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[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ThePunisher28_00.JPG]]
[[caption-width-right:350: [[TakeOurWordForIt Trust us]], [[AssholeVictim the guy]] [[SociopathicHero Frank's]] [[ColdBloodedTorture studying up for]] ''[[PayEvilUntoEvil really deserves what's going to happen to him]]''.]]

->''"It's Omaha Beach. Wounded Knee. Rorke's Drift, The Killing Fields, the first day on The Somme. World War Three in North Jersey. And only now, pouring automatic fire into a human wall -- do I feel something like peace."''
-->-- '''Punisher (MAX) #1'''

Possibly the most enduring DarkerAndEdgier AntiHero ever to appear in a comic, the Punisher is one of [[MarvelUniverse Marvel's]] most reliable [[CashCowFranchise cash cows]], a VigilanteMan and JudgeJuryAndExecutioner whose only passion is finding and executing criminals in the most brutal (and sometimes [[CruelAndUnusualDeath imaginative]]) ways possible. The Punisher first appeared in ''Amazing Spider-Man'' #129 (February, 1974), created by writer Creator/GerryConway, along with artists John Romita, Sr. and Ross Andru.

For a while the Punisher appeared mostly in titles starring ComicBook/{{Spider-Man}}. He received his first origin story in ''Marvel Preview'' #2 (April, 1975), again written by Conway. He received another solo story in ''Marvel Super Action'' #1 (January, 1976), a one-shot publication. After that Punisher returned to making appearances in titles featuring Spider-Man, ComicBook/CaptainAmerica, and ComicBook/{{Daredevil}}. In the [[TheEighties 1980s]], Steven Grant and Mike Zeck campaigned for a Punisher mini-series. But Marvel editors were reportedly reluctant. The series eventually did materialize: ''[[Comicbook/ThePunisherCircleOfBlood Punisher]]'' [[Comicbook/ThePunisherCircleOfBlood vol. 1]] (January-May, 1986). It sold well and consequently Punisher gained his first ongoing series in 1987. The Punisher has since starred in various magazines over the years, even gaining two events that ran through all his books in the early nineties: ''Comicbook/SuicideRun'' and ''Countdown''.

Frank Castle is a [[TheVietnamWar Vietnam War veteran]] who saw his wife, son and daughter slaughtered in a Mafia hit gone wrong. So he got himself a black shirt with a scary white skull on the front and a whole [[MoreDakka lot of guns]], and started a one-man war on crime (as you do).

The big difference between him and, say, {{Franchise/Batman}}? Castle kills the criminals that he fights. A lot. Often ''several dozen'' at a time (his confirmed "high scores" to date are approximately 2,000 in the Marvel Universe with a nuke, and 68 in one night, with 32 in a single location in the MAX continuity. Wizard magazine also had his death count as slightly above 1,000, pre-Ennis and later in MAX, this is mentioned to have climbed to 2K. Combine all that together, and the total death toll comes around to an astounding ''four thousand bad guys''.) He uses machine guns, explosives, a certain amount of [[IKnowKarate martial arts]], knives, and on occasion, wildlife (most notably, the time that he punched a polar bear in the face to get it riled enough to eat some Mafia hitmen). He can be very, very sadistic. He tends not to get on with Marvel's actual superheroes, especially when he's written by comic-book scribe GarthEnnis; many fans think Castle and Ennis were a match made in heaven.

The tone of the stories vary from violent pitch-black comedy to intensively grim-and-gritty noir tales to attempts to make him a full-on SuperHero... who just so happens to kill people. His enemies have ranged from sex slavery rings (the MAX arc "The Slavers" being possibly one of the single darkest stories in the history of comics, if not the history of fiction) to gigantic Russian hitmen augmented with cyborg body parts and enormous breasts... both of them written by Ennis.

