Lt. Francis "Frank" Castle (born Francis Castiglione) aka the Punisher was an Italian-American former US Marine who served in multiple tours of duty, including the Siancong War, where he received the Bronze Star, Silver Star, and four Purple Hearts. He became a vigilante after seeing his wife; Maria and children; Lisa and Frank Jr. gunned down for accidentally observing a Mafia "hit". Now with a distinct death's head skull adorning his chest, he devoted his life to the task of destroying organized crime wherever he found it.
Born in Queens, New York, to Sicilian immigrants, the young Francis Castiglione was very violent and aggressive inflicting extensive injuries on bullies. This violence would cause him to be observed by The Hand. After being haunted by the deaths of a couple that were brutally murdered by a mafioso, Frank killed the mafioso by setting him on fire after dumping homemand napalm on him. This was his first kill. He later studied in the seminary for a time. He married his wife, Maria, who was already pregnant with their first child, before enlisting in the United States Marine Corps, eventually rising to the rank of Captain.
During his time in the USMC, Castiglione graduated from boot camp and then went on to United States Marine Corps School of Infantry. While still in training, Castiglione met Phan Bighawk, an American Indian scout. He was assigned to be Castiglione's guide, and through Phan, he learned how to survive in the wilderness. Following his training, Castiglione served for the Marines for four tours. Despite being one of, if not the best sniper in the corps, it is generally implied that many of his superiors didn't like him and put him in situations where they hoped he would be killed.
At one point, his friend from training, Roger Wong, was found to be running a black market supplying the locals with weapons. To keep him away from the trial Frank was sent stateside for a month, running a recruitment office. It was here that he met Linus Lieberman, who would soon become Microchip, for the first time, when he disqualified him from the draft for having flat feet and being overweight. He did not remember this meeting later, but Microchip did.
Death of His Family
While on leave, Frank took his wife and two small children to Central Park in New York City. Coincidentally, the family happened upon the scene of a mob killing on the Sheep's Meadow green in the park. Fearing witnesses, the mobsters murdered Castle's family in cold blood and escaped. Castle managed to survive the attack but was deeply traumatized by the incident. He was going to testify in court to identify the shooters, but Castle was denied this since the New York City Police department were deeply connected with the Mafia. He decided not to return to Marine duty.
When mobsters slayed his family, Frank Castle vowed to spend the rest of his life avenging them. Now equipped with state-of-the-art weapons, he wages a one-man war against crime as the Punisher. Castle uses his combat experience, guerrilla and urban warfare techniques, as well as detective-like skills to achieve is mission. This includes using the Mafia's own tactics against them to track down and kill those responsible for the death of his family.
In the modern era he clashed with Spider-Man, believing him to be a common crook, but the two became uneasy allies. He mistook him again as a criminal when Tarantula was hijacking ships. When Moses Magnum's Deterrence Research Corporation (DRC) was hired to develop a toxic biochemical gas, he tested it on kidnapped innocents. Punisher and Spider-Man shut down this operation, though Magnum narrowly escaped death. He took down the International Industrial Alliance and the Syndicate. He teamed up with the X-Man Nightcrawler to bring down Jigsaw who was trying to frame Castle for several killings. He teamed up again with Spider-Man to stop the Hitman from kidnapping John Jonah Jameson. Spider-Man even tried to stop Punisher from killing Lorenzo Jacobi.
Spider-Man tried to stop Castle again when he murdered a swami, but it was revealed he was an assassin in disguise. This eventually led back to Doctor Octopus intending to poison the city; Castle received a dose of the poison and attacked Spider-Man in his disorientation, but Spider-Man formulated a cure for him and left him tied up on the pier while he went after Doc Ock. Castle was found by a police officer and arrested for his crimes, stating that he would not fight police and they were on the same side. While in prison on Ryker's Island, Frank continued his war on crime by killing his fellow inmates whenever they attacked him, as happened regularly, as he was understandably not very popular with the criminals there. However, Castle was busted out of prison by a cop who wanted to use him to stop a narcotics shipment that he was instructed to leave alone. When he killed the drug dealers he learned that they were using children in their operations. He declined to go back to jail and instead went to track down the drug dealers.
Castle was confronted by Daredevil, who was trying to take them down legally. While trying to take out one of the dealers someone killed his target first. Later during an interrogation of the thugs Daredevil showed up enraged by Castle's lethal methods. Because Daredevil is "an innocent", Castle decided not to kill him and shot him with a tranquilizer dart and continued with the interrogation. Unfortunately, the drug lord was arrested before Castle could get to him and was being defended by the law firm Nelson and Murdock. Worried they would get the drug lord free he decides to kill him before they have the chance. After Matthew Murdock got him acquitted, he admitted that he did kill his partner, and it was his pacemaker that disguised the signs of his lie from Murdock's enhanced hearing. Castle went after them and teamed up with Daredevil. But after they took down the drug lord Daredevil shot Castle and took him back to prison.
Taking on the Kingpin
Now locked up in Dannemora State Prison he threatened a new inmate Boomerang that if he didn't behave he would not survive. He then offered Boomerang one more chance: help him escape from prison or die. The duo planned an elaborate escape but as they were leaving Castle betrayed Boomerang, knocking him down into the guards, and escaped by himself, vowing to kill the Kingpin. Castle became unhinged, attacking anyone committing almost any crime, including firing on people for littering and speeding. (It was later revealed that this madness was the result of being drugged while in prison.)
He assaulted the Kingpin's headquarters simultaneously with Cloak and Dagger, while Spider-Man attempted to protect the Kingpin from him. During a one-on-one fight, Castle threatened Vanessa Fisk, which sent the Kingpin into a rage and he nearly beat the Punisher to death, but left him alive and escaped. Castle was taken back into custody. Later at his arrangement, District Attorney Blake Tower told the court that he believed that Castle should be tried for all of his crimes as he willingly committed them. However, the defense argued that since the murder of his family, Frank Castle had gone completely mad and needed to be institutionalized. Upon hearing this, Frank refused to believe that he was mad and lashed out, telling the judge that the entire system is crazy for letting criminals walk the street, before collapsing in a nervous breakdown. He was judged incompetent to stand trial and sent to a psychiatric facility.
