Matthew Rosenberg discusses what happens after Frank Castle's romp as War Machine!

By Jess Harold

He put Frank Castle in the War Machine armor for Marvel Legacy — but that was just the start. Now writer Matthew Rosenberg discusses his plans to take the Punisher’s war on crime to the next level in a brand-new series!

Marvel: In the new Punisher series, Frank will no longer have the War Machine armor. Is this, then, a back-to-basics approach?

Matthew Rosenberg: In some ways yes, and in some ways no. We’re going to get back to Frank Castle with a handgun and a knife, stalking the streets of New York, and getting his hands dirty. But we’re also going to see a man who has changed from his time in the armor. He developed a taste for bigger game and larger targets, and he’s not going to give that up easily. So in a sense it’s back to basics — but on a bigger scale.

Marvel: What will Frank have learned from his time with the armor?

Matthew Rosenberg: I think the big thing for the Punisher is the knowledge that he can affect things in a more direct way. We’re going to have seen him travel overseas to overthrow a government and kill a world leader, and then come back home and go toe-to-toe with some of the most powerful people in the Marvel Universe. He’s been able to do real damage, cause real change, in ways he’s not used to. They used to say that when a shark attacked a human they had to be hunted down because once they’d developed a taste for it they’d never stop. That’s Frank. He’s back on the streets, but he has a taste for the bigger game and he isn’t going to stop until he puts them in the ground — or they put him in it.

Marvel: And what have you learned in your time writing Frank? Has he surprised you in any ways?

Matthew Rosenberg: I think the big thing that surprised me about writing the Punisher was the ease with which you can find humor in him and the situations. I know Garth Ennis was a master at this, and others have followed suit. I think Jason Aaron and Becky Cloonan both had some real dark humor hiding just under the surface. But yeah, it’s fascinating. Frank lends himself to these uncomfortable situations where you just can’t help but giggle. There is this disturbing, awkward humor to him that doesn’t diminish the severity or the drama of the story. That’s been fun to explore.

Marvel: Obviously, Frank is not an overly loquacious character like, say, Spidey or Deadpool. He likes to do his talking with guns. What is the secret to capturing his “voice”?

Matthew Rosenberg: Frank is direct and honest. He’s here to kill people, and he doesn’t need to spend a lot of time debating them or telling them why they’re about to die. But I think the thing about Frank that a lot of people miss, because it’s subtle, is his very dry sense of humor. He says a lot of things that are clearly just for his own quiet amusement. He is the ultimate comedic straight man. People think Frank is doom and gloom all the time, but if you dig through you will find these gallows-humor moments that are maybe a sliver of who he once was.

Marvel: What can you tell us about the kind of big game Frank is going to be targeting in his new book?

Matthew Rosenberg: I can’t say too much, but I can say that issue #1 has some of the biggest bad guys in the Marvel Universe pop in. And that Frank still has his eyes on shaping nations these days. The classic Marvel villains are getting savvier. They aren’t thugs and gangsters anymore. They’re becoming mayors and CEOs and kings. But Frank is still coming for them.

Marvel: Frank has a complicated relationship with other vigilantes, such as Spider-Man and Daredevil. Is that something you’ll touch on?

Matthew Rosenberg: Frank and the capes will most definitely be touched upon. More than touched upon. With Secret Empire, the War Machine armor, and what he has coming up, he has made himself something that means they can’t just look the other way. And he knows that. He’s operating in cape spaces these days, and he knows that puts a target on his back. But he also knows he’s willing to do what they won’t — and that gives him an advantage over the capes on most days.

Marvel: You have Riccardo Burchielli on art. He hasn’t done a lot at Marvel before, but he certainly knows his way around military combat, following a lengthy run on DMZ. Are Frank Castle fans going to like what he brings to the party?

Matthew Rosenberg: I am so excited to work with Riccardo. I am a huge DMZ fan, and his work on that book is really unparalleled. The sense of detail he brings to a city, to a war zone — and to the people in both — is breathtaking. I think those who aren’t familiar with his work are going to be absolutely shocked. There is just this sense of the world he conveys, this realism, that is so captivating. You can feel the buildings rise up around you and the bullets fly past your head. It’s going to be a real treat watching him drag all of us down into Frank Castle’s world.

Marvel: Finally, what’s your one-line pitch for the new PUNISHER book?

Matthew Rosenberg: With some of the biggest villains in his sights, the best heroes on his tail and every nation on high alert, this is Frank Castle against the world.

