Why Marvel’s most brutal revenge is the leader of its deadly cult

One of Marvel Universe’s most brutal heroes is about to take the reins of one of its most twisted organizations, and there is absolutely no one to say why.

WARNING: The following are major spoilers for Timeless # 1, now available from Marvel.

Of all the futures Kang the Conqueror has seen through endless timelines, nothing has been as dizzying as events foretold in Timeless #1 by Jed MacKay, Kev Walker, Greg Land, Jay Leisten, Mark Bagley, Andrew Hennessy, Marte Gracia and VC’s Ariana Maher. Among the significant events hinted at in Kang’s split look at the time, Frank Castle’s new role stood out as perhaps the most shocking. The picture suggests that the Punisher will wage his war from the other side of the battle.

The conqueror Kang has traveled through almost all the time, yet he has never seen anything like a pirate timeline. Unfortunately, that is precisely the threat he faces. While the master of time quickly discovers the disturbing force and eliminates it, the visions of the future do not disappear so easily. Much of what Kang saw makes him tumble, unsure of what is to come. One that may not have caught his eye so easily, but which will definitely catch the attention of fans, concerns Punisher’s future.

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Predictably, Castle will be involved in further violence. It is expected that out of endless timelines, only two, maybe three, do not involve Punisher in bloody battle. The twist in this pirate timeline is that Frank has a team this time, a personal army. A glimpse tells you right away what’s going on: Frank Castle now leads The Hand.

Given their respective stories, it is almost impossible to imagine how Punisher would end up in such a position in the first place. Castle has spent years eradicating crime in the most brutal way imaginable. Along the way, he has faced plenty of super-powerful or supernatural threats, but he has never openly joined an organization as twisted as The Hand.

Ever since their first appearance in the 1981s vovehals # 174 by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson, The Hand has only been known as a highly organized cult of death, wearing the thin veil of an organized crime syndicate. On the surface, this collection of ninjas is everything Frank Castle has resisted throughout his career.

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So again, these are not the only significant changes coming for Punisher, and the two seem to go hand in hand. Fans already know that Marvel has announced a redesign of Punisher’s iconic skull logo for something a little more demonic. Specifically, many have compared this new emblem to a Japanese oni mask. The hand has long worshiped the Beast. To their knowledge, this mysterious and powerful demon has lent its power to the group for centuries. Frank’s new appearance could reflect The Hands’ loyalty to The Beast or another of the demonic forces that the ninjas have dealt with in the past.

Yet that line of speculation responds to the change in Castle’s attire, not how he fell into the cult. It is hoped that his leadership is an act of undercover work, not unlike when he has joined the mob to take them down from within. It certainly seems like a safe bet to assume that it is in the service of a larger plan, the end of an even more insidious enemy.

History suggests reforming The Hand is an impossible task. People like Daredevil, Elektra and Kingpin have all tried to bend the cult to their will, only to lose control or even be corrupted. In light of this, the chances of Frank having any lasting influence on the ninja’s methods or morals seem close to non-existent. So no matter what makes Punisher join the cult of death, it will definitely be epic, especially considering how much of himself he has to sacrifice or ignore. Hopefully, when the time comes for Frank to take a sword, it will not be at the expense of a part of himself he cannot afford to lose.

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