Character Profile: Who is Jigsaw?

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After season one of The Punisher saw Frank Castle take down his former best friend Billy Russo, it was pretty clear Billy would be the villain of the second season. Fans of the comic book were unsurprised. Billy Russo and Frank Castle have a long history. From comic to film, there’s no more iconic figure in Frank Castle’s rogues’ gallery. Despite originally being a villain, Frank Castle has become an anti-hero. He needed an iconic villain, and the story they crafted behind Jigsaw makes him a perfect fit for Frank.

The second season of the show has expanded on that. The Punisher framed Russo as a darker version of Castle. After leaving the military, While Frank had a family, while Billy relied on his looks to slide his way through the world. Billy turned corrupt and became a dark mirror of who Frank could become. It eventually led to Billy killing Frank’s family and Frank smashing Billy’s face into a glass mirror.

The Punisher season 2 seems poised to dig deep into Billy’s past. Let’s break down his comic book history and see what we can learn about Billy ‘The beaut’ Russo and what that might happen for him in season 2.

Who is Jigsaw?

In the original Punisher comics, Billy was a gangster. Abandoned at his father by age 10, Billy grew into an incredibly abusive man. From domestic violence to paid murder, the unsavory character made a huge mistake in crossing Frank Castle. When a botched assassination attempt led to Castle’s family being killed, Frank went after Russo. He tracked the hitman down to a Maggia night club. (A major underworld connection in Marvel. The crime family who owned the night club has connections to Madame Masque in the comics.) There, he beat Russo so bad his face had to be reassembled. The look turned him into a jigsaw faced monstrosity.

In the comics, Jigsaw battled Spider-Man. The former hit-man dedicated himself to framing Castle for murder and sending him to prison. The two square off multiple times and Jigsaw remains a major threat to the Punisher, seemingly unbeatable and unstoppable.

In the first season of the show, Billy was Frank’s best friend. The two were in the Marines together. Russo eventually left the military and formed his own, private military contracting organization. Russo had been involved with the corrupt Commander Rawlins. The season ended with a fight between the two where Castle smashed Russo’s face into a carousel mirror.

Where Can Billy’s Journey Go?

The second season of The Punisher has hinted at Billy undergoing a mental health journey. Just what that looks like remains to be seen. The Punisher promotional material has depicted him with a scarred visage, just like his comic book character, but also wearing a mysterious white mask. The end of season 1 saw Billy in a coma and hinting that he might have suffered major head trauma. Where that will go remains to be seen.

On the one hand, Billy could be a villain turned anti-hero similar to Castle. The head trauma could give Russo an opportunity to heal. The first season illustrated just how horrific his life was prior to joining the Marine Corps. While Frank obviously wouldn’t help him, the second season of The Punisher could have him on a path towards redemption. Billy could actively seek an opportunity to heal.

That’s highly unlikely. Despite Billy’s personal trauma he actively pursued opportunities to hurt people. Everything in the promotional material fits this narrative. There are multiple opportunities for this character to make a real impact on the MCU. He has connections to both Kingpin, Castle, Spider-Man, and the X-Men. As the future of the Netflix-verse remains in jeopardy, so does the fate of the characters. In season 2 of The Punisher,Frank and Billy will battle each other conceivably for the last time.

Are you excited to see Billy Russo fully become Jigsaw? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

The Punisher Season 2 premieres January 18, 2019 on Netflix.

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