The character himself often suffers from inconsistent writing. Many writers have portrayed him as a good man at heart who sincerely does want to help people and keep them from suffering the same way he did, while other writers have portrayed him as a psychopath with no pity for anyone and no motivation beyond killing criminals. There are two notably different Punisher series: the main Marvel Universe series and a second series created for Marvel's adults-only MAX imprint (originally titled ''The Punisher'' and referred to as ''Punisher MAX'', before changing to ''The Punisher: Frank Castle'' and then [=PunisherMAX=]). This latter version, written almost exclusively by GarthEnnis for four years, features no superheroes and is deeply rooted in "mundane" crime -- TheMafia, Irish terrorist cells, Eastern European sex slavers, gangsters and real-life wars are prominent. It is also considerably less funny than the mainstream Marvel series, though there are touches of black humor here and there. The MAX series is written much more consistently than the mainstream version, due to being almost entirely shaped by Garth Ennis' vision of the character; this series is also notorious for its moral absolutism. The Marvel Universe version may be willing to excuse himself for killing a friend's girlfriend while under the influence of a "hate ray", but the first post-Ennis MAX issue sees Frank on the edge of killing himself after believing that his instinctive shooting had led to an innocent girl's death, declaring to himself that "I must be punished."[[note]]Realizing the possibility of a setup is the only thing that lets him live long enough to exhume the body, which he finds was slain with a bullet of a different caliber from what he had been carrying. Turned out that [[DrivenToSuicide it was a setup]] to get him out of the way of a local crime syndicate.[[/note]]

There have been three Punisher movies: 1989's ''[[Film/ThePunisher1989 The Punisher]]'' (starring Creator/DolphLundgren), 2004's ''[[Film/ThePunisher2004 The Punisher]]'' (starring Thomas Jane), and 2008's ''Film/PunisherWarZone'' (starring Ray Stevenson). (It should be noted that ''War Zone'' is not a direct sequel to the 2004 ''Punisher'' film.) He will star in the 2014 anime film ''Anime/AvengersConfidentialBlackWidowAndPunisher''.

There were also several Punisher video games with the most notable being a BeatEmUp by also featuring NickFury (see ''VideoGame/ThePunisherCapcom''), and a ''VideoGame/ThePunisher'' third-person action game, which is rife with TheJoysOfTorturingMooks. He's also one of the recruitable heroes in ''VideoGame/MarvelAvengersAlliance''.

The character has the ignoble distinction of ranking highly in various UltimateShowdownOfUltimateDestiny debates, thanks to a combination of PopularityPower and the comic entitled "The Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe" (coincidentally written by Ennis years before his more regular work with the character). He also has the distinction of being one of the two title stars of what is undoubtedly [[StoryBreakerTeamUp The Single Weirdest]] [[IntercontinuityCrossOver Comics Crossover Known to Humankind]]: ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archie_Meets_the_Punisher Archie Meets the Punisher]]''.
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!! This comic contains examples of:

