Punisher. In. Space.
It's a very simple premise, and one that hits you immediately. When new Marvel miniseries Space: Punisher was announced Friday afternoon at WonderCon in Anaheim, much of the assembled crowd at the "Amazing Spider-Man" panel broke out in a collective round of enthusiastic giggles.
Reuniting the team of writer Frank Tieri and artist Mark Texeira — who worked together on the 2005 Hercules miniseries — the four-issue series debuts in July and takes place outside of traditional Marvel continuity, similar to recent stories like 5 Ronin. The twist here is that the world of Marvel is based in outer space, including the Punisher.In Space: Punisher, the familiar origin of the title character — the murder of Frank Castle's family — has him exploring the cosmos rather than prowling the streets; on the hunt for intergalactic revenge. Though it's a different take on the Marvel Universe, the series will feature altered of recognizable characters including the domineering "Avengers Federation" and the Hulk, described during the panel as the "Moby Dick" of the story.
"Frank is trying to track down the Six Finger Hand, a mysterious galactic crime organization that is responsible for his family’s death," Marvel editor Ellie Pyle told Newsarama, by email. "Only problem is, they may not actually exist! But we'll see him try and fight his way to the top through characters with names like: the Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, the Red Skull, Magneto, Ultron and the Sym-Brood-ant Queen."
Though the concept of Space: Punisher is clearly a bit bonkers by design, Pyle said that Frank Castle works better in unexpected settings than fans might think.
"The Punisher is actually a really versatile character," Pyle said. "As much as his origin story has been entrenched in a specific time and place in the past, at its core, it’s the story of a man who lost his family and is now on a quest to punish the evil he sees in the world. And that could happen any time anywhere. Frank Tieri does a great job of taking that seed of a character and introducing us to a new version of Frank Castle in a very different world."
Tieri, whose recent work includes the Marvel vs. Capcom 3 video game, an episode of the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series and scripting DC series Grifter, previously wrote an alternate take on Frank Castle in 2009's Punisher Noir miniseries. Texeira also has previous Punisher experience, dating back to runs on Punisher and Punisher War Journal in the 1990s.
"Frank has a great knack for crime stories and a real talent for capturing the humanity of a regular guy in really out there circumstances," Pyle said. "And Mark Texeria’s art is just beautiful! He’s painting the whole book and it’s really stunning. Also, they’re friends and it’s always nice to have a team who works well together."Check back at Newsarama soon for more on Space: Punisher with writer Frank Tieri! Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!