The Punisher returns to Marvel Comics…without his iconic skull. 

The Punisher is an iconic Marvel antihero created by writer Gerry Conway in 1974. Frank Castle was an American War veteran, traditionally a soldier in Vietnam, though modernizations have  generally opted to place his origin in a Middle Eastern setting. After returning to his family after multiple tours, everything changed for Frank Castle. 

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A mysterious attack took place in New York, resulting in the death of Frank Castle’s entire family. Their death caused Castle to take on a Skull emblem and wage war on all those involved in the murder of his family. Killing them all still wasn’t enough for The Punisher. 

The tagline of the original Punisher movie starring Dolph Lundgren reads, “If society won’t punish the guilty, he will“. His war against everyone in need of punishment has raged on for decades after the conclusion of his revenge plot. The blood-soaked exploits of Frank Castle have spanned three films, three immaculate seasons of television and countless comic books. 

THE PUNISHER RETURNS TO THE MARVEL LANDSCAPE IN 2022

11A THE PUNISHER

The Punisher has taken a bit of a back seat in the Marvel Comics universe since the cancellation of his self-titled MCU series almost three years ago. With the return of the Daredevil universe to the MCU (where Jon Bernthal’s Castle first appeared) in Hawkeye and No Way Home, it’s not surprising to see Marvel Comics dusting off their Daredevil & Punisher action figures. Marvel loves to time TV, film and comic releases so that they coincide with each other and mesh nicely. 

This could explain why PUNISHER, a new 13-issue limited series from writer Jason Aaron and artists Jesús Saiz & Paul Azaceta, sees Frank Castle joining “The Hand”, a shadowy ninja organization from Daredevil’s corner of the Marvel universe. They worship a monster called The Beast, and that demon is the inspiration behind Castle’s new logo. 

Could the Marvel Cinematic Universe be prepping to bring The Punisher back into the fold alongside The Hand? 

THE PUNISHER RETURNS WITH A NEW COSTUME DESIGN

The Punisher Returns: Could Frank Castle Come To The MCU Alongside The Hand? - The Illuminerdi

One of the biggest complaints about Daredevil is that The Hand were lackluster in live-action compared to comics. Marvel Studios is clearly building a Daredevil revival right now through projects like Echo and She-Hulk, both of which are rumored to feature Daredevil characters. It would be a waste not to include a new and improved version of The Hand in this MCU revival. 

And what better way to sell this remixed version of The Hand than by making Frank Castle into a major player within the organization? Jon Bernthal’s Punisher is beloved by MCU and Punisher fans alike, and the thought of recasting is enough to make one queasy. MCU fans want his return, and Kevin Feige would be wise to sync up the comic return of Punisher and the MCU return. 

THE PUNISHER RETURNS TO WORK FOR THE HAND

The Punisher Returns: Could Frank Castle Come To The MCU Alongside The Hand? - The Illuminerdi

We still don’t know just what initiated this change in the status quo Frank Castle. The Punisher logo has been adopted by police officers, white supremacists and all manner of folk who the Skull does not and should not stand for. As such, there has been some outcry from the Marvel Fandom for the retirement of the classic skull. Many feel that regardless of the Skull’s original symbolism, in today’s landscape it has become a symbol of hate and conservative radicalism. This could be part of why the new Punisher logo was introduced. 

Speculation aside, we still don’t know why Frank joined The Hand. Where he goes from here, and how that might affect the MCU is a mystery, but a MCU Punisher return looks like it could be in the cards. Stay tuned to The Illuminerdi for updates on The Frank Castle story, and remember, We Are Always Watching. 

What do you think of the new Punisher costume? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on our social media! 

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Source: Bleeding Cool