When the effects of the drug eventually wore off, Castle was deemed sane and sent back to Ryker's Island. Castle remained unfazed until he encountered Jigsaw, a mobster who got away. The two tried their best to kill each other. Eventually, Castle was able to escape again thanks to the Trust. However on the outside, he learned of the Punishers: a team of mercenaries working under his alias, whom he was intended to lead in a mass-cleansing of criminals. He infiltrated the Trust to learn the truth and found its leader, Alex Alaric, torturing and brainwashing former criminals into believing they were The Punisher. He was confronted by a brainwashed Jigsaw, also believing himself to be the Punisher, but Jigsaw's hatred of him was able to overcome the brainwashing. Castle was able to take down the Trust and its entire operation. The most lasting effect of the Trust's work was erasing Frank Castle's records as part of freeing him from jail, giving him an anonymity with the police that would help him for years.
He began working with David Lieberman aka Microchip who helped him on his one-man war against crime. His war against organized crime goes global when he focuses his sights on the international drug trade. Castle's personal war against the cocaine czars forces him to secretly leave the States and strike at the source Bolivia. Castle tried to build a new, peaceful, life for himself in the Midwest but this ultimately failed. Castle confronted the malevolent leader of a dedicated and well-armed cult but ultimately he took down their leader "The Rev". Castle was caught in the midst of nuclear waste, atomic terrorism, and international intrigue. This landed him in a life-and-death shootout high above the city. He later tried to take down a group of white collar criminals. This lead him to hunting down the Skid Row Slasher. Daredevil tracked down Alfred Coppersmith, a killer putting cyanide in aspirin, but ended up having to save him from Punisher's brand of justice. He stopped a gang of criminals who was smuggling illegal aliens into the country.
Castle broke into prison to take out a cult leader. But it also meant he had to escape by teaming up with a group of inmates. Castle makes a tribute every year to his family by going to the park where they were slaughtered and flying a kite as they were doing when the tragedy happened. We will see how Frank Castle's commitment makes him help a family in need. We also learn how Montoya, an ex-mob member will soon be released from jail for good behavior. He took on the Assassins Guild, and later became a substitute teacher while investigating drugs being run in a school. Castle tried to keep a kid from going down the same path he did, and not only that, but he had to go after a man he sympathized with. Castle was later drugged and beaten and an old ally, Hector Montoya, who was out of prison, was determined to kill him.
Castle's war against the Kingpin stepped up into high gear as he drafted a small army to help him battle the crime lord. But even an army may have not been enough when the Kingpin sent his newest assassin after Castle. Castle was secretly training a small army to attack the Kingpin. But the Kingpin's latest assassin started picking off the Punisher's men one by one. He killed the Kingpin's top assassin and tried to destroy the Kingpin's casino as well. This led to a one-on-one confrontation, where both men escaped alive.
Afterwards, the Punisher teamed up with Power Pack. He then traveled on a mission to Australia, and then Las Vegas. On a mission to Madripoor, he took on Wolverine. He then dealt with a crooked boxing promoter's scheme to bank a million bucks for himself by wrecking the career and the life of the boxer who trusts him. He vowed to bring justice to Iris Green. The trail leads him into a secret ninja training camp. Castle tried to eradicate an extremist pseudo-military organization whose goals were the same as his, but their methods were devastatingly different. Castle was transformed into a drug-maddened berserker, and Moon Knight was his first victim. Castle battled Damage and his New York City drug cartel. He teamed up with Black Widow and the Shadowmasters to battle the Sunrise Society. Along with the Shadowmasters, they square off against ninjas and Iris. He was forced to protect a "whistleblower" from high-level Pentagon officials who want him silenced. Things get out of control fast when the Punisher found himself forced to hijack an experimental submarine and was chased by a full-scale nuclear sub with orders to terminate him. The Sniper returned to face Castle again. Castle had to expose U.S. government procurement corruption, leading a corrupt general to declare total war on the Punisher.
Back with Spider-Man
Teaming up with a cosmically powered Spider-Man, he took down Hartmann, a neo-Nazi fanatic. Punisher and Spider-Man inquired on drug smuggling in New York, and tracked drugs to a military academy. They learned from Colonel Buchinsky that the government believed cocaine (which never loses value) could become the new currency if the gold standard fell and was hoarding it. While Spidey fend off the robot mechanoids guarding the cocaine, Punisher set his charges and blew up the stockpile. They then tackled a group of white supremacists who kidnapped MJ. He went on various mission outside the US.
When Microchip tapped into the Reavers computer system, the Australia-based mercenary group, he stole plans to build a combat robot dubbed the "Dalek". The group found the hack and decided to seek revenge the trashed the Punisher's safe house and then went after Microchip and Castle. Microchip created the Punisher's Exo-Armor to level the playing the field for Castle against the Reavers.
Jigsaw returned looking for revenge alongside Rev. Sammy Smith. He was contacted by the Impossible Man during his vacation on Earth. He teamed up with US Agent and Paladin to take down a group of Drug Lords. He took on a group of terrorists.
When Worlds Collide
Punisher was hired by the F.B.I. to capture gangster Red Fever in exchange for Red's information on the criminals on the eastern seaboard. He and Microchip, tracked him to upstate New York Riverdale where they spotted townie Archie Andrews, a dead ringer for Red Fever. Unfortunately, criminal rivals of Jay also mistook Archie for Mel, kidnapping him and his companion, Jughead Jones. Frank and David tailed them and ended up ramming their car with their van. Archie and Jughead jumped from the car, only to come face to face with Punisher. Frank quickly realized that Archie wasn't Red and he escaped after Jughead was able to divert Frank's attention.
Frank and David once again tailed the rival gang and learned through eavesdropping that Red had been spotted at the local high school. Frank broke into the school and pretended to be a chaperone for an ongoing dance. Red noticed him and forced his date, Ronnie Lodge, to leave the campus. During the scuffle, a member of the local mob, who had also infiltrated the school, tried to kill Archie, forcing Frank to intervene and save his life.
Afterwards, Punisher allied with Archie and his friends to rescue Ronnie. While listening to a ransom note typed by Red, the teen noticed several strange formulations by Lodge, which clued them in on their actual location: a Riverdale warehouse used to store paraphernalia for the upcoming Fourth of July town parade. Before they left, Frank received a call from the F.B.I. revealing that a local criminal had turned himself in after the dance and revealed the information they wanted from Mel. This call removed the incentive to keep Red alive.
