Devil's Reign Leaves Daredevil and Punisher on a Violent Collision Course
Daredevil and Punisher have been allies and enemies to each other over the years, oftentimes choosing to use their own brand of vigilantism on the mean streets of the Marvel Universe. Each hero is on the verge of new journies, with Jason Aaron, Jesus Saiz, and Paul Azaceta collaborating on Punisher, and Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto delivering the end of their Devil's Reign event. Punisher's new status quo has him working with The Hand, a longtime nemesis of Daredevil and his partner Elektra. The finale of Devil's Reign sets up Marvel's relaunch of Daredevil while also teasing a future confrontation between the Man Without Fear and The Punisher.
WARNING: Spoilers for Devil's Reign #6 follow.
Devil's Reign #6 by Chip Zdarsky, Marco Checchetto, Marcio Menyz, and VC's Clayton Cowles brings Wilson Fisk's tenure as Mayor of New York to an end. Unfortunately for Daredevil, the former Kingpin was successful in killing his twin brother Mike. Daredevil almost took his rage out on Fisk but was talked down by Elektra. Fisk should have gone to prison for his many crimes, but his son Butch, the new Kingpin, orchestrated his escape. After turning on the Stromwyns, Wilson Fisk and his wife Typhoid Mary set off to parts unknown, out of the superhero spotlight.
With Fisk out of the equation, Daredevil can finally set his sights on bigger threats. One threat Elektra has been constantly bringing up to Matt Murdock is The Hand. Daredevil is finally ready to join Elektra in reforming The Fist to take down The Hand once and for all. That all sounds well and good, especially when you consider how The Hand's ninja assassins have caused terror for decades. However, a conflict between Daredevil and Elektra's Fist means an eventual showdown with The Punisher.
Punisher #1 reveals exactly how The Hand convinced Frank Castle to be their new enforcer. After suiting up in a redesigned skull logo, Punisher takes out members of a new terrorist group called the Apostles of War. The issue also shows The Hand's violent recruitment of Punisher in a flashback sequence. What we learn is The Hand has resurrected Punisher's dead wife Maria, reuniting the two once again. Punisher would more than likely do anything to stay with Maria, even if it meant clashing with his on-and-off-again acquaintance Daredevil.
Marvel spoiled The Punisher's alliance with The Hand in a Devil's Reign tie-in ahead of the vigilante's new series. Daredevil: Woman Without Fear #3 featured an epilogue picking up two weeks later, with AKA and Arch-Priestess having a conversation regarding Elektra. The two women clearly hold different opinions on how she should be dealt with, as AKA sees Elektra as The Hand's fiercest former warrior, and Arch-Priestess not being impressed at all. Arch-Priestess' main goal is bringing back the Beast, and she sees The Punisher as a means to that goal. She refers to Frank as "My Lord," showing how he holds a lofty title in the shadowy organization.
Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto's new Daredevil series officially launches in June. By the time the summer rolls around, Punisher's status in the Marvel Universe could be totally altered, with other heroes seeing him as a threat. Punisher has always remained on the fringes of superhero events, but joining up with The Hand will put a bullseye on his skull logo. Once Daredevil and Elektra learn of his alliance, it's only a matter of time until they decide to take him down as well.
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