As the Punisher, Frank Castle wages a one-man war against the forces of crime, a war that has seen him win campaigns against influential criminal organizations, high tech terrorists, and supervillains. But the Marvel Universe is about to be invaded by an extra-dimensional army so vast and monstrous that even the Punisher is going to need help.
In Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman's War of the Realms, the Punisher will fight alongside and clash with other Marvel heroes as they try to defend Manhattan against the forces of Malekith the Accursed and his Dark Council. In the three-issue War of the Realms: Punisher, by writer Gerry Duggan and artist Marcelo Ferreira, Castle will have to draft some unconventional help for a smaller, but just as important mission: Protecting the patients and staff of a hospital from Malekith's marauders.
CBR: What's your experience with the Punisher, both as a writer and a fan? Have you had a chance to write him before this story?
Gerry Duggan: I've always appreciated a good Punisher story, going back to finding his first appearance in the back issue bins as a kid, and I was right there for the Mike Zeck-Steven Grant stuff in the '80s. I'm a big fan, and I really love what Matthew Rosenberg and his collaborators are doing on the current Punisher book. That means I've got some big shoes to step into, but I think what we cooked up for War of the Realms is going to be a lot of fun.
I believe I wrote a very brief guest star appearance for Frank in a Deadpool comic. He's a tough character for me to write; I want to get him right. There are so many good Punisher stories out there, and I didn't just want to play Karaoke with those.
Part of the reason Frank Castle may be a hard character to write is that there are so many different and valid takes on the character. What can you tell us about your approach?
This is a focused story: War of the Realms comes to Manhattan and Frank looks around and sees this as yet another failing of the Avengers. He thinks it's something that should have been stopped before it got to Manhattan. Now that it's at his door, he's going to fight it his own way.
He's going street to street and house to house to make sure people can survive the war zone. What he ends up doing, though, is seeing one particular situation that seems salvageable and concentrates on fixing that; a hospital needs to evacuate out of Manhattan. Frank decides to lead them through the Lincoln tunnel -- that's our miniseries. I think his battle plan will make for a fun read.
What can you tell us about that? What methods does Frank employ to evacuate the hospital?
Frank knows he can't do this by himself, and it's not like he can roll up to Avengers Mansion. So he hijacks a prison bus and “enlists” the inmates. It’s Frank Castle meets The Dirty Dozen, but he’s kind of hoping none of them make it back.