The Punisher (2004 series)

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The Punisher
The Punisher #1 (March 2004),
cover art by Tim Bradstreet.
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
MAX Comics
ScheduleMonthly
FormatOngoing series
Publication dateMarch 2004 – October 2009
No. of issues75, plus 1 Annual
Main character(s)The Punisher
Creative team as of October 2008
Created byGarth Ennis
Written byGarth Ennis
Gregg Hurwitz
Artist(s)Laurence Campbell

The Punisher (re-titled Frank Castle: The Punisher after issue #66; sometimes referred to as The Punisher MAX) was a comic book ongoing series published under the MAX imprint of Marvel Comics, featuring vigilante and anti-hero the Punisher.

Publication history[edit]

Garth Ennis, also writer of the 2000 and 2001 Punisher series, wrote issues #1-60 of the series. Also like the earlier series, Tim Bradstreet provided the covers for those issues. Continuing his run on the character, Ennis used the freedom of the MAX imprint to write more graphic and hard-edged stories than had previously been seen.[1][2] Ennis also wrote two miniseries accompanying the main series, The Punisher Presents: Barracuda and The Punisher: Born. Several one-shots were also produced, some written by Ennis and some by other writers.

With issue #61, Gregg Hurwitz replaced Ennis as writer, joining artist Laurence Campbell to do a five-issue story arc.[3] With issue #66 released on January 21, 2009, the series was re-titled Frank Castle: The Punisher, with writer Duane Swierczynski and artist Michel Lacombe coming to the series.[4][5] Victor Gischler came on board for the storyline "Welcome to the Bayou" in issues #71-74[6][7] before the title finished with issue #75, a double-length issue with stories by Thomas Piccirilli, Gregg Hurwitz, Duane Swierczynski, Peter Milligan, and Charlie Huston.[8]

The title was relaunched as PunisherMAX in late 2009, with writer Jason Aaron and artist Steve Dillon.

Plot[edit]

Differences with the mainstream Marvel Universe Punisher[edit]

The series explicitly does not use a floating timeline like the mainstream Marvel Universe, instead presenting a Punisher who ages in real time. Gravestones and other references indicate that his family was killed in 1976. The Punisher has been active for almost 30 years at the time presented in most stories, with issue #19 specifying that he has killed approximately 2,000 people. The Punisher: Born also establishes that the Punisher's service in the Vietnam War is still in MAX continuity.

Promotional art for the cover of Punisher #44 (March 2007), gives Frank Castle's birth date as February 16, 1950, but that was removed for the published issues. The story "Valley Forge, Valley Forge" corroborates this date, referring to Castle as "a twenty-one year old Captain" in April 1971.

Another major difference is the complete lack of superheroes and supervillains in the series, although non-superpowered characters from the Punisher's past, most notably Microchip, do make appearances. Nick Fury also makes several notable appearances, with his characterization echoing Ennis' MAX-imprint Fury stories. However, the character Jen Cooke, a social worker, appeared in the Marvel Knights storyline "Hidden". She then appeared in the MAX storyline "Slavers". The character Yorkie Mitchell made appearances in both the Marvel Knights and the MAX Punisher comics.

In the Civil War Files comic, just before the "Civil War" storyline was published, Iron Man talked about events in the Punisher's past from the Marvel Knights and MAX comics, which indicated that it did happen in the mainstream Marvel Universe at some point:

  • "Captain Frank Castle, sole survivor of the Firebase Valley Forge massacre".
  • "Although recently Castle has escalated his war on crime even further, with record-breaking body counts, he is paradoxically now rarely encountered in the field by any super hero save Daredevil".
  • "It's almost like he inhabits two worlds, one where heroes can capture him and one where they can't, and he can slip from one to the other with ease".[9]

Many characters are past or current intelligence and military operatives from governmental agencies like the American CIA, the Soviet KGB and the British SIS and SAS and militaries and militias from the Balkans, the Middle East and the IRA, all with agendas rooted in past conflicts like the Cold War or the Yugoslav Wars.

Prints[edit]

Issues[edit]

