The All-New Marvel: ‘Punisher’

The All-New Marvel provides an overview of the new series coming from Marvel Comics’ All-New Marvel NOW! banner and the impact they have on the classic and new characters we love (and those we love to hate). With each installment of The All-New Marvel, we see what our favorite characters are up to and where they are headed in the future.

If ever there was a poster boy for how not to deal with grief, Frank Castle would fit the bill perfectly. His entire family gone, his friends and comrades believing him to be insane, Castle looks to the world of crime to deal a blow to evil. Never one for trusting in the justice system, Frank’s judgments are made in a very violent and definitively final fashion, providing a deterrent to those who would prey upon the weak and unprotected. Nowhere near the kind of candor one would expect from a superhero, and never truly the villain, he falls into the middle of the spectrum; he is The Punisher.


Following along with a few others in the Marvel universe, Frank Castle seems to have moved his operations to the West Coast of the continental United States, in the glorious town that is Los Angeles, California.  Working to take out a large drug cartel, he stumbles upon a plot that is even bigger than he imagined, as well as working around the local police forces—somewhat in a very semi-intimate fashion—to get to what he needs to do.  When confronted with this new situation, he takes it head on and comes face to face with someone he never expected to find away from the dregs of New York City.  Using his skills and contacts, he’s able to piece together just what is going on in the City of Angels, but he still has his own demons to deal with during his encounters.

I often look at the Punisher to see if there is any more real depth to his character and actions, but I always come up disappointed with the results.  His entire life is focused on revenge for the death of his family, vengeance upon not just the people who were responsible, but on the entire system of criminal enterprise.  Given that crime is systemic throughout the world, and that there will always be some kind of extra-legal ventures in a world where there are so many laws, Frank’s never going to finish his quest, but at least he’s determined to try.  Determination is one of his most redeeming qualities, as well as how he doesn’t waiver on his principles, however violent they have a tendency to be, which can’t be said about many other “superheroes” in the Marvel world.

Given how long Frank has been at this, I am surprised by how easily he seems to be tripped up by his opponents.  The conflict with Electro is a surprise, as the two have not exactly encountered each other much, but one would think that he’d be on the lookout for a band of highly trained military personnel to take him down.  Frank’s a lot like the A-Team, except he doesn’t do the job for money and is way more violent than the quartet of special forces soldiers. He’s well trained, very effective, and plans ahead to cover his bases, so why is it he keeps getting blown up?  Surely, he doesn’t like explosions that much, despite tossing them about at the bad guys.

All in all, I have to say that the series is certainly action packed, but I wouldn’t consider it a must-read.  There are some really good plot developments in the works, and the introduction of yet another group of Howling Commandos is interesting, but Frank still seems very much a character without any real depth to him, and there’s nothing that really that keeps me wanting to read.

Last modified on Thursday, 27 December 2018 16:12

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