During the ensuring engagement at the warehouse, Red became caught in a line for one of the balloons and floated away. Apparently inspired by the usually peaceful nature of Riverdale, and with "Red" and his drug operation thoroughly finished, the Punisher for once made no further effort to finish him off. The following morning, Frank and David left Riverdale for a mission that would take them to Gotham City.
Eventually, it was evident that the war on crime had taken its toll 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 safehouses. He then found a former Navy Seal named Carlos Cruz and hoped he would be less violent in his actions. In the meantime, Microchip tried to bring back the Punisher's sanity with psychological experiments. The Punisher eventually broke free of Micro's holding cell and threatened to kill him. It was at that precise moment that Stone Cold bombed the wall they were standing next to, seemingly killing Microchip. After the Punisher killed Stone Cold, he simply walked away.
The betrayal of his former partner had put Frank over the edge. He was manipulated to believe that Nick Fury was the one that killed his family, so Nick Fury had him locked up in the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier. The Punisher however, angered by these events, managed not only to escape but apparently kill Fury when he tried to stop him. It was however later revealed that it was not Nick Fury who had been shot, but a Life-Model Decoy. Nevertheless, Frank became a target for the law even bigger than ever before. Frank eventually learned the truth about Nick Fury and returned to his crusade against crime, this time more in a shift towards the superhero community.
Sometime after this Frank was convinced by demons led by the former Archangel Olivier to commit suicide and was then raised from death by the Angel Gadriel who used some of his own angelic power to restore Frank to life as well as granting him access to all the weapons of Heaven. During this time Frank learned that Frank Costa, whose mob family were responsible for the death of his family, was in fact the demon Olivier who killed Frank's family so that the all the deaths Frank would then be responsible for would ultimately work as sacrifices for Olivier, allowing him to increase his power. Frank fought alongside Gadriel and seemingly killed Olivier. While still possessing these powers Frank also fought alongside Wolverine who was trying to stop a young Morlock woman, Revelation, from spreading death with her uncontrollable powers. Sometime after this he lost all the supernatural powers he had gained and was a normal man once more, having been taken to Heaven by Angels who tried to convince him to work for them which he declined.
Gnucci Crime Family
Taking the alias Mr. Smith, took an apartment in New York where he reluctantly befriended the neighbors Spacker Dave, Mr. Bumpo, and Joan the Mouse. Castle decided to strike fear in the hearts of the criminals of New York by by targeting the Gnucci Crime Family. He planned to kill Ma Gnucci the matriarch of the family, but not before making her suffer first by killing her criminal sons Carlo Gnucci, Bobbie Gnucci, and Eddie Gnucci.
This however turned into a full scale war and he was shocked by how ruthless Ma Gnucci was. She used her connections with the N.Y.P.D. to force them to attempt to bring Castle to justice as well as putting a price on his head. The N.Y.P.D established the Punisher Task Force assigning Martin Soap as it's head. Daredevil tried to stop him but ultimately failed. A number of hit-men came to collect on the job including the "Russian". Ma was shocked to see Castle when he appeared on her front lawn holding the Russian's head. The remainder of her soldiers threw down their guns and left, saying that she "can't pay us enough to fight that." Castle then burned the Gnucci house to the ground (after raiding a safe and stealing some of Ma's money and secret documents) with Ma inside.
Soap stepped down as the police commissioner and was placed back in control of the Punisher Task Force. Castle met with Soap to form an alliance who decided to provide him the information he could. Soon after while on a mission he encountered a newly resurrected Russian. Working with Spider-Man he was able to take down the mercenary but he escaped, learning he was brought back on Grand Nixon Island by General Kreigkopf. Punisher traveled to the island where he battled Kreigkopf's forces along with the Russian. After defeating Kreigkopf he stole one of his planes and dropped a hydrogen bomb on the island incinerating everyone.
Soap went to Castle regarding Tommy Casino an old school gangster being held prisoner in Colombia. He was imprisoned during a botched mob deal and was about to be executed. He sent Castle to rescue him as Tommy was the only person able to bring peace between the mob families and by doing so save a lot of lives. He reluctantly agreed and saved Casino from Columbia and brought him back to the States. Tommy kept his word and brought all the major players of New York together for a peace summit, but this was just what Castle wanted who had arrived to the meeting himself with his M60, having used Tommy as an opportunity to wipe out the mob.
While still taking down the East Coast Mob, he encountered Wolverine who was also tracking down a murderer who cut a man in half. Logan believed Castle was responsible and attacked him. The fight was rough with Castle about to set Logan on fire when they were interrupted by a group of little people led by Tony Casino the brother of the late mafia don Tommy Casino whom the Punisher had recently killed. They fought these little people who were revealed to be the killers, forcing the pair to team up. Castle shot Logan in the groin so the little people would attack him but Castle returned with his machine gun and cleared the building. Knowing Wolverine would survive and come after him he trapped him under a steam roller as he escaped.
While taking down a drug den he noticed a cop pocketing some of the drugs. He was informed by Soap the officers were Andy Seifert and Mike Pearse. He tracked the duo and took out their informant along the way as well torching drug dens. However he learned that Seifert was a gambler and was about to lose his home, but Pearse had promised to help him.
Streets of Laredo
Castle had started to notice a decline in some of the usual activity he targeted in New York and went to question one of his informants to see what he could learn, the informant told him about a drug deal which Castle went to deal with, however what he found was instead professional gun runners who were selling dangerous weaponry. A sniper on a nearby roof spotted Castle and alerted the others to his presence, while Castle was planning a response he got lucky and one of the gang members fumbled a rocket launcher and took himself and his men out for him. Frank returned to his informant who told him that the arms dealers he'd spotted and taken down originated in a small town called Branding located in Texas. Castle arrived in the town and quickly learned from a local woman, Kim Wells as well as the local Sheriff that they and the rest of the town were aware that there was a gang set up near their town with a lot of weaponry but nothing had been done about it, the Sheriff stated he wanted to keep the peace but he was also in a relationship with the leaders son which kept her men behaving themselves when they would enter the town.
It didn't take Castle to learn the location of the arms dealers, who were set up in a fortified compound outside the town, as well as the fact that their leader was a woman named Rachel. While visiting the towns bar Castle entered into a bar fight with a member of the gang who was carried a stolen military grade firearm without the serial number filed off, informing him that the gang were sourcing their weaponry from corrupt members of the Army.
