UPDATED – PUNISHER MAX To End With Issue #22

Punisher MAX #22

UPDATE: With new comments from…

Jason Aaron:

“It’s been a big sick bloody thrill working on this series and a right honor following in the footsteps of Garth Ennis. I must say, I’m as proud of this series as anything I’ve ever done at Marvel, in large part because of the amazing art team of Dave Johnson, Matt Hollingsworth and of course Steve Dillon. This was always intended to be one big story, with a very specific beginning, middle and a slam-bang mother of an end. I’m afraid I can’t say any more about the ending than that…other than that it gave me chills, just getting to write it.”

Steve Dillon:

“I’ve drawn a lot of Frank Castle over the last dozen or so years and I’ve been lucky enough to work with some really good writers while doing so. Jason has really delivered on this one, so much so that I wait for the script to arrive in my inbox like a fan waiting for the book to hit the shelves in the store. He’s taken some great characters, like the Kingpin and Bullseye, and given them his own MAX twist. He’s also taken Frank on a tortuous, personal journey and it’s all been great fun to draw.”

Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso:

“The day has come.  You always knew the Punisher’s one-man war against organized crime would end bad, but you never knew how bad. With Punisher MAX #22 Jason Aaron and Steve Dillon bring the tragedy of Frank Castle’s life to a boil and their epic run to a bloody climax that will haunt readers for years to come.”

Punisher Max #21

Punisher MAX #21


UPDATE: Jason Aaron just posted to Twitter:
PUNISHER MAX is ending, the way I always intended it. It was not canceled.

So while it seemed as if the title was canceled, it appears to confirm speculation that Punisher MAX is ending when intended by Aaron and Marvel Comics.

We’ll have more from Marvel Comics and Jason Aaron tomorrow.

The title slashing continues at Marvel Comics.  First it was Alpha Flight getting canceled, then followed by the news of X-23 getting canceled. And now today, it appears as if the next title in the line of fire at Marvel Comics is Punisher MAX by Jason Aaron and Steve Dillon.

We first heard rumblings of this cancellation via Andy Diggle on Twitter, but then Newsarama broke the news that Punisher MAX was indeed canceled, which was to be revealed when they debuted more of the Marvel solicitations tomorrow. Newsarama does point out that this could the natural conclusion that was planned by Jason Aaron and that a Marvel spokesperson hinted at more to come from the MAX universe.

For those unaware, Punisher MAX was the mature Punisher title that existed outside of the standard Marvel-616 continuity. First brought to prominence by Garth Ennis and his epic run, Punisher MAX was picked up by Jason Aaron and Steve Dillon and has been one of the the best books published by Marvel, getting Pick of the Week for issue #12 and we just ran a preview of issue #20 earlier this week.

In fact when we interviewed Marvel Editor In Chief Axel Alonso in April at Wonder Con and asked him which book was he most excited about at Marvel? His answer was Punisher MAX.



  1. Wow. No title is safe at marvel. Wonder what all this cutting titles and layoffs will mean in the long run.

  2. Let the shitstorm begin . . .

  3. Noooooooo! What is Marvel doing? Take away Daken or one of the 20 Avengers titles but not Punisher Max.

    But seriously what is with Marvel and all of these changes? The 3.99 price point, the large layoffs, and the canceling of well loved, but poorly performing titles. Are they trying to fatten up their bottom line before the Disney acquisition is complete?

  4. It’s to make room for a Power Pack and Squirrel Girl comic written by a female writer.

  5. Aaron always said he had a planned ending and it would be a finite run a la his Ghost Rider one. I assume because it ends at #22 that maybe it was cut short, but at the same time I’ve been thinking it would end either after the arc after “Frank” or the one after that, so I assume if it was cut short, it wasn’t by too much. Still, very scary times at Marvel right now as they really are becoming just about the big selling titles and screw everything else, they’ll just ship the selling titles twice as much to make up for it. Ah diversity, how I miss you.

  6. actually, the newsarama article says specifically that it was it’s planned ending, not cancelled.

  7. The Mouse has a very sharp axe.


  9. Shit.

    I’m really sad to hear this. The non-616 Punisher book has been one of my favorite books since it started back in 2004 or there ’bouts. It’s one of the best books I read each month, and Jason Aaron has been doing a smashing job, filling some big shoes left by Garth Ennis. I’m really going to miss this book.

    I’d really like to know WHY this is happening. Is Aaron just done with what he planned, as Ron wondered? Are they trying to consolidate on the 616? Did “the Mouse” have anything to do with it?

    What have the sales numbers on this been?

    Well, that’s another $3.99 you won’t be getting out of me, Marvel. This was a book I was glad to pay the extra buck for. Maybe I can find a DC, Image, or indie book to replace it.

  10. damn, sad sad news. I’ve been loving this book so much and I’m sad to see it go. I figured with Disney owning Marvel we’d see more mid-list, critically acclaimed books survive, not the inverse.

  11. Better be a relaunch hot on the heels of this, ’cause it sure feels to me like Aaron had a lot more to do with this incarnation of Frank and god knows I was up for buying it….it’s so much better than the Rucka book it’s a joke. It IS exactly the kind of book Alonzo typically champions so I have some hope they are just planning something new with the team and character. Hard to improve on those two guys though, unless Ennis returns.

