The Punisher: 10 Ways It Saves Netflix's Marvel Universe

1. It Has Something To Say

The Punisher Lewis Curt

Although criticism levied at The Punisher has varied greatly, consensus has seemingly taken aim at the show's attempts to broach the US gun debate. While that particular element of the series isn't handled all that well, with two caricatures representing either side of the aisle, it is the series' other statements that bear the most salience, particularly in relation to war, violence and the systemic mistreatment of veterans.

The Punisher has a massive history of being misinterpreted, misappropriated, and just downright misunderstood since his original introduction in 1974, and it's to the show's credit that it actually approaches this subject head on with the character of Lewis Wilson. Wilson, a marine veteran, returns to the US with PTSD and is subsequently perturbed by the societal disregard with which the government - and indeed the public - have seemingly treated himself and his fellow comrades.

This then leads Lewis, caught up in the midst of a mental breakdown and a profound sense of alienation, to terrorism. He uses Frank as his moral compass throughout his murder spree and proclaims him to be a hero of the people, yet anyone who knows the character would know that he wouldn't abide by these acts, a fact that's conveyed wonderfully when Castle himself calls Lewis a coward when things are at their abject worst.

Lewis Wilson is, without doubt, the most important character in The Punisher, and while the show may fluff its lines when it comes to gun control (a fact made worse by its fetishisation of firearms in the first episode), its comments on the military grant it a salience that few other Marvel properties have been able to match.

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Comics Editor
Comics Editor

WhatCulture's very own Comics Editor. Cats, comic books and spaghetti westerns are my thing. Rants about stuff @EwanRuinsThings