The Marvel Universe may have ended and been reborn, but Frank Castle isn’t going to let that stop his mission. The Punisher is returning to action in an all-new series from writer Becky Cloonan (Demo, Gotham Academy) and Steve Dillon (Punisher MAX, Preacher).
The new series sees a normal drug bust take an unexpected turn when Frank learns that the drug creates unstable super soldiers. When Frank discovers that one of the men behind the drug is a familiar face from his military career, he digs deeper and deeper into the Northeast’s underworld…but can he find his way back?
ComicBook.com spoke to Cloonan about her plans for Frank Castle. Be sure to check out Alex Maleev’s brooding variant cover for The Punisher #1, included below.
The Punisher is an interesting character because he’s not a typical superhero, which allows creators’ own perspectives to really inform the tone of his violent crusade. What are your thoughts on Frank Castle’s one-man war on crime? Is he a hero? A villain? A necessary evil?
BC: The Punisher is such a layered character, and he definitely falls waaaay outside of the realm of “good guy.” He does bad things for good reasons, and we are constantly left wondering if the ends justify the means. (I’m not sure they always do, but that’s just part of Frank’s charm!) Chances are if the Punisher is coming after you, you’ve got no one to blame but yourself. If you are a criminal, the Punisher is basically Jason Voorhees.
What is the mission statement for this Punisher series? What will it have in common with past Punisher series, and what are you looking to do differently?
BC: Things are going to start out in a familiar enough place, but soon The Punisher is going to find himself in an unfamiliar environment without a lot of the things he usually relies on. We are going to strip away some of his layers, and push him right to the limit. I want to see how far he'll go to accomplish his goals. A few people have said some of the stuff we are planning is reminiscent of Punisher MAX, which is nothing but the highest of compliments!
Frank’s relationship with the superhero community is complicated at best. He’s often hunted, but sometimes the heroes give him a grudging respect, and he’s even been a member of the Thunderbolts. What is Frank’s current relationship with the Marvel heroes like, and how will that come into play with his discovery of a new super soldier drug?
BC: I don't want to give too much away, but for the most part punisher will be acting alone. He'll be running into, working with (and against!) a bunch of new characters including a dry DEA agent working against the clock (and Punisher!), and a figure from Frank's past he thought he left behind years ago...
While your work has spanned several genres, many fans associate you with youth-focused heroes and comics thanks to your work on Demo and Gotham Academy. Do you plan to explore that perspective in relation to the Punisher, or are you hoping to lean more in the other direction, into something firmly for and about adults?
BC: Ok, straight up: if you are a young child and enjoy Gotham Academy, you probably shouldn't be reading this Punisher run. Hear that kids? Definitely don't read it.
Steve Dillion has a long history working on the Punisher. How are you keeping the character interesting for him to draw?
BC: We see Punisher in a lot of new places and situations, some of which will effect his appearance-- it's going to be a lot of fun! Steve is going to kill it, I'm so stoked to be working with him. I've been a huge fan of his for years!