    (btw, when IS Ennis going to return? His homeboy is running the show!)

  12. I used to buy about 30 Marvel books a month before the $3.99 price point, and this was the last Marvel title on my pull-list. Now I’m just collecting Independents and DC. Sad times, I used to be such a Marvel-Zombie. Punisher is still my favourite Marvel character, and the MAX book was the best of the two Punisher books in my opinion.

    RIP Punisher MAX 🙁

  13. Well that’s enough to make me go on a vengence based killkng spree

  14. Honestly, it is to be expected. Disney is looking for properties to merchandise. And before we outright blame them, we also have to remember that Marvel did the same thing before Disney, just not as efficiently. We have known for a long time that the comics exist to provide a petri dish for new ideas to make into feature properties and to market on Pajamas and Drink glasses across the county.

    Low selling books arent likely to produce high grossing movies from an executive’s point of view. (And honestly, its probably true as much as we would like to prove it wrong.) Poor performing movies dont sell backpacks and sneakers. The characters themselves are important, but you can have Punisher show up in a SpiderMan comic a gazillion times, or Alpha Flight show up in an X-men or Avengers comic.

    And the talent that was working on a high quality but low selling book can then be reassigned or recomissioned to write yet another Avengers spin-off to tie in to the upcoming moive. Avengers Solo 1.1.1: Hawkeye and Hulk picnic in Central Park. Guest staring Deadpool!!

  15. Bright side? OMNIBUS!

  16. WOW!

    Out of all the books still around I never thought that a Punisher book, let alone an ‘architect’ title by Jason Aaron, would get the axe. Although I dropped the book long ago because it was because Aaron’s attempt at being Garth Ennis and totally failing.

    I total you guys that these cuts for budget purposes were going to be bad…..”Some called me mad…They laughed at me!”


  17. Mother. Fucker.

  18. I’m glad it’s ending where Jason Aaron wanted, it’s been pretty clear things were building to an ending for a while now. This would’ve been the only book I read right now not going digital so it saves me switching to trades on it!

    Can we get an update on the article? Marvel isn’t cancelling it, it’s just coming to its planned end.

    • @gobo: CBR and other sources can’t seem to confirm either whether it’s cancelled or ending.

      But considering the line is changing, for some reason, I doubt #22 was ever a proper end to any book.

    • Aaron said a while ago his story was coming to an end, and it’s pretty clear everything is coming to a head. Since the line is basically just Punisher at this point they could wait for it to end before relaunching.

    • @gobo How long is a while ago? Months, weeks?

      If this was planned months ago then I can see it. But if this is just as recent of an announcement like X-23 or Alpha Flight then I don’t buy it personally.

    • We’ve inquired with Marvel and with Aaron – both declined to comment until tomorrow. We’ll find out the details tomorrow.

    • Cool, great to hear Ron!

    • @NextChamp “Punisher from the get-go was one big story, and we’re moving to the close of that story,” Aaron told Newsarama in July.

    • @ron: Excited to read up on it, but Aaron just tweeted that it is ending as he originally planned….Still not buying it though.

      @gobo: That quote just tells me he’s close to ‘a story’ and not the ‘ending’ of ‘a story’. Sorry, but I hear that quote all the time about writers talking about how everything is one big story to them. (I don’t mean to deny everything your posting here, it’s just that that particular quote still doesn’t make me believe it)

    • @NextChamp I know you feel that way but as someone reading the book (you stopped ages ago, right?) it really does feel like it’s coming to its natural end. So if he’s lying he’s sure doing a good job of it.

    • I agree. While I’d like it to continue for years, it certainly feels like it is coming to a natural ending.

    • @NextChamp – go find the early interviews Aaron did when he was announced as the writer and when he just started, he’s says he had one big story to tell and then he was done, a la his run on Ghost Rider. Whether he meant to go to #25 or really wanted it to end with #22, who knows, but he’s telling the ending he wants. Frankly I was expecting an end knowing this was one big story with either the arc after “Frank”, which is what’s happening, or maybe an arc after that. We were never going to see Punisher MAX #50 by Aaron.

  19. This is the worst day ever. One of the first titles that introduced me to my love of comics & now it is ending. Seriously, this FF & the Ultimate line were the only Marvel books that I have been buying from them, but this was definitely my favorite of them all. I just wish that Aaron is able to provide a nice coda ending to not only mark the end of his terrific run, but also to pay tribute to the legacy of this fantastic book. Now I’m going to re-read Ennis’ run & cry forever. :, (

  20. I knew it had to end sometime, but I am still sad to hear it is this soon. I hope Aaron and Dillon will team together again soon!

  21. Jason Aaron just tweeted: @jasonaaron: PUNISHER MAX is ending, the way I always intended it. It was not canceled.

  22. I literally just finished reading the most recent issue and I was just thinking about how much I enjoy the title. I always told myself I’d drop it when Ennis left, but I have really loved Aaron’s work on the title. Really sad to see this go. What the hell is going on at Marvel?!