The leader of the gang, Rachel, lost her son to a homophobic hate crime after he was repeatedly run over in the desert and left for her people to find so in revenge she planned to lead her people against the town. They didn't get far before the Sheriff attempted to reason with them and then engaged in a firefight instead when they wouldn't listen. This allowed Castle to infiltrate their compound and killed those who had not got along into town before soaking the compound in gasoline, piling up the weaponry, and detonating the entire place with a grenade. Rachel and her gang returned to the compound when they witnessed the explosion, which left her more determined to fight after losing all of her product.
Many of Rachel's gang were unwilling to continue following her, those who remained she convinced to attack the town to draw out their saboteur. Castle was aware they were coming for him and set himself up in town to kill as many of them as quickly as possible, Rachel escaped the initial slaughter and Castle followed after her, she attempted to murder him with a hatchet but he prevailed against her and after a short fight he was able to kill her by impaling her with a meat hook in her neck. The man who killed Rachel's son is identified as local vocally bigoted Reverend and as Frank left town he attached the Reverend to the truck he had used to murder Rachel's son and dragged him to death from the back of it.
Confederacy of Dunces
Wolverine, Daredevil, and Spider-Man teamed up to finally deal with Castle. He was on a mission destroying the Irish mob when he was confronted by the trio of heroes but was able to taunt them enough to set them off against each other allowing him to escape. He continued his mission, but allowed the heroes to catch up and took Wolverine out using a rocket launcher, he also trapped Spidey in a room full of explosives.
Daredevil however got the upper hand and tackled him out a window but he survived and warned Daredevil to leave him be. Spidey was freed when it was revealed the explosives were fake. Castle contacted Matt to arrange a meeting, but when they arrived they found the Hulk, whose human self had been suffering from amnesia when he was rescued by Castle and who proceeded to destroy the building after transforming. Punisher then convinced Daredevil and the others to leave him alone and revealed that he had been feeding stew filled with plastic explosives that when detonated reverted Hulk back to Banner.
Means and Ends
Castle would run up against Daredevil again soon after when Daredevil's defeat and subsequent imprisonment of the Kingpin led to a shake of the New York underworld that Hammerhead planned to exploit. Castle planned to take down by sniper rifle and learned that the crime boss was also working with the Jackal who he didn't initially recognize but with whom Castle had a regrettable history. Daredevil intervened when Castle attempted to kill them and the two fought with Castle escaping to plan his next move.
Hammerhead then sent Bushwacker after him who had improved upon his powers and weaponry after learning he was in fact a mutant. The fight the two engaged in attracted the attention of Daredevil who attempted to intervene which temporarily broke up their fight. Castle stole bombs from a nearby army base and attracted the attention of both Bushwacker and Daredevil, using Daredevil to fight Bushwacker for him while he bombed Hammerheads base of operations only to learn that Daredevil had been responsible for their arrest already.
Daredevil had become increasingly sick of Castle especially after he killed an assistant district attorney he knew, but was unaware was dirty. Castle lured Daredevil into a confrontation in which an innocent homeless man was shot by Castle accidentally. Castle went to the hospital to check and see if the man was okay and learned that a family he had gotten to know had been targeted by criminals and that their daughter, Mary, who bored a resemblance to Castle's late wife, had been beaten and raped. When her brother Martin was targeted, Castle saved his life and worked to take out the men who were after them.
Daredevil had become aware of the situation and when Castle was taking the men out as they came for Martin he arrived and attempted to convince him to surrender. The two of them fought one another once again and after being beaten by Daredevil and shot at by the police Castle was captured and ended up confined in Salamanca prison alongside Hammerhead and the Jackal where he would have a shot at getting to them he never would have had outside of the prison.
Punisher vs. Bullseye
No longer imprisoned Castle planned to hit the Patrillo crime family whose numbers had been decimated some years before, leaving their leader to command them while staying in hiding and crossdressing so as not to give himself away. The family was being led by this man who secretly commanded his nephew to carry out his orders in the greater world. They spent millions to hire Bullseye to kill Castle for them, during their first skirmish they both escaped and Bullseye raised his price.
At a meeting between the Patrillo family and Bullseye, Castle attacked, killing most of the crime family and pursuing Bullseye who hijacked a public transport bus before crashing it into a bar full of criminals who Castle then took out, the police intervened and Bullseye disguised himself as a victim on the bus to get away. Castle escaped and Bullseye continued killing after hijacking an ambulance. Castle hunted for the location of the Patrillo family and Bullseye for a week leading to another confrontation between them.
Bullseye laid a trap for Castle who also laid one for him, after an explosive battle Bullseye reported to the Patrillo family that he had killed Castle, showing them Castle's blood stained shirt as proof. Castle then arrived and killed the two remaining members of the Patrillo crime family and it was revealed that Bullseye had also been hired by the Patrillo's rival family to kill them and had used their hit on the Punisher to get him to do most of the work for him, and that he was the one who had targeted their family years prior, not Castle as they had believed.
Civil War & G.W. Bridge
Initially Castle was not concerned about the civil war between the heroes until the government started using superpowered criminals to enforce the law. This act made Castle enter the war on the side of Captain America and the Secret Avengers. After rescuing Spider-Man from Pro-Registration forces he brought the beaten and unconscious hero to the Anti-Registration hideout.
Some heroes were apprehensive about having the vigilante in their midst while some were outraged not wanting him there at all, but after he assured them that he could get them into the Baxter Building Captain America allowed him to join. Unfortunately on the eve of the final battle two supervillains attempted to join the Anti-Registration forces and the Punisher killed them outright. Enraged Captain America attacked Castle for his lack of self-control and for not finding the better man within himself.
When the war was over Frank found himself on the run from G.W. Bridge and S.H.I.E.L.D. once again, after witnessing Captain America's assassination on a TV screen in Times Square. Bridge continued to track Castle as the Punisher teamed up with Stuart Clarke and took on a white nationalist group calling themselves National Force, led by a new Hate-Monger who was targeting people attempting to cross into the United States through the Sonoran Desert.
After returning to New York City, the Punisher protected ordinary citizens who were endangered during World War Hulk. Afterwards, the Rhino accidentally killed a security guard during a bank robbery and the Punisher intended to take him down. Before he could though, an unbalanced Alexei Kravinoff kidnapped the Rhino and other animal themed supervillains for his own private zoo, leading Punisher to face off against him until Kravinoff escaped to the Savage Land.
