Ennis has actually touched on this a few times in the Max books. One that stands out for me particularly was the Widowmaker arc, in which the character who temporarily becomes him is unable to handle the weight of the act, while the cop who stands on the precipice steps away from it, largely as a result of Castle's own words - "You want to be me?"

He also made an early comment regarding Frank's motivations through Microchip in the first story arc, when Micro accuses him outright of using the death of his family to justify what he does, when in fact it's a simple matter of doing it because he likes it. As a lapsed Punisher fan returning to the fold, it was easy to overlook at the time, but in light of future stories like the one about his new daughter (which I wasn't aware of prior to this article) it becomes more clear.

I like it. I enjoy Castle's ambiguity. I enjoy the fact that he's the one guy in the Marvel universe with a clearly defined and utterly incorruptible moral code. It reminds me of a line in the original Punisher miniseries done by Grant and Zeck, spoken during a discussion about Castle's psych evaluation following his capture: "He tests so sane it's scary." Castle isn't immoral and he isn't insane; he's possessed of uniquely focused clarity that none of us can lay claim to. It's the sort of depth and complexity rarely seen in mainstream comic characters.

- Malygris

***

In response to "He is the Champion" from The Escapist Forum: I've got to take issue with some of what this article says. Steve Long is only the guy who purchased the rights to the Champions IP. George MacDonald et al did all the hard work. Now, from what I understand Long is a really... boundless writer; he can write *a lot*. That's fine. But the article makes him out to be the creator and master of all things Champions and HSR. This really isn't true, he only purchased the IP for Champions sometime after Hero Games went under. And then came the dark years, the years of R. Talsorian and Fuzion.... *shudder* =)

Also, I have to quibble with anyone paying attention to Long at all in relation to Champions Online. Sure, he was the one who sold the IP to Cryptic... but he sold ALL the IP, every last bit of it, and in turn was granted a license to produce HSR and Champions-related gaming stuff from Cryptic. All the stuff that Cryptic is using is the background fluff for Champions, which Steve Long has never had a hand in creating but for some supplements. He has as much to do with Champions Online as Tolkein's son has with LOTR-OL. So why is he being lauded and feted here?

- ViciousMink

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