THE PUNISHER #1 by Matthew Rosenberg and Riccardo Burchielli is on sale August 1!

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It’s all been leading to April 27!

There was an idea, to bring together a group of remarkable people, to see if we could become something more.

We’re nearing the April 27 release of “Avengers: Infinity War”! Last week, Marvel Studios revealed five character posters. Now, they’re back with 22 mighty posters spotlighting each of our impressive super heroes ready to take a stand against the threat that is Thanos!

Leading the gallery above is the first Avenger (and birthday boy) himself, Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man! See the rest of the Avengers and their super allies — Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Benedict Cumberbatch as Stephen Strange/Doctor Strange, Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Chadwick Boseman as King T’Challa/Black Panther, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord, Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch, Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk, Letitia Wright as Shuri, Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel voicing Rocket and Groot, Paul Bettany as Vision, Danai Gurira as Okoye, Dave Bautista as Drax, Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Falcon, Pom Klementieff as Mantis, Don Cheadle as James Rhodes/War Machine, and Benedict Wong as Wong.

“Avengers: Infinity War” opens in theaters on April 27. Get tickets on Fandango now! Stay tuned to Marvel.com, follow @Avengers on Twitter, and Like “The Avengers” on Facebook for the latest on the Avengers as it develops!

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War Machine reveals how the stakes have been raised, his road to recovery and suiting up.

Marvel Studios’ “Captain America: Civil War” demonstrated that Marvel’s heroes are not infallible or untouchable. That statement rings the most true for James Rupert Rhodes who found the Avengers dismantled and himself paralyzed needing to learn how to walk again. Now Tony Stark’s best friend is ready for action in “Avengers: Infinity War”…with some minor hesitation, that is. After the last gathering of heroes, Rhodey’s trepidation is understandable.

Don Cheadle, who plays War Machine, opened up with Marvel.com and other members of the press from the set of “Avengers: Infinity War” and talked of Rhodey’s apprehension about the Marvel Cinematic Universe culmination—and above all, Rhodey’s ultimate loyalty.

Last we saw, Rhodey was caught in the crossfire of “Civil War.” Cheadle foreshadowed how this sets the bar for Rhodey’s approach to “Infinity War,” “The stakes have been raised. And we understand that we’re not invincible and super heroes can go down.”

“He was always somewhat straddling with having Tony as a friend and trying to support him and do what he needed, being outside of the lines, but still somehow trying to stay within the chain of command and the military man that he is,” acknowledged Cheadle. “That’s become more fraught and probably more frayed as the storylines go forward.”

At the end of “Civil War,” Rhodey’s injuries were severe. “Clearly there was a pretty significant moment…where he was accidentally shot out of the air by Vision…who is now my mortal enemy,” shared Cheadle. The mishap during battle is something that is always in the back of Rhodey’s mind, “There’s innuendo. There’s shots taken. There’s things said. Don’t want certain people behind me. I’m gonna keep an eye on everybody, I wanna keep that jewel in front of me, not behind me,” recounted Cheadle about Vision. “He’s negotiating this reunion and his rejoining this team.”

Thanks to Stark technology we will most likely see War Machine in action again. On his new rig, Cheadle jested, “Of course he had to put his name on [it]. So Tony! Like I’m gonna not know who made them.” Getting himself battle ready, however, is a state of mind, Cheadle explained, “You might see him suit back up again. Although that’s gonna be a thing for him to put that suit back on. Last time he was in it, it didn’t go so well. It’s something that he’s fighting to put behind him but absolutely, it creeps up.”

Teammates aren’t the only concern going into “Infinity War.” Cheadle stressed how alien beings and cosmic unknowns aren’t exactly War Machine’s cup of tea, “Rhodey would prefer to deal with real world things and that’s kind of what he understands. When we start leaving the planet and talking about things coming from outer space, he’s like, ‘Dude, I don’t even know what that…what is that? I know how to fight guys and in tanks and weapons—that’s something that’s beyond my pay grade.’ But he’s been thrown into the deep end, so they are all way in [with] this one. So everybody’s gonna have to figure it out on their feet.”

Keeping the secrecy of the “Infinity War” script is difficult and was something the actors had to get used to. “It’s very interesting on set obviously when you don’t know the entirety of everything and things are changing real time. It keeps you on your toes, that’s for sure. But it’s ultimately exciting and it’s as fun for us sometimes discovering it as it is for the audience,” teased Cheadle. “Cause we’re like oh, we had no idea how that was gonna turn and the story is really intricate and pretty, it’s very different I think from what I’ve seen, what I have read.”

