The Punisher's 2022 upgrade turns him into a true Superman
2022 is an eventful year for The Punisher, as Frank Castle goes from street vigilante to super-leader of a famous ninja clan.
The Punisher has undergone some pretty significant changes in 2022, going from street vigilante to super-leader of the Hand Ninja Clan in the space of a year. 2023 will continue to tell the "Killer King" story of Frank Castle's acceptance as leader of the Hand, so now is the perfect time to reflect on the significant changes the character has undergone over the past year.
Created by Gerry Conway, John Romita, Sr., and Ross Andru, The Punisher first appeared in the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man in 1974. After getting his first solo series in the 1980s, the character's popularity rose to new levels, with The Punisher starring in no fewer than three monthly titles at some point in the 90s. He's been one of Marvel's most popular characters ever since, being adapted into countless movies, TV shows, cartoons, and video games over the years. More recently, the Punisher's infamous skull emblem has been adopted and appropriated by various far-right extremist groups, causing Marvel Comics to reconsider the character's future. New Punisher line for 2022 aims to settle controversy, Punisher adopts new logo and trades Change swords in his guns.
From the creative team of Jason Aaron, Jesus Saiz and Paul Azaceta, the new Punisher series doesn't hesitate to shake up the world of Frank Castle. The Punisher joins the Hand once they give him one thing he can never get back: his late wife Maria, no matter how many criminals he gets rid of. Making him their "Master Killer," The Punisher uses his new army of ninja assassins to take down powerful criminals he would otherwise not be able to reach. This puts him at odds with Ares, the God of War, and Frank's former Patronus Ares, who is not happy to find his greatest disciple abandoning him to worship the Beast of the Hand. As a result of all this, Frank underwent quite a transformation, not only adopting a new emblem and ninja weapon, but also gaining his own set of supernatural abilities.
The Punisher’s Transformation Made Him Into The Leader Of the Hand.
As leader of the Hand ninja clan, The Punisher underwent the most significant transformation in his nearly sixty-year history. The most notable change is the change of his logo from the traditional big white skull to a Japanese variant with devil horns and fangs. It's reminiscent of the Punisher's original skull logo, but better suited to his new role as a ninja warlord. As a symbol of terror in the hearts of enemies, it is as effective as Frank's classic skull badge.
In addition to his new emblem, The Punisher also has a new outfit featuring his Hand Brothers. In addition to wearing a mask to hide his face, Frank has fully embraced the ninja way of life, albeit with modifications for his own purposes. Frank also adds a touch of warrior vibe to the armor he wears, with the breastplate, shoulder pads, and armbands giving the character a slightly regal look that goes well with a warlord. Perhaps most importantly, Frank has retained his grim color scheme. Although Hand traditionally wears red, the Punisher modified his suit to be all black - and when you have the trademark, you might as well stick with it.
The Punisher also replenishes his arsenal. Instead of Uzis, grenades, and automatic pistols, Frank wields a pair of katana swords and ninja shurikens. Although only because he changed tactics, That doesn't mean the character has softened in any way—the Punisher often lets his hand ninja bring out the worst criminals, who he then decapitates himself with his own sword. Even though he is now using bladed weapons, he has not completely given up using firearms. Frank obtained a special god-killing dagger as a senior killer, and it was broken in his battle with the god Ares. Frank instructs the Hand to reforge fragments of the dagger into bullets for a special pistol designed to kill Ares himself. Overall, that's probably a good thing, since during a recent fight with Daredevil, the hero pointed out that the Punisher wasn't as gifted with swordsmanship as he thought he was.
The Punisher Received Powers From the Beast.
In addition to his new attire and weapons, Frank Castle was given new supernatural powers in his role as the Master Assassin. The Hand worships a demon god known only as "The Beast," who first appeared in Frank Miller and Bill Schenker's seminal miniseries Elektra: Assassin. The Hand's cult of beasts allows them to be resurrected as undead ninjas Totally serve them. As the leader of the Hand, Frank possesses five of the Fist's gifts: Eyes, Fire, Bone Marrow, Healing Blood, and an as-yet-unnamed fifth gift.
The Eye of the Beast appears to be a type of clairvoyance. When confronted with one of Ares' War Apostles, Frank is able to see all the evil things he does, like Ghost Rider's penitent gaze. Frank is also able to see all the evil things the Apostle hasn't done yet, and feels that there is a bomb in the Apostle's heart. Beastfire allows Frank to take control of a source of demonic energy that manifests as fiery red energy emanating from his eyes and hands. Frank can infuse this energy into weapons to devastating effect, such as when he powers a dagger to instantly kill Lord Deathstrike.
The Marrow of the Beast provides Frank with increased strength, allowing him to fight superpowered characters and maintain his status, just like his battle with the literal god Ares. The Beast's Healing Blood gives the Punisher a Wolverine-like healing factor. This is shown in a scene Frank was stabbed by the sword, then pulled it out of his chest like a splinter, and the wound healed almost instantly. The fifth talent has yet to be revealed, as the Priestess who originally recruited Frank claimed in Punisher #8, "You have now manifested one of the fist's five talents." While fighting Daredevil, Frank Demonstrated that he also has the ability to fly. It's unknown if this is an unnamed fifth gift, but given that the High Priest of the Hand claims he has yet to manifest this power, it can be assumed that flight appears alongside his other supernatural gifts.
The entire "Killer King" storyline currently playing out in The Punisher Monthly will come to an end this year, as Frank will face off with Ares one last time and finally settle with the Hand. What happens from here remains to be seen, but given how stories involving the Punisher usually play out, there will be a whole lot of dead bodies before the final curtain call.
2022 gave The Punisher some of his biggest changes yet, but The ending of next year's Hand storyline looks even more epic.