Frank Castle has always managed to carve out a corner of the Marvel Universe alongside superhumans, mutants and literal gods, but the latest chapter of Marvel’s Punisher comics reveals just how strong Frank Castle has become in his new role as The Hand’s Fist of the Beast .
Warning: full spoilers for The Punisher #9 ahead!
Punisher #1 Preview Art
Writer Jason Aaron has been teasing major changes to the Punisher status quo since the very beginning of the series, and the book certainly lived up to that promise. The first issue alone established that Frank Castle has become the Hand’s new top assassin, and that the Beast has resurrected his long-dead wife Maria. Recently we learned that Frank has been a killer since childhood.
Since then, the newly minted “King of Killers” has continued his worldwide war on crime, putting him in direct conflict with the Greek god Ares. The God of War sees Frank as his greatest avatar, and he is not happy to see Frank’s one-man crusade co-opted and perverted by the Hand.
Issue #9 finally showcases the deadly showdown between the Hand and Ares’ army. And while it may seem like the Punisher is no match for a literal god, Frank has begun to manifest supernatural powers as his connection to the beast grows. That, plus a stash of bullets forged from an enchanted blade, allows him to gain the upper hand and kill Ares. The Punisher is now basically the MCU’s answer to God of Wars Kratos.
This is hardly the end of the challengers to Frank Castle’s reign. The heroes of the Marvel Universe have become wary of his new power and reach, and they are finally moved to action in the wake of Ares’ death. This issue teases an alliance between Wolverine, Black Widow, Captain America, Moon Knight and Doctor Strange as this team works to finally solve the Punisher problem once and for all. While Frank’s recent power surge is a given, that may be easier said than done.
What do you think of Frank Castle’s latest evolution? Can The Fist of the Beast stand up to this powerful superhero alliance? Let us know in the comments what wild twists you think are still ahead for the Punisher.
Also, be sure to check out our full breakdown of what to expect from Marvel in 2023.
Jesse is a mild-mannered assignment writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket follows @jschedeen on Twitter.