The Punisher's time as War Machine has officially begun.
The Punisher #218, written by Matthew Rosenberg with art by Guiu Vilanova, released today and the issue features the first true look at Frank Castle in the War Machine armor.
The issue involves Nick Fury enlisting the Punisher for an off-the-books mission to a failed state where a military strongman who murders children is about to take over. With SHIELD officially dissolved after the events of Secret Empire, Fury does not have the resources needed to take the strongman out on his on and, what's worse, the SHIELD agents who were stationed in the area turned traitor and are now using SHIELD technology to work for the strongman.
That's where Frank Castle comes in. Fury knows that, despite his reputation, the Punisher has a soft spot for children. He plays on that to convince Castle to play along with the mission. He also dangles a carrot in front of Castle, telling him the location of War Machine armor.
That armor is located on an air force base, which Castle eagerly infiltrates to get his hands on James Rhodes' old technology, which has been abandoned since Rhodey was killed by Thanos during Civil War II. Just when the soldiers on base think they have the Punisher corned, out he comes in full War Machine armor.
Take a look:
This armor isn't quite what was teased on Clayton Crain's cover of the issue, but Castle has only just gotten his hands on the armor. It seems likely that once he has a minute with the armor, he'll spray paint that signature skull icon on the torso.
The issue ends with Castle flying off with the armor and the tease of conflict to come as Fury, in voiceover, tells Castle that he needs to return the suit as soon as the mission is over and Castle, mid-flight, simply says "#$%& that."
The Punisher #218 is on sale now.
The Punisher #218
(W) Matthew Rosenberg (A) Guiu Vilanova (CA) Clayton Crain
FRANK CASTLE: WAR MACHINE Part 1
For years, Frank Castle has been fighting a one-man war against criminals who endanger the innocent, but when a certain one-eyed operative offers him the tools to take his fight global...how could he say no? Find out how Frank found his way into the WAR MACHINE Armor! PLUS: Includes 3 bonus MARVEL PRIMER PAGES!