No. Title Cover date Comic Book Roundup rating Estimated sales (first month) Rated
#1 In the Beginning: Part 1 March 2004 9.0 by two professional critics.[10] 56,350, ranked 20th in North America[11] PAL/EC[12]
#2 In the Beginning: Part 2 March 2004 6.5 by one professional critic.[13] 49,197, ranked 24th in North America[14] PAL/EC[15]
#3 In the Beginning: Part 3
#4 In the Beginning: Part 4
#5 In the Beginning: Part 5
#6 In the Beginning: Part 6
#7 Kitchen Irish: Part 1
#8 Kitchen Irish: Part 2
#9 Kitchen Irish: Part 3
#10 Kitchen Irish: Part 4
#11 Kitchen Irish: Part 5
#12 Kitchen Irish: Part 6
#13 Mother Russia: Part 1
#14 Mother Russia: Part 2
#15 Mother Russia: Part 3
#16 Mother Russia: Part 4
#17 Mother Russia: Part 5
#18 Mother Russia: Part 6
#19 Up is Down and Black is White: Part 1
#20 Up is Down and Black is White: Part 2
#21 Up is Down and Black is White: Part 3
#22 Up is Down and Black is White: Part 4
#23 Up is Down and Black is White: Part 5
#24 Up is Down and Black is White: Part 6
#25 The Slavers: Part 1
#26 The Slavers: Part 2
#27 The Slavers: Part 3
#28 The Slavers: Part 4
#29 The Slavers: Part 5
#30 The Slavers: Part 6
#31 Barracuda: Part 1
#32 Barracuda: Part 2
#33 Barracuda: Part 3
#34 Barracuda: Part 4
#35 Barracuda: Part 5
#36 Barracuda: Part 6
#37 Man of Stone: Part 1
#38 Man of Stone: Part 2
#39 Man of Stone: Part 3
#40 Man of Stone: Part 4
#41 Man of Stone: Part 5
#42 Man of Stone: Part 6
#43 Widowmaker: Part 1
#44 Widowmaker: Part 2
#45 Widowmaker: Part 3
#46 Widowmaker: Part 4
#47 Widowmaker: Part 5
#48 Widowmaker: Part 6
#49 Widowmaker: Part 7
#50 Long Cold Dark: Part 1
#51 Long Cold Dark: Part 2
#52 Long Cold Dark: Part 3
#53 Long Cold Dark: Part 4
#54 Long Cold Dark: Part 5
#55 Valley Forge, Valley Forge: Part 1
#56 Valley Forge, Valley Forge: Part 2
#57 Valley Forge, Valley Forge: Part 3
#58 Valley Forge, Valley Forge: Part 4
#59 Valley Forge, Valley Forge: Part 5
#60 Valley Forge, Valley Forge: Part 6
#61 Girls in White Dresses: Part 1
#62 Girls in White Dresses: Part 2
#63 Girls in White Dresses: Part 3
#64 Girls in White Dresses: Part 4
#65 Girls in White Dresses: Part 5

As of issue #66, the series was officially re-titled Frank Castle: The Punisher.

No. Title Cover date Comic Book Roundup rating Estimated sales (first month) Rated
#66 Six Hours to Kill: Part 1
#67 Six Hours to Kill: Part 2
#68 Six Hours to Kill: Part 3
#69 Six Hours to Kill: Part 4
#70 Six Hours to Kill: Part 5
#71 Welcome to the Bayou: Part 1
#72 Welcome to the Bayou: Part 2
#73 Welcome to the Bayou: Part 3
#74 Welcome to the Bayou: Part 4
#75 Dolls/Gateway/Ghoul/Father's Day/Smallest Bit of This

Collected editions[edit]

