Okay, it's basically just another skull, but it's got a cool design on it. Torn official-looking papers with various words redacted? A CIA stamp? It's like the showrunners are reading my fandom dream journal.
That's not all Netflix has given us, however. A 15-second teaser video zooming in on those papers provides something we haven't seen before: a proper hint about how this show is going to shake out. The proportion of redacted to non-redacted words in the papers suggest some serious intrigue going on, and the details from the new teaser video do not disappoint.
First of all, what the heck is Operation Cerberus? My exhaustive research into the written Punisher canon—i.e. reading metric buttloads of Punisher comics, even the really stupid ones—hasn't turned up any operations, missions, or anything else by that name. (Apparently the German army undertook a naval dash called Operation Cerberus in World War II, but unless the show is getting super into war history, that probably isn't it.)
That "retaliatory criminal" phrase, though, may give us an inkling. Whoever's involved has a bone to pick and is known for criminal activity. Once we add that to the military overtones of "Operation," it all adds up to Billy Russo, who in the show is the Punisher's Special Forces bro and runs a private military corporation, but is better known to comics fans as the crime lord Jigsaw. If the Netflix show ties the military-industrial complex to organized crime, I might explode from the implications.
Also, whoever's in charge of redacting incriminating words over at the CIA is a bit sloppy and has left the first few letters of our mystery whistleblower's name visible: "Fra", as in Frank Castle. So perhaps the Punisher has gotten on the US government's bad side by exposing, or at least threatening to expose, shady dealings on their part.
There's also a bit about someone referred to as "Codename: Micro," who I think we can assume is the Punisher's buddy/tech guy David Linus "Microchip" Lieberman. In the show, Micro is a former NSA analyst, which could be a nod to Marvel's Punisher MAX comic, authored by Garth Ennis; the first story arc of the comic features Micro signing on with the CIA to help them bring the Punisher to justice for his many, many murders.
And now for the best part. "COVERT ACTION KANDAHAR." Could this be more Punisher MAX goodness? We already know Rawlins, a major villain from the MAX comics who carries out super ethically dubious work for the US government, will be in the Netflix show as "a high-ranking member of the CIA whose operations in Afghanistan intersect with Frank Castle." Daredevil fans may also remember hints dropped in Season 2 about seriously messy events having gone down in Kandahar during Frank's tour of duty.
As before, while this isn't a major revelation, it does fill out what we already know. If Rawlins is a player in the COVERT ACTION KANDAHAR document, we can expect to see some jaw-droppingly unethical stuff; his greatest hits from the comics include setting up fake jihadi cells in order to give the US an excuse to attack the Middle East. The Punisher's going to have his work cut out for him.
One thing the teasers haven't divulged is an official release date. Netflix is still maddeningly closed-mouthed about when the heck this show is coming out, but we do know it'll be later this year. Until the company decides to stop punishing us (sorry), we'll have to satisfy ourselves with teasers like this one.
What are you hoping to see in Netflix's Punisher? Let us know in the comments!
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Everything you need to know about Marvel's Punisher