By Kevin Mahadeo
This fall, Norman Osborn's making a list, but he'll only need to check it once.
As Osborn's rule over the Marvel Universe tightens, the Green Goblin-turned-Iron Patriot targets his biggest threats and prepares to deal with them accordingly. Comprised of eight interconnected one-shots, DARK REIGN: THE LIST refers to a literal list of people, places and things that hold particular importance to the Marvel Universe's current man in charge. A different creative team tackles each issue, which each address one item on the previously mentioned list.
For the next week, Marvel.com will be speaking with the talented writers responsible for Making the List.
Writer Rick Remender sums up his upcoming one-shot DARK REIGN: THE LIST—PUNISHER in the simplest way possible: "Frank Castle has a bad day."
"[The Punisher] not only tarnished Osborn's shiny PR image that he's worked so hard to maintain, he's also knocked out a lot of his criminal underground, defeated the forces of the Hood, and he's tried to assassinate Norman," says Remender of recent events in the PUNISHER ongoing series. "So, this is Norman paying Frank back. This is Norman saying, 'For one afternoon, I want every resource H.A.M.M.E.R. has dedicated to one thing and that is killing Frank Castle. And just to make sure, I'm also going to go with and help and I'm going to also bring the Dark Avengers.'"
Besides giving the PUNISHER scribe a chance to join his fellow Write Stuff writers in the fall event, the special also teams Remender with legendary artist John Romita Jr. Although eager to toss Frank Castle's world for loop, the writer took some time to also toss a few teases about the upcoming special—including a battle between Punisher and a certain clawed mutant with issues.
Marvel.com: With Norman going after Frank, it's like the tables have been turned. The hunter has become the hunted. What's it like for Frank seeing this? Does he feel he made a mistake going after Norman?
The Punisher vs
It's not great [for Frank]. But I think that's the fun about Frank Castle. He doesn't have the part of your brain that makes fear and love, the part of your brain that makes those emotions. Frank doesn't have either of them. Frank is robotic in the sense that he is a soldier. If Galactus lands in front of Frank, all he thinks is, "Where do I get a bigger gun?" I always liked that as a starting point for Frank in any situation. So, this comes at Frank as a giant tidal wave of bad stuff, but Frank does what Frank does. He suits up, gets armed up and deals with it as best as he can. Between Frank and the Dark Avengers
, somebody is going to die, though. One of things that was important to the people at Marvel was that THE LIST books each had two or three status quo-changing events and are not only the writer and artist's best foot forward, but also something that will completely come as a shock to readers.
Marvel.com: What are the chances of Frank dying? That'd be one heck of a twist.
It would, but then PUNISHER is still being solicited. It's not like there's a legacy for Frank. It's not like he can hand a skull t-shirt off to Henry, who is basically a straight-edge computer hacker. [Laughs
] There really isn't a way to continue the series without Frank. I will say that who dies comes completely out of left field. I don't think people would expect to see it in the PUNISHER comic book.
Marvel.com: You said Frank's immediate response is usually, "Where do I get bigger gun?" But is that a legitimate strategy for this situation? I mean, he'd have to get a lot of guns.
For people who have been reading the book, they'll know he has an armory of Marvel Universe relics at this point. He's got a box of Pym particles, one of Titanium Man's gauntlets, Taskmaster's shield, Hawkeye's bow and arrow, a box full of Green Goblin grenades. He's got some really nice toys, and those toys are definitely going to play a big part in this. He survives quite a large attack to his person due only to the fact that he's a smart guy who happens to have this armory. This new armory has put Frank in a whole new class altogether.
Marvel.com: We've seen Frank take on some of the Dark Avengers already. In the first issue of PUNISHER he fought the Sentry and held up relatively well. Who will he be facing this time around?
The focus ends up being Daken, the dark Wolverine
character and the son of Wolverine. Daken and Frank end up in a nice brawl for a good part of this. Without giving away too much there's a couple of other fights in there that get focus, but the Daken one is the one I had the most fun with.
Marvel.com: Frank has definitely teamed up and fought against Wolverine a number of times. How is this experience going to work to his advantage in this battle with Daken?
Daken's not really expecting it. That's the ace up Frank's sleeve. They haven't fought before, but Frank is fairly familiar with Daken's techniques because he's familiar with his old man who is better at those techniques.
Marvel.com: What's it like working on this huge project and bringing Punisher into this event?
It's just a ton of fun. It couldn't be more fun. It demands your A game, which is great. Anytime you have a challenge put in front of you like that, where you have this much promotion and this much attention; it's being drawn by one of my all-time heroes—John Romita Jr. and Klaus Janson. You've got the best art team in comics coming on to do this, you've got Marvel completely behind you giving it a huge push, it's a giant status quo changer—and you're sitting there looking at your computer screen. It's something that brings out the adrenaline. I'm going to give this an extra week on my schedule. I'm going to make sure I pour over every scene and make sure that it's terse, concise and fun
The Punisher by
John Romita Jr.
and true to my bombastic, high-octane adventure stuff.
Marvel.com: In a previous interview you mentioned one of the biggest names in comics coming onto this one-shot and you just said it yourself: John Romita Jr. What's it like working with him?
Rick Remender: It's really another aspect that makes you step up to your A game. This is it. This is as good as it's going to get. It's interesting because the first couple of days I was working on this I let myself become slightly intimidated because as a huge comic fan and as somebody who is also an artist, Romita Jr. and Janson together are the top of the list. It gets no better than these two guys working together. So, you have to sort of disconnect from it a little bit or you become a little paralyzed—like anytime you're a big fan of something. So I disconnected from it and wrote the thing, but kept in the back of my mind that John Romita Jr. was going to make it perfect. I couldn't be more proud of a script, and I think that when people see what John and Klaus are doing on it, it's going to go down as one of the…you know, that sounds arrogant to talk about your own book that way. [Laughs
] I think it's good.
Check back in tomorrow when we speak with Andy Diggle about Making the List!
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