Matt: But I just don’t get it, Frank. You didn’t kill Leland Owlsley. So help me understand what led to your confession.
Frank: I wanted him dead. You’re wasting your time going down that road.
Matt: You’re blocking me out, Frank. Tell me more. I need something stronger to convince the jury you’re not guilty.
Frank: Guilty, not guilty, whatever — I’m a marked man. The Kingpin’s got plenty of guys in here, too, you know. I wish you could see what’s right in front of your eyes. This ain’t gonna end well.
Matt Cherniss, Peter Johnson + Michael Gaydos
Powerless is an AU mini-series which has a self explanatory premise. The obvious question to raise is: why feature Frank Castle, of all characters, when the very concept is seeing Marvel heroes without their superpowers? Frank has no powers to be taken from him, and as such, shouldn’t he remain the same?
It’s something simpler: in this story, Frank is lacking his cold lethality and the determination that so defines him. Instead, he succumbs to his despair. As a result, he is powerless.
You kids like memes, right.
Punisher MAX (volume two): Jason Aaron + Steve Dillon
Frank’s tattoo in Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher.
Semper Fidelis: “Always Faithful” | “Always Loyal.” Motto of the US Marine Corps.
Rick Remender, on being asked what it felt to watch Matt Fraction “ruin the Punisher character with bad writing and sub-plots.”
From The Punisher #2 letter section.
Punisher #4 (preview): Nathan Edmondson + Mitch Gerads
Punisher MAX #53 (volume one): Garth Ennis + Goran Parlov
If it isn’t a sly callback, it’s quite a coincidence. It was very effective in Ennis’ tale as well.
Punisher MAX (volume one) 23 + 39
Garth Ennis + Leandro Fernandez
When Cap speaks to him as a fellow service-person, when Captain America addresses him as a Marine?
Punisher War Zone #5
Greg Rucka + Carmine Di Giandomenico
Despite being a character with an extraordinary amount of on-goings over the years, Frank Castle as a child is very rarely portrayed. The Tyger is the only story to involve this in depth, although Garth Ennis repeated a similar sentiment with young Frank in his AU one-shot Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe. Both involve a young Frank Castle sparing another boy from bullies (the latter issue being Matt Murdock, from their invented childhood together which is canon to this universe only). This suits Ennis’ view of the character: he sees Frank as a darker man, and someone who even as a child acted on his same sense of brutal judgment to those he found to be worthy of it. The very sentiment of the Punisher is shown in his words to Matt: [it’s the] only way to stop [them]. As a young boy, Frank has the same cold morality he weaponizes as an adult. Fire fought with fire.
Carl Potts, however, years before Ennis, wrote the exact opposite. He depicts a cocky boy, and one who actively bullies another boy and steals his raft in effort to impress a girl. This falls in line with Potts’ depiction of Frank as more of an action hero, rather than Ennis’ quiet, introspective darkness.
The Tyger is set within the MAX universe, although there is little to say it could not also be valid in 616, as nothing actively contradicts it. Still, shockingly enough considering the length of his canon, Frank Castle’s youth (along with his young married life) is a subject which has often remained untouched.
Punisher War Journal #18: Carl Potts + Jim Lee
Punisher MAX: The Tyger: Garth Ennis + John Severin
Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe: Garth Ennis + Doug Braithwaite