Robot 6

Marvel ends PunisherMAX with February’s Issue 22 [Updated]

PunisherMAX #22

PunisherMAX will end with February’s Issue 22, Newsarama reports, ahead of what Marvel characterizes as “a big change” coming to its mature-readers imprint.

Although the conclusion follows January’s “final brutal confrontation between the Punisher and Kingpin,” it’s unclear whether this is the planned ending for the series. Writer Jason Aaron told Comic Book Resources in August, just as the current arc was beginning, that, “This is the culmination of the Punisher/Kingpin story, but it’s not my last story on the book. There are definitely plans in place after this next arc, but I can’t talk about them without spoiling what’s coming up.”

PunisherMAX, by Aaron and artist Steve Dillon, debuted in November 2009, following the end of the 75-issue run of the original mature-readers Punisher series (retitled The Punisher: Frank Castle during its final year). PunisherMAX and Deadpool MAX are the imprint’s only current monthly series.

News of the title’s end arrives just a day after CBR reported that X-23 will be canceled with January’s Issue 20. It’s the latest in a string of abrupt cancellations at Marvel that includes Alpha Flight, Victor Von Doom, Destroyers, Iron Man 2.0 and All-Winners Squad.

Update (5:47 p.m. PT): Aaron commented on Twitter, writing, “PUNISHER MAX is ending, the way I always intended it. It was not canceled.”



I’m sure sales on this book dwindled once they started charging $3.99 for 20 pages of story.

No wonder!

Damn. Punishermax and Deadpoolmax are the only Marvel books on my pull list.

Dam that’s a shame. Let’s hope these big changes to the MAX imprint may just mean some new branding/promotion a few new titles and a relaunch for this before too long, although considering DPMAX2 will only be on its fifth issue by then that probably isn’t too likely. Fingers crossed though.

I would have bought this title if it was 2.99.

We should be lucky we got as many amazing Punisher stories as we have.
I myself have nearly 20 Punisher trades and that’s a great accomplishment for such a “1-dimensional” B-list character that no one outside of comics can get right.

doggie poo to this bad news.

Now I’m worried about Deadpool Max.

“Canceled” versus “ending” is a semantic debate. However, Marvel’s usual policy when creators leave is to change teams and continue publishing. Therefore, I interpret this move as a cancelation (especially since Punisher Max has dropped below the 20,000 mark — which seems to be a threshhold of sorts for Marvel).


^not really,titles in Vertigo usually ended with same team all thru the end too.
beside,this is a Max title which i believe has different kind of threshold if it has one

I think Aaron is killing off Frank. There was a lot of foreshadowing for that. Look at the cover!
The series will make a great omnibus.

MAX produces awesome comics. I hope Marvel won’t cancel the whole line ;(

Not sure what I think about that… initially that sucks a lot; I only buy Daredevil and PunisherMAX from Marvel anymore. If this is the end of the series, that’s sad… if it’s just a(nother) hiatus, that could be exciting… if this is just another stupid renumbering scheme tho, I’m done.

Oh, for the love of all thats right and good int he world, do not kill off the MAX Frank Castle… Aaron’s done a wonderful job expanding on the core of the character while keeping with Ennis’ amazing MAX run. And please, oh please, do not replace The Punisher with a new character in the role. I hate legacy type heroes. There is only one Frank Castle. Let’s hope for a relaunch. Unless I’m reading it incorrectly, it didnt sound like Aaron was done with the character, “This is the culmination of the Punisher/Kingpin story, but it’s not my last story on the book. There are definitely plans in place after this next arc, but I can’t talk about them without spoiling what’s coming up”. If thats the case, while I love Johnson and Dillon, can we get Bradstreet back on covers and perhaps Parlov back on an arc or two?

This is pure speculation but I would’nt be surprised if one of the main reasons behind this cancellation/ending was to present us,via the Max imprint, a whole new version of the Punisher.

A total reboot where Frank would be a cop moonlighting as a vigilante. It would be more aligned with the future TV Show and create a kind of synergy between comics and TV, without touching the classic version of the character as seen in the traditional Marvel Universe.

Goddamn you, Isaac Perlmutter. Go enjoy your fortune already, you penny-pinching busybody!

However, I do think Cobretti might be right. And Frank is definitely dying at the end of the Kingpin arc.

“Now I’m worried about Deadpool Max.”

Isn’t that just another mini series? Of course, with All Winners Squad being canceled who knows how safe its completition would be.

