A dedicated US Marine excelling as a soldier in every way, Frank Castle was a force to be reckoned with during the Vietnam War but also a dedicated family man. After a particularly close call in the final years of the war, he resigned to a Special Forces instructor post in upstate New York so he could be closer to his wife Maria and two children, Lisa and Francis.
Disaster struck one day, years later, when Frank and his family went for a picnic in Central Park only to witness a mob execution on a high profile member of the mafia. The mob fired on his family, killing them all before his eyes and thus destroying everything he lived for.
Unable to move on and failed by a corrupt justice system, Frank Castle sought revenge, prompting him to go "disappear" just as he was to receive the Medal of Honour. As he resurfaced, he was known as The Punisher, wearing a Kevlar body armor with a large skull imprinted on it and armed with a variety of weapons. Not only vowed to have revenge for his family, but also to dedicate the rest of his life to fighting those who harm innocent people.
Frank Castle debuted in 1974's The Amazing Spider-Man #129 as the vigilante assassin hired by Jackal to kill Spider-Man for the apparent murder of Norman Osborn. As differences between Punisher and Jackal came to a head, Punisher realized that he was being tricked into killing Spider-Man and that our friendly neighborhood web-slinger was not in fact a criminal or murderer. From then on, audiences came to understand Punisher's origin and that he was not a villain and he then returned to aid Spider-man when old war buddy turned insane war criminal Hitman was hired to kill the web head.
Created by writer Gerry Conway, artists John Romita Sr and Ross Andru and Stan Lee having suggested the Punisher title, Conway originally designed Frank Castle as a villain but as the story developed he became an antihero. Conway has said his biggest influences in creating the character were Don Pendleton's Executioner: Mack Bolan.
The Punisher has most often been defined best over the years as a loner and someone who other characters don't often align themselves with. He is the true definition of an antihero, operating outside the moral codes of most superheroes, but with a strict code of his own that is to protect the innocent and to deal with notorious criminals permanently. With no superpowers, he relies on strict discipline and a punishing regime of learning the hard way from his mistakes, and as a result, he is a masterful cobatant and strategist.
The Punisher waited for his own original series debut until 1986 after Mike Zeck and Steven Grant suggested that he was worthy of a title and thus began the legendary journey of one of the most popular and enduring Marvel characters in creation. Since then, he has been written and illustrated by some of the greatest talent in comics history, including Mike Baron, Chuck Dixon, Jim Lee, Bill Reinhold, John Romita and Garth Ennis.
When the Punisher made the leap from support character to solo adventurer in 1986, he was unlike anything Marvel audiences had seen in a hero before. The black and white costume with a skull, as opposed to the glamorous and brightly colored standard as sported by the likes of the X-Men and Avengers, showed that this character meant business right from the beginning.
Frank Castle was portrayed as a man that had survived hell, but was originally quite naive in terms of the people he trusted and how he waged his war on crime. Originally, he had a live and let live attitude with certain criminals, counting on the influence he had on them to make them change their ways. He also often came across as cheerful at times and still often lived a life of sorts. The unique twist in that, however, was that The Punisher was his main identity and Frank Castle was but a shadow of his former self, existing off the grid.
As time went by and The Punisher began to tussle not only with more dangerous criminals other than Jigsaw, but with heroes such as Daredevil and Spider-Man and supervillains like Dr Doom and Kingpin, he became more rough around the edges, more aggressive, and his stories gained more depth by inviting the readers into his fractured psychology. It seemed that he may not be the hero people expected but possibly a ticking timebomb of a tragic man attempting to change the unchangeable.
Two years after Grant and Zeck's popular debut Punisher solo, the War Journal strip was introduced and the character exploded in terms of popularity and could be found literally everywhere. Aside from War Journal there was also Punisher War Zone, POV, Armory, Eurohit and others. Punisher was so popular that aside from making many appearances beside Wolverine, Spider-Man, Daredevil and Ghost Rider, he also appeared in The 'Nam and a crossover with Batman.
Dolph Lundgren portrayed the first movie version of Frank Castle in 1989's The Punisher and from then on, Punisher appeared regularly in other forms of media including arcade and video games and notably the Amazing Spider-man cartoon series (both detailed at the bottom of the page).
The character had a lot of trouble in the 90s with so many controversial or absurd stories destroying his fan base. And around the mid-90s when Marvel went bust, he was one of so many characters who seemed to have finally creatively expired. That was until Garth Ennis picked up the character for the new and exciting imprint that was the darker and grittier Marvel Knights.
Punisher's enemies over the years have been plentiful but most often short-lived as a testament to just how deadly he is. From Jigsaw to the quickly dispatched of and gladly forgotten Colonel De Sade, his nemeses most often meet a grisly fate, all except those the Marvel Universe simply cannot do without. Ma Gnucci, The Russian and Barracuda are perfect examples of some of his most enjoyable enemies and then amongst his greatest common enemies have been Kingpin, Bullseye, Dr Doom, Norman Osborne and The Hood.
Virtually from the beginning, the Punisher has had the odd helping hand that has come in the form of an armorer/tech assistant/computer hacker; someone to aid him in his missions from a safe distance. This tradition began with the ill fated wheelchair bound armorer Reiss, of Reiss Armory, who was murdered by the Jackal in his attempt to frame Spider-man, so that the Punisher would assassinate him without question.
Later, enter his longest serving hacker and armorer Microchip, who used to help keep him from burning out and going off the rails. Eventually Microchip turned on Castle, believing him to have lost sight of his goals, and betrayed him. The Punisher much later "volunteered" technology genius and ex-villain Stuart Clarke and then Henry Russo, who turned out to be an illegitimate son of Jigsaw.
Major Story Arcs
This story, an essential origin tale, recounts what Frank Castle was like in the days directly after the murders of his family. He is a suicidal ex-Marine seeking justice through the law, but after he discovers a trend of corruption that makes it impossible for him to do right by the memories of his wife and children, Castle goes off the rails and decides to take matters into his own hands.
While Detective John Laviano stays on the case, though helpless in bringing down the Costa mob, Castle prepares to go against Bruno Costa and his syndicate and the comic takes us deep into the territory of Castle's almost deranged state of mind.
The story also features Billy "The Beaut" Russo. The Costa mob hired him to kill Castle but failed. As Castle learned of his identity and as he becomes The Punisher, several of the Costa mob enforcers were murdered and Castle let Russo live to tell the rest of the Costa mob that he was coming for them. Castle, then, pushed Russo through a window, disfiguring his face. Russo would eventually resurface as the Jigsaw.
First Strike: Spider-Man
Established simply as a man with a reputation for getting the job done, this is the Spider-man story arc that introduced the Punisher as a villain to the web slinger.
Employed by the Jackal to take down Spider-man, Punisher explodes onto the scene in a display of raw power and aggression, believing Spidey to be a dangerous criminal. Gradually, Spider-man manages to convince the Punisher that he is not a criminal and that Punisher has in fact been used by the Jackal while their common enemy goes about committing crimes of his own unchallenged.
Seeking the Jackal, Punisher happens upon his assistant Reiss, who has been murdered and upon learning that The Jackal did this to frame Spider-man, they seek to take him down together.
Circle of Blood
The Punisher's own original ongoing series begins with Frank locked up in prison. Dangerously, it also happens to be the same correctional facility as the disfigured and demented gangster Jigsaw.
When he uses a prison break to take care of unfinished business and then escape, it turns out that he is being set up by a mysterious organization known as The Trust. On the outside, he finds himself the center of a conspiracy where an army of men are posing as a team of Punishers. To get to the bottom of this, he must infiltrate The Trust and find it's leader, Alaric. But again, he will find himself face to face with a brainwashed Jigsaw, also believing himself to be the Punisher! Frank eventually destroys The Trust, ironically learning a few valuable lessons in trust as he begins the long walk home.