Frank was then plagued by the return of Jigsaw who, alongside Lynn Michaels, had brainwashed a former auxiliary volunteer officer named Ian to act as the Punisher to aid him in gun running and other criminal enterprises while framing Frank and sending Hand assassins to kill him. Behind the scenes G.W.Bridge had been putting together an all female team to take on Frank, consisting of Domino, Silver Sable and Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine. When Frank was implicated in Ian's crimes he didn't believe Frank to be guilty of them, and brought his team to New York to discover the truth but also to still try and take him down.
After Frank's fight with the hand, Ian tried to kill him but he was rescued by Bridge who arrested him and tried to send him to the Raft Before they could reach the Raft though they were attacked by the Wrecking Crew on the Brooklyn Bridge, who'd been hired to kill Frank by Jigsaw after the Hand's failure. The Rhino arrived on the scene and helped him fight the Wrecking Crew to repay him for not killing him the last time they met. Frank had the chance to kill Jigsaw but decided not to and instead allowed himself to be arrested so as to get back in touch with his mission, feeling that he had developed 'blind spots' such as torturing Jigsaw repeatedly but never killing him.
Frank was still imprisoned in S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Grey Facility when the Skrulls began their Secret Invasion and the Facility lost power. Frank made his way into the heart of New York City which was under siege from the Skrulls, finding that fighting against an invading force at war had brought him back to how things should be. At this time Stuart Clarke had become aware that Frank had killed a woman he was interested in, Tatiana Arocha, though he remained unaware that the murder happened under the influence of Hate-Monger and set out to find Frank. G.W. Bridge was also tasked with taking down Frank after his attack against a formation of Skrulls placed a group of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents lives at risk. Bridge was the first to find Frank but was injured when a Super-Skrull modeled after the Kingpin and Hammerhead attacked them. Clarke, in his Rampage exo-suit saved them both, though only to question Frank about what had happened to Tatiana.
Clarke began using his Rampage exo-suit to attempt to beat Frank to death, something which Frank questioned if he deserved. Just as Frank was going to let Clarke kill him, Clarke came under attack from the Super-Skrull which Bridge then killed before coming under attack from a Skrull sniper which Frank saved him from. Clarke volunteered to try and take the sniper out so that he'd be able to kill Frank without risk from the Skrull, while Clarke was going after the Sniper Frank learned from Bridge that Clarke had been imprisoned on the Raft because he was a cop killer with a one sided vendetta against Tony Stark, which he had not known. Clarke tried to use the Skrulls sniper rifle to take Frank out but having learned the truth about Clarke, Frank was already after him and began to beat him until the building they were in was attacked and destroyed by Skrulls. Frank and Clarke both survived the destruction of the building, with Frank vanishing into the night with the Skrulls rifle while Bridge found Clarke in the rubble, with his face inadvertently scarred in a similar way to Jigsaw.
After the Skrull Invasion, Norman Osborn became the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. and renamed it H.A.M.M.E.R. Frank attempted to shoot Norman, but the Sentry stopped the bullet. Sentry began to fight Frank. Frank was able to hide in his van until a man named Henry led him to a hideout. Henry then gave Frank information on a drug ring he wanted the Punisher to eradicate. Hank took photos of the fight, which made the newspapers. Norman Osborn read it and ordered the Hood to have Frank killed.
The Hood needed help to take Frank down, so he brought Microchip back from the dead. The Hood said he would bring back David's son if he took out the Punisher. After Microchip failed to do so, the Hood summoned some super villains from the dead to help take out the Punisher instead. The Hood then took G.W. Bridge's wife away and killed her, while his son was kidnapped. The Hood also removed Frank's family out from their graves. Frank saw the Hood and Microchip with G.W. Bridge whom he was told to kill so he could have his family, and Microchip's son, back from the dead. Frank refused to do so, so Microchip took the Hood's gun and killed G.W. Bridge himself. Microchip's son and Frank's family were seemingly brought back to life; however, Frank soon realized they were merely an illusion created by the Hood. Frank then used Firebrand's flames to burn his illusory family and Microchip's fake son alive before battling it out with the Hood.
Soon after, Osborn dispatched Daken and dozens of H.A.M.M.E.R. agents to kill Frank. When Frank and Daken fought, the agents shot Frank in the leg and Daken sliced Frank to pieces. Those pieces were then recovered by the Moloids and the Man-Thing.
After his death at the hands of Daken, Castle was resurrected by Morbius and the Legion of Monsters as a patchwork Frankenstein-like creature to help them against a group of Samurai-like men lead by the mysterious Hellsgaard, who killed monsters for "not being of God". At first Frank refused to help them out and disappeared into the sewers. The Living Mummy later tried to reason with him and showed him Wolfman's armory.
Again he refused. When the group attacked the monsters hideout Frank was angered by the death of a child Moloid and fought back. After intense violent battles alongside the Legion of Monsters against Hellsgaard he would eventually take his revenge against Daken in Tokyo, but was interrupted by Wolverine. Frank was then transformed back into a normal human through use of the Bloodstone by Elsa Bloodstone.
After healing completely he started hunting the Hood but without results so he went after Micro. On his way a woman in a black leather suit attacked him. She pretended she was his burnt wife but it was later revealed that it was Tanya Adrian who he had also burned working with Jigsaw. This all ended with a final confrontation between Jigsaw, Henry Russo, and Frank. Lady Gorgon was killed by Castle and Jigsaw fell in a fire. Frank told Henry that if he ever saw him again, he would kill him.
A violent gang war resulted in the murders of nearly 30 people at a wedding reception, including the groom, leaving the bride, Marine Sergeant Rachel Cole-Alves, a widow just hours after getting married. Frank had connections with one of the detectives on the case and used the information he gave him to kill members of the Exchange, the group responsible, before the police had a chance to question them. He left one alive and followed him as he searched for a safe haven. But his bosses knew he was marked by the Punisher and killed him, then sent the new Vulture to kill Frank. Though he won his battle with the Vulture, he was left seriously wounded, and spent the next three months recovering. Back in action, Frank journeyed to upstate New York on a mission to kill multiple Exchange managers. There, he encountered Rachel Cole-Alves, who was using her Marine background to get revenge on the Exchange. Since they both wanted the same thing, the two began to work together.
