The Punisher's war on organized crime meant that for years the heroes and villains the vigilante crossed paths were the one that operated at street level. Recently, though, two things happened that has forced every hero and villain in the Marvel Universe to pay attention to Frank Castle.
The first thing was him becoming a prominent enforcer in the Hydra faction led by Steve Rogers' evil doppelganger, who took over the USA in last year's Secret Empire event. The second came in the previous volume of The Punisher where he acquired the War Machine armor and used it to overthrow a violent nuclear armed Eastern European regime. He then set his sights on the remnants of Hydra to atone for his actions as a member of the group.
The latter event lead to Frank attracting the attention of some very angry Marvel heroes, who forced him to relinquish the armor. But being War Machine, however briefly, gave him a taste of what it's like to wage war against some of Marvel's most dangerous terrorists and villains. Now, in this week's Punisher #1, writer Matthew Rosenberg and artist Szymon Kudranski kick of the new volume with their title character hunting higher profile targets, like the Hydra leader Baron Zemo.
CBR: Some of my favorite runs on the Punisher, like the Greg Rucka and Rick Remender ones, have focused on the character's resourcefulness and how, with the right tools, he's as dangerous as someone like, say, Batman, if not more lethal. You clearly showed that in your work on the previous volume of the series. Can you talk about just how resourceful you think Frank is? In your mind is he one of the Marvel Universe's most brilliant tacticians?
Matthew Rosenberg: Well I don't know who "Batman" is, but yeah. Unlike most of the characters we follow in the Marvel Universe, the Punisher doesn't have superpowers or crazy tech to fall back on. He has his wits and his determination. And I think that's why so many of us find him so fascinating. He is a real powerful force in the universe through his sheer force of will. He's definitely one of the best tactical minds, and that is something we're going to explore in a big way in our upcoming run. But it gets even more complicated because he'll do a lot of things the other heroes won't. So he is effective and respected, but also a real source of frustration for everyone. All that potential, all that skill, it's not the kind of thing the heroes (or the villains) want to just let loose. And trying to figure out how to hone him, how to use him, or how to stop him, will be a constant storyline. Frank is a hurricane and everyone is going to have to deal with him one way or another.