Trade paperbacks
Title Material collected Writer Artist Year ISBN
Vol. 01: In the Beginning The Punisher MAX #1-6 Garth Ennis Lewis Larosa 2004 978-0785113911
Vol. 02: Kitchen Irish The Punisher MAX #7-12 Garth Ennis Leandro Fernandez 2005 978-0785115397
Vol. 03: Mother Russia The Punisher MAX #13-18 Garth Ennis Dougie Braithwaite 2005 978-0785116035
Vol. 04: Up is Down and Black is White The Punisher MAX #19-24 Garth Ennis Leandro Fernandez 2005 978-0785117315
Vol. 05: The Slavers The Punisher MAX #25-30 Garth Ennis Leandro Fernandez 2004 978-0785118992
Vol. 06: Barracuda The Punisher MAX #31-36 Garth Ennis Goran Parlov 2006 978-0785120230
Vol. 07: Man of Stone The Punisher MAX #37-42 Garth Ennis Leandro Fernandez 2007 978-0785121657
Vol. 08: Widowmaker The Punisher MAX #43-49 Garth Ennis Lan Medina 2007 978-0785124542
Vol. 09: Long Cold Dark The Punisher MAX #50-54 Garth Ennis Howard Chaykin (#50), Goran Parlov (#51-54) 2008 978-0785128144
Vol. 10: Valley Forge, Valley Forge The Punisher MAX #55-60 Garth Ennis Goran Parlov 2008 978-0785127550
Vol. 11: Girls in White Dresses The Punisher MAX #61-65 Gregg Hurwitz Laurence Campbell 2009 978-0785125204
Vol. 12: Six Hours to Kill Frank Castle: The Punisher MAX #66-70 Duane Swierczynski Michael Lacombe 2009 978-0785131823
Vol. 13: Welcome to the Bayou Frank Castle: The Punisher MAX #71-74 Victor Gischler Goran Parlov 2009 978-0785133780
Hardcovers
Title Material collected Year ISBN
Volume 1 The Punisher MAX #1-12 2005 978-0785118404
Volume 2 The Punisher MAX #13-24 2006 978-0785120223
Volume 3 The Punisher MAX #25-36 2007 978-0785119814
Volume 4 The Punisher MAX #37-49 2007 978-0785114178
Volume 5 The Punisher MAX #50-60 2009 978-0785137825
Volume 6 The Punisher MAX #61-74 2011 978-0785156567
Complete Collections
Title Material collected Year ISBN
Volume 1 The Punisher: Born (#1-4)
"In the Beginning" (The Punisher #1-6)
"Kitchen Irish" (The Punisher #7-12)
February 2016 978-1302900151
Volume 2 "Mother Russia" (The Punisher #13-18)
"Up is Down and Black is White" (The Punisher #19-24)
"The Slavers" (The Punisher #25-30)
April 2016 978-1302900168
Volume 3 "Barracuda" (The Punisher #31-36)
"Man of Stone" (The Punisher #37-42)
"Widowmaker" (The Punisher #43-49)
October 2016 978-1302901875
Volume 4 Punisher Presents: Barracuda MAX
"Long Cold Dark" (The Punisher #50-54)
"Valley Forge, Valley Forge" (The Punisher #55-60)
Punisher: The Tyger
Punisher: The Cell
Punisher: The End
December 2016 978-1302902445
Volume 5 Punisher MAX Annual 2007
Punisher: Force of Nature
Punisher MAX Special: Little Black Book
"Girls in White Dresses" (Frank Castle: The Punisher MAX #61-65)
"Six Hours to Kill" (Frank Castle: The Punisher MAX #66-70)
"Welcome to the Bayou" (Frank Castle: The Punisher MAX #71-74)
Frank Castle: The Punisher MAX #75 ("Dolls", "Gateway", "Ghoul", "Father's Day", "Smallest Bit of This")
February 2017 978-1302902742
Volume 6 Punisher MAX X-Mas Special #1
Punisher MAX: Naked Kill
Punisher MAX: Get Castle
Punisher MAX: Butterfly
Punisher MAX: Happy Ending
Punisher MAX: Hot Rods of Death[16]
Punisher MAX: Tiny Ugly World
Untold Tales of the Punisher MAX (#1-5)
August 2017 978-1302907396
Omnibuses
Title Material collected Year ISBN
Vol. 1 The Punisher: Born (#1-4)
"In the Beginning" (The Punisher #1-6)
"Kitchen Irish" (The Punisher #7-12)
"Mother Russia" (The Punisher #13-18)
"Up is Down and Black is White" (The Punisher #19-24)
"The Slavers" (The Punisher #25-30)
May 2018 978-1302912079
Vol. 2 "Barracuda" (The Punisher #31-36)
"Man of Stone" (The Punisher #37-42)
"Widowmaker" (The Punisher #43-49)
"Long Cold Dark" (The Punisher #50-54)
"Valley Forge, Valley Forge" (The Punisher #55-60)
Punisher Presents: Barracuda MAX #1-5
Punisher: The Tyger
Punisher: The Cell
Punisher: The End
August 2018 978-1302912062

Reception[edit]

The series holds an average rating of 7.9 by 40 professional critics on the review aggregation website Comic Book Roundup.[17]

In other media[edit]

Film[edit]

  • The 2008 movie Punisher: War Zone starring Ray Stevenson is inspired by Punisher MAX, most notably incorporating characters from that series such as Gaitano Cesare, Carmine "Pittsy" Gazzerra, Ink, Cristu Bulat, Tiberiu Bulat and Maginty. The scene where Frank Castle/the Punisher kills Gaitano Cesare and the other mobsters is also taken directly from the storyline "In the Beginning", albeit cutting the head for the former instead of a headshot.

Television[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Brady, Matt (July 11, 2007). "Max'ing Out the Future: Axel Alonso Talks Marvel MAX". Newsarama. Archived from the original on May 19, 2009.
  2. ^ "Punisher War Journal #4 Review". ComiXtreme.
  3. ^ Punisher #61 (October 2008) at the Comic Book DB (archived from the original)
  4. ^ "Exclusive Preview: Punisher: Frank Castle #66". Newsarama.
  5. ^ Richards, Dave (January 16, 2009). "Swierczynski On Frank Castle: Punisher". Comic Book Resources.
  6. ^ Richards, Dave (April 29, 2009). "Swamp Things: Gischler Talks Punisher MAX". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2010-05-26.
  7. ^ Rogers, Vaneta (June 9, 2009). "Welcome to the Bayou, Frank: Victor Gischler on Punisher MAX". Newsarama. Retrieved 2009-07-25.
  8. ^ Quesada, Joe (July 14, 2009). "Cup O' Joe: Thor, X-Factor, Punisher MAX". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2010-05-26.
  9. ^ "Civil War Files #1 (September 2006)". Marvel.com.
  10. ^ "PUNISHER MAX #1". Comic Book Roundup. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  11. ^ "January 2004 Comic Book Sales Figures". comichron.com. The Comics Chronicles. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  12. ^ "PUNISHER (2004) #1". Marvel.com. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  13. ^ "PUNISHER MAX #2". Comic Book Roundup. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  14. ^ "January 2004 Comic Book Sales Figures". comichron.com. The Comics Chronicles. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  15. ^ "PUNISHER (2004) #2". Marvel.com. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  16. ^ "The Punisher Gets Road Rage in 'Punisher Max'"
  17. ^ "PUNISHER MAX". Comic Book Roundup. Retrieved 2017-12-12.

External links[edit]