The Punisher gets a Partner in Crime
After escaping from jail, Frank came into contact with a hacker named David Linus Lieberman, whom called himself Microchip. Microchip himself was on a crusade against the mob as well, he for the murders of his nephew and niece, which he held the Kingpin accountable for. Microchip joined the Punisher in his fight against crime. Together the team fought against a number of villains and took there war against crime to the next level. Punisher had a number of missions, even to Europe and versus such enemies as the X-Men foes known as The Reavers.
Microchip used his skills not only for hacking, but also for cyber-investigation, laundering money and finding hard to get ammunition and weaponry. The amount of money the two took from criminals resulted in them having more financial means. This resulted in the buying of a number of safe-houses through which Castle and Microchip planned their operation. Frank Castle was also trained when he was in need of more specialized combat moves for specific missions. Although their war on crime was extremely successful, the war took it's tall on Frank's mind.
Helping or Betraying the Punisher
Eventually, it was evident that the war on crime had took it's tall on the Punisher's mind as he was losing his grip on his sanity. In order to help his friend, Microchip locked Frank Castle up in one of their safe-houses. while he found a Navy-Seal named Carlos Cruz to take the Punisher's place as a way to stop criminals, but not killing them anymore.
In the meantime, Microchip tried to bring the Punisher back into sanity with psychological experiments. Punisher eventually broke free of Micro's holding-cell and was extremely angry with him, pointing his gun at him, thinking about killing him. It was at that precise moment that a Punisher enemy named Stone Cold bombed the wall they where standing at, seemingly killing Micro. After the Punisher killed Stone Cold, he started to wonder if he would really have killed Micro himself. Seeing him dead, the Punisher walked away.
The betrayal of his former partner had put Frank over the edge. It was then that Nick Fury apprehended the Punisher and had him locked up in the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier. The Punisher however, more deranged because of these events, managed not only to escape, but apparently shot and killed Nick Fury when he tried to stop him.
It was however later revealed that it was not Nick Fury, but a robot known as a Life Model Decoy that had been shot. Frank however was a target for the law even bigger then ever before. Frank eventually regained his sanity and returned to his crusade against crime, this time more in a shift to the superhero community. Frank came into contact with a number of villains from the super-community, such as the X-Cutioner and an anti-mutant organization which Frank helped de-stabilize. Feeling the heed however, Frank went undercover and was not seen for a number of months.
Welcome Back, Frank
In Welcome Back, Frank The Punisher seeks to re-establish himself to the criminals of the city after some time away... by targeting the city's most prominent crime family, the Gnuccis, headed by Ma Gnucci. Before planning to kill Ma, Castle works his way up intentionally by systematically targeting her three sons Carlo, Bobby and Eddie, the lieutenants of the syndicate. Intentionally, this becomes a full scale gang war but what Frank doesn't count on is just how driven and ruthless the family's matriarch is until he finds himself fighting a desperate war of attrition against The Gnucci's.
In response to the death of her sons, Ma pressures the NYPD to capture The Punisher and puts a price on Castle's head but he's one step ahead of every attempt to kill him. The police department, refusing to take down The Punisher, establishes a "Punisher Task Force" assigning laughing stock of the dept. Detective Martin Soap to manage the task force, teaming him up with a suicidal criminal psychologist, purposely hoping the task force will fail.
Meanwhile several hitmen are employed to hunt him down including hilariously twisted Russian. All the while, Daredevil is given a taste of his own medicine, pitting him in a hopeless situation against the limits of his own sense of righteousness and Frank, out of ammo infuriates Central Zoo's residents into taking out Ma Gnucci and her goons. Under the name of Mr. Smith, Frank relocates to a new apartment in New York where he meets and unwittingly becomes the favorite new neighbor of social reject Spacker Dave, the morbidly obese Mr. Bumpo and anxious recluse Joan the Mouse.
After killing Stilt-Man with a bazooka round to the groin, Punisher is hunted by SHIELD agent G.W Bridge, where he disappears into the underground. Heading into the sewers, he comes across pro-registration villains Jack O'Lantern and Jester attempting to kill Spider-man, who had been attacked by Iron Man. Frank kills them both and urgently extracts Spider-man to Captain America's hideout where he offers his services in the fight against SHIELD's anti-registration superhero crackdown.
Cap is doubtful at first due to Frank's violent history and reputation as a killer, but seeing as they could benefit from his military skills and experience, he accepts; it's all the help he could use. Punisher helps Cap by breaking into the Baxter Building and extracting intelligence but is then kicked off the team for shooting two other supervillains who want to hide behind Cap's cause.
After the events of Secret Invasion, Norman Osborn is seen as a public hero and becomes the leader of a New Dark Avengers team in addition to his overtaking of SHIELD. Frank decides to take matters into his own hands, knowing that Osborn is the most dangerous villain in existence at present. During a public speech by Osborn, Punisher attempts to assassinate Osborn but the bullet is stopped by the Sentry. Severely injured in his getaway after attempting to stop the Sentry, Frank finds himself at the mercy of a young hacker who wants to aid him in his mission against Osborn.
After Punisher's failed assassination attempt on Osborn, the former Green Goblin puts him in the public eye while also putting him on his own personal list. After his own elite forces are wiped out by the Punisher in his most successful and daring mission yet, he hires the Hood and his gang to kill Castle. The Hood resurrects many deceased villains who now call themselves the Deadly Dozen and set them loose, even resurrecting Microchip to help them track him down with the promise that if successful, he would resurrect his son.
The Deadly Dozen use Mirage's powers to help them pose as the Avengers in the attempt to intimidate Castle into giving up. It doesn't work and one of them winds up dead again. Seeing the plan failing, The Hood captures G.W Bridge, drawing Castle into his resurrection chamber to offer him a once in a lifetime deal - that if he stopped his war on Osborn, Parker Robbins aka The Hood would resurrect his family too. But before Castle has the chance to negotiate Bridge's safety, it is Microchip that makes the sacrifice. The Punisher faced with his resurrecting family, he loses his mind and sets the catacomb on fire, not wanting false illusions of his own family to be used against him by the Hood.
Punisher: The List (the death of Frank Castle)
As Osborn has replaced SHIELD with his own new fascist world police force HAMMER, Frank Castle has been left broken in body and spirit. He has pushed his body over the edge and it will not heal. He has pushed his only surviving friendship away with Henry in the knowledge that he is the son of Jigsaw and he has entered a war that he cannot win.
After having just killed his own resurrected family and having to bargain with The Hood for his own life, he is not only defeated, he has broken beyond rock bottom. Calling in a massive urban airstrike and then sending an army after the Punisher, Osborn is enraged to find that the Punisher has escaped him yet again, using the last of his acquired Pym Particles, and sends Daken after him. But Punisher now weak, cut up and frantically trying to beat his tormentors to an escape route, cannot make a stand nor has the option to surrender.
Regardless of being outmatched and Daken gravely injuring him, Frank fights back with every resource, litterally frying Daken and then blowing him up with a remote mine. But it is still not enough to give him the upper hand. After the only clear route leads him to an apartment rooftop, the Punisher is surrounded until Daken catches up and goads the injured and broken vigilante into a duel. Despite holding weight on a broken leg and suffering multiple stab wounds, the Punisher still holds up with a knife in one hand as the two engage in a fatal deathmatch, rapidly cutting into each other. Frank stabs Daken repeatedly and even through the side of his head, but the Dark Wolverine gains the upper hand as he grows weary and slices him up, dismembering the Punisher and throwing his remains from the rooftop.
The remains of Frank's body found by Man-Thing in the sewers, Morbius and the Legion of Monsters reconstruct Frank into a Frankenstein's Monster of sorts and then brought back to life. They need him to help fight against an army of monster hunters led by Robert Hellsgaard, who is seeking an object of power known as the Bloodgem.
At first Frank is horrified at what he's become and refuses to take part in this war, let alone believe that he belongs with the monsters. However, after witnessing the death of a young deaf-mute Moloid that he took a shine to, he goes berserk and wipes out the invading forces as they declare war on the Legion's hideout. However, Frank required some pills to stabilize his rage, which, as Morbius puts it, threatens their very safety as his brain is damaged and not functioning properly due to his recent death.
