A New Punisher Comic Makes Way for the Character’s MCU Introduction

The new Marvel collection from Jason Aaron, Jess Saiz, and Paul Azaceta works onerous to change the character’s motivation and make him comfy for mass consumption.

Marvel Comics

By Brad Gullickson · Published on March eleventh, 2022

Marvel Explained is our ongoing collection the place we delve into the newest Marvel reveals, films, trailers, comics, and information tales to divine the franchise’s future. This entry evaluations the new Punisher comedian ebook collection and the way it paves the manner for Frank Castle’s arrival in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

One of the loudest applause moments in SpiderMan: No Way Home happens early on and doesn’t have a lot influence on the narrative however holds super potential for the Marvel Cinematic Universe going ahead. Matt Murdock, Charlie Cox’s Matt Murdock from the Netflix Daredevil collection, sits in Aunt May’s condo providing authorized recommendation to the just lately outed Peter Parker. When an unseen bystander hurls a brick by their window, the supposedly blind Murdock catches the projectile earlier than Parker’s Peter Tingle even registers the assault.

“How did you do that?” asks the child. “I’m a really good lawyer,” says Murdock. We in the crowd roar with pleasant recognition. We know Murdock as Daredevil, the Hell’s Kitchen crusader with extrasensory notion.

Yes, we’re shocked to see him as a result of he belongs to the Netflix Marvel universe alongside different reveals like Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Defenders, and The Punisher. Their universe is a tough R realm, the place intercourse and violence circulation copiously. It’s as nasty and brutal as the MCU is shiny and optimistic. They shouldn’t combine, however the two worlds sit impossibly collectively in SpiderMan: No Way Home.

Are We Ready for an R-Rated MCU?

As the movie progresses and we turn out to be an increasing number of comfy with the Multiverse idea, we will contemplate this Matt Murdock to be a distinct Matt Murdock than the one seen on the streaming service. And the similar could be mentioned for Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin when he goes a couple of rounds with Clint Barton and Kate Bishop in the Hawkeye Disney+ collection. Same faces, totally different characters. Maybe. It’s only a principle.

What’s plain is that Marvel Studios is folding the Netflix continuities into their franchise. Starting March 16, Daredevil and its sibling reveals, in addition to ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., will make Disney+ their new house. With their inclusion, Disney can be enhancing their parental controls, hopefully steering youthful viewers away from the newly included naughty bits. Good luck, ‘rents.

With decapitations and bloody knuckle beatings now a part of their milieu, can we anticipate the MCU to broaden its tone into grittier realms? From what we’ve seen of their upcoming Moon Knight collection, Marvel leisure could possibly be getting a contact rougher and even barely scarier. They’re additionally making manner for Blade, their iconic vampire slayer quickly to be performed by Mahershala Ali.

A New Logo for the Punisher

This week, we might have obtained our greatest perception into how gnarly the future MCU might behave. After a lot to-do, together with the regular fan outrage over a dressing up change (we’ll get to that in a second),Punisher #1 by Jason Aaron, Jess Saiz, and Paul Azaceta hit comedian ebook outlets. Within its pages is a promise for a daring new path concerning the murder-happy vigilante Frank Castle, which hopefully higher aligns his specific skillset with the shiny superhero universe that additionally incorporates Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and so many different Avengers.

To name the Punisher a sophisticated character is an absurd understatement. He initially appeared in 1979’s The Amazing SpiderMan #129. As initially envisioned by creators Gerry Conway, John Romita Sr., and Ross Andru, the Punisher was a crazed Spider-Man foil, Peter Parker’s vigilantism taken to its most excessive.

Born from a interval the place crime terrified the nightly information, the similar period that boreDirty Harry, Death Wish, and real-life subway murderer Bernie Goetz, Frank Castle appeared like a logical manifestation inside Marvel Comics. The system failed to guard Castle’s household, and after their loss of life, he donned the Punisher persona as a way to perform what the authorities couldn’t. He represented whole societal despair, a sense that grew all through the eighties and nineties.

In current years, the Punisher’s cranium emblem has been adopted by extremist law enforcement officials, navy items, and white supremacists. Marvel has principally stayed mum concerning this heinous assimilation of their character emblem, but it surely does seem that they’ve taken motion concerning its future relationship with Frank Castle. In thePunisher #1 reboot, Castle not sports activities the conventional cranium on his chest. Instead, a barely altered, considerably much less human, much more fanciful cranium stares blankly beneath his chin.

