COMICS: Frank Castle Heads Into Action In First Look At THE PUNISHER #5

Marvel have today released an unlettered preview of Nathan Edmondson and Mitch Gerads' The Punisher #5, and while Electro has retreated for the time being, Frank Castle has donned a very cool new costume to aid him in his battle against The Dos Soles. Check it out!

Follow Josh:
By Josh Wilding - 4/21/2014
• The Dos Soles plan to takeover L.A. begins! WAR IN THE STREETS!
• Where there’s war in the streets, there’s Frank Castle.
• The fall of a friend???





THE PUNISHER #5
Written by NATHAN EDMONDSON
Pencils & Cover by MITCH GERADS
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duncboy - 4/21/2014, 2:10 PM
Big dawg in action
campblood - 4/21/2014, 2:12 PM
looks like a suppressed M4 style assualt rifle with an aimpoint red dot
marvel72 - 4/21/2014, 2:13 PM
great title,i think this & magneto are my favorite solo hero books & marvel are killing it with their solo heroes.

-the punisher
-magneto
-black widow
-daredevil
-hawkeye
-iron fist
-captain marvel
-moon knight
Melkaticox - 4/21/2014, 2:15 PM
C-Crossbones?
BigBossKaz - 4/21/2014, 2:15 PM
That art is awful but the Punisher's outfit is bad ass!
ShawnMadden - 4/21/2014, 2:18 PM
This book has been great and I actually love the mask.
TheFox - 4/21/2014, 2:18 PM
... Yeah, no.

Frank Castle is already a totally unrepentant, calculating, cold-blooded mass-murderer. He doesn't just go maskless because he doesn't care if the criminal element knows who he is, nor because his identity is already public knowledge (which is still an incredibly valid reason why putting a mask on him is ridiculous), but because if we, as readers, don't see a man standing there with a face we can read as human, there's literally nothing there to connect with.

Looking at these pages, I don't see a character I can relate to or root for anymore, even on the simplest, most detached levels. He's completely dehumanized at this point-- the guy might as well be Jason Voorhees with an Uzi.

They tried something like this already at DC Comics back in the eighties-- some crappy Punisher knock-off named Bulldog ran around with a hockey mask on his face. Does anyone remember him? No. Because when you take away the character's humanity (something the Punisher lost a long time ago), his morality, AND his face, you're left with nothing but a cipher. And no matter how cool the action, you can't enjoy a story starring a goddamn cipher.

Z
themidnightking - 4/21/2014, 2:19 PM
Crossbones looks well
themidnightking - 4/21/2014, 2:20 PM
I second what @TheFox said
TheFox - 4/21/2014, 2:21 PM
(My bad-- the DC character I mentioned was called Wild Dog. That's about how memorable he was.)

Z
PunkRockJesus - 4/21/2014, 2:22 PM
That cover is killer, but then the interior...
Brainiac13 - 4/21/2014, 2:24 PM
manofmidgard - 4/21/2014, 2:28 PM
cool mask. not sure I see the point, but it looks good. don't like the kneepads though. I guess he has kneepads... because he blows? heh, jk
ShawnMadden - 4/21/2014, 2:30 PM
Actually, TheFox...there's a reason behind it. He's not on the east coast. He's in LA hiding out among the cops (even going as far as having breakfast with one of them) who know OF The Punisher but don't know WHO he is. If you've actually been READING the book, you'd get it.
MidNightWind - 4/21/2014, 2:34 PM
@TheFox The Punisher is mass-murderer but his humanity isn't fully gone. If he was everything you say he was he would've been killing everyone, Superheroes, Villains, anyone who crosses him. But he's not like that, he's a vigilante who hates criminals. Now does that make him special? No, but anyone who's tired of enemies coming back over and over again can relate to the Punisher. I have nothing against the mask, I think he wears it because he's in a new town and they probably don't know what the Punisher looks like.
sameoldthing - 4/21/2014, 2:38 PM
You have to read the story to understand.
Although if the Punisher shows up anywhere it's not hard for law enforcement to find pics of Frank Castle.
Unless he gets surgery to change his face,he's well known.
He once had surgery to look like a black man in original series in the 90s. Crazy.
tomasocelot - 4/21/2014, 2:39 PM
@campblood did you learn all that playing call of duty ?
mctrinket - 4/21/2014, 2:57 PM
Cthulu Punisher is a good look.
DaddyTuesday - 4/21/2014, 3:01 PM
@ TheFox it was Wilddog not bulldog.And although he didn't have loads of page time I loved him. That said I also love The Punisher. The original and the master.
GUNSMITH - 4/21/2014, 3:05 PM
SQUID FACE.....
thewolfx - 4/21/2014, 3:14 PM
Badass suit
KnobGoblin - 4/21/2014, 3:14 PM
I see MARVEL is still trying to ruin The Punisher. Bring Back Garth Ennis!
GUNSMITH - 4/21/2014, 3:19 PM
I LIKE IT THOUGH IT'S LIKE HE'S SENDING OUT AN MESSAGE TO THE BAD GUYS, "I'M THE REAPER COMING FOR ALL EVIL MEN
Keldor - 4/21/2014, 3:23 PM
@TheFox : Go back and read Garth Ennis' Punisher run and come back here and lets see if you still think the same thing.