Morbius and Manphibian who were captured by Hellsgaard and the monster hunters, are taken away to Hellsgaard's castle in the Alps. Leaving Werewolf By Night back in their hideout, Franken-Castle storms the Castle in true fashion, taking out an entire army of Nazi Zombies and the remaining soldiers of Dr. Helsgaard before attempting to rescue Manphibian and Morbius. This leads to his confrontation with Helsgaard, which spills over into Hell, where Punisher is damaged beyond repair and Helsgaard is left defeated and trapped in limbo for all eternity. Morbius uses the Bloostone to help Punisher to regenerate as thanks for his heroics and after some time recuperating, the Franken-Castle monster sees fit to go after the conspirators that had him murdered.
His first target is Lady Gorgon. He tracks her to Tokyo and fights her, but she is killed by a master of the Hand. His next target is Daken, who he found searching for a legendary swordsmith, Muramasa. Frank then goes on to attack Daken, to settle the score once and for all, but will Wolverine step in to protect his wayward son from the death he so deserves? Again, torn up and coming back from the brink of absolute death, Punisher is sent out of Japan to Monster Island by his friend and assistant Henry where he can heal and rehabilitate without human intervention.
Here he regenerates back to the age and vitality of a 30 year old with the Bloodstone implanted in his chest. But left unchecked for so long, the demonic power of the artifact causes him to become dangerous and distrustful of the Legion of Monsters. Elsa Bloodstone goes after Punisher to get the stone back and a war breaks out as Punisher fends off the monsters, believing them to be in on it. But upon being talked down, Punisher removes the stone from his chest, throws it to Bloodstone and returns to New York, his reign of terror to commence once again.
In the Blood
Healed, regenerated and ready to return to work, the Punisher comes home to New York to take down the Hood and his deceitful old partner Microchip but only manages to learn of Micro's whereabouts. At their hideout, Henry Russo confines in Frank that he's admired the Punisher due to him hurting his father as much as his father would hurt him and his mother. Castle heads to where he suspects Micro has been hiding out, only to meet a scarred woman in black leather; Frank can't shake the feeling that he has met her, she attacks him before quickly escaping.
After an argument leads to Frank kicking Henry out of his hideout, he quickly falls into the arms of his estranged father, Jigsaw, who is now working with Frank's ex-ally, the scarred and now insane Stuart Clarke. The now named Jigsaw Brothers convince Henry that Frank is trying to kill him. Frank, still determined to find and extract his revenge, continues his hunt for Microchip, taking down multiple gangs on his way before interrogating Mirage, who is shot in the head by the mysterious leather woman, Frank now suspects that she is his resurrected wife, which horrifies Frank.
He begins pursuing Jigsaw, taking down many more gangsters before being incapacitated by Henry. Castle awakens imprisoned with Micro, and is given a knife to kill him. After brutally killing Micro, Henry realizes he was manipulated by the Jigsaw Brothers and helps Frank escape also informing him that the scarred woman is just an assassin posing as Maria Castle and she is quickly killed. Stuart discovers Henry's treachery and attempts to kill him, only to be brutally stabbed to death by Jigsaw, who then turns his attention on Henry and begins brutalizing him, only to apologize once he sees Henry in pain.
The Punisher confronts Jigsaw and they engage in combat and in a desperate last measure, Jigsaw pulls a grenade out to try and kill the both of them, which they both survive, with Jigsaw holding on to the ledge of the burning warehouse, Henry attempts to save him to which Jigsaw smiles and accepts his fate. Frank drops Henry entirely and tells him to not look for his father, to which he agrees.
Shadowland: Battle for the Soul of New York
Punisher returns to give supporting fire to New York's greatest street level heroes as Daredevil Matt Murdock becomes the unlikely villain of the new age, post-Dark Reign/The List, Siege and Fear Itself. Much of the world is still shaken from the events of the past few story arcs, especially the Man Without Fear, who was devastated by the actions of Bullseye, who was sent to assassinate him by none other than Norman Osborn. Although Bullseye failed to see Daredevil dead, the way in which he saw fit to do it saw to the deaths of over a hundred civilians living inside a tenement rigged with explosives.
Tortured over his inability to save them, he is summoned to become The Hand's new champion and leader. Seeking out Daredevil, Bullseye escapes captivity and hunts him down where a showdown unwittingly leads to Daredevil breaking Bullseye's arms before murdering the same way he once murdered Elektra.
Witnessing this are Avengers Luke Cage and Iron Fist, sent by Captain America, who chooses not to involve himself for fear of it seeming too heavy handed a gesture towards his allies. It becomes increasingly clear at that time that whereas Matt Murdock has seen Shadowland erected in the middle of Hells Kitchen so that he can prevent any crime ever happening there again, that he will employ lethal force to make sure it stays that way, but with the activities of other characters - Moon Knight, Kingpin, Lady Bullseye and Ghost Rider - it becomes even more apparent that darker dealings have been made. When Power Man and Iron Fist lead a delegation to talk Matt down from his newly acquired throne of power, they discover that he has also acquired some new powers that seem a lot more demonic than mystical and just as the call is made to have them all killed, Punisher makes his explosive entrance, allowing for the battered heroes to escape, while utilizing an M60 heavy machine gun to mow down countless Hand ninja and hold Daredevil at bay.
Drawing more attention, the rattled heroes regroup, noticing that their battle with Daredevil at Shadowland caused a flux of violence all over the city. Realizing that even their greatest strengths combined were not enough to stop Daredevil collectively, we learn that he has been possessed by a demon. With the additional help of Wolverine and Elektra, Punisher backs up the heroes once more as they set out to find a way to either reverse the influence turning Matt into the Beast of the Hand or to put a permanent end to him, either way, battling for the soul of New York before it's torn apart by his madness.
The Punisher/Omega Effect
Greg Rucka and Marco Checchetto's volume of the Punisher sees Frank focuses his attention on a criminal faction known as The Exchange after hunting down the suspects of a bloody wedding shoot-out, which has left one survivor; the bride and now widowed Marine, Rachel Alves; her entire family massacred in the event. One detective Walter Bolt has also been feeding him intel on the investigation since he saved his life in an undercover operation gone bad. His partner Ozzy Clemons, is hot on the case as is Daily Bugle reporter Norah Winters. After killing hired assassin the new Vulture, whom the Exchange sent after Castle, he was gravely wounded and goes into hiding to heal for the next 3 months, only to emerge more brutal and with a vengeful ally in Alves who wants to help Frank take down the criminal organization.
Following his recuperation, Frank and Alves begrudgingly team up with Spider-Man and Daredevil in order to get their hands on the device that contains the intel of all existing global crime cartels (A.I.M., Hydra, The Exchange, The Hand etc.), the Omega Drive, that which Spider-Man and Daredevil hope to destroy in order to prevent a criminal war for all-out control.
Stubborn to believe that this device is safer destroyed than used to hunt down Megacrime on his own terms, Daredevil's fears are confirmed when an army of ninjas literally clog up the night streets in an attempt to kill Daredevil and retrieve the Omega Drive. Unshaken by this, Punisher and Alves are first to dive out of Matt's apartment window and start dishing out the pain. From there, they are all in agreement, and it's Frank's military planning that will allow them to destroy Megacrime's plans for dominance in one night. Surprisingly, Frank sticks to his word to help the Manhattan and Hell's Kitchen superheroes but it is Alves that betrays the group in the hopes of using the intel to destroy the Exchange.
After these events, Castle and Alves have a run in and battle it out with each other, forcing Alves to try to let go of her past finally and focus properly on truly punishing those responsible.
Eventually all of their collective efforts to get at the heart of the criminal empire lead to an attack on their headquarters which leads to Cole's revenge for her husband and family's murders. Unfortunately, consequences lead to an all out bloodbath when one surviving member of the Exchange goes on a killing rampage in his escape from the Punisher and Cole, also leading to the death of Walter Bolt.
