Warning: This article contains spoilers for Punisher #2.
The Punisher has become Marvel’s most wanted in his new comic series, as heroes and villains alike are hunting Frank Castle down after his latest rampage has drawn just a little too much attention. Murdering people in Times Square will do that.
Last year’s Secret Empire event didn’t go well with the Punisher. Blinded by his admiration for Captain America, Frank Castle failed to pick up on the fact that Steve Rogers had gone bad. As a result, the Punisher became one of Hydra’s deadliest weapons, even targeting legitimate superheroes on Hydra’s behalf. Now, furious at being used, Castle has launched a brutal campaign against Hydra. And when Frank Castle declares war, the whole world notices; he’s already assassinated one of Hydra’s allies, the Mandarin, while he was giving a speech at the United Nations.
Related: Secret Empire: Did Fan Reaction Affect The Ending?
The Punisher’s war against Hydra escalates in the second series, as he brutally murders two Hydra agents in Times Square. One manages to make it to the subway, and Castle literally cuts his head off with a knife. As he sarcastically observes, it’s a test of whether the old Hydra adage really is true; “Cut off one head, and two more shall takes its place.” Needless to say, this kind of public murder – even caught on camera by horrified civilians – is too much for the world’s heroes and villains to ignore. Hydra put out a contract on the Punisher for any villain to track him down; meanwhile, New York’s superheroes decide it’s time to put Castle down for good.
First up are Luke Cage and Danny Rand, and it’s time to see if the Punisher can fight against Marvel’s favorite “bulletproof black guy” and the Immortal Iron Fist. What follows is one of the most entertaining scraps in comics; in theory the Punisher should be overpowered and outclassed. In reality, his own relentless nature means he just won’t stop, and he won’t care how badly he gets hurt during the fight. There’s one hilarious scene where Castle tucks a grenade down Luke Cage’s shirt; the self-styled “Hero for Hire” is forced to toss the Punisher away in order to stop him being caught in the explosion. It’s a brilliant moment, and so very true to the different characters.
But Frank Castle’s battle to survive has only begun, and heroes aren’t the only ones looking for him. By the end of the issue, it’s time for the villains to have their turn – but, of course, the difference here is that the Punisher won’t really mind the fact they’ve walked into his line of fire.
Rosenberg’s concept is a fun one. There’s a sense in which the Punisher’s career as a vigilante has always seemed in the Marvel Comics universe; it was always the case that, sooner or later, he’d go after a target that was just a little too high-level, and wind up with the villains hunting him back. Meanwhile, the fact he’s done this at the same time as earning the ire of New York’s superheroes makes this all the more entertaining. The whole world has turned against Frank Castle; but that’s just the way he likes it.
The Punisher #2 is on sale now from Marvel Comics.
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2018-09-26 04:09:17 – Thomas Bacon