With the upcoming release of Daredevil Season 2 Netflix has decided to introduce it’s first easily recognizable anti-hero into the marvel pantheon. Frank Castle, AKA the Punisher is here to take names, and punish the guilty.
Daredevil Season One introduced us to a plethora of grim and gritty characters who instantly stole the hearts of Netflix fans and Marvel subscribers. From Matt Murdock to Foggy Nelson, from Karen Page to Claire Temple, the original inhabitants of Hell’s Kitchen served to open a door to a world that many people have come to know and love – and even draw strength from. Without Matt and Foggy there would be no Jessica Jones and Trish Walker, and probably without the four of them there’d be no Luke Cage and Misty Knight. The introduction of the Punisher, is a natural jumping off point for the character.
Daredevil remains the poster child for the Netflix pantheon, so it makes sense it would be the place to introduce concepts within the MCU to it first. Case in point, the introduction of anti-heroes, or at least characters who are traditionally anti-heroes. Characters like Frank Castle. Marvel’s anti-hero first debuted in The Amazing Spider – Man 129 in February 1974 and he’ll be making his official MCU debut in Season 2 of Netflix’s Daredevil series. Let’s take a look at this mysterious antihero and learn what drives “The punisher” to “punish.” the criminals, and what might drive him to punish the criminals of Hell’s Kitchen.
Born in Queens, Frank Castle was originally Francis Castiglione. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and fought in the Vietnam War, rising to the rank of Captain. He was married, his wife Maria pregnant with their first child before he shipped out for his first tour of duty. While in country, Frank distinguished himself multiple times earning the Navy Cross, the Medal of Honor, Four purple hearts, Three silver stars, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He re-enlisted illegally for a third tour under the name Frank Castle, and was responsible for training black-ops soldiers in upstate New York.
The pivotal moment for Frank Castle is the murder of his family. The Tragedy began with them going on a picnic and accidentally witnessing a mob hit. Fearing witnesses, the mob murdered Frank’s family. His attempts to obtain justice for them by testifying as a witness in court were thwarted by the deep connections between the NYPD and the mafia. Disgusted, he began his one man war on crime as “The Punisher.”
Castle has fought and taken out almost every major criminal organization but his first tangling with super heroes came from Spiderman. Initially regarding Spiderman as another crook, he eventually joined him as an uneasy ally when it came to taking down thugs. Spiderman even helped Castle clear his name after the villain Jigsaw was trying to frame him for committing crimes. With the introduction of Frank Castle into the MCU could we see a spiderman crossover happening in the Netflix universe? Could spiderman be what links the defenders universe and the avengers universe together?
Spiderman’s run in with SHIELD is a famously notorious part of civil war, and Frank has his history with the organization as well. A recognized criminal, a number of agents tried to bring Frank Castle in over the years and failed abysmally. When it was announced that Osborn would be using criminals to police superheroes however he got involved in the war on captain America’s side – continuing the fight against crime. He saved Spider-man and helped him return to the anti-registration forces, but in the final battle Castle ended up killing two super villains outright causing him to earn Captain America’s emity. Castle fled, going to work with Moon Knight in Mexico on taking down a Mexican drug cartel.
He resurfaced again in the Dark Reign storyline where he tried to kill Norman Osborn. Osborn sent men after him including the Hood. The Hood raised an army to take down the punisher, including Frank’s family. Osborn continued throwing men at him until Wolverine’s son Daken managed to cut Frank to pieces. These pieces were taken by Man-Thing and his colleagues and thus Franken-thing was born.
In a tribute to Marvel’s original incarnations as Tales of Suspense, Frank was brought back as an undead mummy-like creature who did battle against the forces of the Hand until he was returned to the regular Frank that we know. This ended his association with Microchip and made him a sworn enemy of the Hood.
After teaming up against a criminal organization with Marine Sargeant Rachel – Cole – Alves, the two became a tag team punisher duo. They pursued the criminals – known as the exchange – until their actions resulted in the deaths of several people including 3 police officers. Rachel was distraught and attempted to end her own life, Castle stopped her and Rachel was captured and sentenced to death. Frank fled across the globe being pursued by Black Widow at the behest of the avengers. He was imprisoned in a special cell designed by Iron-Man which would keep him from killing other prisoners.
From a personality perspective Frank Castle is unique in that he has no other ties to the superhero community and no other hobbies. Apart from his brief association with Rachel Cole he has said that he doesn’t want anyone to follow in his footsteps – that his war on crime is his and his alone. Regarding attachments with dispassion, he is very comfortable waging his one man war on crime without getting involved in the higher politics of the comic book universe. Will it differ in the MCU? Will Frank meet up with Spider-man and develop an attachment – as given Spider-man’s history the two might be rife for a meet up prior to his Sony Picture’s film? Only time will tell.
Frank Castle makes his debut March 18th with the arrival of Netflix’s “Daredevil Season 2”.