Following on from this, Alves is greatly affected by the events at the Exchange. After having her revenge on one of the leaders responsible for the death of her husband, friends and family, the surviving member goes insane and begins a siege on Wall Street for which Frank and Rachel are blamed after they stop him.
Rachel believes she has accidentally shot and killed officer Walter Bolt, Frank's most recent informant, and cannot cope with it. Her desire to kill in the name of justice leaving her increasingly desperate and aimless, she is surprisingly confronted by Clemons upon her escape from New York; Norah Winters also present to try to stop her from doing something crazy. Alves, provoked, feels forced to shoot Ozzy Clemons, only to find that Punisher pulled the firing pin on her sidearm, knowing that she was psychologically breaking down.
Although she felt betrayed by him, he had given her the impression they had parted ways, only to systematically disarm and knock out the SWAT snipers closing in on her position so that they wouldn't kill her, knowing that in her weakened state, that she would very likely feel inclined to humor Bolt's assumption that she would sooner drop the gun rather than aim for him. She is arrested and jailed, waiting to be sentenced to Death Row and Frank is left on the run with a nationwide manhunt on his tail.
Enter the War Zone
A nationwide hunt is on for Frank Castle for his part in the Exchange assault which has quickly become the most devastating news report across America, despite the deaths of many innocents and police officers being the work of criminal mastermind Phil Poulson. But after being confronted by Spider-man, Punisher is paid a visit by Wolverine out of mutual respect, to warn him that Spider-man has convinced the Avengers to apprehend him for his assault on the Exchange's Wall Street HQ.
Black Widow learns of Wolverine's minor betrayal of the Avengers, yet doesn't hold it against him. She follows the Punisher's trail of vigilante justice worldwide, discovering that he's been cracking a human slavery ring across Russia, Europe and the Middle East. Finally tracking him down to the Congo, he uses her to eliminate his latest targets before using her conscience against her so he can escape.
From then on he encounters Thor and is given his ultimatums before being left to think them over. He knows he must save Cole from the death sentence, even knowing that it's most likely a ruse to snare him. Regardless, as the Avengers' best laid plans are set, Punisher utilizes his tactics and battlefield strategies to divide and disable them each. Using Iron Man's new prototype suit to rescue Cole, a sidelined Wolverine takes her away to begin a new life while Punisher sacrifices himself as a decoy to throw the Avengers plans into disarray. But not before showing them that, despite being vastly out-gunned and out-powered, the Avengers are not all-powerful or even as quick-witted as they'd like to think they are. And Frank Castle is not the narrow-minded murderer they all think he is.
Lying shattered and defeated, he refuses to give up until Captain America arrives and tells him; "Mission Accomplished!" Some time later, as Punisher resides in his own customized prison, healing and training himself, Spider-man comes to the realization that he hasn't won anything from his personal vendetta against the Punisher. Captain America points out that when you take the Punisher to war, nobody wins. In Los Angeles, Rachel Cole appears dressed as the Punisher, rescuing a terrorized woman from the hands of two violent criminals.
Originally the Thunderbolts were a team of convicted criminals seeking redemption as heroes. General Ross/Red Hulk then created a new band of Thunderbolts and turned them into a fighting force to do the dirty work that other heroes saw as meaningless or unglamorous. Forced to hear an offer he can't refuse by Red Hulk, General Thaddeus Ross, Punisher is recruited into the new black ops team consisting of some of the most elite combatants around.
Their goal is simple: prevent terrorist organisations around the world from acquiring state of the art gamma weaponry and use criminal masterminds against their own will to make the world a better place.
Teamed up with Red Hulk, Deadpool, Agent Venom, Elektra, former Hulk nemeses Leader and Mercy, and later Ghost Rider Johnny Blaze, the Punisher is given new virtually indestructible red gamma-laced armor to assist him in this war on terror and given a license to kill without consequence. What could be the world's most elite anti-terror squad suffers increasingly bad ideas thanks to Red Hulk, Leader constantly conspires behind their backs, Mercy goes off the rails and has to be sent to Hell because she can't be killed, Thanos's armies invade Earth while the Avengers have gone into space, Deadpool becomes murderously jealous of Elektra and Punisher's relationship and then the Punisher resolves to tear the team apart himself when an attempt on his life is made after he quits.
Moving from East coast to West in going up against the Dos Soles gang currently tearing LA apart, he's faced with Electro, Domino, The Howling Commandos, AIM, Crossbones and some of South America's most dangerous locals.
In over his head, Frank uses every trick in the book that we know him for and some that will surprise us as he relishes being in over his head and downtrodden. But as his circumstances go from bad to worse, so they also do for the citizens and cops of LA, including ally Officer Sammy Stone.
- Hair: Black
- Eyes: Blue
- Born 1950 (chronological age; regenerated back to the age of around 30-35).
- Height: 6'2"
- Weight: 210 Ibs.
- Born: Queens, New York
- Relatives: Maria Elizabeth Castle (wife, deceased), Lisa Barbara Castle (daughter, deceased), Francis Castle (son, deceased), Mario Castiglione (father, deceased), Louisa Castiglione (mother, deceased)
- Status: Widower, Former Special Forces, US Marine & Instructor. Vigilante.
Training and Abilities
Castle has an extensive background with weapons and hand-to-hand combat and is in peak physical condition. His missions are always well planned, and carried out with the utmost preparation and attention to detail.
He is able to access and adapt to just about any situation and turn it to his advantage using only his skills and killer instinct. He has a very high threshold for pain, able to undergo surgery without any kind of anaesthesia, take multiple gunshots and stab wounds and continue fighting, survive multiple explosions that would kill most humans, as well as take hits from superheroes and villains with superhuman strength and continue fighting. The Punisher’s reflexes are second to none he has been shown to be able to shoot Spider-man, dodge Captain America's shield, stun Daredevil with a tranquilizer dart and once shot a super speedster.
Castle sticks to a balanced diet based on his military philosophies. He exercises his body and perfects his marksmanship rigorously every two days and is constantly at work as an engineer - fixing, creating and customizing his own vehicles, weapons and gadgets.
He knows and is skilled with just about every type of firearm known to man, even able to grasp the most advanced weaponry from SHIELD and other hi-tech organizations. The Punisher is also able to operate superhero and villain custom gear and weaponry being able to fly a goblin glider perfectly as well use Whiplash’s whip without flaw.
The Punisher though does prefer his more traditional armory made up of conventional firearms. He is a skilled point shooter (the ability to fire a gun accurately with both eyes open), as well as hit moving targets in vehicles and heroes and villains with amazing speed and precision as a result of his extensive training and experience. Deadly accurate with sniper rifles, assault rifles and pistols, he has no qualms shooting a criminal dead that has a hostage held close at gunpoint.
He is also an accomplished knife fighter, and his hand to hand combat techniques are extremely deadly. He was also able to show impressive skill in hand-to-hand combat against Daredevil, US Agent and Black Widow. He improvises his fighting skills with a series of lethal maneuvers. He is more than capable of killing up to a dozen enemies unarmed. He is very rarely unarmed, so these skills aren't used often but it is a well-known point that the less options he has to hand, the Punisher only becomes more dangerous.
Castle is also an excellent military tactician/strategist, able to create effective plans on the spot and has repeatedly outwitted even SHIELD, HAMMER and the Avengers - a true master of both conventional and guerrilla warfare strategies. Frank using different tactics has been shown to be able to defeat characters that are quite capable of killing him in a heads up fight. The Punisher through strategy has been able to defeat Spider-man, Daredevil, and Wolverine when they teamed up against him on three separate occasions.
Frank Castle has constantly evaded law enforcement officers and national intelligence agencies, only ever giving himself up when he feels the need to infiltrate prison dwelling criminals and gangs. He has also broken in and out of prisons on many occasions.
Punisher has defeated the Hood’s Gang single-handedly and even put down the Hulk. His methods include combat assaults, bombings, ambushes, going undercover using different identities, using the enemies’ money, weapons and supplies against them, creating rivalries between different gangs, and using the city of New York to his advantage, fading in and out of sight with considerable ease. All these skills, apart from those he learned in the military, he taught himself through decades of waging war against criminals. He has a natural mind for warfare.