Eventually, Frank learned that Daredevil was in possession of the Omega Drive, a data drive made of Unstable Molecules containing information on multiple crime organizations, which Frank wanted for himself. Daredevil refused to hand it over to him, but Frank agreed to help him destroy it since it meant he could spend the night fighting crime. However, Rachel wanted the drive to help her get revenge on the Exchange and stole it off of Daredevil before he could destroy it. It took some convincing from Daredevil to get her to return it. Rachel then fled the scene. Angry that she has let her emotions dictate her actions, Frank confronts her and has her prove her loyalty to the mission by making her burn her wedding photo. With a renewed sense of focus, the duo made their move against the Exchange. Rachel confronted Stephanie Gerard, the leader of the Exchange, in her heavily protected office while Frank shot his way in through the window using bullets tipped with Adamantium to destroy the bulletproof glass. The confusion gave Rachel the chance to kill Gerard with a garrote, but Gerard's partner Christian Poulsen, who harbored an unrequited love for her, reacted violently, slaying everyone in the building, innocent or not.
Though they stopped him, his actions resulted in dozens of deaths, including three cops, whose deaths were blamed on the Punisher. The duo split up, but Rachel, having killed one of the cops on accident, wanted to end her life out of guilt. Frank stopped her but she was brought in by the police shortly after. When the news reached Spider-Man, he asked for the Avengers' help in bringing him in. Frank continued his mission outside the country even as Black Widow pursued him around the globe under the orders of the Avengers, only for him to slip away. Thor soon found him and convinced him to return to New York and help save Rachel from the death penalty. But instead of turning himself in, he freed her just as the Avengers planned. However, they did not anticipate his actions and he was able to buy her enough time to escape. As a result, he was captured by the Avengers and placed in a special cell designed by Iron Man that separated him from other prisoners he might try to kill.
At one point, the Punisher was recruited by General Thaddeus Ross to be a part of his new Thunderbolts team alongside Elektra, Deadpool, and Agent Venom. He was later betrayed and started defeating his fellow members, starting with the Leader. These actions would lead to the disbandment of the Thunderbolts and Frank returned to a life of an outlawed vigilante.
Later on Frank attempted to snipe a criminal by the name of Sergey Antonov but it was foiled by the presence of Matthew Murdoch. When he attempted to pursue the police escort he was opposed by both Daredevil and Blindspot. He was eventually left hanging off a building for the police but managed to evade them and steal one of their vans. He later arrived to assist Daredevil against Antonov's friend with Crimson Dynamo Armor and ultimately killed him with a bazooka. A fight broke out when Frank suggested that he and Daredevil make a good team in which he was knocked out. He made a final attempt on Antonov's life at the airport but was once again stopped by Daredevil.
During the second super hero civil war the Punisher continued to protect the streets from criminals who slipped through cracks of Ulysses Cain's visions. Including killing a gang of thieves who attempted to steal the Zodiac Virus from Horizon Labs. He also attempted to kill Wilson Fisk and managed to critically wound him with a knife to the chest.
Punisher: War Machine
When the United States was taken over by Hydra, the terrorist organization's newest Hydra Supreme, a fascist Captain America from another timeline who had secretly supplanted the real one, took advantage of Frank's idolization for the real Steve Rogers to persuade him into joining their cause, offering him all the resources he could need to wage his war against crime. Furthermore, Captain America disclosed to the Punisher about Hydra's plan to use a Cosmic Cube to change reality, which entailed the possibility of Frank seeing his family again. Following the fall of the Hydra regime, Frank realized that he had been manipulated, and set out to wage war against Hydra's remaining forces in order to atone for his mistake.
Not long afterwards, Nick Fury Jr. sought Frank's help to contain the political turmoil in the turbulent nation of Chernaya since the situation involved S.H.I.E.L.D. agents from an secret outpost set up by Fury himself that went rogue after the organization went under. To this end, Fury facilitated Frank access to a War Machine Armor. Castle used the armor to pursue the Chernayan despot General Petrov, and eventually killed him. After fulfilling his mission, the Punisher opted to keep the War Machine Armor against Fury's orders, and used it to continue his war on crime back home.
Frank's use of the War Machine Armor didn't go unnoticed, and he was quickly targeted by the superhuman community when he returned to America. While on the run from the superheroes, Frank went after Baron Zemo. He was overpowered by Hydra's forces, but Black Widow and Winter Soldier helped him on Fury's behalf. With their help, Frank intercepted Hydra's attempt to break out the fascist Steve Rogers out of the Shadow Pillar. In the middle of the breakout, Frank was once again confronted by members of the superhuman community, including Iron Man. In the end, Jim Rhodes, the former owner of the War Machine Armor, stepped in and convinced Frank to hand over the suit. Frank was taken into custody, but he was broken out by Black Widow and the Winter Soldier.
Punisher Kill Krew
Following the War of the Realms, the Punisher decided to hunt down the remaining monsters that were left and help some war orphans. With the help of Toothgnasher Frank was able to track down some of the killers and also gathered allies in Foggy Nelson, Juggernaut, and Black Knight. After killing all of the murderers of the orphans families they tracked the Frost Giant Kasyckla to his lair, but the giant was able to defeat them. Thankfully, Nelson was able to use some asteroids to free his allies, allowing Castle to finally kill Kasyckla with the Ebony Blade. After informing the kids that their vengeance was fulfilled, he went to Frank Jones, whose family was killed by Kasyckla, and prevented him from committing suicide.
The Punisher then began hunting criminals in Bagalia, more precisely Hydra and Roxxon which were under the command of Baron Zemo. After stealing a weapon from Hydra, Frank used it to kill the Mandarin who had allied himself with Zemo. As Frank went after Hydra, Baron Zemo was able to label Frank as an international criminal. Punisher returned to New York; however, Zemo had allied himself with Mayor Fisk who reformed the Thunderbolts in order to end the Punisher. Thankfully, Frank was aided by Rachel Cole, Black Widow, Moon Knight, Ghost Rider, and Night Thrasher in his crusade against Zemo, After the Ghost double-crossed Zemo and killed him, Punisher was seemingly killed by Black Widow when she tried to get him to stand down. She blasted him, causing him to fall off Fisk Towers' top floor. The Winter Soldier, who had come along with other heroes to stop Frank, announced that no one could survive that fall, and that the Punisher was dead. However, after sorting through all the corpses of Hydra soldiers at the bottom, Frank's corpse wasn't found. There were burns and tire marks on the side of the tower, implying that Ghost Rider had saved him. This was seemingly confirmed when an unknown assailant attacked and destroyed a Hydra recruitment camp by himself.
