Captain America predicted the Punisher controversy years before | Pretty Reel

Years before huge controversy forced Marvel Comics to change the Punisher’s iconic skull logo and rewrite the character’s history, Captain America predicted it would happen during a conversation with Frank Castle. In the midst of the First Superhuman Civil War, Cap was forced to recruit the Punisher to his side – a choice he would later regret. But Steve also pointed out that the main reason he dislikes the vigilante has to do with the fact that he’s not just a psycho, it’s an idea that can inspire others, just like Captain America.

In 2019, Marvel openly addressed a real issue with its most controversial character, the Punisher, whose logo had been adopted by groups advocating increased violence from law enforcement and right-wing fringes. In The Punisher #13 by Matthew Rosenberg, Szymon Kudranski and Antonio Fabela, Frank Castle tells two police officers who “believe in him” to stop doing this and look to Captain America for a role model. Shortly after, Punisher co-creator Gerry Conway weighed in on the discussion, reiterating that Frank Castle is a criminal and as such should not be adopted as a symbol by those charged with to enforce the law. However, those same sentiments had already been expressed by Frank Castle’s own idol, Steve Rogers, many years before.

During the Civil War, Captain America’s faction was desperate for recruits, so he turned to the Punisher as a soldier who would do the job he was asked, under the deal he would only use. non-lethal weapons. In Punisher: Nightmare #3, by Scott M. Gimple, Mark Texeira and Frank D’Armata, (published in 2013, long after Civil War), Frank recalls this conversation with Cap. The Sentinel of Liberty made it clear why he didn’t like the Punisher: not because he’s a psychopath and a criminal, but because of his symbol. The skull transforms Frank from an outlaw vigilante into an idea, something that can inspire others to follow his bloody path. Captain America, as a living symbol himself, knows full well how dangerous these can be in the wrong hands.

Steve Rogers would soon regret his decision to enlist Frank, when the Punisher murdered two criminals who wanted to join the Anti-Registration faction. Captain America’s words also foreshadowed the real-world controversies that would lead Marvel Comics to relaunch the Punisher in 2022 with a new series where Frank Castle sheds his iconic skull logo and joins the cult of assassins called the Hand. It’s also quite significant that the first warning about the misuse of the Punisher logo came from Steve Rogers. Frank has a controversial relationship with Captain America: he idolizes him as a hero since he was a child, but knows at the same time that he will never look like him, to the point that he let himself be beaten without kicking him. fist during their famous showdown in the Civil War.

Fans of The Punisher had mixed reactions to Marvel’s relaunch of the character, not just because of the new logo, but more importantly because of the significant changes to The Punisher’s lore and backstory. Regardless of what opinions each reader may have of Marvel’s decision, Captain America’s warnings from nine years earlier still ring true: a symbol is a powerful tool that can inspire people, for better or for worse, and the Punisher is no exception.

Captain America predicted the Punisher controversy years before | Pretty Reel