Frank is an skilled programmer and hacker, being capable of programming things strong enough that the U.S Government and Microchip have had problems breaking into; as well as hacking into several key files from the police to assist his crusade.
Castle is an exceptional pilot, having begun training in the skill during his time in airborne. The Punisher has been shown to be able to fly fighter jets, civilian planes, as well as both military and commercial helicopters. He knows many physical torture techniques which enable him to obtain information to continue his war on crime. Frank Castle is extremely skilled at torture and intimidation to gather information.
The Punisher is the recipient of multi-disciplinary military training from the United States Marine Corps, Force Reconnaissance. While a Marine, he also received training from the Airborne School, Navy SEALs as well as cross-training with the Australian Special Air Service Regiment during the Vietnam War. He has worked for SHIELD, assisted the NYPD and many superhero factions - such as the Thunderbolts, who do the jobs the likes of the Avengers don't see as an immediate world threat, yet would be in short time.
He is a reconnaissance and survival expert, armorer and gunsmith. He modifies his own weapons and is also a demolitions expert.
He is also a student of Nash-Ryu Jiu Jitsu, as taught by Adam Nash in the Marines amongst three other forms of martial arts including Hwa rang do. He has also mastered Chin Na, Ninjutsu and Shorin-Ryu.
Equipment and Gear
Frank Castle has used various weapons and equipment throughout the decades of him being the vigilante known as the Punisher. During his early years working with Microchip the Punisher had many battle vans, other armored vehicles, helicopters, planes, submarines, robots (such as the Dalek), and even his own Exo-Armor, he would use in his war against crime.
When Frank Castle had no techie allies in the past, he usually didn’t carry any custom gear; relying solely on military and law enforcement weaponry. When Stuart Clarke became the Punisher’s hacker Frank had access to various Shield tech and confiscated weaponry such as the Satan Claw as well as customized weapons Stuart Clarke made for him.
Later with Henry Russo as his sidekick the Punisher obtained villain and superhero custom gear and weaponry such as a pumpkin bombs, pym particles, Ant-Man's Helmet, etc. that he used in his never ending war. The Punisher will use custom hi-tech gear he’s stolen from others or off of dead enemies though he usually doesn’t have access to this type of gear.
More recently, it was portrayed that Frank had learned to customize and repair his own acquired superhero and villain weaponry/artifices, which he did so effectively and with the same amount of difficulty as he would find in simple mechanical work on vehicles. He also later stole a prototype Iron Man suit and booby-trapped it to snare Iron Man after blasting Spider-man and flying Rachel Alves to safety.
The Punisher mostly uses conventional firearms, explosives, and knives. Most of these weapons are confiscated from dead criminals. He keeps these weapons in his bases/garages/warehouses/safe-houses, wherever they may be. He cleans and repairs his guns every other morning after extensive physical training. One of his most favored is the M60 machine gun, a weapon he has used since Vietnam. Otherwise he was regularly seen over the decades sporting an Uzi 9mm.
His former military weapon of choice was a standard issue M16A1. Castle has kept a basement in the East Side of New York amongst many others in and around city and state.
There has been entire comics devoted to chronicling his weaponry, from the late eighties series written by Mike Baron to the Max series by Garth Ennis. Because of his extensive use of the rifle since Vietnam, Castle uses an M16A3 fitted with an M203, despite his dislike of 5.56 Ammunition. His backup of choice is a Derringer D32. His knife of choice is a Gerber Mk2.
Costumes and Belongings
The most common and basic costume is simply a black top with the deaths head symbol spray painted onto it, a pair of black leather trousers, boots and a black leather belt if not utility belts. The second costume is exactly the same, just with a leather or khaki overcoat worn to hide his weapons and of course the skull head symbol. The costume used in the regular 616 continuity is a more generic superhero costume, with a simple black and white color scheme and utilities resembling Nick Fury's classic SHIELD uniform.
On many occasions, Punisher is known to mix up his wardrobe, utilizing his chest armour with military clothing and accessories and otherwise will go out to buy clothes if he feels the need to go undercover.
Frank Castle is known to own safe-houses and secluded acres of land across New York City and New York State. He keeps his seemingly unlimited arsenal of weapons and his vehicles locked up in these locations when he doesn't use them to simply sleep in, study the files on his targets, for target practice or as workshops for modifications and repairs. He pays the rent from the proceedings of crime syndicates he has shut down and uses a vast array of false identifications.
He collects files on criminals and of course often writes his experiences into his famed War Journal. He disposes of anything he cannot use and lives as a minimalist. He used to keep pictures of his family, but not anymore since he finds they distract him from his missions at hand. He flung them off the Brooklyn Bridge at the beginning of his new war.
During Castle’s second tour of duty he was serving as a sniper. He was asked to hunt down a Vietcong sniper known as “The Monkey”. A VC sniper who wore a monkey’s skull around his neck for good luck. Castle ended up being captured, but during his escape he tied a dead VC soldier to a tree and painted a white skull on his chest as a message to “The Monkey”. He painted one on his own chest. He ended up killing “The Monkey” in a sniper duel in the jungle.
Castle saw a vision of a white skull in his head whilst stationed at Valley Forge. The image stuck with him. He spray painted it onto a black t-shirt and always wore it throughout In his vigilante activities. The skull symbolizes his never-ending war and is used as a target to hopefully prevent a headshot.
Earth-200111 - Punisher Max
In the Beginning
The return of Frank Castle after he was believed dead, he is now in his mid to late fifties and continuing the dirty work, cleaning up the violent streets of New York by night.
After a successful and shockingly violent assault on Don Cesare's birthday party and thus wiping out nearly every mafia capo in the city, disgraced capo Nicky Cavella is brought from Boston to do the unthinkable, to be rid of the Punisher once and for all.
Meanwhile, Microchip has returned and he is in league with the devil, rogue CIA operative and Afghan heroin merchant Robert Bethell. But one of his subordinates, agent Kathryn O'Brien, has taken an instant "liking" to old Frank and Microchip knowing that Frank will either side with the CIA or be executed won't keep his deal until the very end.
Valley Forge, Valley Forge
He has lost nearly everything that would have kept any man sane; most of his last surviving allies and friends and the woman that proved to be his final true love. But he is not any man and this has been recognized all too well after even Barracuda has failed to put a stop to him. Now his war has finally reached the top and all the US Army Generals that called for his execution have devised the ultimate plan to catch him.
Under the supervision of one of America's most loyal war heroes, Delta Force is tracking the Punisher down on the streets of Brooklyn and an old man like Frank won't last forever against one of the world's most elite forces. But this is where his own masterplan comes into play and Colonel George Howe is not going to be able to resist everything the world's most dangerous man knows, not when the two are closer in history than they realize.
This is the reality in which the ongoing MAX imprint Punisher series takes place, as well two Punisher mini-series Born and Barracuda, three Punisher one-shots, The Tyger, The Cell and The End, the Fury mini-series and finally the ongoing Foolkiller series, all of which are published under the Marvel MAX mature audience imprint.
The Punisher MAX series (once thought to take place on the mainstream Earth-616) made many differences to original Punisher continuity. A lot of the characters who had previously appeared in mainstream Marvel publications were given alternate characterizations to their 616 counterparts. A very well known Marvel character, Nick Fury made an appearance in the Punisher MAX Mother Russia story-arc as well as the Fury mini-series.
In both appearances he was shown to be just as violent as Frank Castle and often had swear-word-laden dialogue. Frank Castle himself on the other hand despite having a near-identical personality to his mainstream counterpart, used much more violent methods in order to gain information from his enemies or sometimes just to simply kill them. Two other differences stem from the lack of any superhero activity whatsoever and that of a floating timeline that is used commonly in 616 titles. Unlike the mainstream characters, characters in this reality age in real-time.