Castle was later apprehended by the Avengers and was imprisoned in the Ravencroft Institute, which was now a maximum security prison. Due to Castle's reputation, his imprisonment was kept a secret from the other prisoners, though at least some of the staff knew of his imprisonment. One of the guards tried to take out Castle for killing his cousin Tony, but Castle subdued him and held him hostage. Castle was almost shot dead by Taskmaster, but prison guard Dennis Dunphy was able to talk Castle down and release his hostage. Castle was then taken to solitary.
When a group of vampires took over Ravencroft, they freed all the inmates, including Castle. Instead of fleeing the institute like the other inmates, Castle stayed, planning to fight the vampires. He took two guns and carved his Punisher skull motif into his torso. He later rescued Ravencroft staff member Misty Knight from some vampires while in the sewers beneath Ravencroft.
When Knight and Castle were aided by Ravencroft's warden Wilson Fisk and his men, Castle decided not to kill Fisk and the criminals working for him, and instead aided them in retaking the institute from the vampires. After the institute was retaken, Castle managed to escape.
King of Killers
One day, Castle was approached by the Hand to join their ranks. They first tested him by pitting him against a large number of Hand ninjas. Castle managed to kill them all, passing the Hand's test. To ensure Castle joined their ranks, the Hand earlier resurrected his wife Maria.
Frank Castle is a vigilante/anti-hero who employs murder, kidnapping, extortion, coercion, threats of intense violence, and torture in his battle against crime. His brutal nature and willingness to kill has made him one of the most dangerous men alive.
After joining the Hand, Castle gained one of the five gifts of the Fist: the Eyes of the Beast, granting him a form of clairvoyance. He was able to see the evil things a member of the Apostles of War had done in the name of his master Ares, as well as the evil things he had yet to do. Castle was also able sense a bomb wired to the Apostle member's heart. Nick Fury's intel classified him as being power level 6 or greater due to his fighting skills, his weaponry, and his use of lethal force.
Maximum Human Conditioning: The Punisher is in peak physical condition. Through his rigorous training & exercise regimes, he developed levels of strength, speed, endurance, reflexes, healing, longevity, metabolism and immune system efficiency near the absolute limits of human capability.
- Peak Human Endurance: Castle's endurance is unbelievably high. He frequently performs surgery on himself without pain medication.
- Peak Human Durability: Castle's durability is unbelievably high. He was hit by Black Widow, a Russian super-soldier, and Captain America so strongly that it passed through a thick wall and is shown only with minor wounds.
Master Martial Artist: Castle is a thoroughly seasoned veteran in multiple forms of armed and unarmed combat. Specifically, he is highly adept in American-style CQC (close-quarters combat), Muay Thai, Krav Maga, Systema, ninjutsu, Shorin-ryu Karate, Hwa Rang Do, Chin Na and Nash Ryu Jujutsu, his style of choice being the latter.
Weapons Master: As an authority on modern warfare, the Punisher is a recipient of multi-disciplinary military knowledge from the United States Armed Forces. Thanks to this and continued training, the Punisher is a master of many weapons, favoring daggers and long-range shooting weapons. The Punisher's ever-changing arsenal of weaponry includes various automatic and semiautomatic rifles, and an array of handguns, fragmentation and tear gas grenades, other explosives, and combat knives. A personal favorite is his ballistic knife, which can launch its blade with lethal force. He commonly uses M16 .223 caliber automatic rifles, Sterling Mark 6 9 mm, semiautomatic rifles, 9 mm Browning Llama automatic pistols, .45 caliber automatic frame re-chambered for 9 mm ammunition, .223 caliber Derringers, and Gerber Mark 2 combat knives.
- Blade Weapons Training: Castle has extensive knowledge of blade weapons from his years of training in various martial arts disciplines as well as his military training. He tends to carry with him up to 3 or 4 different types of edged-weapons, preferring the knife he learned to fight with in the USMC: the Ka-bar.
- Master Marksman: He is a sharpshooter and exceptional marksman with many types of firearms, often depicted as being ambidextrous and rarely missing his target. Trained as an elite sniper, he's skilled enough to hit a target from 4 km. He is skilled in knife throwing as well.
Interrogation Master: Castle uses his skills at interrogation to get information from people linked to criminals through creative use of torture as well such as water boarding, electrocution, suffocation, sleep deprivation, starvation, etc.
Extensive Special Operations Training: As part of his Marine Force Recon training, Castle completed U.S. Navy SEAL (SEa Air Land), UDT (Underwater Demolition Team) and LRPA (Long Range Patrol) training, EOD (explosive ordnance disposal) training, graduated the Army's Ranger School, completed the U.S. Army Airborne School (AKA "jump school"), graduated the U.S. Army Special Forces Qualification Course, and LRRP (Long Range Recon Patrol) training. He also took part in cross-training with the Australian Special Air Service Regiment. He's also a qualified HALO (High Altitude Low Opening) jumper.
Master Tactician: Armed solely with conventional weapons and motivated by a fanatical hatred for criminals like those who murdered his family, the Punisher has single-handedly incapacitated up to a dozen well-armed and experienced opponents in a single encounter and escaped uninjured. It is his military training and his attention to detail that allows him to achieve this. Castle possessed this skill even from a young age as he killed a criminal as a child after carefully planning out to do it.
Indomitable Will: Frank has complete control of his mind and consciousness, providing a strong resistance against telepathic powers that are used against him. When Letha tries to control Frank's mind, he scoffs at their attempt saying "It doesn't feel different from any other day."
Bilingual: In addition to English, Frank is able to speak Spanish.
Non-Superhuman Physical Conditioning: Castle is as susceptible to physical injury and disease as any other normal human, often having to rely more on strategy than strength when up against a superhuman opponent. However, different characters like Nick Fury have commented on how extraordinarily high his pain tolerance is. Frank does not even take over-the-counter painkillers, believing that their benefit of dulling pain isn't worth the side effects of drowsiness or slowed reflexes.
