Marvel Reminds Fans That “The Punisher” is Bigger Than Frank Castle


The article contains SPOILERS for Punisher #6

As Frank Castle faces off against the God of War, Ares uses the opportunity to remind him that the name of the Punisher is bigger than just him.

The Punisher has undergone a lot of changes in his life recently. After Frank Castle is attacked by the Hand in his own apartment, the cult of ninja assassins sees fit to crown the vigilante as their leader, dubbing him the King of Killers. This position is both political and religious, and as a result it has drawn the attention of Ares. As the God of War, he has always thought of himself as the Punisher’s god and has taken offense at the fact that the Punisher has a new god with the Hand.

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In Punisher #6 by Jason Aaron, Jesus Saiz, and Paul Azaceta, Frank Castle finally goes up against Ares, who has been decimating the Hand’s forces in retaliation against Castle. During the fight, the Punisher uses all sorts of weaponry to try and deal damage to Ares, but the God of War is not really hurt by any of it. As the Punisher is beaten, Ares taunts him by saying, “The Punisher never hides. The Punisher is relentless. Day and night. The Punisher is the war that knows no borders. The war that never sleeps.”

This taunting by Ares is signifying that the Punisher is more than just one man. The Punisher is an idea and a concept of killing, which Frank Castle currently embodies. The God of War is immortal and has ruled over his domain for thousands of years. This means that there has undoubtedly been individuals similar to Frank Castle before him just as there will be people similar to Frank Castle in the future. An example of this is the Punisher of 2099, who has no connection to Castle whatsoever.

The great thing about this interpretation of the Punisher is that it makes him kind of a legacy character without actually giving him a moniker to pass down. It’s not like someone like Captain America, who can hand that role over to somebody else. Frank Castle is the Punisher. There is no one else with his history or iconography of the skull. He completely embodies that identity. And yet, the Punisher’s war on crime isn’t solely reserved for him. Plenty of people throughout history could be dubbed the King of Killers, individuals who find peace at war and revel in destruction. This is the concept of the Punisher that Ares is talking about and why he views Castle as his avatar. So while Frank Castle may believe he owns the identity of the Punisher, the mission and concept of the Punisher is bigger than just him.

Punisher #6 is now available from Marvel Comics.

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