The following contains spoilers for Punisher #2, out now from Marvel Comics.
Taking over one of Marvel’s most dangerous organizations was a huge change for the Punisher, expanding the full scope of Frank Castle’s mission and the havoc it could wreak on the world. In the process, he seems to gain unique new perks, including brutal powers.
Punisher #2 (by Jason Aaron, Jesus Saiz, Paul Azaceta, Dave Stewart, and VC’s Cory Petit) revealed that Castle had gained a unique new hand ability that essentially gave him his own version of Ghost Rider’s signature move.
The Punisher has adapted to his role as the new Fist of the Hand, embracing the villainous organization as an extension of his deadly will. The position came with some serious perks, giving the Punisher the resources to turn the Hand into his own personal army and even resurrect his long-dead wife, Maria. But it turns out that real power is granted to him in the process. After working at the behest of the Demonic Beast, the Punisher received a boon in the form of the Eyes of the Beast. One of the “Five Gifts of the Beast”, the power allows the Punisher to witness the sins of those he watches, as well as examine them for any potential weapons on (or in) their body.
Using the power for the first time, the Punisher’s eyes turned crimson red as an aura surrounded him, Frank Castle even gained the power to see crimes that had yet to be committed by someone. This allowed Punisher to effectively determine if someone is guilty enough, or will ever be, to deserve their wrath. The upgrade is powerful to give the Punisher, and in some ways works like its counterpart of the Ghost Rider’s penitent gaze. Also empowered by a demonic source, Ghost Rider’s Penitent Gaze has long been the character’s most powerful technique. This allows the Ghost Rider to summon any sins the victim has committed and force them to confront their long history of evil deeds, usually killing the victim.
Punisher’s beast eyes don’t kill the target, but they expose future crimes, with both powers revealing the depths of each other’s wickedness. It’s possible that isn’t even the full power of the technique, and that by further embracing his connection to the Beast, he could add new attributes to it. Given the Punisher’s longstanding modus operandi of killing those he deems guilty of genuine crimes, this power could allow the Punisher to determine anyone’s guilt and give him a reason to pursue them with intent. lethal. Now that he also has an army on his side, it’s unclear how much death and destruction he might find.
It’s likely that this power will also cause chaos for Castle, as eventually these powers could reveal that a target or enemy is truly innocent of any crime that Punisher considers a capital crime. But, his ties to the Hand and the Beast may force him into battle, explaining how he could possibly come up against other heroes like Daredevil, Elektra, or the X-Men. The fact that this is apparently only the first upgrade of this type that the Punisher has accessed indicates that he will only become more powerful and could even potentially gain the ability to kill with this gaze, him truly giving its own variation of the Penance Stare.
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