Marvel’s version of DC’s Suicide Squad within the Heroes Reborn Universe reveals the one way to truly crush Marvel’s most lethal vigilante.
Warning: contains spoilers for Heroes Reborn: Squadron Savage #1
The Punisher is arguably the deadliest member of the Marvel Universe, but Marvel’s Suicide Squad reveals the one way to kill the seemingly unkillable antihero. Frank Castle began his crusade of murderous justice after his family was killed right in front of him. Since then, the Punisher has killed nearly everyone he’s come across, he even attempted to take out Spider-Man during Castle’s first appearance. The Punisher has proven himself formidable to say the least, with even death unable to stop his crusade on two separate occasions, but a new team of antiheroes has just figured out a way how.
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Heroes Reborn: Squadron Savage #1 by Ethan Sacks with art by Luca Pizzari and Carlos Lopez, features a team of misfit antiheroes who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty for the sake of their version of justice, and this time they need the best of the best to come out of retirement. Elektra, the clear leader of the group, shows up at the home of Frank Castle as he is playing catch with his children, and his loving wife watches. Elektra tells him that Squadron Savage needs him for a mission, one that she tells him could decide the fate of the world. Reluctantly, Frank Castle once again takes up the mantle of the Punisher.
The Squadron Savage, consisting of Elektra, the Punisher, Crossbones, Murder Hornet, and Cloak, successfully takes down a group of freedom-fighting terrorists who want to rid the world of the oppressive order initiated by the Squadron Supreme and the United States government. Upon returning to headquarters after the deaths of most of the team, it’s revealed to fans that the Kingpin was behind the whole mission and the entire formation of the squad altogether. Frank Castle, recovering from the mission, is seen back with his family, only this time fans learn that his family is actually dead just like in the main Marvel universe and his mind is being altered to believe they are alive. The reality of the Punisher’s situation is that he is alone in a padded room with three mannequins he’s brainwashed into believing are his dead family.
Within the dark and depressing alternate manipulation of a once-great fighter reveals the key to taking down the Punisher. The Kingpin, who is the United States Secretary of Defense in the Heroes Reborn timeline, is using mind-warping technology to retain control over the members of Squadron Savage including the Punisher. In order to control the Punisher, Wilson Fisk not only brings back Castle’s family, as far as Frank is concerned, but he erases the memory of their deaths altogether.
In Rick Remender’s run of The Punisher, which included the vigilante cheating death by introducing fans to the controversial Franken-Castle, the Punisher also gets his family back but with a different twist. Marvel villain the Hood brings them back to life while the memory of their deaths remains in the Punisher’s mind. Eventually, Frank went back to his murderous ways while he refrains from doing so until prompted in Heroes Reborn. Marvel’s Suicide Squad reveals the only way to defeat the Punisher is not to kill him, but to make him not want to be the Punisher at all.
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