composed of Elite, Mr. Payback, and The Holy.
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published June 1st 2002 by Marvel Comics (first published July 1st 2001)
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Average rating 4.22  · 
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Start your review of The Punisher, Vol. 1: Welcome Back, Frank
Deadly good reading!

This TPB edition collects “The Punisher” (2000) #1-12.

Creative Team:

Writer: Garth Ennis

Illustrator: Steve Dillon

Inker: Jimmy Palmiotti

Covers’ art: Tim Bradstreet


Solo act again. No micro. No gimmicks: no fancy ammo, no battle-vans, no hi-tech surveillance. Just the basics. Been gone a while. Distracted. The scum of the city need a wake-up call. And here it comes.

Frank Castle aka The Punisher returned to the Big Apple…

Dan Schwent
May 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Punisher is back from the dead and ready to take out the Gnucci family. Meanwhile, the unluckiest cop in NYC is on his trail and several copycat vigilantes have arisen.

I was never a fan of the Punisher but I read this series in single issues as it came out because I was a huge fan of Preacher, and consequently, the tag team of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon.

It's not Preacher set in the Marvel Universe but it has some of the same flavor. There's a lot of humor for a Punisher book and the usual
Dec 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Bolt clanks back and forth behind the thudding roar. Brass rains on the sidewalk. The [M-60] rattles out its song . . . a song I first heard years ago . . ." -- the deep thoughts of Frank 'The Punisher' Castle, while gunning down three carloads of murderous goons from the Gnucci crime family

Bloody and nasty little piece of business starring everyone's favorite unstoppable and armed-to-the-teeth vigilante, Welcome Back, Frank is really a relatively simple story - The Punisher vs. a particularly
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Garth Ennis literally brings the Punisher back to life after the godawful previous Marvel Knights Punisher books made him some sort of avenging angel with ethereal guns that glowed after he committed suicide. (I think Marvel would like to forget that ever happened.) This is the Punisher at his baddest as he goes after Ma Gnucchi's crew. Yet, he does show some heart to his neighbors. Ennis and Dillon also bring their signature dark humor with them from their time on Preacher. Everyone is at the t ...more
Apr 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Punisher: Welcome Back, Frank was my first exposure to the wonderfully twisted and violently deranged mind of Garth Ennis. The Punisher was always a character I wanted to like, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. All I could picture forever was Dolph Lundgren’s corny ass. That monosyllabic version of Frank still gives me the shits. Frank always fell at least a little short of the hardcore killer I wanted him to be. Dirty Harry wouldn’t use rubber bullets. Rubber bullets are for pussys. I thoug ...more
Sam Quixote
Jul 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Garth Ennis is rightly credited with bringing the Punisher series back to life with his interpretation of the character and writing his best work and some of the Punisher's best books. "Welcome Back, Frank" is Ennis' first book that takes Frank Castle from bizarre and frankly boring stories about angels and Heaven, and putting Frank back on the streets with a gun in his hand pointed at gangsters, where he belongs.

Ennis writes in his "mission statement" that he wanted to simplify the Punisher's
Jim Ef
Feb 02, 2021 rated it liked it
What do you get when you have the Punisher going against a crime family? Lot's of violence

The main story is simple and there aren't many surprises along the way or to the outcome. But while Frank tries to settle that problem, there are other things going on. Most interesting of those i would say is some other vigilantes , who start killing people, each for their own reasons ( also in their minds completely justified ). It seemed this is going to lead to something great, but it ends suddenl
Aug 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
Puerile, brutal, entirely to the point with the scum. Narration feels a little off compared to the silent feral animal that we've seen before and later, but I'll let it pass since it's so to the point.

The violence at the beginning is pretty over the top with some cheesy Ahnold-style one-liners, so it takes a little time to get past Ennis' contract with the reader. And it's a bit hard to have to look at Frank's face by Steve Dillon and not think, "Who pissed in Frank's cereal, shat in his shoes
'kris Pung
Mar 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was just nuts and the ending was totally unexpected. I swear I've picked this up about 5 times thumbed through it and set it back on the library shelf. Really glad I gave it a chance this time. ...more
Oct 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
My second Punisher read, as he embarks on a one-man mission to take down the Gnucci crime family! It's a bit of a mixed bag, in that it doesn't seem as good as the later MAX series, but there's still some good stuff here: Frank's cautious relationship with the other residents of his apartment building, his connection to them despite his intent to remain a brooding loner. The Punisher accidentally inspiring a wave of over-the-top vigilantes who want to emulate him in cleaning up their neighbourho ...more
Aug 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Awesome Punisher comic! This comic was a major inspiration for the shitty 2004 movie and the second season of the Daredevil Netflix series. Unfortunately the other books are out of print though so I won't be able to read them :( ...more
Sleeping with Ghosts
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
And the unforgettable song with Amy Lee 'Broken'. ...more
Brad Tierney
Feb 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is The Fuckin’ Punisher done right. Rest well Mr. Dillon, Christ Almighty you fucking ruled. I love this book.
5/5 Skulls 💀💀💀💀💀
Rituraj Kashyap

An enjoyable read. I could see that the 2004 movie took some inspiration from this one, and even the scene in Season 2 of Daredevil in which Frank ties up Daredevil and gives him a choice has been taken from this story.

After Preacher and this one, Ennis is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers. Took me some time to get used to Dillon's art in Preacher, but did not face any such problem in this book.

There were some pretty badass moments, but sometimes it felt like the character is a bit ov
Judah Radd
Oct 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: marvel-comics
After reading the greatness that is Punisher MAX Vol 1 (also Garth Ennis), this is pretty meh.

Steve Dillon’s art was weak. It didn’t match the dark tone that a Punisher comic needs.

