This February, Frank Castle hops a hog and high tails it to sunny California, danger in the rear-view and on the horizon in the new ongoing PUNISHER series by Nathan Edmondson and Mitch Gerads. A gnarly bunch called "The 131" gathers to prepare a raucous welcoming party. Most people might cancel their lease and lay low in a New Hampshire cabin for a spell--but Frank's not most people.
may still be a couple weeks away, but we wanted to offer up a preview of how Frank operates with handlers like Edmondson and Gerads. The well-oiled machine behind The Activity know their battle tactics, but this week, they earn their skull T's.
We put writer and artist to the test, thrusting the Punisher into a series of impossible hypotheticals, and then asking, "What would Frank do?"
Marvel.com: Frank is unarmed, cornered in a small California grocery store bustling with innocent shoppers. Three mercenaries with concealed weapons search for him mere aisles away in the cereal section. Frank does not have his debit card.
WHAT WOULD FRANK DO? (Show your work.)
Frank ducks below the aisles and grabs a warm one-liter Coke off the shelf. Reaching around, he grabs a roll of Mentos. A child in the candy aisle watches the candy-thief with wide eyes.
"You have to pay for that," the kid says sternly. Frank puts a dollar bill in place of the candy and backs away slowly, a finger to his lips.
Keeping low, Frank sneaks out the back door, unscrewing the Coke as he moves; he empties a small amount onto the ground by the back exit. He opens the back door, flicking the light off. The mercenaries see the light shut off and silently, like jackals in the grass, make their way back to the exit in pursuit. They step in the Coke, slipping; they look down to see what's there. They keep their footing but they have, for a split second, been distracted from the objective.
The first merc emerges, raising his suppressed Uzi from inside his member's only jacket just as the Coke bottle begins to spin wildly: the reaction has created a jet out of the cap that spews across the dark pavement. The hunter is momentarily distracted and that's all that Frank needs to rapidly jab the side of his hand into the merc's throat. The merc gagging, Frank easily disarms him and uses his body as a shield as he pulls sideways and levels the gun at the second merc, who is just behind the first. Free of civilians, Frank squeezes the trigger and drops the second enemy with a rapid thappathappathappa.
Then he kicks the first gagging thug forward and crouches as the third emerges, ready for Frank--but not ready for Frank to be at his feet. Frank sticks the barrel of the gun into the merc's lower gut, aiming up; the merc looks down as Frank winks. It's all bloody from there.
Moments later. The guns were quiet, the door is closed, the mercs are dead and no one knows. The Punisher walks away, one Uzi tucked into his back and spare clips in each pocket. The three mercs--the first now with a cluster of closely-grouped rounds in the forehead--are in the dumpster. With the rats.
Later this week, Mitch Gerads offers his take on a different "What Would Frank Do?" and on February 5, PUNISHER #1 shoots onto stands!