The Last Frank Castle Story

This dawned on me recently when I wrote, as a joke, that Marvel should kill off Frank Castle when Garth Ennis leaves the Punisher MAX title: Marvel should kill Frank Castle.

Old Frank CastleThink about it: Punisher is a character anchored to the Vietnam War. More than any other character in the Marvel Universe, he is tied to a specific time. It’s tenuous enough now, with an almost 60 year-old Castle mopping the floors with thugs over 30 years his junior: in ten or fifteen years it will be a joke.

If Castle is killed off, he’s never in danger of being a punchline, or being forced to resort to some sort of half-assed “fountain of youth” excuse, the way Nick Fury has since the 70’s.  With Fury, you can just about suspend your disbelief, because of the insane superspy nature of the character.  Frank Castle? Not so much.

So please, Marvel: allow him to die.  In a hail of mafioso gunfire, a single headshot from a kid he orphaned years before, a heart attack moments after saving some child’s life, setting off two tons of C4 to incinerate the assembled east coast crime families, run over by a mail truck, etc.: I trust you to make it good.  Just please consider it.

(And, if the Marvel Universe wants to include stories about a grim urban avenger, it wouldn’t be too hard to make another one, would it?)

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7 Comments

Filed under garth ennis, marvel, punisher

7 responses to “The Last Frank Castle Story

  1. GUI

    Have you ever read The Punisher: The End one-shot? It deals with Frank’s last days.

  2. I did read The End, and I loved it. It’s a great story, but like all the other ‘The End’ stories Marvel did, it has a definite out-of-continuity flavour to it.

    When Garth Ennis has wrung every story he can out of The Punisher, I’d like to see an in-continuity death that would mean curtains for the character across both the MAX and regular lines. Which, as I hope came across in my post, is no knock on the character: I love The Punisher, I just think it would feel silly reading stories about an 80 year-old man racing around Manhatten taking slugs in the chest every other week.

  3. WARZONE

    I don’t think Marvel should kill Frank off,I think Frank should just fade away slowly.or just dissapear.And i think it would work if Frank took what Capt. A and Fury took to stave off old age. it could work for Castle.I’ve been reading The Punisher since I was 15 and am now 31 and I would be devastated if Marvel killed Frank off. The Punisher comics in some ways got me through some tough times when i was younger.

  4. I guess the most likely outcome is that Marvel keeps on publishing the character as is, ignoring the fact that he’s nearing 60. The Ariel Olivetti version of the character looks barely 30. They might end up dropping any and all references to Vietnam, and just have him be a veteran of an unspecified conflict. Retcons solve all problems.

    I just feel that the best outcome, the most honest outcome, would be for him to have an in-continuity death (although it would be hard to top Ennis & Corben’s “last man on earth” ending).

  5. WARZONE

    We all liked Eastwood when he did his ‘Dirty Harry’ movies and westerns in the 1980’s and he was the same age if not older than Castle is now.Also what about Stallone? his latest ‘Rambo’ he seems to be still in top form.We shouldn’t knock those in thier 50’s or early 60’s especially if they still are in great physical shape.

  6. David Logan Armstrong

    Suicide.

    Frank should commit Suicide, taking a whole bunch of Mafiosos with him.

    Couple of tons of C4 loaded into a hearse. BOOM!

    Frank is a soldier, through and through. He’d know if he was reaching the end, having some goon take him out would be an insult.

    Suicide is the only way…with a big smirk on his scarred and battered face.

  7. Iambaytor

    In one of the old Punisher War Journal comics (the shitty ones from the 80s) they once addressed the issue of Frank’s age in the fan mail. Essentially what they said was that just like everybody else Frank is perpetually the same age. I mean come on Peter Parker has been 30ish since the 80s, Johnny Blaze is 20-something despite the fact he was middle-aged in the early ninetees, and Ben Grimm and Reed Richards are both WWII Vets.

    They changed Moon Knight’s origin to Gulf War, they can do that to Frank. I think everything is confusing Garth Ennis’ version as the only version.

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