No One Kills Quite Like the Punisher

Explaining the costume change is much more troublesome. As we study all through the subject, the Punisher is not a lone gunman. He’s working for the villain group, the Hand. They’re these pesky ninjas that regularly come into battle with Daredevil in his Netflix collection.

Under their steering, Castle ditches his regular machine weapons, slaying their targets with swords. The bloodshed is actually not lowered. Punisher #1 options a number of decapitations, impalings, and slit throats. At one level, the Hand presents Castle with a roomful of supposed “murders who went free, rapists, and abusers of children.” Without asking any follow-up questions, Castle chops his manner by their tender, sure our bodies.

Punisher #1’s subtitle is “The King of Killers.” The Hand have encountered many skillful combatants of their time, however by no means anybody as profitable at slaughtering as Frank Castle. He’s apparently pretty much as good as 100, possibly even a thousand Hand ninja. Understanding that improbability might include additional points, however as defined right here, it’s pretty baffling and weirdly maneuvers Frank Castle into the white savior trope. There is nobody else of their clan who can kill pretty much as good as the Punisher? Really?

Altering the Punisher’s Motivations and Logo

As you learn your manner by the first subject, hovering above the whole lot is the query as to why Frank Castle would throw in with the Hand. During his comedian ebook tenure, the character has joined many questionable superteams, together with Midnight Sons, Heroes for Hire, the Secret Defenders, the Thunderbolts, and the Savage Avengers (alongside Conan the Barbarian!). Yet, Castle has by no means served a demon earlier than. Oh, yeah, the Hand take orders from a hellspawn known as the Beast.

Frank Castle’s motivation turns into clear on the subject’s remaining web page. SPOILERS, mates. Skip forward if you happen to don’t wish to know. The Hand has achieved the inconceivable. Using their darkish magic, they’ve resurrected Maria, Castle’s murdered bride. The cliffhanger sees her cuddled up towards her husband, her chest and face scarred with bullet holes. What about their two useless youngsters? We’ll want to purchase the subsequent subject to study extra.

Punisher #1 is a wildly unusual swerve for the character. In pairing him with the Hand, Aaron, Saiz, and Azaceta drive Castle to function brazenly with the superhero world, or the supervillain world. Of course, it’s not the first time the Punisher has performed good with the costumed sorts. After Marvel’s Civil Waroccasion, author Matt Fraction put Frank Castle in a modified Captain America costume for an odd spell. In his War of the Realms storyline, even Jason Aaron had Castle battling Frost Giants and different mythological beasties. What’s most original about Punisher #1 is the cranium emblem alteration and the way it coincides with Marvel Studios positioning the Netflix characters into its back-catalog.

Recognizing the Punisher’s Value

Frank Castle is merchandise. He’s films and TV reveals to be made, motion figures to be offered. They’re not trying to cuddle him up an excessive amount of. Again, so many severed limbs! But they received to discover a method to make their viewers really feel comfy sporting his emblem on their t-shirts. Right now, that’s not attainable. We’re cool with Stormtrooper tees and Darth Vader espresso mugs, however we’re not desirous to affiliate our wardrobe with the Punisher’s jolly roger simply but.

Marvel might simply stroll all this costume drama again. They’re not saying whether or not this new cranium is everlasting or not. But we do know, because of an interview I performed with frequent Punisher author Garth Ennis on the Comic Book Couples Counseling podcast, that Frank Castle could have one other mini-series in the very close to future. Ennis’ new comedian will return to Frank Castle’s time throughout the Vietnam War, the place he and Nick Fury received as much as no good. But, it should be famous that is additionally a interval the place no costume exists.

Punisher #1 is Marvel feeling out their IP and testing the water. They’re slowly eradicating him from the political dialog that birthed him, and he’s not a response to an apathetic, corrupt, and ineffective judicial system. If Maria and their youngsters are alive, his vengeance quest is not vital. He now kills for love, to guard them, and hold them in his life.

Future plots should push the Punisher additional into inherently exaggerated and ridiculous superhero narratives. How lengthy can they keep such momentum earlier than he’s uprooted from what made him well-liked in the first place? The Punisher started as a recognition that our society is damaged. When he’s not commenting on that, is he nonetheless the Punisher? Does it matter whether or not he’s or not? Do we even want a Punisher? Only you and your {dollars} can reply that.

Related Topics: Marvel Explained

Brad Gullickson is a Weekly Columnist for Film School Rejects and Senior Curator for One Perfect Shot. When not rambling about films right here, he is rambling about comics as the co-host of Comic Book Couples Counseling. Hunt him down on Twitter: @MouthDork. (He/Him)


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