The Punisher Returns: Marvel Comics teases Frank Castle’s “dark and tragic development”

Marvel Comics hasn’t released a continuous Punisher comic since 2019, which may seem strange given the character’s continued popularity. Fortunately, that will change in 2022. Marvel is currently preparing what may be the most dramatic overhaul of the Punisher franchise since the extremely divisive Franken-Castle.

The latest volume from Punisher is a limited series of 13 Prestige issues that explores both Frank Castle’s bloody past and a very surprising change in the status quo in the present. The series also has an impressive creative team, including writer Jason Aaron (The Avengers, The Mighty Thor), artists Jesús Saiz (Star Wars) and Paul Azaceta (outcast of Kirkman & Azaceta), and colorist Dave Stewart. Saiz and Azaceta will work together on each issue, with Saiz handling today’s parts of the story and Azaceta doing the flashbacks.

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The status quo change in question involves Frank Castle taking control of the ninja cult known as The Hand and becoming “The King of Killers,” a servant of The Beast. Along with this new job comes a brand new costume and an even bigger arsenal.

Why Frank makes this decision is unclear, but it seems to be tied to as yet unsolved secrets about his past. And as Marvel teases, this change is just a prelude to something even bigger on the horizon. With luck, the new series can redefine the Punisher franchise as dramatically as House of X and Powers of X did for the X-Men line in 2019.

“A few years ago Jason Aaron came to one of our creative summits with a pitch for Frank that made our jaws drop,” said Marvel Editor-in-Chief CB Cebulski in a press release. “The story Jason tells – a truly epic story of darkness, violence and choice – can only be told with the Punisher at its core. This series will build on Frank’s legacy while introducing us to a side of him we’ve never seen before and setting the stage for a development that we felt was inevitable. ”

“Having written The Punisher over the years, I have always been fascinated by the character of Frank Castle. What moments made him a punisher before that fateful day in the park? And how far will he go to win the war that consumed his life? Spoiler: As far as it goes, “said Aaron. “This story is the next step in Frank Castle’s dark and tragic evolution from troubled kid to heroic soldier, vindictive vigilante… to duly anointed king of killers. Believe me when I say I’m just as excited about this story as I am about anything I’ve ever written for Marvel. “

Fans of Aaron’s work will likely recall that he previously worked with the late Steve Dillon at PunisherMAX from 2010 to 2012. However, this series was set in Marvel’s MAX universe, while this Punisher comic is firmly set in the traditional Marvel universe.

Look for The Punisher # 1 which hits stores March 2022. First, let us know in the comments below what you think of this new direction for Frank Castle and where you hope the character will end in 2023.

Check out IGN’s ten nominees for Best Comics Series or Best Graphic Novel of 2021 and find out who took home the award.

Jesse is a kind writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by doing Follow @jschedeen on Twitter.

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