The Marvel Comics event of “Devil’s Reign” proved to be quite an emotional rollercoaster. It was filled with twists and turns and lots of action. All of this revolves around the iron grip of Wilson Fisk’s war against the masked heroes of New York. It brings a great story and lots of incredible reveals. One happens to be that the God of War, Ares becomes The Punisher.
This might surprise people, as this codename does not belong to him. Yet this all began after the events of Daredevil: Woman Without Fear. This was a tie-in series to Devil’s Reign, but it is in the latest character relaunch of Frank Castle, The Punisher (2022) Issue #5, where things get pretty wild.
The ninja society known as The Hand has a secret plan to bring forth the fabled “High-Slayer of the Hand.” This person will be the reincarnation of the evil entity known as “The Beast.” The series reveals the High-Slayer to be the one and only Frank Castle, the original Punisher. Let’s dive into how it all unfolded.
The Punisher: The King Of Killers
Writer Jason Aaron takes up the 2022 series of The Punisher, following the events of Daredevil: Woman Without Fear alongside artists Jesús Saiz and Paul Azaceta. In this series, we are given a more in-depth explanation of what exactly is going on. Why is Frank part of The Hand? Why he’s wielding duel Katanas instead of a machine gun and grenades?
The Hand began to praise Castle as The High-Slayer after he was put through a test and pitted against a group of ninjas. Of course, Frank would not just join this group willingly. They make sure to give him an incentive he cannot pass up. The Hand resurrects Castle’s late wife, Maria. Frank agrees to join them after finding this out.
As the story commences, Frank is utilizing the resources given to him by the occult society to fight a group called “The Apostles of War.” This group has dedicated itself to selling illegal and mighty weapons on the black market, inciting acts of civil war, and committing mass murders.
After confronting some of the members, Frank still does not know who the leader of the operation could be.
A Familiar Face, Drenched In BloodThe leader of the Apostles of War is none other than the Greek God of war himself, Ares. Being an ex-Avenger now turned villain, he is an extremely formidable foe. His intentions revolve around bringing war itself to the world. This could involve simple battles in poor villages or full-on civil wars in foreign lands.
All of it is done to fuel his power as an entity within the Marvel universe.
The writer, Jason Aaron, has played with the concept of belief and the power of entities based on adoration before with his famous Thor run. Therefore, it would make sense that Ares bares the same thirst for admiration and power.
One thing that seems to be on Ares’ mind is that he lost his most important player on Earth, The Punisher. According to Ares, even if Frank Castle does not pray to him or admire him as a God, his actions as a one-man army have been enough to fuel his divine powers for years.
When Frank turns into the High-Slayer of the Hand, he leaves behind the Punisher persona and leans more into the dogmatic studies of the ninja. Utilizing the resources of the Hand’s army, Frank has no need to wage war on crime any longer. Instead, he utilizes the talents of his new ninja henchmen to capture the criminals for execution.
This new turn of events enraged Ares enough to take matters into his own hands and give justice to the “Punisher” name. Of course, this means he must do something no one expected. Ares becomes The Punisher, and unlike Frank, he holds nothing back.
Ares Becomes The Punisher?In the most recent issue of the series, Frank Castle decides to face Ares alone, without the help of The Hand army. As he finds Ares, he discovers the God of War is wearing Castle’s infamous Punisher logo on his chest. This isn’t the new one that so many comic book fans aren’t a huge fan of, but the skull we all know and love.
While it might seem drastic to many, Ares becomes The Punisher simply because he must do so. He claims he wants to redeem the mantle of The Punisher. Of course, he also hopes to enrage the Hand’s new High-Slayer in the process.
Sadly, the issue ends at this point. The cliffhanger is huge, and there is no telling what the future of the Punisher could be at this point. Especially if the literal God of War is now running around with the skull logo on his chest, collecting heads along the way. It is also unknown what the future of the Hand’s High-Slayer will be either in the Marvel Universe.
One thing that is certain is that the intentions of Ares are clear. He wants to see Frank Castle be a one-man army again as The Punisher, as he is the ultimate fuel for his Godly powers. We’ll have to wait for Issue #6 and see if Ares succeeds or if Frank Castle’s new title as the High-Slayer is much more than just a name.