April 24, 2016

Character Spotlight: The Punisher

Violence begets more violence, none know this better than Frank Castle, The Punisher. A horrible tragedy set him down an eternal warpath or was it always destined for Frank to don a skull and guns? Let’s find out!

Francis Castiglione was a great soldier and all around expert combatant. He would fall in love with Maria and before he’d be shipped off to fight, she’d already be pregnant with their first child. A career military man so dedicated to the fight that when it came time to come home, he’d change his name to Frank Castle so he could illegally get back into the fight for more tours.


When war was over, for the time, Frank would take on work doing Black Ops work near home. He and Maria would raise their two children. Frank was an amazing soldier but an even better family man. A picnic in the park seemed like the perfect family outing. That is, until the mob showed up and realizing the Castle family were witnesses, gunned them down, all except Frank. Technically, Frank survived, but something buried deep within was unleashed.

Collecting an arsenal, Frank would become known as The Punisher for the violent vengeance he’d inflict upon the criminal world. All the skills he’d picked up to defend his home and loved ones was now being unleashed on those who took it and could take it from other people criminals let get caught in their crossfire.


Living in a world with costumed heroes and villains, it wasn’t long until Frank ran across one, Spider-Man. Frank immediately clashes with most superheroes since unlike their codes of personal conduct, he finds his enemies are absolutely worthy of killing. Even though they had vastly different views on crime fighting, Frank and Spider-Man would work together from time to time, almost as much as they’d fight.

Eventually his continual butting heads with heroes caused Frank to end up in prison. Sure, lock the guy up who kills criminals with a bunch of convicted criminals, what could go wrong? After killing many of his fellow inmates, Frank would escape on to be confronted by Daredevil. The two would argue extensively and become begrudging allies, both as Daredevil and his lawyer persona, Matt Murdock. They had a common enemy in Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin of Crime, but Daredevil would take Frank back to jail where he believed Castle belonged. Again, why trap the anteater in the anthill?


While locked away this time, Frank’s frustration at being constantly sent in prison cause him to go into rages. Able to break free, he’d find Fisk and fight him until he was again taken away. While being put on trial, his defense tried to claim the insanity defense which further caused Frank to spiral. To Frank, his family’s loss didn’t make him this way. Maybe Frank was always going to become the Punisher, he just needed something to push him. This idea caused him to have a nervous breakdown.

While in Ryker’s Island, he would meet Jigsaw, a horribly disfigured survivor of on of Frank’s attacks. The two would be at odds many times through out Frank’s attempts to rid the world of crime. Finally breaking free from jail for an extended period of time, Frank would befriend a hacker who goes by Microchip who would help Frank in his war on crime. Years would go by with Frank traveling all over the world taking on criminals and villains.

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The years would prove draining to Frank at one point, he’d kill himself. This would not stop his war. Returning as an angel of vengeance, Frank would fight evil in service to Heaven. Growing tired of working for Heaven, Frank would be resurrected and renewed in his cause to end crime.

Revived in more ways than one, Frank would find life as the scourge of the criminal underworld was one worth living. Being seen as a force of nature made him persona non grata among heroes. This would culminate during the Civil War when he’d ally with the Anti-Registration side, despite no one else really trusting him nor wanting him there. Captain America, himself, would kick Frank out after he kills two villains who try to join the Anti-Reg side.

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In a world where Norman Osborn, the Green Goblin, leads H.A.M.M.E.R. the agency formerly known as S.H.I.E.L.D. Frank is someone who cannot exist under his rule. Sending the magical villain, the Hood, after him, Frank would be confronted with his family resurrected as a way to get him to stop. Realizing none of this was real, Frank would be forced to kill his own revived family and realizing there was no way to change the past and that in the end, he didn’t want to. Sending out the son of Wolverine, Daken, to kill Frank and he would do so by cutting him into pieces.

Frank was dead again. And yet again, death would not keep Frank down for long. Stitched together from his own dead body parts and along with some other pieces, Franken-Castle was alive! Tasked with using his blood lust against crime to be aimed at monsters, Frank would take on supernatural beings as one of their own. Eventually being brought back to life after taking on Daken and winning but not getting the killing blow thanks to Wolverine.

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Human once more, Frank would find another warrior to join in his war. Sergeant Rachel Cole-Alves was married for only a few hours when a gang war would break out near her wedding party, killing all but Rachel. That sounds eerily similar to another soldier’s story. Frank would take Rachel on as a fellow Punisher. The two would work together to deal with a united front of supervillain organizations called The Exchange. Teaming up with Spider-Man and Daredevil, Frank and Rachel would fight droves of criminals. Rachel would betray them to take the data Daredevil had on The Exchange to try and find who was responsible for her wedding massacre.

Taking her into custody, Frank would realize that Rachel still had too many ties to her humanity for this to be her life. He would return to her to stop her from facing the death penalty, with assistance from the Avengers, but he would trick them and allow for Rachel to escape on her own to find her own path to take. This would let her get away but get him locked up in a special cell by the Avengers.


Realizing he was a very capable asset, Frank would be recruited into the Thunderbolts. This would only last so long until Frank could kill several of his villainous teammates. Escaping and going out on his own yet again.

There you have it! Frank Castle is a determined individual, for good and ill. He will never stop as long as he lives and even then, he’ll find away around that. It was never about vengeance, it may have started that way, but that was just the excuse. The reason is likely more complicated with Frank’s need for battle. There will always be crime in the Marvel Universe and it seems like there will always be a Punisher.

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Suggested Reading
The Amazing Spider-Man #129
The Punisher
Punisher MAX
Punisher War Journal
Punisher 2099
Welcome Back Frank

Dr. Bustos



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