Punisher is a black dude now. The cover is a representation of the rebirth of Luke Cage, whose new solo book is designed to shed his old representation as “Power Man” in a yellow shirt, and the new Punisher, who leaves his old self behind to become African American. It won’t last. But imagine if it had lasted? That might have been cool.
I know a lot of people were offended by how easy it was for Marvel to increase black representation by essentially painting the skin of a white guy, but these are comics people. Silliness and contrivances are part of the art form.
Anyway, since he’s black, he gets beaten up by cops.
And of course, if it’s 1991 and there’s black skin, then there has to be a Luke Cage, too. They team up briefly. And in the end Punisher becomes white again just so we can have what might be the most unintentionally racist panel in comic book history:
That’s right! Turning white after being black makes you handsome!
Creators: Mike Baron, Marc McLaurin, and Val Mayerik
For the complete history of the MU, year by year, go here.