Written by Jason Aaron, illustrated by Jesús Saiz and Paul Azaceta, Punisher #9 ends Frank’s ongoing conflict with Ares, the God of War. In his solo series, Frank has been leading The Hand, an evil ninja organization from the Marvel Universe, and this role change is one that Ares felt was unbefitting of the Punisher. The god sought to “redeem” Frank and restore his old warlike nature, leading to a massive battle between Ares’ Apostles of War and The Hand, where the Punisher and Ares fight one-on-one. Their brawl ends with Frank killing Ares, causing the Apostles of War to recognize the Punisher as the “New God of War.”
RELATED: The Punisher Works Best Outside of the Mainstream Marvel Universe
The Punisher’s Demonic Name and Abilities, Explained
Punisher already gave Frank a new title as The Hand’s leader: “Fist of the Beast.” Being the Fist of the Beast treats the Punisher as the embodiment of the demon that The Hand worships, and gives him supernatural abilities. Dubbed the “Five Gifts of the Beast,” the Punisher’s new powers include the Eyes (heightened visual senses), the Fire (flame abilties), the Marrow (super strength) and the Healing Blood (a healing factor). Despite not having unlocked the fifth ability by Punisher #9, Frank can also fly and create flaming wings for himself.
Though the Apostles of War recognize the Punisher as their new leader and god, they do not live long enough to serve him. Frank uses his fire powers to burn every Apostle of War on the battlefield alive, leaving The Hand’s ninjas untouched by the flame. Ares and the Apostles of War are now no longer a threat to the Punisher, but he has others on the horizon.
RELATED: Marvel’s Punisher is Fueled by Ghosts of His Past
Marvel Heroes Assemble to Stop the Punisher
Daredevil has been working against Frank both in Punisher and the ongoing Daredevil series, but other Marvel heroes place Frank in their sights within Punisher #9. The issue ends with Moon Knight, Doctor Strange, Captain America, Black Widow and Wolverine discussing how the Punisher murdered Ares and his role as The Hand’s leader. Strange says, “I imagine we all knew this day would come sooner or later. The day we finally answer the question…how do you solve a problem…like Frank Castle?”
Along with Aaron, Saiz and Azaceta, Punisher #9 is colored by Matt Hollingsworth and lettered by VC’s Cory Petit. Main cover art for the issue is by Saiz, with variant cover artwork by Junggeun Yoon. The issue is on sale now from Marvel Comics.