It would seem that the biggest enemy The Punisher faces is not the criminals of New York and villains of the Marvel Universe, but ... Hollywood scriptwriters? Punisher: War Zone is due to hit theaters in September 2008, already bearing the scars of development hell. Thomas Jane dropped out of reprising the title role, reportedly because of script problems. Ray Stevenson of HBO's Rome stepped into the combat boots, much to the skepticism of fans. Paddy Considine was dismissive about the five minute offer he received for the part of Jigsaw. Early stills failed to inspire much excitement.

Now, Kurt Sutter, one of War Zone's writers, has elected to take his name off the project. Over on his blog, Sutter claims that not only does he not deserve credit, as his original script has been rewritten out of existence, but he no longer wants credit or any association whatsoever with the project. In fact, he has few kind words for the film whatsoever. In his words, War Zone is a "simple story, very obvious dialogue and the inclusion of as many characters from the anthology that a movie will allow." It's a very tight script, he notes, but not very unique and not something that he could take any pride putting his name on. Sutter's dismissal of the current script earned him the ire of Punisher fans, though it is a bit perplexing as to why ducking out of WGA arbitration should earn you a death threat. Perhaps it was the seeming dismissal of comic book films and fans in general, or the implication that Jane left the project because of his draft.

In all likelihood, Sutter is just becoming a convenient whipping boy for irate Punisher fans. Few liked the 2004 film and hopes that War Zone would be an improvement on the franchise were crushed when Jane dropped out. It honestly sounds likes Sutter was on the right track with his draft. The Punisher is not your average, true-blue superhero. Frank Castle is not a superhero at all, just a man who knows his hand-to-hand combat and torture. He makes Wolverine look like . . .well, Captain America. Yanking him out of the traditional comic book movie and placing him into a real world New York, much like Christopher Nolan has done with Batman, is precisely what many fans have wanted. Sutter's dismissal of War Zone as another empty comic book movie, with plenty of merchandising and sequel potential, is enough to make any Punisher fan tear at their officially licensed t-shirts. While Sutter has, by his own account, nothing to do with that decision, the fanboy community needs someone to blame.