Warning: SPOILERS for Savage Avengers #4
The Punisher may have the bloodiest, and most tragic origin story of almost every Marvel character, but his newest enemy just made it infinitely worse. How? By revealing the cowardly role Frank Castle played in the slaughter of his own family.
It's guaranteed to be a controversial twist, whether or not it is explicitly confirmed in Marvel Comics canon. But now that the bombshell has shaken The Punisher to the core, it's clear Frank Castle will be out for blood of his own in the rest of the Savage Avengers series. How else can he get revenge for realizing that instead of saving his family... Frank used them as a shield?
The incendiary change to Frank Castle's first step to becoming the murderous Punisher comes in Savage Avengers #4, when Frank and the rest of the team have assembled to kill Kulan Gath, a villain of Conan the Barbarian now in Marvel's Universe. When his attacks fail, Kulan Gath resorts to a new strategy: breaking into Frank's mind to witness his story for himself.
The picnic-turned bloodbath of Frank Castle's wife and two children rendered by Mike Deodato, Jr. blends dream and nightmare perfectly, with Kulan Gath's maniacal laughter throughout the entire memory reminding readers he's the exact kind of evil you want to hate. For those unfamiliar with Kulan Gath, his powers are well beyond just evil laughter and mind-reading--but it's current mission that makes him worthy of altering the origin of someone like The Punisher. Originating in the same ancient world as Conan the Barbarian, Kulan has been displaced in time to the modern day. Naturally, he's looking to do what any evil wizard would: summon the malevolent god Jhoatun Lau to Marvel's Savage Lands, and take over Earth.
While the Savage Avengers all have their own reasons for stepping into his trap, they form an improvised team in the face of his scheming. And to prove that he can do more than just kill, Kulan uses his psychic mind-reading of Frank Castle to wound him more than any firearm or knife ever could. After watching the memory of his family's death, Kulan points out a new detail...
Yes, Kulan Gath suggests that when the first bullets started to fly towards Frank and his family, his instinct wasn't to protect them, but to take cover... behind his wife. Fans who will dismiss this moment as mere manipulation by Kulan may have a hard time reckoning with Frank's own response. Effectively dropping to his knees in a state of total shock (and needing to be snapped back into the present by his fellow Avengers) doesn't exactly refute or challenge the detail caught by Kulan Gath.
Hard as it may be to believe, it may be The Punisher himself who confirms the darkest, most troubling moment of the worst day of his life. Making this the second worst day of his life--promising to make Kulan Gath pay for this nightmare with his life. Fans who wish to see this radical change to The Punisher's past can pick up their copy of Savage Avengers #4, and read on for the full issue details and plot synopsis.
- SAVAGE AVENGERS #4
- Written by: Gerry Duggan
- Art by: Mike Deodato Jr.
- Cover by: David Finch
- The one evil wizard to rule them all, Kulan Gath has succeeded in summoning an ancient evil…and he’s already hard at work on his next terrible plan. Conan swings his savage symbiotic sword against the forces of darkness…and Frank Castle has the worst day of his life. (If you don’t count that day in the park.) The Savage Avengers are fighting to save YOU!
Savage Avengers #4 is available now from your local comic book shop or direct from Marvel Comics.