Over the past week, Marvel has been releasing teaser images featuring some of their most prominent heroes being... well, shot up, burned to death, and otherwise murdered. It's pretty grim stuff, and it's prompted speculation that they were going to move right into their next line-wide crossover event hot on the heels of Avengers vs. X-Men. Today, though, we finally learned what it's all about:

This October, Marvel will be relaunching Punisher War Zone, and if past Punisher comics are any indication, it will most likely feature Frank Castle killing an awful lot of people. Check out the full array of teasers after the cut!

For those of you who may not be familiar with the title's history, the first volume of War Zone was originally launched as the third monthly Punisher title. This was, of course, back in 1992 when Big Frank was at the height of his considerable popularity, something that editor Don Daley made light of in the letter column of #2:

By now, you've read at least one, and probably, two issues of what we think is the hottest book to debut in this country in a looooooooong time.

Too long, for the Punisher fans who've been scraping by with only monthly issues of THE PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL, bi-weekly chapters of THE PUNISHER, twice-yearly installments of THE PUNISHER ARMORY, and the incidental Punisher graphic novel, trade paperback or bookshelf. Well, the wait is over.

Today, the Punisher's presence is a little more subdued: With the demise of PunisherMAX (save for the occasional miniseries), the only monthly title focusing on Frank the Tank's ongoing mission is Greg Rucka and Marco Checchetto's Punisher. But the teaser images that we've seen so far ask a question that's a little more interesting than "is there room for another Punisher title?"

The imagery we've gotten may just be symbolic of the more brutal, murderous action that we tend to get from the Punisher as opposed to the traditional super-heroics of the Avengers and Spider-Man, but there might be something more literal going on here.

Owing to his tendency to not leave anyone alive in the course of his adventures, the Punisher has, after all, always existed a little uncomfortably alongside the rest of the Marvel Universe, particularly Spider-Man and Daredevil. There have also been successful and enjoyable out-of-continuity stories in the past where he's taken on more of Marvel's heroes, most notably Garth Ennis and Doug Braithwaite's Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe. It could be that the new series is upping the ante by sending Frank Castle into a war not against his usual criminal targets, but against the heroes who generally don't take kindly to mass murderers in costumes with skulls painted on the chest.

It could lead to some pretty interesting stuff, and as a die-hard Punisher fan, I'm intrigued to see where the new series goes. Of course, that said, I'm pretty sure Iron Man won't be dying of two shots to the forehead in someone else's comic. Just a hunch.