The Atheist fires his crossbow into Logan’s skull, assuming that Logan won’t be able to walk away from that severe an injury.
Van Daemon stands over the fallen Punisher. He lifts the beam trapping Frank’s leg, freeing him. Van Daemon prepares to shoot the Punisher between the eyes, but Castle asks him if that’s what he really wants. The Demon marvels at Castle’s memory, and assures him that killing the Punisher is what he really wants, and that he has been waiting for this moment for years. Castle stands up. He asks Van Daemon if he understands everything correctly: Demon hates the Punisher more than anything in the world, and this is why the felon holed up in the cesspool that is Erewhon. Van Daemon tells him that this is correct. The Punisher proceeds to ask why, then, would he bother freeing his trapped leg, and bringing nothing but an antique one-shot pistol to kill him with. Van Daemon flashes his rotten-toothed grin, and says of course he wants to kill Castle. Frank tells him to get it over with, then.
Wolverine shakes as he tears the arrow out of his head, and releases a primal scream throughout the jungle, making the Atheist return to the spot where Logan was trapped. O’Higgins marvels at the shredded vines, baffled that Wolverine could walk away from such an injury. Before long, though, Logan tackles the Atheist, and is about to shred him – but Logan’s brain hasn’t had time to heal yet, and he collapses into a seizure, screaming. The Atheist realizes that he probably isn’t going to be able to kill Logan, and starts running away.
Van Daemon lowers his weapon, confused. Punisher asks him if he really can’t do it – if, after all these years in the jungle, he still can’t figure out who he really wants to punish. Van Daemon begins crying, and hands Punisher his gun.
On the street below, the people are getting restless, as Van Daemon went upstairs to the bedroom several minutes ago, and they haven’t heard anything yet. Suddenly, a loud gunshot rings out, and everyone cheers for the Punisher’s death.
Logan gets back up, still dazed from the brain injury. He begins racing through the jungle, tracking the Atheist. He realizes that he can’t think clearly because the arrow punctured his prefrontal lobe, damaging his ability to perform higher cognitive functions. Though he can’t do crosswords at the moment, he doesn’t require his brain to tackle the Irishman. The Atheist asks what Logan is going to do. Logan draws his claws in front of O’Higgins, saying that he’s doing “something you won’t be walkin’ away from, bub.”
The criminals begin racing up the stairs into the bedroom, but are stunned at the sight of Van Daemon’s bloody corpse. One of the men asks what happened. Castle responds:
“I gave him what he wanted. Now I’m gonna give you what I want.”
The Punisher begins unleashing a furious assault of ammunition on the crowd, thinking about what Van Daemon told him before his death. This place is “Erewhon,” though Castle always believed that Erewhon was a fictional story. Now, he realizes, it all makes sense. This is where Harvey Long was running, and though Harvey believed it was so he could escape punishment, it was actually because he was luring the Punisher into a trap. Frank runs into the kitchen of the inn, grabbing a large propane tank. He hurls the tank out into the crowd, and before it hits the ground, he fires a shot at it, causing a massive explosion. The townspeople begin running for cover.
Meanwhile, the inner members of the council begin to argue about the situation. Napoleon watches as a man wearing a cross complains to Gottlieb that Punisher is a one-man extermination unit, with no fear and no weakness – and they let him walk into Erewhon. Gottlieb says that it is unimportant if the population is trimmed down, the stock will be stronger for him. The other council member screams that Gottlieb sickens him. At least the Punisher has some form of moral framework and integrity, even if it is wonky.
Punisher moves down to the street, finding himself running out of ammunition, and outnumbered about fifty to one. He recollects that all too often, he is told that things aren’t as black and white as he sees them. In Erewhon, however, they are. There are no innocents, no civilians. So if this is going to be Armageddon, there is no better place. Punisher is shot in the arm, and dives for cover, but Logan grabs him and pulls him under a building. Wolverine asks why he can’t leave for one minute without Frank picking a fight with the entire town. Castle says that they started it. Logan says that he’s been sniffing around, and found something strange. He tells him to follow behind into the tunnel in the alleyway, and they descend into the lair beneath Erewhon.
Beneath, the religious-looking Council member continues screaming at Gottlieb, saying that he isn’t concerned with a madman’s goals of social engineering. Gottlieb shoots him in the shoulder, and asks the man what he was saying about social engineering. Gottlieb explains that his father, the Nazi overlord, came to Erewhon many
years ago, as Europe was no longer a popular place for short Germans with
Chaplin mustaches. Gottlieb says that this man, his father, was the founder
Gottlieb puts a gun to the man’s head, and pulls the trigger, as Napoleon watches on.
On the streets, Books is running around, looking for cover, as the mob has turned on him in the absence of the Punisher. As he finds cover, however, they reach him, and begin beating him. The mob blames Books for being a part of the Council, which screwed the people of Erewhon by bringing the Punisher here. Books begs for mercy, and as the mob brings out a noose to hang him, he promises that if they spare his life, he will bring them to the Council.