Being a huge fan of The Punisher I loved his stories from way back. I loved his origin story because Frank Castle is a character you truly root for. Many would think he is just a cold blooded killer. Of course he is. But it's the people he "punishes" that's the reason for his popularity. Who wouldn't contemplate what Castle is doing? I mean, if some criminal killed my family and corrupt officials did nothing... I would be p####d!!!
So Castle took the law into his own hands and started a one man army against the corrupt and mob. He has done it with applomb. When I read The Punisher stories like Welcome back Frank. I find myself engrossed in his story. Not because of what he does but in his character. He is a lonely man, a man that has nothing left, a man who is not afraid of death. All these traits are understandable but he makes sure that the guilty are punished. There is nothing not to like about Frank Castle.
So why does The Punisher always get short changed? Don't get me wrong, he is featured in the comics but never permanent ones. He had a title in Marvel Knights which fitted the dark hero's of Marvel perfectly. However, Marvel cancelled that line. There was the Ennis and Dillon who wrote in the Max stories which were fantastic but again Marvel never built on it. Then there is Marvel Now. A comic that I like but again short lived.
The Punisher is one of the main characters in Marvel. But I think now, he is out of place in the roster. Marvel are doing their All New All Different lineup. To which I am a fan. But not one of those characters have anything in common with Castle. For example, you have the superhero law of protecting the innocent and no killing. Spider-Man, Captain America, Iron Man, Daredevil etc. all abide by that law. So when they crossover with each other it's easier to blend the story in. The Punisher however is not so lucky. Everytime he crosses over its short lived, especially now. I really feel that Marvel are struggling to adapt the Punisher to their titles. This is undoubtedly because The Punisher is violent, unapologetic and has a sense of realism. Something that Marvel wants to keep light.
This is not to say that the Punisher is finished. Not by a long shot. He still has some connection with Steve Rogers and Fury. But with Rogers and Fury having taken a back seat. Frank Castle will have to go it alone. Which ironically is what he does best. I think that Marvel think that they need the Punisher to crossover. He doesn't at all. In my opinion I think that Castle would fit perfectly in his own universe. No Shield, no other superheroes...nothing! Just Castle.
So what's left for Castle? He has a guest slot in Secret Wars, but what comes after? Well he is going to join the Howling Commandos of SHIELD. Now for me, this is like a marriage waiting for a divorce. Howling Commandos is fun but that is exactly the reason. Punisher is not fun at all. If...and that's a big IF...Howling Commandos are given a serious direction. Then maybe I will be content.
The Howling Commandos of SHIELD. The Punisher next title.
However, it's all good being in a team, still getting exposure. But I want The Punisher to have a independent title. A title that will be continuous without interruption. Castle needs to be a main header on his own...
Frank Castle needs to do what he does best..
The birth of The Punisher.
The Punisher needs to punish!