'The Punisher' Sets Up Iconic Marvel Comics Storyline for Season 2

The Punisher season 1 was a bloody oddyssey for Frank Castle to get to the truth of what happened to his family, and most Marvel fans were delighted to see the dark vigilante's Marvel Comics nemesis, Jigsaw, getting his Marvel Cinematic Universe origin story. However, there was a another iconic Marvel Comics storyline teased very early in the season - one that The Punisher season 2 could easily adapt.

The Marvel Comics Easter egg got dropped at the end of the The Punisher premiere episode. Frank Castle is working as a construction worker, when a group of guys on the job site step into a major mess, after robbing a local loan shark. After saving one member of the robbery crew from being killed by his partners, Frank goes to find the loan shark and takes out his entire crew. The loan shark isn't a loan operator, however: he's a member of the infamous Gnucci crime family. As Frank emerges from the shadows of his slaughter, Micro is watching him through a camera feed, and exclaims, "Welcome back Frank..." in honor of The Punisher resuming his violent campaign.

As Punisher fans know, this scene was a reference to a now-iconic Punisher comic book storyline called "Welcome Back Frank," which was a twelve-issue limited series written Garth Ennis and drawn by the late Steve Dillon, in the 2000-2001 era. In it, Frank Castle resumes his punishing after a long absence, and quickly fell into a war with the Gnucci crime family, especially their psychopathic matriarch, Ma Gnucci. The war between Frank and the Gnucci took some big tolls on both sides, with a lot of gruesome deaths along the way.

While Jigsaw is now all set for his MCU debut, fans would be just as psyched to see Punisher season 2 follow an adaptation of the "Welcome Back Frank" storyline - complete with a better version of savage hitman "The Russian" than we saw in the 2004 Thomas Jane Punisher movie. It's a wonderfully straightforward storyline of Frank climbing the hierarchical ladder of the NYC mob, body by body, with Ma Gnucci providing a wonderful villain character, whose sadistic mind is as vicious as The Punisher's.

Punisher Season 2 Welcome Back Frank Ma Gnucci

This being the MCU, there's plenty of room for "Welcome Back Frank" to occupy the first half of Punisher season 2, before we transition into something like Jigsaw's debut in the back half, as he could be revealed to the mastermind helping the Gnuccis get back at Punisher for the events of season 1. That combination would give Punisher season all the ammo it needed to be action-packed and compelling for all 13 episodes - something that was a point of criticism with the first season.


While we wait, let's discuss How The Punisher Can Fit Into the Larger MCU.

The Punisher is now streaming season 1 on Netflix. Jessica Jones season 2, Luke Cage season 2, are already in production, with Daredevil season 3 and Iron Fist season 2 about to start production, as well.