  23. I wonder what the sales have been like?

    Does Deadpool MAX outsell this? Because Deadpool MAX just got greenlit for another 12 issues and a Holiday Special.

    I never really liked this Punisher series, though. It all seemed been-there-done-that. Good creators, but the mood of the book felt stale and predictable to me.

    If they cancel Deadpool MAX, though, then I’m going ape. None of you internet comics sites have helped that title out. And it is fantastic. Everyone should love it. And I’m not even much of a Deadpool fan. But Deadpool MAX >>>> Punisher MAX.

    • how do you know it “got greenlit” for 12 more issues? not trying to be argumentative, I’m just wondering how you know as solicitations only go out three months and nothing ever seems to be set in stone with minis ending early, ongoings turning into minis, etc.

    • Deadpool MAX is one of the worst comics I’ve ever read. Its continued existence, along with that of Wolverine: Best There Is, baffle me to no end. (And I love both of those characters.)

      Aaron’s Punisher has been every bit as good as Ennis’ early stuff, and better, IMO, than the latter part of Ennis’ run.

      No accounting for taste.

  24. With great regret, I will be saving another $3 a month.

  25. This really is a shame, sort of. When I started reading comics regularly seven years ago, Punisher MAX was the third book I started in on. I think the impetus was an extra on the movie DVD. It sounded like a good book to jump in on, and it very quickly satisfied a non-superhero team, non-Star Wars role in my initial pull list. I always thought of it as being in a Marvel canon without the sliding timescale, starting with his early Amazing appearances, including his origin in the black and white magazines, continuing on to Max. It all just made since that this was an older Frank. The book was regularly my PotW on weeks it came out, through all five writers. That said, the prospect of something in the MAX vein but different is very intriguing, can’t wait to hear about it tomorrow.

  26. Hooray planned ending!

  27. I am ONLY ok with this on the condition that it relaunches with Garth Ennis and Dillon in a no-holds-barred Frankstavaganza. What’s the point of Alonso being EiC if we can’t get Ennis on a regular book?

  28. I thought everyone knew about this. Dave Johnson stated it was the last issue when he uploaded the cover onto his deviantart profile months ago. Anyway I’m excited for the planned ending.

    • I’d assumed that everyone was acting indignant out of sarcasm

    • Yeah I’m not too sure why everyone’s up in arms, Aaron has said from the beginning this was a finite run. And who’s to say there won’t be a new Punisher MAX #1 in a couple of months? I’m not too sure what the numbers were, but if it sold okay, there will be.

  29. I’m glad it’s a planned ending, but sad that one of my current favorite books is coming to an end. I’m going to miss Punisher MAX, there really aren’t too many Marvel books left that I really look forward to.

  30. god dammit. my current favorite book being published.

  31. I dropped this series a couple issues ago for budgetary reasons, but now that I know it’s going to have a proper ending soon I’ll probably go back and pick up the issues I missed.

  32. What? Why not cancel the inferior Rucka Punisher series and keep this book? After Fear Itself, I think we need as many non-616 marvel titles as we can get.

    • Rucka’s Punisher is not inferior. It’s just different tonally. I actually enjoy both takes on the character and enjoy what each book brings to the character.

  33. I’m glad I got to enjoy this.

  34. I hope this comes back in some incarnation. Aaron’s run on Punisher MAX has been epic. The MAX versions of Kingpin and Bullseye have been awesome.

  35. I love the book but lets be honest the book doesnt sell and it feels like it was coming to a end

  36. The best Punisher story in YEARS. It even does a thing or two better than Ennis’ run, in regards to comedic pacing and things of that nature.

  37. Hope there’s a good collected version.

  38. Again these comments by Aaron, Dillon, and Alonso are not even close to being convincing that this was the original intent to end at #22. Especially with Alonso’s comments basically being a big PR stunt for people to buy the last issue.

    Just say that they cancelled this one particular book already! You’ve cancelled, what feels like, a dozen books this week already.

    • I don’t see the point in getting hung up on the terminology. If Aaron and Dillon are ending their story the way they want to, what does it matter if they call it a cancellation? Is there some reason you want them to call it a cancellation?

      And this isn’t directed at you specifically, TNC, but I feel like the term “PR stunt” gets used way too much to malign normal comic book marketing. I mean, that Alonso quote reads like almost any other solicitation text I’ve ever read.

      I think Greg Rucka put it well in last week’s Word Balloon when he said that The Punisher’s story really should have ended a long time ago. He’s a character with a very specific mission that’s been expanded in often strange ways just to keep him around.

    • i really dont see why you should need convincing. Is that based on anything? It’s pretty bold just basically accuse 3 people with actual first hand knowledge of a situtaion based soley on it doesnt fit with your pre concieved view of the situtation. Has anything actually done anything specific to make you think they are lying?

  39. Well, it sure sounds like Frank is gonna buy it in the last issue, eh? If you’re going to end it with some integrity, that would really be the time.

  40. Other Punisher is better and probably outselling it, and Aaron has his hands full……max line needs a rest.

  41. Why are all of my books getting cancelled? If Avengers Academy gets cancelled , I will hurt someone.