ByAndrew Habashy, writer at
Marvel Comics, Good Movies and The Pittsburgh Steelers. That's my life.
Andrew Habashy

With the recent news of Jon Bernthal being cast as Punisher in Daredevil Season 2, I thought I should do a 5W's on The Punisher. Hope you enjoy!

Who is Punisher?

Frank Castle was born in Queens, New York. Francis Castiglione enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, eventually rising to the rank of Captain. He married his wife, Maria, who was already pregnant with their first child prior to his enlistment. During his time in the USMC, Castiglione graduated from boot camp and then went on to United States Marine Corps School of Infantry. Castle served in the Vietnam War in a Special Operations Unit as a point man. He was decorated with the Medal of Honor, the Navy Cross, 3 times the Silver Star and Bronze Stars, 4 times the Purple Heart, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. After Vietnam, he came back to the United States and had a second child with his wife. He illegally signed up to be re-entered into the U.S. Marine Corps under the name of Frank Castle in order to return to battle. Six years later (1976) after the American involvement in Vietnam ended, Castle ran Special Black op training missions for Marine Recon Commandos in the upper New York State area. While on leave, he 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. Since then, He has not returned to Marine duty.

What powers/abilities does Punisher have?

As the Punisher, he has no superhuman powers, but he has some amazing abilities.

Master Martial Artist: Castle is a very thoroughly seasoned combat veteran of exceptional skills. He is very well-versed in the arts of warfare, several forms of martial arts and hand-to-hand combat. His styles of choice being Nash Ryu Jujutsu, Ninjutsu, Shorin-ryu Karate, Hwarang-Do, and Chin Na. He is also an exceptional knife fighter.

Expert Marksman: He is an exceptional marksman of every type of firearm who is sometimes depicted as being ambidextrous in this respect.

Expert Pilot: Castle received helicopter training with the U.S. Army and U.S. Naval Special Warfare Command.

Interrogation Expert: Castle uses his interrogating skills to get information from people who has links to criminals through very creative use of torture as well such as water boarding, electrocution, suffocation, sleep deprivation, starvation etc.

When was Punisher first introduced?

The Punisher was created by writer Gerry Conway and artists John Romita, Sr., and Ross Andru, with publisher Stan Lee providing the name. The Punisher made his first appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #129 (cover-dated Feb. 1974).
The Punisher was created by writer Gerry Conway and artists John Romita, Sr., and Ross Andru, with publisher Stan Lee providing the name. The Punisher made his first appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #129 (cover-dated Feb. 1974).

Which Punisher comics are the best?

My top three Punisher stories are

Born (2003): In the story, Capt. Frank Castle is viewed as an unhinged Marine with a killer instinct and a personality akin to a rattlesnake. As the tale develops, members of Castle’s unit begin to get killed as they find themselves woefully outnumbered by the Viet Cong. Surrounded by death, Castle begins to break down mentally until he is confronted by a voice in his head that offers to keep him physically capable of fighting a neverending war in exchange for an unknown price. Castle agrees; he survives. But that price comes back to haunt him as he returns home to his smiling family.

Circle of Blood (1986): Featuring copious amounts of death (including that of an innocent child) and sex, the first Punisher miniseries (now known as Circle of Blood) was a culture shock for the House of Ideas. Never before had a main character in the Marvel Universe been so downtrodden and malicious. The Punisher was portrayed as a broken-down Vietnam vet haunted by his experience during the war and his family’s gruesome murders, and he was hell bent on wiping out criminals everywhere.

The Cell (2005): The Cell begins with Frank Castle turning himself in to authorities and being sent to Rykers Island to live amongst the very criminals that he has tortured over the years. As the story progresses, Castle incites a riot in order to create a distraction so he can visit the cell of the very men that gunned down his family decades ago.

Why is Punisher so important?

Punisher is a anti-hero with a extremely sad sob story. He does what is right no matter the cost. He will server revenge and justice and will take out anyone who stands in his way. He is the reason Spider-Man didn't die in the Civil War event. He has also impacted many other events and crossovers.

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