Aside from the multitude of characters, Cheadle believes “Infinity War” separates itself by its own determination, “It has a little bit of a different feel than the last movies have. There’s a little more gravitas. And it kind of has to be that way. I don’t think you can keep doing the same kind of thing in this franchise over and over. You have to try to bring in some more serious elements. Rhodey being injured was a part of it, starting the ‘oh wait, people can really get hurt.’ Things can really go south for these characters.”

As big as the “Infinity War” cast is, when they get together it’s like a family reunion. “Whenever you have all of us back together again and we haven’t seen each other for awhile, there feels like there’s a period of like [a] kind of giddiness.” Cheadle described the vibe on set, “Everyone’s kind of catching up and we’re performing for each other a lot of times. Trying to crack each other up and be there in those kinds of ways for each other. So it’s always fun coming back.”

See the gang all together again when “Avengers: Infinity War” opens in theaters on April 27. Get tickets on Fandango now! Stay tuned to Marvel.com, follow @Avengers on Twitter, and Like “The Avengers” on Facebook for the latest on the Avengers as it develops!

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Here's everything we saw and learned on the set of 'Avengers: Infinity War'!

True Believers, we’re inching closer to culmination of the last decade of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the release of Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War,” in theaters April 27!

Last summer, Marvel.com had the opportunity to visit the “Avengers: Infinity War” set and now we’re allowed to share with you all the things we learned about the final chapter phase of the MCU. [Warning: If you want to head into the film knowing nothing, do not proceed ahead!]

With that warning in mind, let’s begin and peep some new photos while you’re at it:

[Updated Thursday, March 15]

[1] Source Material. “Avengers: Infinity War” will deviate from the source material. So don’t go in expecting THE INFINITY GAUNTLET, the 1992 six-issue run.

Mark Ruffalo, who plays Hulk/Bruce Banner, revealed during the visit, “It’s so different from the comic books. There’s elements that are clearly the same, but when you really start to get into the story, everything changes.”

He goes on to add, “[Infinity Gauntlet] is informative…but then again it just gets so off of the topic that it starts to become a little confusing.”

[2] Witness the King. Hot on the heels of Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther,” our set visit was able to witness a scene unfold as our Avengers — a fully bearded Captain America, a platinum blonde Black Widow, a visibly-wounded Vision holding on to Scarlet Witch, Falcon, War Machine wearing STARK leg braces, and Bruce Banner — make their way off the Quinjet in the country of Wakanda. Our current roster of Avengers are greeted by King T’Challa, the Dora Milaje, and Bucky.

Some of our heroes have not seen each other in a very long time following the events of Marvel Studios’ “Captain America: Civil War.” Steve and Bucky embrace while Sam approaches with a quip, “Are you gonna snap and kill someone if they say bologna sandwich?”

T’Challa asks, “How big of an assault should we expect?”

“A pretty big one, sir,” Cap replies.

As seen at the end of “Black Panther,” T’Challa has brought Wakanda out of the shadows. Is the nation ready for Thanos to bring the fight to them? That’s left to be seen.

[3] Avengers (Re)Assemble. As highlighted in the scene above, some of our heroes will be meeting each other for the first time, while others haven’t seen each other since the end of “Avengers: Age of Ultron” or “Captain America: Civil War.”

For instance, our Avengers are meeting the healed Bucky, now known to his Wakandan allies as “White Wolf.” Banner has been missing in action on his cosmic adventure, and may know how big a threat Thanos really is.

Get prepared for tons of amazing pairings!

[4] Children of Thanos. The Mad Titan himself will not be operating alone. As we’ve seen in the trailers, Thanos likes to get his hands dirty but he also has those to do his bidding. Enter the Children of Thanos. While on set, we were shown maquettes of Ebony Maw, Proxima Midnight, Cull Obsidian, and Corvus Glaive. Get a glimpse of the Children of Thanos maquettes during our D23 2017 coverage here.

Maquettes of Smart Hulk, who we caught a glimpse of in “Thor: Ragnarok” and angsty Tween Groot, as seen in the end credits of “Guardians of the Galaxy 2,” made an appearance.

