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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D has certainly taken a darker turn in its sophomore season and now word has come down from the Marvel gods that a familiar face may be turning up on the hit ABC show. It could be a long shot for the adventure drama to score such a coup in prime time, but fans of the show may get to see none other than Frank Castle, aka “The Punisher.” After so many failed attempts at bringing the skull wearing antihero to the big screen, bringing the character to the small screen may be the resuscitation the big guy needs.
Tuesday’s episode of S.H.I.E.L.D entitled “The Writing on the Wall” made some subtle hints that the show may be going down a very dark road of the Marvel mythos that includes Marvel’s go-to mercenary. The Punisher has had a devoted following since the characters' inception 40 years ago in The Amazing Spider-Man #129. However, it is one character that has just not translated that well off the comic book page in three serious duds at the box office. In the episode, Agent Skye, who is known for having some shady hacker associates, contacts a source by the name of “Micro.” Now, while there is no character of the same name in the Marvel Comics canon, there is a little known character named David “Microchip” Lieberman. Microchip was an early ally and associate of The Punisher before providing weapons and tech before turning bad.
The theory has been illustrated and analyzed around the web this week. most notably on comicbook.com, leaving room for a whole lot of debate. While the seeds have definitely been planted for this possible cameo by a Marvel a-lister, fans have been voicing their opinions, saying that S.H.I.E.L.D would almost certainly not deal with a criminal killer like The Punisher. That being said, it is heavy odds against that we will see The Punisher anytime soon. Still, if the Micro lead plays out, those odds could quickly reverse. Remember, we are dealing with the Whedons, and they have brought more surprises to Marvel fans than Tony Stark has suits of armor. So no minute tidbit can be tossed to the curb without close scrutiny under the eyes of the Marvel faithful.
Bringing The Punisher to network television is most definitely a tall order, considering his pedigree of ultra-violence. It would not make for a particularly good match with the fairly vanilla S.H.I.E.L.D. After Marvel regained the rights to The Punisher last year, the timing does make sense to bring the psychotic character into the broader fold of the Marvel Universe, but if Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D just does not seem like the right fit. One thing fans do not want to see is a dumbed down version of Frank Castle that is stymied by the rules of network television.