And...to further argue-

Punisher isn't a character you relate with. He is the angel of death. He isn't the star, or the hero. He is the exterminating angel. Stories like this have been told since ancient times. Think of stories like The Minotaur. The Punisher, is basically the minotaur. Or even Jason Vorhees, Alien, Jaws or any 80-s slasher films. Blake Snyder calls it 'The Monster in the House'. It is so simple, even a caveman can understand it. Basically these are important to 'Monster in the House' rules:
1. A sin must be committed. This is the reason for the Angel of Death. Usually this sin is Greed.
2. The sinners must be isolated in a remote location. This refers to the 'house' in Monster in the House. Basically you are trapped here with the big bad wolf. It must be a confined space. (think The Thing)
3. The sinners themselves. This could be the teens that do drugs and have sex in slasher films, the greedy corperation in alien, or the greedy mayor of Jaws. The one thing they all need to posses is a desperateness to kill the Angel of Death. Its primal. Its not about being smart. Its about not getting eaten.
4. the rest is just all 'run and hide'.

Frank Castle is not the hero to relate to. Youre a fool if you think so. Go back to reading your shitty 80s DC books starring guys no one has ever heard of. Frank Castle is someone to be afraid of. The Punisher is kind of like a Horror book. The Punisher is an Angel of Death. Like Jaws. Or Alien. Or the Minotaur. He is sent here to punish the wicked. You don't want to be guilty by association, yet your trapped in this isolated house with Frank Castle.

Just do yourself a facor and go read Garth Ennis' (Preacher) run on the Punisher title. Punisher MAX. No superheroes, no tights, no capes, no super powers. Just the Exterminating Angel.
3.
MidNightWind - 4/21/2014, 3:40 PM
@Keldor...Dude...You just gave me more reasons to love Frank Castle.
avengersleagueofjusticeforamerica - 4/21/2014, 3:47 PM
Thunderbolts is good too. No punisher mask either.
KrazyForKomix - 4/21/2014, 3:47 PM
The art and costume look like something from Marvel's late 80's New Universe line.
SuperPickle - 4/21/2014, 4:06 PM
@TheFox

It was Wild Dog, not Bulldog, and it was a terrible Punisher knock off.

And when you say "we" do you mean the entire intended audience feels the same as you? Because there's obviously enough people who like Punisher for the title to have spawned three live action films and a continued publication for several decades.
staypuffed - 4/21/2014, 4:20 PM
Love that art!
TheFox - 4/21/2014, 4:21 PM
@AgentEX: You mean to tell me that somehow the people living on the West Coast have NO WAY of looking up the identity of one of the East Coast's most prominent mass-murdering vigilantes? Does the Internet not exist in the Marvel universe?

Castle's identity is PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE. He's been arrested, tried, convicted as the Punisher. It would have been one of the trials of the century. And since Marvel has a strict no-retcon policy, that information would still be public knowledge.

@Keldor: Wow. You take the Punisher WAY too seriously.

As it happens, I HAVE read Garth Ennis' run on the Punisher-- the Marvel Knights run, first of all. It was a satire. Castle was presented as the ultimate badass no-bullsh*t "grim-'n-gritty" hero in a world populated with grotesque buffoons, specifically to mock those kinds of comics.

And yes, I've also read Punisher MAX. It was a meditation on the nature of violence-- an ugly, brutal book that pulled no punches and cut to the bone. But Frank Castle wasn't the main character in that book-- his VICTIMS were. Ennis used Castle's uncompromising, hard-edged, very clearly psychotic view of the world to explore the effects of violence on the people who exact it, and to question the morality of a world that so often falls into shades of grey.

But Frank still never wore a mask in that series, because Ennis wasn't trying to DE-humanize violence-- he was trying to HUMANIZE it. We see the price of violence and death in Castle's cold, dead gaze-- a far more frightening visage than any half-assed skull mask.

Also, I've read plenty of OTHER Punisher books, from authors ranging from Chuck Dixon to Greg Rucka, that feature Castle as a solid main character that you CAN relate to, even if just as a badass action hero-type-- which it looks like this book is going for (after all, it's set in the Marvel Universe proper, not a grounded alternate reality that's devoid of all other superheroes).

Whether we're supposed to root for him or not, all putting a mask on him does is turn him into a blank slate-- it doesn't make him any more cool than it makes him relatable. And if he is the lead of the book, but we're not given any way to relate to him as a person, then all we're rooting for is the violence... Which is pretty juvenile, and not at all interesting.

(Also, I never read Wild Dog. No one did. THAT WAS MY POINT.)

Z
TheFox - 4/21/2014, 4:27 PM
@SuperPickle: "And when you say "we" do you mean the entire intended audience feels the same as you? Because there's obviously enough people who like Punisher for the title to have spawned three live action films and a continued publication for several decades."

