The following contains spoilers for The Punisher #8, on sale now from Marvel Comics.
It’s safe to say Marvel’s new Punisher has been quite divisive. Many fans didn’t like Frank Castle losing his iconic skull symbol, as well as him becoming a supernatural warrior. These critics felt it took away from the grounded soldier and that Marine who dug deep as a human to protect his country and those he loved. However, Frank’s change felt like a breath of fresh air, and honestly, as polarizing as it was, it does fit, given the role he’s playing as the Fist of the Beast.
This has enabled him to clean up crime globally and achieve a sense of purpose with the Hand. He’s transformed into a mystical powerhouse, giving him abilities like never before, and an army in the ninja clan that could create the order he always dreamed of as a vigilante. But with Ares finally coming to his Japanese citadel in The Punisher #8 (by Jason Aaron, Paul Azaceta, Jesús Saíz, Dave Stewart, and VC’s Cory Petit), Frank has to rethink tactics and go back to basics, with a frightening, intimidating twist.
Punisher Brings Back His Iconic Weapons
Frank excised the use of guns when he became the Beast’s servant. As this lord of war, pistols and modern weapons were deemed dishonorable, not to mention they had so much tragic symbolism tied to Frank’s past. They killed his family and were instruments he also used as his soul got darker and lost, so he didn’t mind using more traditional weapons. Frank turned to daggers and his sword, realizing they gave him a code and empowered him mentally, too.
Interestingly, with the God of War’s legion at his doorsteps, Frank instructs his clan, through a special unit, to melt down a dagger and make god bullets, if you will. These seem to be what Punisher wants to use to kill Ares. Now armed with his retooled symbol and the magic pistols, Frank heads out with his forces. And to make the comeback official, he tells the god that, “Gods don’t win wars. Bullets do.” It foreshadows a brutal shootout to come, as both have numbers and are gunning for each other’s head.
The Punisher May Still Have A Secret Weapon
Now, if Frank could have these bullets made, seeing as he’s always advocated for change, there’s no telling if other items were made from his dagger. Whether it be spears, grenades, or even missiles with these mystical shards, Punisher has the kind of military mind to bait Ares’ army in, and unleash these weapons. It’d be a form of shrapnel, cementing how much Frank loves deploying the element of surprise. This would be especially effective against an egotistical Ares that’s blatantly underestimating him.
That said, it’ll be interesting seeing Frank wield guns again, especially as Marvel moved away from his logo and him wielding these weapons due to association with some organizations. This included those who defended gun violence, nationalists, and domestic terrorists who co-opted the skull logo. Sadly, they felt like open carry was a means of showing power. As a result, it did feel like a palpable shift to reconfigure what Frank’s crusade was about. Marvel has now walked it back partially by giving him his pistols, leaving fans eager to see how they’ll perform and if Punisher will keep them, should he survive this Ares assault.