Captain America & Punisher Get A Powerful New Connection

Warning! Spoilers ahead for Punisher #2

In the latest issue of Marvel Comics’ Punisher, a powerful new connection between Frank Castle and Captain America is given a major spotlight. While the Punisher may have a new role working with the Hand this new issue dives into his past, revealing the darkness Frank carried as a child. However, it’s proven that the Punisher has always been a dark shadow mirroring Steve Rogers himself.

In the past, Marvel Comics has made strong implications that Frank Castle carries a greater level of respect for Captain America than any other hero. While Punisher did join Captain America’s side in the first Civil War, his lethal tactics saw Captain America beating and kicking him out (with Castle refusing to fight back). There have also been other moments where Castle has recommended Rogers as a better hero and role model to look up to, rather than himself, having never viewed his methods as heroic.

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Related: Marvel Proves Why There Should Always Be Two Captain Americas

Now, the new Punisher #2 from Jason Arron, Jesús Saiz, and Paul Azaceta features a look at Frank Castle’s past when he was just a boy. It seems as though Frank sought to punish those who did wrong long before his wife and children were gunned down by the Mafia. At 12 years old, Frank was deeply disturbed, bringing home books about war wounds and beheadings while also hiding gun magazines under his bed, drawing skulls in his notebooks, and many more upsetting things. It’s even revealed that young Castle killed a man in secret. However, despite all that darkness the future Punisher is seen wearing a Captain America t-shirt. This implies that Steve Rogers has always been the Punisher’s hero, his legacy presumedly serving as a core influence that made Frank a seeker of lethal justice (rather than an outright mass murderer).

As this new issue confirms, the Punisher has always idolized Captain America. That being said, Frank’s inherent darkness warped his future, making him a darker reflection of Rogers. Rather than being just like the Sentinel of Liberty when he grew up, Frank is willing to go further than Captain America would ever go, the murder of his family cementing his darkness following his career as a soldier. Having joined the Hand as their new avatar for their demon known as the Beast, the Hand has brought back his wife Maria from the dead, presumedly promising to bring back his children in the near future as well. Furthermore, the Hand’s high priestess darkly confirms that in their searching for the King of Killers, they naturally looked to America first.

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While Captain America might not like it seeing as how he stands for the nation’s more idealistic values, it seems as though Punisher embodies America’s darker and more violent aspects that unfortunately do exist. That being said, who knows what Frank would have become had Captain America not been his hero? Serving as his dark shadow, it’s clear that the Punisher has become intrinsically tied to Captain America going forward in the Marvel Universe. Perhaps that influence will be what gets the Punisher out of his alliance with the Hand in the issues to come.

More: Punisher’s Reboot Could Mean You’ll Never Meet His R-Rated Nemesis

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