PunisherMAX will end with February’s Issue 22, Newsarama reports, ahead of what Marvel characterizes as “a big change” coming to its mature-readers imprint.
Although the conclusion follows January’s “final brutal confrontation between the Punisher and Kingpin,” it’s unclear whether this is the planned ending for the series. Writer Jason Aaron told Comic Book Resources in August, just as the current arc was beginning, that, “This is the culmination of the Punisher/Kingpin story, but it’s not my last story on the book. There are definitely plans in place after this next arc, but I can’t talk about them without spoiling what’s coming up.”
PunisherMAX, by Aaron and artist Steve Dillon, debuted in November 2009, following the end of the 75-issue run of the original mature-readers Punisher series (retitled The Punisher: Frank Castle during its final year). PunisherMAX and Deadpool MAX are the imprint’s only current monthly series.
News of the title’s end arrives just a day after CBR reported that X-23 will be canceled with January’s Issue 20. It’s the latest in a string of abrupt cancellations at Marvel that includes Alpha Flight, Victor Von Doom, Destroyers, Iron Man 2.0 and All-Winners Squad.
Update (5:47 p.m. PT): Aaron commented on Twitter, writing, “PUNISHER MAX is ending, the way I always intended it. It was not canceled.”