Spoilers ahead for Punisher #2!
New Punisher series brings big changes to the Marvel Universe, the most shocking of which is the resurrection of the former fan favorite Avenger Ares. Unfortunately for Frank and the rest of Marvel’s heroes, Ares is no longer on the side of the angels.
In his latest reboot, the Punisher now leads The Hand as the High Slayer. He traded his firearms for a katana and the skull on his breastplate for a oniBut do not get me wrong : The Punisher’s murderous intent remains. and his first conquest brought them into conflict with the apostles of war; a cult indebted to a leader until then only called “the general”.
The end of Punisher #2 by Jason Aaron, Jesus Saiz and Paul Azaceta reveals that their strings are pulled by Olympian Warbringer himself: Ares. The return of the god of war is significant for a number of reasons. His last canon appearance was in the Headquarters 2010 event, in which Norman Osborn leads his Dark Avengers against Asgard. He convinced Ares to join the battle telling him that Loki has taken the throne, but when Ares discovers the subterfuge, he turns on Osborn, only to be wiped out by the mightiest Avenger, Sentry. Since then, all appearances by him have been minor. But now he’s back, and it looks like his chosen path as a supernatural arms dealer will put him in direct opposition to the Punisher.
It’s interesting to see Ares in this light because, as he makes his comedic debut as villain to Thor and Hercules, he was heading towards anti-hero status before his death. Ares could have been the ultra-violent replacement for Thor from the Avengers, but he was ultimately a force for good. Now he’s more like his DC Comics counterpart, a frequent opponent of Wonder Woman who actively seeks to incite violence wherever he goes. Marvel’s version is so committed to bloodshed that when the Golden Tigers tell him they didn’t need to use his guns once the rival claws surrendered, he feels insulted. And when their leader says “we have come all this way to make peace” Ares’ reaction is considerably less than friendly. He even rips one in half for good measure. The issue ends with Ares declaring war on the Punisher, a battle that is sure to be spectacular now that Punisher has new powers himself.
What remains to be seen is whether Ares will talk about his death at the hands of Sentry, or if this is an entirely different take on the god of war. Either way, don’t be surprised if this is more ruthless Ares very soon becomes a huge problem for all Marvel heroes.
Next: Punisher’s True Origin Changes Character Forever
Look for Punisher #2 available now digitally and in print from Marvel Comics!
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