The Punisher is headed for a revamp in Marvel Comics, with the publisher promising “substantial changes” for Frank Castle’s place in the Marvel Universe and his violent tactics. And now on March 2, the newly redesigned Punisher has made his surprise debut on the page.
Where does he show up, and how does his debut factor into the current Marvel era? Read on to find out – and to find out the even bigger twist presented in the story.
Spoilers ahead for the revamped Punisher’s debut
Frank Castle debuts his new look and style as the Punisher on the final page of Daredevil: Woman Without Fear #3 (opens in new tab) (the finale of the limited series) from writer Chip Zdarsky and artists Rafael de la Torre and Federico Blee, following the knockdown, dragout fight between Elektra and Kraven the Hunter that’s been running across previous issues.
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After her battle with Kraven, Elektra is confronted by agents of her old enemies the Hand including Aka, the woman who recruited Elektra to the Hand years ago. Aka confronts Elektra, telling her she’s lost sight of the Hand’s purpose, while Elektra insists she and Matt Murdock will destroy the Hand by embracing the ancient organization known as the Fist, the premise that led to Elektra becoming Daredevil to begin with.
Suddenly, Aka causes an explosion that knocks Elektra unconscious. She awakens alone, leaving the empty theater where the confrontation took place. As she exits, she finds Matt’s coworker Robert ‘Goldy’ Goldman, who informs her that Matt Murdock is apparently dead – seemingly murdered in his apartment with Mayor Wilson Fisk as the prime suspect.
What the hell is he talking about? Well, apparently, those events will occur in March 9’s Devil’s Reign #5 (opens in new tab), according to the editor’s note in the script – an odd turn of events in which Marvel has spoiled a future story in a current issue, like due to the vagaries of scheduling and shipping.
In any case, as Elektra reels from the news of Matt’s apparent death, the action cuts back to the headquarters of the Hand, where Aka and the Arch-Priestess of the Hand plan to strike out against Elektra, before consulting with their new leader – none other than Frank Castle in his newly designed Hand outfit, complete with his new logo which is meant to resemble the so-called ‘Beast’ of Hand lore.
Fans will get to dig deeper into Punisher’s new look and role with the Hand in March 9’s Punisher #1 (opens in new tab), with Woman Without Fear #3 promising the continuation of its story in that issue.
The Punisher is among the best powerless superheroes of all time.