What? I don't know what specifically you're talking about; I never said I didn't like the Punisher. I said that putting a mask on him robbed Castle of one of his defining characteristics, and that it causes a disconnect with reader and the character. But he's never worn a mask before, so why would that have anything to do with the Punisher's popularity up to now?

Z
MidNightWind - 4/21/2014, 4:33 PM
So you're upset about the mask only?
TheFox - 4/21/2014, 4:40 PM
@MidNightWind: Well, yeah! Frank Castle may be a totally unrepentant, calculating, cold-blooded mass-murderer, but he's OUR totally unrepentant, calculating, cold-blooded mass-murderer. That's just who he is-- he's a violent arbiter of absolute morality, an over-the-top action hero and/or a tragic, damaged quasi-lunatic striving to find justice in a bleak and awful world. He's a pure revenge fantasy, and there's nothing wrong with that.

He's not my favorite superhero, but he's been in some damn good stories, I can't deny that.

Z
MidNightWind - 4/21/2014, 4:45 PM
Well why does Steve Rogers wear a mask? I know he's Captain America but everyone knows who he is and that mask isn't a protective helmet like in the Ultimate Universe or the movies. Plus don't special ops wear mask when doing like recon missions or something? Frank was trained in the military and I may not know much about how their teachings work but don't they wear mask during certain missions?
Matador - 4/21/2014, 4:52 PM
It's okay if he or who ever wants him to wear the mask makes no difference his gonna get the job done. What doesn't make sense if his all about covert I wouldn't wear a white skull on my face unless I want to get shot there. But on the chest makes sense if you want the enemy concentrating the fire there due to having on the Kevlar vest or bullet proof vest you have a better chance at survival. Never understood that in Call of Duty Ghosts either.
specialkail - 4/21/2014, 5:12 PM
i love the punisher, but don't really dig the mask. for one thing, he looks far too similar to crossbones. for another, i dont really see the point but whatever. if they want the skull on the mask, take it off his chest. if they wanted to mask him up it shouldnt have been a skull in my opinion. go with something like the winter soldier had in the film, or just like a gas mask or something tactical. i also really dug the punisher logo from the rucka run.
TheFox - 4/21/2014, 5:20 PM
@MidNightWind: Rogers wears a mask because he's supposed to be a symbol for America-- his individuality isn't as important as the bigger concepts he's supposed to represent. So he keeps the mask, even though he doesn't need it anymore. (Remember, just a few years ago he took over S.H.I.E.L.D. as just plain-old Steve Rogers, but he eventually went back to the costume because Bucky had "died" in the role, and he knew there still needed to be a Captain America-- so he stepped back up to the plate.)

(And also, he actually did used to have a secret identity during World War II-- which became a moot point when he jumped a few decades into the future and all his loved ones were dead, but by then, the symbolic value of Captain America had become solidified.)

And yes, Special Ops members wear masks for night missions-- it's effective camouflage (as long as you're not plastering a BIG WHITE SKULL on the front of the mask). But again, my issue with the mask isn't practical (despite the many reasons it doesn't make sense) so much as narrative. Castle's wearing a full-on headmask-- the point of those is to completely rob you of your identity, to essentially turn you into a faceless drone. How are we supposed to root for a faceless drone? Worse, the mask itself is pretty bland-- the guy looks like he's about to rob a liquor store.

It creates a narrative disconnect, and it doesn't make enough practical sense to be justified. That's all I'm sayin'.

(That, and it looks stupid.)

Z
Matador - 4/21/2014, 5:39 PM
The Fox -

I do agree with the fact the white skull is not practical during night ops.

I do disagree the mask will not disrupt the narrative or have any disconnect not matter what he wears deep down his still the Punisher and it's his actions that get the attention not the uniform.

Look at Spiderman or Deadpool both ear masks the whole time no one seems to mind or have any disconnect with these characters.
TheFox - 4/21/2014, 5:51 PM
@Matador: But one thing both Deadpool and Spider-Man have that Frank does not is an excess of personality. Their senses of humor come through loud and clear-- not to mention Spidey is an honest-to-goodness hero, so it's easy to sympathize with him. And hell, their masks are even manipulated by artists to give the impression that they're expressions are changing-- their masks are practically second faces!

Not so with the Punisher. Frank's inner monologue is dry, cold, and business-oriented, every step of the way. And since this is a more realistic, grounded narrative than Spidey's or Deadpool's usually are, I don't see the artist pushing any expressions through the mask-- and even if they did, Frank's expressions are always subtle and subdued, so it just wouldn't read anyway.

Context is important. Just 'cause it works for Spider-Man doesn't mean that it works for the Punisher; they may technically both be superheroes, but they couldn't be more different.

Z
MidNightWind - 4/21/2014, 5:57 PM
I get what you mean, Frank never really needed the mask in the first place. Maybe the writer has his reasons for giving him a mask. The skull is what represents what Frank is all about, not the mask. Plus he doesn't wear on all issues. The comic has been good so far but with the mask and maybe Electro making an appearance, that's seems to be all the flaws so far.
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