The story was pretty lightweight. No time was spent reinforcing Frank’s motives.

Maybe if this was “rated R”, they would have had the freedom to make the badguys more bad. That might have increased my emotional investment.

There were a couple things I liked. Frank’s neighbors added some amusing notes, there were some g
Dec 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics, marvel, 5-stars
Ennis's brilliant early take on the character of Frank Castle. It is pretty shallow, in all honesty, but still very fun to read. Artwork by the great Steve Dillon is also really good as usual, adding a lot to the madness that is this book. ...more
Shannon Appelcline
Mar 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics-marvel, comics
Offensive, over the top, and a lot of fun. Especially once Ennis really hits his strides halfway through this book, it's top rate.
Brenda Burns
Jun 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cool-comics
I really like Garth Ennis, he has some kind of brutality to him.
Punisher is back, not sure where he went but he's back and after the Gnucci family. While he is running through Ma Gnucci's men there are 3 wannabees out killing who they think to be bad guys, and they are, corporate scum bags and drug dealers.
Well when Ma Gnucci calls in the Russian to deal with the vigilante and when the Russian finds him, it takes hot pizza and a really fat guy to kill the monster Russian. The supporting charac
Bram Ryckaert
Nov 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Welcome Back Frank is one of the funniest comics I've read full stop. No one does this type of hardcore action comedy better than Garth Ennis. If you liked Preacher, you have to try out his Punisher. ...more
Moving into the new millenium, the Marvel Comics character Frank Castle, AKA The Punisher, was not in a good place. Part of his problem was that he didn’t really fit with the rest of the Marvel pantheon of heroes and villains–he wore the standard-issue spandex, but that take on the character seemed just a little… For the unitiated, Frank Castle was one of the last American troops out of Vietnam when we jumped ship, finally returning home for good at the end of his third tour of duty. Soon ...more
Nov 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
This quote from the book says it much better than I could:

"Back to a world of killers. Rapists. Psychos. Perverts. A brand new evil every minute, spewed out as fast as men can think them up. A world where pitching a criminal dwarf off a skyscraper to tell his fellow scum you're back is a sane and rational act. The angels thought it would be hell for me.

But they were wrong.

Welcome Back, Frank. Says New York City.”

This is my first experience of The Punisher in comic book form. Even though it doesn
Karolina Zych
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
i love comic books but this one is definitely not for me
Abdallah Mohamud
It was fun reading this punisher story, and I am glad that Garth Ennis decided to write it.

To the fan of his earlier work as Preacher, you gonna enjoy it.
Brian Garthoff
Jul 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
Superfans of the seminal 2004 Tom Jane Punisher movie (Currently 29% Rotten Tomatoes) need not look any further! No, seriously, I really do think it’s a good movie. (There are dozens of us! Dozens!!) Alright. So, I had no idea that movie was basically 50% Welcome Back Frank when I started reading it and as a legitimate fan of the movie it did not disappoint whatsoever. Welcome Back Frank is everything you should want out of Punisher, and then some. I feel like I can’t even share one absurd detai ...more
Nov 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Ennis, Dillion, and Palmiotti's now "Classic" first 12 issues of the Punisher (hard-bound in a lovely Marvel reprint fashion) make just as good reading the second time and years later.
i.e. I already read this years ago and I am still giving it 5 stars.

Amongst all the artists teamed up with the wonderfully twisted Garth Ennis, no-one else captures both the Horror AND the Comedy quite so well as Dillon and Palmiotti!

Sick FUN!
[Note: recommended for older teens]
This is not a Punisher story that could be written today, I don't think. Ennis starts out by reminding us that it's not some kind of psychological treatise on the character, but meant to be taken as pure entertainment. And as soon as I saw the NYC skyline profile partway through, graced by the towers that defined it for most of my life, I realized that's why. Violence is so much closer and more real in the post 9-11 world that attempts to make light of it in th
C.E. Case
Jul 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Enjoyable, but it lacks heart and pathos. Dated.
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Ennis is a boss. This run is a must read.
João  Jorge
Jul 16, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Punisher or Ennis fans!
Shelves: comic, super-heroes
“Welcome Back, Frank” is a funny and entertaining Punisher story. Written by the wacky Garth Ennis, this is like an 80´s action flick, with one liners and loads of cartoonish violence. In fact what I found was that the whole volume was far too cartoonish, from the cheery art and colors to the lack of significant gore or any truly shocking moments. Everything here was written and drawn to look cool and I guess that´s okay. The comic is very light on plot and there is no attempt to touch anything ...more
Sergei Moska
Jul 16, 2013 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Ennis began his comic-writing career in 1989 with the series Troubled Souls. Appearing in the short-lived but critically-acclaimed British anthology Crisis and illustrated by McCrea, it told the story of a young, apolitical Protestant man caught up by fate in the violence of the Irish 'Troubles'. It spawned a sequel, For a Few Troubles More, a broad Belfast-based comedy featuring two supporting ch ...more

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The Punisher by Garth Ennis (6 books)
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“I caught a glimpse of heaven once. The Angels showed me. The idea was I'd kill for them. Clean up their mistakes on Earth. Eventually redeem myself.

Tried it. Didn't like it. Told them where to stick it. So they brought me up to heaven, to see what I'd be missing. A wife. A son. A daughter. I hadn't seen them since they bled out in my arms. Then I was cast down.

Back to a world of killers. Rapists. Psychos. Perverts. A brand new evil every minute, spewed out as fast as men can think them up. A world where pitching a criminal dwarf off a skyscraper to tell his fellow scum you're back is a sane and rational act. The angels thought it would be hell for me.

(Said dwarf hits the ground with a splat)
But they were wrong.

Welcome Back, Frank. Says New York City.”
More quotes…