[5] Costume Upgrades. You can bet our heroes are going to look their baddest and sharpest versions as they take on the Mad Titan. We’ve already seen Bucky and Cap get some upgrades thanks to Wakanda’s source of Vibranium. Spidey has a pretty sweet revamp courtesy of Tony, while Rhodey has STARK leg braces to help him navigate the injuries he endured during “Captain America: Civil War.” We can expect these aren’t the only heroes who will leveling up their armor.

That’s all we can share for now, but keep it on Marvel.com as we start rolling out interviews with the directors, screenwwriters and stars over the next few weeks!

[6] IMAX. The Russo Brothers revealed the entire film was shot by IMAX Arri 65 cameras. With unbelievably larger-than-life characters, the IMAX cameras helped the directors frame the shots and capture the intricate beauty of the exotic landscapes. Not only that, the evolving visual effects technology will push what Josh Brolin can do as a performer.

Related:

‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Brings the Heroes To Wakanda – Chadwick Boseman shares his thoughts on opening Wakanda to the world!

Hulk Is Back From ‘Ragnarok’ And Ready For Battle In ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ – Mark Ruffalo talks Hulk’s place on the team and the evolution of speaking in full sentences!

The Russo Brothers Give Us An Insider Look on How They Tackled ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ – Get a glimpse on the storytelling elements from balancing tones to collaborations and more.

Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans Are Ready For Fans To See The Avengers Assemble in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ – See Black Widow and Captain America gather the team against Thanos on April 27!

Danai Gurira On the Strong Female Presence In ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ – Okoye, leader of the Dora Milaje, isn’t ready to assemble

Thanos Isn’t Wrong in Marvel Studios’ ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ – Marvel screenwriters on creating the Mad Titan’s emotional story in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

Don Cheadle says ‘Infinity War’ Is Serious Business – War Machine reveals how the stakes have been raised, his road to recovery and suiting up

Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany Believe Scarlet Witch and Vision’s Relationship Is An Asset To Help Spur On The Fight In ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ – Olsen and Bettany detail the difference between a Russos and a Whedon ‘Avengers’ film

“Avengers: Infinity War” opens in theaters on April 27. Stay tuned to Marvel.com, follow @Avengers on Twitter, and Like “The Avengers” on Facebook for the latest on the Avengers as it develops!

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From Iron Man to War Machine and back, an armored hero with few peers!

Celebrate Black History Month by delving into the first appearances of Marvel’s most prominent African and African-American characters on Marvel Unlimited!

One of the best things about long-term comic reading is seeing the development of a character into a hero. That’s what readers of IRON MAN got to see in the 70’s and 80’s when it came to James Rhodes.

In his first appearance back in 1979’’s IRON MAN #118—by legends Bob Layton, David Micheline, and John Byrne—Rhodey debuted as Tony Stark’s helicopter pilot, but the billionaire decided to fly the whirlybird himself up to the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier for a meeting. In issue #120, Rhodes told Bethany Cabe that he’d known Stark since the Vietnam War, and would go on to become an important person in Tony’s present leading up to and after the classic “Demon in a Bottle” storyline.

A few years later, Tony took to the drink again as Obadiah Stane focused on destroying Stark financially. With Tony in no condition to fight, Rhodey donned the Iron Man armor for the first time in 1983’s IRON MAN #170 to defeat Magma.

Iron Man (1968) #170

Iron Man (1968) #170

  • Published: May 10, 1983
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 29, 2013
  • Cover Artist: Luke McDonnell
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Rhodes wore the suit for a while, taking on villains like Radioactive Man, helping to found the West Coast Avengers, and even participating in Secret Wars. After a while though, the suit took its toll as the helmet had been designed for Stark’s brainwaves. The incompatible hardware drove Rhodey mad, but Tony repaid his friend by standing by him and helping him recover.

After getting some help from Alpha Flight’s Shaman, Rhodey got his head fixed and returned to the armor until a bomb orchestrated by Stane nearly killed him. Rhodes remained good friends with Tony, helping during the Armor Wars story and even taking over the suit a time or two when absolutely necessary.

A badly injured Stark revealed the War Machine armor in 1992’s IRON MAN #281, but didn’t wear it long as he seemingly passed away in #283. In the following issue, Rhodes discovered that Stark not only left him the company, but the War Machine as well.

Rhodey filled the position valiantly for a while until he discovered that Stark didn’t actually die and set out on his own, leading into his first solo series, WAR MACHINE. Since then he’s worn many variations on his familiar armor, filled in for Iron Man, helped save Tony’s life on more than one occasion, and joined groups like S.H.I.E.L.D., the Secret Avengers, the Office of National Emergency, the U.S. Military, the Crew, and the Avengers.