Honestly I’m glad this is ending. The whole series has been set up as a confrontation between Frank and Kingpin, and I appreciate that Aaron has beekeeping things small, tight, and realistic. I want a conclusion to the story, not a series of near-misses that trail on forever. Frank would want that, too. I love this book, it’s the first time I have been interested in Punisher as a character in more than 15 years. I’m sad to see it go, but knowing it’ll go out big is good enough for me.

Didn’t Greg Rucka let it slip, during an interview not to long ago for his new Punisher book, that they were cancelling this soon?!?

The momentum on the MAX series was killed IMO when the book disappeared for several months, b/c Dillon was sick AND working on an Ultimate Avengers mini at the same time.

The arc’s also have gone down in quality also since then. They feel really dragged out. Regardless I’ll stick w the book to the end.

Well if I’m reading this correctly and Max is done, it’s going out on a great note. And it’s refreshing to see a book at the big two come to a finite conclusion. This’ one of my favorite ongoing titles and while I’ll miss it I’ll look forward to seeing what Aaron/Dillon deliver.

I want the Punisher to continue in Max form. Suggested writers include Christopher Priest, Charlie Huston, Geoffrey Thorne..

4 or 5 months back, when Wolvie & the X-Men and Incredible Hulk were announced, Aaron was asked about his ability to do so many books all at once. He responded that PunisherMax was finished being scripted and so that was one thing off of his plate. I honestly believe that statement at the end of this article.
Also, the Max line has been driven more by creative teams than the regular Marvel U line. It seems that it’s more about doing projects that the creators (and presumably editorial) are excited about, and not so much a slave to the numbers machine as the regular line. Hopefully that remains the case under these new strictures being foisted upon Mighty Marvel by the mouse. I could honestly care less about a lot of the MU proper books, but the Max line is consistently good to great, and that would be a shame to lose to the cheese-eating eunuch named Mickey.

Hey Marvel, If you Punisher MAX to sell well, there are only two things you have to do:

1. Get Garth Ennis back to writing stories. Pay him whatever he wants.
2. Get Tim Bradstreet making covers again. Pay him whatever he wants.

Honestly, everything Punisher MAX not written by Garth Ennis has been an acceptable distraction at best and utter crap at worst. Renaming tricks and stunt artist announcements isn’t going to revive this brand for you. It’s the creation of a single mind, and that mind needs to come back.

Aaron was as good as Ennis. The best runs are the finite ones.

Beginning, middle and, oh my God, an actual ending? Hell Yes! Start a book, tell a story, then end the damned thing. I wish every comic book would do this. Remember the last two seasons of X-Files? How about the new episodes of Two and a half Men? Ending a story is a good thing. No Ashton Kutcher as the new Punisher here, thank you very much. And the world is a slightly better place for it.


November 18, 2011 at 2:36 am

This title has been rudderless since Ennis left– the post-ennis, pre-punishermax books were of varying quality, some good, some bad, everyone trying to toe the line and not succeeding. The reboot and emergence of Aaron have been unfortunate, in my opinion.

Ennis’s runs worked because he understood that you couldn’t have the MAX Frank Castle fighting MAX versions of every stupid street level supervillain from the regular Marvel line. The Punisher is at his best when he’s fighting caricatures of the scum that contribute to our society’s criminalities. Once you introduce Bullseye and Eleketra and the Kingpin, it’s all gone to sh*t, and there’s not much of a difference between the character and Frankencastle or whatever the heck is happening with the regular Marvel U.

For whatever reason, and I suspect it may have been as much editorial mandated as anything else, Aaron’s run has been the exact opposite of Ennis’s– focusing on the introduction of “edgier” versions of Marvel U characters. Ennis wrote 60+ issues of pure creation, new characters, new ideas, new situations. Aaron’s made the Kingpin like threesomes and Elektra a lesbian.

It was a book with a really stable audience that wasn’t on the superhero tip; any surprise it’s now fallen into cancellation?

“Ennis’s runs worked because he understood that you couldn’t have the MAX Frank Castle fighting MAX versions of every stupid street level supervillain from the regular Marvel line”

HEAR HEAR! COMPLETELY AGREE! Seriously, i really hated how Aaron brought in Elektra,Bullseye & The Kingpin. It’s been done before and it really screws up the Frank’s Max universe. I love Aaron’s Scalped so i’m stunned how he screwed up this bad. To make matters worse Dillon’s art is horrible, every face looks the same, every gun looks the same (no details, yeah gun nut here), etc..ugh

Glad it’s finished, Ennis’s max is still supreme. Aaron is still badass when it comes to crime (not mixed with capes)

Blair Punshcutioner....

January 14, 2012 at 6:30 pm

\,,/ Always a Punisher fan. \,,/

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