It should also be noted that many of mainstream Punisher comics share continuity with this reality. For example it was confirmed by Tony Stark in the Civil War Fact Files comic, that Frank was the sole survivor of the Firebase Valley Forge massacre. This is a reference to the events of the Born mini-series and also confirms that the series is takes place in both realities. It is also presumed that certain stories from older Punisher series may take place in this reality as well.
This is suggested by the appearance and role of David Lieberman (Microchip), who made consistent appearances throughout earlier Punisher stories. However it would appear that he did not suffer the same fate as that of his 616 counterpart, who was ultimately killed by rogue SHIELD agent, Stone Cold. Presumably this version of Microchip quit his job of assisting Frank after becoming tired of all the violence.
Earth-295: Age of Apocalypse
In the Age of Apocalypse continuity Frank Castle was separated from his family during one of the first American sweeps, where Apocalypse searched out humans to kill them. He fled from certain death until he came across a hidden monastery.
Castle became a monk, searching for inner peace, until the monastery was finally discovered by Apocalypse's agents. All the monks were killed, as were many of the humans and mutants that they had offered refuge. Frank Castle was once again able to escape, and his location is unknown.
In the Marvel Zombies universe Frank is still a vigilante with all the hallmarks of the regular continuities. In Marvel Zombies Vs. Army Of Darkness #2 he meets Ash. Ash and the Punisher partner up to beat down some Zombies, but first The Punisher guns down The Kingpin, The Owl, and Hammerhead after they offer to ally with him. He fights alongside Ash against zombies, before Ash leaves him to die fighting them.
The Ultimate version of The Punisher is an ex-NYPD SWAT sniper whose family was killed by a corrupt cop who was going to be be exposed by Frank. He was the one that killed the corrupt cop and informant to the Kingpin, Jean DeWolff.
He continues his vigilante crusade from there, with him being incarcerated in Rikers island (and even continuing to kill on the inside), fighting Daredevil, and partnering up with Spider-man on occasion. He kills police officer Jean DeWolff in front of Spider-man who gets angry and attacks Frank. He stops Spider-man by telling him that she was a dirty cop whom was also sleeping with Wilson Fisk, a statement that is backed up by Daredevil.
This makes Spider-man leave him alone. The Punisher somehow survives Ultimatum and manages to kill 200 members of the criminal underworld in its aftermath. He is captured by Captain America and Nick Fury who makes an offer to Frank asking him to join the Ultimate Avengers as his own version of Cap. An offer which Castle accepts. His first assignment with the team is to track down and take out the Ultimate Ghost Rider.
In the Ultimate Universe, Frank Castle is a cop turned vigilante, wanted by the authorities for the murders of hundreds of organized criminals. Lured into a trap while hunting a prolific criminal, Punisher is beaten and arrested by Captain America.
But Nick Fury, disappointed that Cap won't lead his black ops Avengers team, volunteers the Punisher to be their Captain America mascot, seeing as it's the only way he couldn't be identified.
Teamed with Hawkeye in a group also consisting of Black Widow, Tyrone Cash and War Machine, Punisher is surprised to find he gets along quite well with Hawkeye and thus comes to the fore their dislike and distrust for authority when being tasked with protecting the Vice President from a mysterious serial killer.
When it turns out that the VP sold his soul to Mephisto and that the killer is actually Ghost Rider, come to collect his soul, Punisher is the one to discover that Ghost Rider is not an enemy but a kindred spirit; notably whose master has passed on the word to "keep up the good work!"
Punisher goes on the run but is caught again later and is forced to re team with the Secret Avengers and he is accidentally responsible for The Death of Spider-man, having fired the shot that triggers his downfall later in the series. As a result of seeing what he has done, he also shoots Nick Fury but doesn't kill him.
Two people become the Punisher in the year 2099, one a man and the other a woman. Jake Gallows is the Punisher first. He was a cop in the Public Eye, the police force of the future. After the murder of his mother, brother and sister-in-law, Jake came across the war journal of Frank Castle, The Punisher, in the archives of the Public Eye. From then on, he took the mantle of the Punisher.
The second Punisher is a laboratory-bred humanoid named Polly. when she released herself from her mental limiters, she gained free will, intelligence and superhuman strength, but she also became psychotic. She called herself Vendetta, and thought of replacing Jake Gallows because she deemed him as ineffective. Although in the end, they became partners.
In the Marvel Mangaverse, The Punisher is a woman named Sosumi Brown, who fights the Korean crime family of Skang Kee Ho in Tokyo. The Skang Kee Ho uses an Oni named Oni Yew to try and stop her, but her sister, Hashi Brown, finds out about her secret. In the process, Hashi obtains a cursed weapon which she uses to slay the oni and save her sister. In the story, it is explained the sisters are orphans due to the death of their parents in "a tragic pogo stick accident."
As the Punisher, Sosumi wears black and white face paint (to resemble a skull) and a black kimono with the belt tied in a knot that resembles the skull logo. She uses martial art skills and a whip, which she uses to punish evildoers into submission.
She also has a predisposition for bizarre forms of "punishment", including tickling a crime lords feet or spanking someone on the bottom. Because of this, she is called "Tokyo's kinkiest superhero." Sosumi's base of operations is located within the private school that she is the principal of; the entrance opens by moving a small skull inside her office.
Castle spent years "punishing" criminals until the Kingpin was finally sent to jail. The Punisher then turned himself to the Maggia, taking them out one by one until he was left to face Don Silvio Barraca. After finishing off his men, Castle put a bullet in Silvio's back and left him paralyzed from the waist down. With the Maggia finished and organized crime disrupted, Frank decided to retire and went to South America. Until Silvio's return and Gang War against the Black Tarantula.
The Punisher came out of retirement and returned to New York and decided to enlist Spider-Girl's aid to finally stop the Gang War for good. Eventually, Frank and Silverback met in a final battle that resulted in both of their deaths. The Punisher was buried in Arlington due to his previous military service as a hero.
House of M
In the House of M, Frank's family survived the mafia attack and is still the Punisher. But now he is apprehended and recruited by Thunderbird to be with a human strike force called the Brotherhood. Disgusted about mutant's disregard for humans, he later joined Luke Cage's version of the Avengers as an adventurer to fight Magneto's mutant supremacy over humans.
Earth-9939 (Earth Charnel)
The Punisher was a member of the Avengers of this reality, he along with Spider-Man, Daredevil, and Doctor Strange were killed by Charnel in a mission to recover the time disc.
The Punisher kills the Marvel Universe
In this continuity, Frank Castle's family was killed during a battle between the heroes (the Avengers and the X-Men) and a group of Aliens in Central Park. When Frank returns to see Daredevil yelling at Cyclops and Captain America, he opens fire on the heroes and manages to kill Cyclops, Hawkeye, and Shadowcat.
He is eventually brought down by Wolverine who almost kills him, but is saved when Colossus intervenes.
Castle is sent to court and is defended by his attorney (and apparently child hood friend) Matt Murdock, but is sent to jail for life. He is eventually broken out by a rich and disfigured man named Kesselring. Kesselring is a leader of a group of people who have all been disfigured or hurt by battles involving superheroes. The group wants Frank to hunt down every single superhero and supervillains and are prepared to give him all the resources needed in order to do so. Frank agrees and becomes The Punisher.
With the help of Microchip (a man whose legs were ripped off by Doctor Octopus) the Punisher goes on a murderous rampage killing every single superhero possible. He is captured every so often and sent to prison but is always released by Kesselring. During these periods he is visited by Matt Murdock who begs him to stop the senseless violence. It eventually get to the point where he has killed off every single superhero on the planet.
Castle eventually reports to his benefactors to tell them that he expects to never hear from them again once he has killed the last superhero. Kesselring tells him that eventually new superheros will rise and they too will have to be stopped but Punisher refuses. Kesselring pulls out a gun but Frank easily kills him. Frank then turns to Kesselring's associates and tell them that their need for vengeance has made them bitter and pathetic and threatens to kill anyone of them if they try to contact him. The Punisher leaves in order to kill the last superhero in existence, Daredevil.
