April 18, 2024

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Noteworthy Issues: Punisher #3 (May, 2022)

Frank Castle steps up his war on crime with the help of the Hand.

I had thought Frank Castle might have been getting a wee bit uncomfortable with the Hand’s brand of religion, even if it did bring his wife back from the dead.

I may have been a little premature on those thoughts.

Issue:  Punisher #3, May 2022

Writer:  Jason Aaron

Artists:  Jesus Saiz and Paul Azaceta

The Plot:  Frank recounts his first kill as a new enemy comes for the Hand.

Commentary:  If Frank Castle is uncomfortable with the Hand’s god, the “Beast,” he isn’t showing it much anymore.  If anything, he doesn’t seem to see much difference between this god and any other, appropriate since his latest foe is Ares.  It seems the Greek god of war has been selling arms around the world to disreputable types all over, and Frank, well, he doesn’t care for that, having his agents take out a heavily armed Hydra cell while personally torturing one last survivor for…well, not information.  Possibly just for the hell of it.

Then again, Frank also kills two Hand ninjas for killing without his personal permission, a fact that might cause problems anywhere but with the Hand since murder is murder, and they don’t much mind even if its their own that gets killed.

Frank, you boob, get out of there.  Maria isn’t alright, and bringing the kids back won’t fix that.

But then there’s an issue highlight which can only be Jason Aaron putting his own stamp on Frank’s origin story.  The second issue already let slip that Frank, as a child, killed someone, a neighborhood bully, but this issue has an extended flashback to show who that bully was, why Frank did it, and how it may have been the real birth of the Punisher after all.  Yeah, juvenile Frank wore a Captain America Halloween mask to do the deed, and the victim was not a child and arguably truly had it coming, but this was a young Frank doing the sorts of things an adult Frank might if he was cut off from his armory and had to set a trap with just household items.  That Frank is successful is beside the point.  It’s a child committing murder against someone who, at least in the Punisher’s eyes, deserves it.

It’s a moment that shows where Frank’s moral code came from, to say nothing on why he may act:  it could be he doesn’t think anyone else will.

Still, this is Frank falling to Hand corruption.  How much he ends up believing in their line of thinking remains to be seen.

Grade:  B+