Iron Man (1968) #283

Iron Man (1968) #283

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Unfortunately, Rhodes recently fell in battle against Thanos in the pages of CIVIL WAR II #1. He and the other heroes who wanted to use the future-seeing Inhuman Ulysses to stop incidents did so, but at the cost of Rhodey’s life. Enraged, Tony Stark rose against Captain Marvel which launched the entire Marvel Universe into another massive conflict.

History Lesson

Over the years, Jim Rhodes wore more than just the Iron Man and War Machine armors. In the second half of his 1990’s series, he lost the silver armor and wound up with a symbiotic suit called the Eidolon Warwear that granted him a variety of new abilities. Much more recently, Rhodes donned a look originally sported by Norman Osborn. He first appeared as the Iron Patriot in the pages of GAMBIT #13 before continuing on into a five-issue series called IRON PATRIOT, but returned to his more familiar War Machine identity before the events of Civil War II.

Next, we’re sticking with armored heroes who pick up where Tony Stark leaves off with a Riri Williams spotlight!

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Tracking the major alterations the mega event has made to the Marvel Universe!

You didn’t need to be Ulysses to see that Civil War II would change the face of the Marvel Universe. And with only a matter of weeks before the final issue of CIVIL WAR II sees the light of day on December 28, we look back on some of the most shocking game-changers from the first seven issues of the series.

It’s War (Again)!
Last December, Marvel announced a second super hero civil war 10 years after the first one, which rocked the Marvel Universe for years to follow. It only makes sense then that this moment provides us with our first game-changer. As [series editor] Tom Breevort said at the time “neither [side] being painted as absolutely right or absolutely wrong” might force readers out of their traditional camps to consider other viewpoints.

If we know anything from the initial Civil War, scars ran deep and no doubt, the heroes and fans alike will feel after effects from this family feud for years to come.

War Machine: Out of Order
When the Avengers set an ambush to bring in Thanos, thanks to the use of Ulysses’ precognitive powers, few expected the cost to include War Machine’s death. This event lit the fire that became Civil War II with Tony Stark seeking to prevent similar tragedies from occurring while Carol Danvers still believed in restricting criminals, such as Thanos, of their freedom to act.

Hulk DOWN!
With War Machine dead and She-Hulk in critical condition, the Avengers soon faced yet another staggering loss with the death of one of its founding members: The Incredible Hulk. Recognizing his capacity for destruction, Bruce Banner created a failsafe to prevent further Hulk-fueled havoc that would result in his death. Only fans had no idea just what that “failsafe” would look like…

BULLSEYE! Give the Man 20 Years to Life!
Few would accuse Hawkeye of fitting the same super hero mold as Captain America or Spider-Man, but as Bruce Banner understood, sometimes being heroic means doing the things no one else will do. Given how often Clint Barton received the call for those kinds of missions on behalf of S.H.I.E.L.D., it should have come as no surprise when readers discovered him as Banner’s failsafe, as he killed his longtime friend and fellow Avenger to halt another Hulk incident.

Civil War II #8 cover by Marko Djurdjevic

Civil War II #8 cover by Marko Djurdjevic

Tony Stark Goes Black Ops
Although many readers no doubt questioned Carol Danvers’ use of precognitive policing, Tony Stark crossed a line of his own when he not only kidnapped Ulysses from the Inhumans’ compound but also tortured the young man and conducted non-consensual tests on him. Although Tony used this information to discover Ulysses’ powers were fallible and based only on probability, it failed to convince Captain Marvel to stand down. Further, it failed to convince many readers of Tony’s moral high ground.

Let’s Get Ready to Ruuummmbbbllleee!!!
By the fourth and fifth issues of CIVIL WAR II, the super hero fight began, and for fans of fantasy battles, the major teams found themselves duking it out for all to see. Of course, some heroes seemed to take some real pleasure in finally getting to lay the smack down on each other. Once the dust settles from this drawn-out slobber knocker, however, the question remains of how—or if—they will ever stand side-by-side again?

Did Carol Just Do What We Think She Did …
At the end of CIVIL WAR II #7, we see Iron Man confronting Captain Marvel on the steps of the Capitol in a suit that looks like a super-sized version of War Machine’s armor. This time, Carol plays the role of Thanos as she delivers a shot so powerful that, once again, we see another War Machine fall…

Get the big finish in CIVIL WAR II #8, available December 28 from Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez!

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