The Punisher and Daredevil get into a brutal fight and Frank is defeated. When Daredevil begs Frank to let go of the past and stop the slaughter, Frank stabs him through the chest killing him. Before he dies, Daredevil removes the mask to reveal franks childhood friend Matt Murdock. Castle comes to the realization that there is no redemption for him and makes one final kill, himself.
In the Noir universe The Punisher is a World War I veteran and tattooed his skull symbol to his chest as a way of mocking his wife Ruth’s fear of him getting killed in combat. He did it to show he doesn’t need to fear the angel of death because he is the angle of death. After the war is over Frank comes home and his wife ends up dying of cancer leaving him alone to raise their son Frank Jr. who everyone calls Frankie. Frank is worried about his son who is hanging out with hooligans stealing and getting into all sorts of trouble confronting his son about it and then taking him home to the business he owns. Frank owns a store that does very little business and has an employee Bumpo who works for him.
The amount of business Frank does is no concern to mob leader Dutch Schultz who sends his goons over to get protection money from Frank. Frank refuses and he and his son beat the goons senseless running them out of his store. His son asks him why he refuses to pay and he explains to his son that he didn’t survive the war just to come home and get shakedown by hoods. Frank than tells his boy about his encounter with the Russian in which he dropped a grenade down his pants and killed him barely surviving the encounter further explaining that he isn’t going to just do what the mob wants him to do. Frank then teaches his boy how to shoot a gun telling him how important it is.
After the repeated failures of his men to collect money from Frank gangster Dutch Shultz decides to hire professionals to take him down before anyone else decides to stand against him. He hires Jigsaw, Barracuda, and the Russian who is still alive to kill Frank. The three succeed in killing in Castle and Frankie comes home to find the police investigating what happened. Years later Frankie would take up his father’s mantle and becomes the Punisher and would go after them and Dutch Shultz.
The mysterious space mafia killed his family and after 8 years he's seen hunting the Six-Fingered Hand. On this mission he's helped by Chip the Robot and is attacked by Brood. The assassins Sabretooth, Leader and Deadpool are sent after him and he also faces the Hulk.
This version of the Punisher isn't super powered but is portrayed as being much more agile, powerful and much more competent against superpowered opponents in comparison to his 616 counterpart.
MARVEL UNIVERSE VS.
The first in a trilogy of story arcs written by Bram Stoker Award winning writer Jonathan Maberry, the Punisher tells the tale of how he accidentally started the chain reaction that ended the world and how he has been trying to avenge it ever since.
Upon crashing a deal between the Mafia and the Russians, believing their trade to be weapons grade plutonium, Punisher accidentally causes a spillage. The chemical though turns out to be a biological substance made in preparation of nuclear war, a chemical that when applied to the human body, can prepare it to survive off anything and in any environment.
Years later, it has turned the world into raving cannibals, all the heroes are gone and the Punisher is the only immune survivor. Hunted endlessly by Deadpool, his main target is Patient Zero, once known as Spider-man. But met by the mutated cannibal spider, he is given a deal; save the pregnant Mary Jane from the Kingpin and in return, he will acquire all the human survivors that are left in New York.
Going back a step to when the virus began to wreak havoc in New York, the same tale is told from the perspective of Wolverine as he goes out to find answers in the wake of Psylocke's murder at the hands of Archangel.
Psyclocke was eaten to the bone within minutes and this shocking event leads Wolverine to Punisher when Reed Richards, Beast and Black Panther need a vaccine to see if they can cure the captured Patient Zero, Spider-man.
As things get out of control, a band of soldiers is formed, consisting of Captain America, Wolverine, Hawkeye, Punisher and Deadpool amongst an army of others. The enemy is growing and they have a Hulk. Reed Richards needs to evacuate New York and find a cure elsewhere when his findings lead to chaos.
In the end, as the war goes in favour of the cannibals, Wolverine, Punisher, Cap, Hawkeye and Deadpool are all that's left to hold off the massive cannibal offensive and more than one of them are desperately hiding signs of infection!
In the final installment, we see from day one the Avengers drawing together to combat the effects of the virus and from Hawkeye's perspective.
All the Avengers ever had to do was save the world from clear and present danger and now they're up against an unseen virus that can't be stopped, one that is claiming the lives of their loved ones and forcing them to take the lives of the friends and lovers infected by the pathogen.
Dr Doom arrives and claims to know the cure to the pathogen but his conditions are clear. Help me save the world and in return, allow me to become Emperor of the planet. Against all good sense, the Avengers agree out of desperation but how badly can this end after we've already seen the end twice? The Punisher resumes his role as the man that goes on to avenge the world he ended.
Others that have become The Punisher
One of many to have taken on the mantle of the Punisher after he was originally feared dead during the original War Zone series.
Lynn Michaels was a police officer saved by Frank Castle when she was trying to catch a rapist one night in Central Park. She thanks the Punisher for saving her by planting a kiss on him but the two don't become romantically entangled. It becomes common knowledge that she works alongside the Punisher and when the NYPD fails to allow her to arrest a suspected child killer she quits the force.
At a time when Castle is feared dead, Lynn takes up the mantle of Lady Punisher and takes on the city's criminals for a time, but when things get too dangerous and mob boss Rosie Carbone begins sending hitmen after her, she decides that Frank Castle's life is not for her and retires to a secret location.
Carlos was recruited by Microchip when he attempted to replace Castle with someone he could better trust when they fell out, but Carlos was killed by a villain named Stone Cold along with Microchip when Castle confronted the two.
From Punisher 2099, Jake Gallows was a former cop that saw the inadequacy of the law and so chose to punish criminals in his own unique way. Utilising futuristic technology, Gallows went too far in his search for justice and started to kill people for crimes they hadn't yet committed, using computers to scan peoples thoughts.
From Earth-2992, Cossandra Castle was the future result of Frank Castle and Elektra Natchios, their daughter. Although initially reviled by her father's legacy, Cossandra kept all his things locked away until the day she knew she was destined to carry on his work where so many others had failed.
From The MAX series Jenny Cesare was talked into a marrying a member of the mob by her sister Annabella Gorrini and the other Five Wives. After they got married he started beating her brutally which he didn't do before they got married. Even making her have sex with his friends against her will because she was nothing more to him then a tool that made him more acceptable in the mob. Jenny went to her sister and the other wives but they never helped her at all.
Her husband eventually tried to have her killed but the plan failed and Jenny learned that her sister and the other wives knew that her husband was abusive. She found out that other members of the mob looked down on him for not being married and her sister set her up with him choosing the mafia over Jenny. Jenny than begins getting combat training preparing to take revenge on her sister and the other five wives when she learns her husband was killed by the Punisher which she was grateful for.
Upon returning to to New York City to get her revenge on the Five Wives she stops them from killing the Punisher. She saves the Punisher's life and takes his skull T shirt and goes and executes the five wives except for her sister who she captures. She eventually kills her sister and Jenny realizes she can't take the pain of everything that she's been through anymore and kills herself.
US Marine Sergeant Rachel Alves was shot and wounded by the Exchange at her wedding with her husband and all of her family and friends being killed. Rachel Alves after recovering from her injuries begins to hunt down the exchange eliminating them. She runs into Frank Caslte who is doing the same and they both end up working together. Rachel Alves accidentally shoots an NYPD officer Walter Bolt killing him by mistake when going after the exchange, The pain is to much to bare for Rachel and she turns herself into the police.
Rachel Alves is sent to Jail and is found guilty of murder and is given the death penalty but it turns out to be just a ruse to get Punisher to try to break her free so that the Avengers can capture him in the act, so not to break international law. The Punisher still manages to free Rachel Alves and help her to escape New York with a new identity, but sacrifices himself in the process to prove a point, and is eventually taken down by the Avengers. Rachel Alves is last seen carrying on the tradition of the Punisher in Los Angeles.
