Following the events of Secret Empire, Frank Castle has been waging a one-man war on Baron Zemo and Hydra. Ever since the start of Rosenberg and Kudranski’s The Punisher series, Castle has been hunting down every Hydra member he could get his hands on, big and small. This war eventually took Frank to the Hydra-controlled country of Bagalia, and back home again to New York City.
Now, the Punisher is hunted by the authorities, Wilson Fisk, the new Thunderbolts, Zemo and an army of hundreds of soldiers disguised as U.N. peacekeepers. By all accounts, the deck is more than stacked against Frank Castle, and the odds aren’t in his favor. Thankfully for him, reinforcements have finally arrived.
Although he prefers to work alone, the Punisher’s just assembled his very own army of superheroes to battle Hydra.
In The Punisher #14, Castle finds himself with his back against the wall. Branded a terrorist and wanted for murder, he’s hiding in the crowd, keeping a low profile until he can find the right moment to kill his target. Unfortunately for him, Zemo is nearly impossible to get to. He’s got the mayor of New York, Wilson Fisk, on his side, a whole team of super-powered criminals and soldiers patrolling the streets.
Luckily, help comes knocking. Natasha Romanoff, aka the Black Widow, finds Frank in a diner and offers him help. She explains that the number of enemies he’s facing is too great, and that he requires numbers of his own. Now, of course, Frank being Frank, he declines the offer and walks out. However, later, a battle with the Thunderbolts nearly ends with the death of the Punisher — but Black Widow intervenes just in time.
After the save, Frank is a little more open to the idea of help. Better yet, Black Widow has been keeping busy, assembling a team for him. Joining the Punisher in his fight is Night Thrasher, who wants to get Zemo off the streets. There’s also Marc Spector, aka Moon Knight, who has fought alongside the Punisher before. But Natasha’s final recruit is perhaps the biggest surprise here: Rachel Cole-Alves, who first appeared in 2011’s The Punisher #1. Like Frank, Rachel lost her family when her wedding reception was caught in the middle of a gang war. In response, Rachel put on a Punisher costume, complete with skull logo, as an agent of Frank’s never-ending mission. Now, she’s back to help.
The Punisher, Black Widow, Moon Knight, Night Thrasher, Rachel Cole — that’s a solid team. But Frank has one final recruit he wants to add to his army’s roster. Looking to add an even bigger gun to his team, Frank finds Danny Ketch, aka Ghost Rider, and convinces him to join his fight.
As the issue comes to a close, the Punisher’s superhero team is fully assembled. Now, Castle’s got his own army to take on Zemo and Hydra, and we’re sure that the upcoming confrontation is bound to leave New York in flames.
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