We will have a lot more than green beer and leprechauns on our minds as we count down the days until March 18th, when we will be seeing red—red leather that is. Season two of Daredevil is set to drop Friday. As we sleep walk through the week and mysteriously fall ill on Friday, let’s take some time to get to know a little more about one of this season’s newest characters—Punisher. It will be interesting to see how Punisher’s background will be adjusted to fit into the Daredevil universe. How much will stay the same and how much will be modified to bring this infamous vigilante to life? To get a better idea of the changes to his character we have to know a little about him first.
Now some of you may have already been introduced to this character through Thomas Jane’s mediocre performance in the 2004 film The Punisher. Better still, there may be some of you who have read about his exploits in comic books or tuned in on Saturday mornings and saw Punisher kick butt alongside other Marvel heroes. But, for those of you who have no clue who Punisher is or know the name but nothing else about the guy—let’s get acquainted. Here’s the skinny on New York’s newest “bad” apple.
Now, Punisher goes by Frank Castle but his birth name is Francis Castiglione. He changed his name to Frank Castle so that he could re-enlist in the army and do a third tour of duty in Vietnam. Punisher has also used various aliases, including Franken-Castle, Johnny Tower, and even Captain America.
6. Group Affiliation
Punisher is mostly a solo artist but has been known to collaborate when it proves advantageous. Castle was part of the Green Berets and the U.S. Marine Corps., and as Punisher he’s been involved with Code Red, Secret Avengers and Daredevil’s unnamed superhero team. However, when given the chance he would much rather eliminate evil scum by himself as he is solely focused on gaining vengeance for the brutal murder of his family.
5. Emblem: The Skull
Like Cap’s star, Thor’s wings, or Spider-Man’s, uhhh, spider, the skull is synonymous with Punisher. Punisher is easily identified for the skull he wears on his chest armor. Castle claims that the skull is in fact Death’s head and serves as his promise to all who have turned from the light. This emblem also illustrates his dedication towards vengeance and getting “justice” for the murder of his family by the hands of the corrupt.
Frank Castle has no actual super powers, but is instead a man powered by vengeance—with a hell of a lot of training. I guess there is something about the brutal murder of one’s family members by organized crime that turns a guy into a one-man army. Either way, Marvel’s brooding vigilante acquired his skill set through extensive military training and experience.
Castle received training from the U.S. Marine Corps, and during this time he also had training from the U.S. Army and Navy. This military training allowed Punisher to become proficient in a number of skills: basic infantry, special operations (use and maintenance of specialized firearms and explosive ordinances), infiltration of heavily-guarded areas for a variety of purposes (assassination, capture or intelligence), camouflage, stealth maneuvering, packing parachute rigs and controlled landings (day or night), underwater operations (including demolition), explosive expert (dynamite, plastique and improvised), hand-to-hand combat (able to kill groups of armed and unarmed enemies without weapons), knife combat, guerrilla warfare, gunsmithing and field medicine. On top of this extensive list of abilities, Punisher is a preternaturally-precise marksman. He is definitely someone you want on your team.
As we have already established, Punisher received the bulk of his training and field experience from the U.S. military. However, it is little-known that prior to becoming a soldier Frank Castle was part of a different brotherhood. Francis Castiglione studied to become a Catholic priest, but for one reason or another he was unable to forgive those who performed truly evil acts. This is when he decided to take the souls of the wicked instead of saving them. The connection between revenge, violence, and religion is also one of the main themes of Daredevil.
Francis Castiglione was born in New York and is a former U.S. Marine Captain. He is a veteran of the Vietnam War and received various medals for his heroism, including the Purple Heart. His wife’s name was Maria and together they had two children, Lisa and Frank Jr.
Believe it or not, Punisher is the result of a picnic gone wrong. Castle and his family were enjoying a picnic in New York’s Central Park when they accidentally witnessed a Mafia gangland execution carried out by the Costa crime family. In an attempt to “clean” the situation, Castle’s family was killed without hesitation. Somehow, Castle survived this encounter. Although Castle could finger the perpetrators, the police were corrupt—owned by the Costa family and refused to dispense justice. Castle decided to get his own justice for the slaying of his family. From that point onward Frank Castle became hell-bent on justice through vengeance, favoring physical persuasion and his 9 mm. He adopted the name of The Punisher and is driven to seek out the evil and the corrupt (focusing mostly on organized crime) to deliver the justice they deserve.
1. Antihero Status
Frank Castle has been incarcerated multiple times for his vigilantism as The Punisher. However, he makes the most of his time behind bars by killing other inmates with his bare hands. For believing in and self-distributing lethal justice, Punisher is commonly seen as a villain. He is a man who eliminates the forces of evil, he doesn’t just punch them and send them to trial—he puts them down permanently. In this light it is easy to see Frank Castle as a bad guy for killing his targets, but he kills even worse guys to protect the innocent. Punisher isn’t a hero or a villain, he’s both.