The Punisher appears in the episode " Neogenic Nightmare, Chapter VII: Enter the Punisher"(207) and " Neogenic Nightmare, Chapter VII: Duel of the Hunters"(208) where he is hunting for Spider-Man in his four arms saga and accused of kidnapping Morbius. After a battle throughout Manhattan, the Punisher corners him in a warehouse and before he could finish him off Spidey transforms into the Man-Spider monster.
When Frank is about to kill Spidey, Kraven the Hunter, who owes Spider-Man for saving him in the first season intervenes and stops Frank from killing Spidey, and together they were able to cure him. After Spider-Man is cured, the Punisher leaves him be.
In Season 4 the Punisher has a role on the episode " Partners in Danger, Chapter VIII: The Return of the Green Goblin" (408) when he goes to visit his wife's grave he sees a woman crying who turns out to be Mary Jane's aunt crying at a grave labeled 'Watson' who is mourning the disappearance of Mary Jane. He agrees to find Mary Jane which leads to a hunt for Peter Parker, Spider-Man, and Green Goblin. In this series the Punisher is aided by Micro. He uses an advanced van to chase Spider-Man and fight crime.
X-Men: The Animated Series (1990's)
In episode 24: Mojo Vision Mojo forces the X-Men to perform in a series of dangerous shows.In one of the challenges the X-Men must face a man identical to The Punisher.
The Super Hero Squad (2009)
In episode 9: Night in the Sanctorum The Super Hero Squad gets picked up by the Punisher in his Van looking for a place to crash for the night. During a conversation the Punisher goes off into a rant using brusel sprouts as a reference to crime startling the squad. The Punisher during the rant hits a button that activates his battle van's laser weapons which start shooting terrifying The Super Hero Squad with Punisher then proceeding to do donuts before stopping his Battle Van with the Super Hero Squad all getting out before driving off.
The Punisher (1989)
The first Punisher movie stars Dolph Lundgren as Frank Castle. In this version, Punisher does not wear the skull on his chest. The story goes that he was a cop whose family was killed in a car bomb. Driven underground (into the sewers), Punisher's only ally is an alcoholic informant that trades information for whiskey.
Meanwhile, the Japanese Yakuza are planning a hostile takeover of the city's biggest Italian crime family and begrudgingly, that means the Punisher might have to save their children from the foreign assassins that are going around murdering their nannies and kidnapping them for a ransom.
The Punisher (2004)
A re-boot and origin story starring Tom Jane. This movie is loosely based on the "Welcome Back Frank" arc and Punisher: Year One volumes.
Frank Castle was an ex counter-terrorism operative turned FBI agent who is left enraged and tormented by the death of his entire family bloodline at the hands of Howard Saint's criminal empire. Choosing revenge as a way of dealing with why he survived, Castle sets about turning the criminal empire in upon itself from the inside and leading the Saint family into a war of wits and attrition.
Along the way, Castle fights with The Russian and Harry Heck and begins the designs for his future career, becoming The Punisher.
Punisher War Zone (2008)
Another re-boot, the 3rd Punisher movie starring Ray Stevenson as the Punisher is based on certain elements of the MAX series but featuring Jigsaw.
It was rated R and is the first Marvel Knights production. The Punisher has been working for six years and the criminal underworld fears him. But after accidentally killing an undercover FBI agent in the process of taking out mafia capo Billy Russotti, Frank decides to take a leave of absence as the Punisher only to take the mantle back when Russotti returns as Jigsaw, threatening the family of the FBI agent he killed.
Iron Man: Rise of Technovore (2013)
In this Japanese anime the Punisher is going after AIM for selling biological weapons to terrorists. Punisher runs into Iron Man who is tracking AIM for information he needs to defeat Technovore. The two decide to work together and head to the Punisher's hideout.
At the Punisher's Hideout Shield learns of Iron Man's location and sends Black Widow and Hawkeye after them. Iron Man and Punisher both end up saving each other from being captured and were able to evade Black Widow and Hawkeye.
The Punisher (1990 DOS/Windows)
Punish the wicked to earn money and pay an informant to learn how to take out the high and mighty Kingpin with a wide range of weapons. Settle scores and get paid to do it.
The Punisher (1990 NES)
In this arcade style shooter Frank Castle lets loose full punishment through six challenging levels to get to non other than Kingpin the big boss himself with the aid of a wide arsenal such as auto pistols, grenades, fully automatic heavy duty military assault riffles, and shoulder mounted rocket launchers.
The Punisher: The Ultimate Payback (1991 Gameboy)
Five levels packed full of enemies deserving punishment from Frank's assortment of machine guns, grenades, rocket launcher along with other surprises.
Pack Kevlar to dish out the pain longer and get assistance from The Amazing Spider-Man through this arcade-style single-player first-person side-scrolling shooter.
The Punisher (1993 Arcade/1994 Sega Genesis)
Capcom really went all out on this beat em up classic 16 bit style side scroller. The Punisher and Nick Fury team up to take down New York crime lord boss Kingpin using firearms such as M-16s, flamethrowers, and Ingram, and melee weapons knifes, hammers, and baseball bats, along with random drop and find weapons such as pipes and extinguishers. But before you get to Kingpin numerous villains and common enemies and to help get through all these enemies there are several abilities that can be utilized.
There are a few noted differences in the two versions of the game including graphics and audio improvements along with some censorship.
Spider-Man (2000 PSX/PC)
The Punisher makes a cameo appearance in this game. He attempts to snipe Spider-Man but the wall-crawler webs up his sniper rifle's scope. He then tells him where to find the symbiotes. He is later seen playing cards with Spider-Man, Captain America and Daredevil at the end of the game in one of the characters more carefree moments.
The Punisher (2005 PS2/Xbox/PC)
The Punisher appears in his own video game in a story based on the Marvel Knights comics. The Punisher was voiced by Tom Jane, and he was once again written by Garth Ennis.
Frank Castle, the Punisher, is being interrogated in Ryker's Island Prison for a series of killings. The player plays as the Punisher and has access to his wide arsenal and weaponry and combat skills.
The story of the game is based on the Marvel Knights series. Castle fights The Gnucci crime family, Russian Mercenaries and Yakuza gangs in the game.
Several known Marvel characters make appearances in the game including Nick Fury, Black Widow, Kingpin, the Russian, Iron Man, Martin Soap and Matt Murdock.
The Punisher: No Mercy
The Punisher: No Mercy is a mod of Unreal Tournament and is available to download from the Playstation Network for PS3. With a short main story line this game is intended to be enjoyed as a multi-player games. Playable characters include Castle's ally Jenny Cesare as well as Barracuda and Microchip.
Marvel: Avengers Alliance
The Punisher appears as an unlockable character in the Marvel: Avengers Alliance video game on Facebook. He first appeared as the grand prize at the end of PVP Tournament: Season 4, and is now available for general recruitment. He is a Generalist Class character but has the ability to change his class using his 'Walking Armory' ability. This allows him to become a Blaster, Bruiser, Infiltrator, Scrapper or Tactician Class character. Each of these classes have a different set of abilities associated with them.
Super Hero Squad Online
Punisher appeared as a playable character in Marvel's Super Hero Squad Online MMO, voiced by Crispin Freeman.
MAKE THE PUNISHMENT FIT THE CRIME.
FBI agent Frank Castle’s final case ends with a literal bang, when a wannabe weapons smuggler is gunned down during a sting operation. But the dead man isn’t just any punk. He’s the son of Howard Saint, the powerful Florida tycoon whose hot-spot nightclub has made him famous, and whose multimillion-dollar money-laundering business has made him as rich—and as ruthless—as any of his gangster clients.
Saint wants payback—with interest—for his boy’s death. And he gets it, by orchestrating a massacre that claims the lives of Frank Castle’s beloved wife and son—and almost kills Castle. But almost doesn’t count. Now Frank Castle—ex–FBI agent, ex–Special Forces commando, ex-husband and father—is canceling his retirement and starting a new career. One that begins with teaching Howard Saint the ultimate lesson: No evil deed goes unpunished.
- Written By: D.A. Stern
- Publisher: Del Rey (March, 2004)
- ISBN-10: 0345475569
- ISBN-13: 978-0345475565