Punisher's Equipment: In the vast majority of cases, Castle utilizes a wide variety of modern military equipment that is specifically curtailed to each situation as needed, although he has also been shown to be highly adaptable and make the most of whatever may be at his current disposal.
Punisher's Clothing: Castle most often chooses not to wear any sort of costume beyond a black shirt with a white skull splashed across the front. His other clothing, which normally includes combat boots, blazers, leather jackets, trench coats, bulletproof vests, body armor, black battle dress uniforms and camouflaged outfits, are worn for the sake of protection or subterfuge in urban and wilderness environments. His body armor protects him from most gunfire, though he can still suffer concussive injury or penetration from sufficiently powerful or repeated impacts. In regard to his earlier costumes, each tooth of the skull on his chest was actually a spare magazine for one of his firearms.
Punisher's Battle Van: Castle has utilized a number of vehicles, both standard and customized, as a means of transport, refuge, and supply storage, most commonly gravitating toward large vans that can hold a great deal of firearms and ammunition, as well as be used as a ramming device.
Punisher's Arsenal: Castle employs a truly expansive array of conventional firearms and weaponry, including machine guns, rifles, shotguns, handguns, knives and explosives, a great many of which have been culled from both common and organized criminals, as well as military sources during his operations. He often customizes these weapons for greater effectiveness, with both standard and custom attachments including magnified optics, reflex sights, night vision scopes, flashlights, grenade launchers, sound and flash suppressors, bipods/tripods, drums and high-capacity/extended magazines, including non-standard types of ammunition such as hollow-point or armor-piercing bullets. His secret armory locations house everything from common guns and ammunition to modernized blowguns capable of piercing 15-layer Kevlar vests, light anti-tank weapons, explosives of various types, and even crossbows, which can offer a combination of silence and precision. After joining the Hand, Castle began learning how to use the Hand's traditional weapons, including a katana and shuriken.
- For most of the Punisher's publication history, he was depicted as a veteran of the Vietnam War, and it became an integral part of his backstory. However, Marvel's use of a sliding timescale to compress all the events that have happened ever since the Silver Age of Comic Books, into a period that started roughly 20 years ago from the present, resulted in the issue that Frank would eventually be too young to have fought in Vietnam. In Punisher (Vol. 9) #4, Frank's origin was effectively retconned, and the Vietnam War was dropped from his militaristic background. His origin had been altered to have fought in the Gulf War in the 1990s and the War on Terror in the 2000s and 2010s. In History of the Marvel Universe (Vol. 2) #2, this has since been changed to the fictional Siancong War.
- Then-Punisher writer Greg Rucka explained the retcon stating the following: "[Editor Stephen Wacker] and I went round and round on this, but ultimately, he really wanted to make Frank younger because if he fought in Vietnam, he's in his 70s, and I get more mileage out of him being in his early 40s. I don't think that takes anything away from his origin. In the Marvel U, the conflict matters only because he was asked to go and serve his country, and he did. When he returned, the society he was essentially defending betrayed him and murdered his wife and children in front of him. The conflict matters less than the fact that he gave his service, and this was the reward. In that broad brush vague Marvel Universe sense there's always 'the war' whatever it was. If that put him in the Middle East rather than South East Asia I think that matters less for the purposes of the Marvel Universe. I really want to emphasize though that I'm only talking about the Marvel Universe Punisher and not PunisherMAX."
- Frank used to have a guard dog named Max, whom he saved from animal poachers. Max was shot by the Kingpin's lieutenant George, and Frank put Max down himself with a knife. He later had a Rottweiler also named Max. Frank also used to have a pet coyote named Loot, whom he saved from gang members.
- According to Don Daley, then editor of Punisher (Vol. 2) #98, in his response to a fan mail, he stated that the Punisher's version of justice is classically based as "an eye for an eye."
- The demon Olivier claimed that the skull icon that Castle often wears on his body armor is based off of the demon's own face due to their connection.
- Punisher would have teamed-up with the Death's Head II in Death's Head & The Punisher #1, but the issue was cancelled.
- The Punisher was based on the fictional vigilante Mack Bolan, the protagonist of Don Pendleton's The Executioner novel series that began in 1969.
- In early mentions, Frank's daughter's name was given as Barb or Barbara.
- Castle's eye color was originally given as grey and sometimes shown as brown.
- Decades before the Punisher commandeered the War Machine Armor in Punisher (Vol. 2) #218, and even a few years before the creation of the War Machine Armor itself, Dwayne McDuffie and John Rozum wrote the pitch for a prestige format miniseries called Killing Machine, in which Castle steals a Guardsman Armor and customizes it, painting it black with his skull insignia on the chest-plate, mounting a Gatling gun on one shoulder and a retractable missile launcher on the other.
- Frank hates his alternate future counterpart known as The Rider, due to the Rider not preventing the death of their family; however, the Rider had tried to do just that, but Uatu the Watcher used the Infinity Gauntlet to resurrect the Syndicate members and negate the Rider's interference.
- Frank's considers Joni Mitchell's Court and Spark the greatest music album of all time.
- The police and the U.S. army had used the Punisher's logo as a sign of force against criminals. However, Punisher's co-creator and Marvel themselves have taken legal action against the misuse of the character's logo as the character has nothing to do with law enforcement. In Punisher (Vol. 12) #13, Punisher himself berates some police officers for using his logo.
- Frank's prisoner number, 616, is a reference to the former numerical designation of the Prime Marvel Universe, Earth-616.
- 993 appearance(s) of Frank Castle (Earth-616)
- 20 appearance(s) in handbook(s) of Frank Castle (Earth-616)
- 68 minor appearance(s) of Frank Castle (Earth-616)
- 139 mention(s) of Frank Castle (Earth-616)
- 13 mention(s) in handbook(s) of Frank Castle (Earth-616)
- 1338 image(s) of Frank Castle (Earth-616)
- 172 quotation(s) by or about Frank Castle (Earth-616)
- 114 victim(s) killed by Frank Castle (Earth-616)
- 11 item(s) used/owned by Frank Castle (Earth-616)
Links and References
- Frank Castle (Earth-616) on Marvel.com
- Frank Castle (Earth-616) on Wikipedia.org
- Punisher (Frank Castle) at Comicvine.com