* AccidentalMisnaming: Detective Martin Soap gets called by the wrong name, and even has to fix the "R" initial on his door to an "M."
* AffablyEvil:
** Barracuda, despite being a treacherous PsychoForHire and even a self-admitted cannibal, managed to reach status through being the ever-optimistic, constantly cheerful source of BlackComedy. He not only [[spoiler: got better after being iced by Punisher at the end of his first arc,]] but even starred in his own mini-series, which was unprecedented for MAX villains.
** The Russian is another example: murderous, violent and psychopathic. He is, nonetheless, incredibly friendly to his enemies, actively complimenting and joking with them mid-fight.
* AllCrimesAreEqual: In some stories, many later stories subvert this somewhat, by having Frank focus on higher ranking Criminals.
* AllJustADream: [[spoiler:The infamous comic of Frank traveling back in time to kill Al Capone is just Frank having a dream.]]
* AlternateCompanyEquivalent: The Punisher is modeled very closely on the character of Mack Bolan, who also lost his family to mob violence and becomes a vigilante with the nickname "TheExecutioner". Mack Bolan was featured in a series of books that were first published in 1968, and new books in the series [[PrintLongRunners still come out today]].
* AlwaysABiggerFish: Frank easily kills normal human villains -- put him against a genuine supervillain, though, and he's in trouble. Taken to its logical conclusion with the recent "Punisher vs. Daken" (aka Comicbook/{{Wolverine}}'s psychotic killing machine of a son with all of dad's powers) story arc: Daken takes Frank apart. ''Literally''.
* AmbiguouslyEvil: This has mostly do with inconsistent writing, but it's still debatable whether Frank is an AntiHero or a [[VillainProtagonist psychotic serial killer.]]
* AndCallHimGeorge: The Russian puts his arm around the shoulder of one of the guys assigned to escort him for reassurance, and ''it kills him.''
* AndroclesLion: [[spoiler:The Delta commander]] in "Valley Forge, Valley Forge", or at least what his hapless "minder" ends up thinking happened. When [[spoiler:the colonel]] was a regular soldier in Vietnam, [[spoiler:he was rescued by a Special Forces raid that inspired him to enter Special Forces himself]]; the lieutenant realizes at the end that one of the participants was none other than Frank Castle.
* ArchEnemy: [[KillEmAll For obvious reasons]], criminals rarely make repeat appearances. The closest thing Frank's got is Billy "Jigsaw" Russo, whose main claim to fame is tussling with Frank a few dozen times and actually living to talk about it.
* AssholeVictim: Most (if not all) of Frank's victims.
* TheAtoner:
** Frank's mission against criminals is partially motivated by his failure to protect his family from being gunned down. [[spoiler:Frank feels that he sacrificed his family, as the voice he heard in Vietnam (the devil?) kept hounding him about a never ending war, which when the Vietcong overran his base he accepted to save his life, only to be told his family would be payment.]] This trope shows up under Ennis's authorship. Prior to that, though it was rarely brought up, Frank did what he did in part to punish himself, for being unable to save his family.
** The second MAX series reveals Frank to be this in a bigger, more disturbing way than ever thought. [[spoiler: The reason why Frank continues to wage his war on crime is to punish himself with a life of endless suffering. He feels he deserves this because it is revealed that shortly before his family was killed, he had made a decision to divorce his wife and leave his kids with her, because his time in Vietnam had [[BloodKnight made life outside the battlefield unbearable for him]]. The fact that he was willing to toss aside his family in favor of his bloodlust sticks with him.]]
* AuthorAppeal: Garth Ennis' run prior the MAX print of series. His distaste for Catholicism is shown with the psycho priest, while his dislike for popular masked super heroes is shown in a fight with Frank vs. The Russian where ComicBook/SpiderMan steps in; all Spidey does is get [[TheWorfEffect the shit kicked out of him]] and act like a human shield for Frank.
* AvengingTheVillain: After Punisher kills Julius Cabrone, his daughter Rosalie hires several assassins after him. This isn't an one-time incident, as in the words of Punisher: "I've got more vendettas against me than I can count."
* AwesomeMcCoolname: Frank Castle.
* AxCrazy: Many of villains and, DependingOnTheWriter, Frank himself.
* BackFromTheDead: Jigsaw, [[spoiler:Microchip]].
* BadassBoast:
** Yorkie Mitchell, answering a captured Irish terrorist (who murdered a friend of Yorkie, the father of the kid Yorkie brought over) as to whether he's MI6:
---> "[[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast By way of the SAS, by way of the Parachute Regiment]]. Feel free to start screaming your head off."
** Frank gets one at the start of Punisher Noir when his wife tells him to be wary of the Angel of Death.
--> '''Frank:''' Baby, I ain't got a thing to worry about 'cause ''I am'' the Angel of Death
* BadassGrandpa: While this isn't as prominent in the mainstream universe thanks to ComicBookTime, in MAX, he is drawn to look like the fifty-to-sixty-year-old man that he is, and his age is mentioned from time to time.
* BadassLongcoat: Frank's often depicted wearing a black trench coat, especially in more modern stories where it replaces his more traditional comic costume. Typically, towards the end of the story, when he starts to mean business [[TheCoatsAreOff he just stops wearing it]]. In War Zone, he trades up the longcoat for [[AwesomeYetPractical a more mobile outfit, replacing the longcoat with body armor.]]
* BadassNormal: Castle has no superpowers of his own, and typically most of his foes are either just mooks or other badass normals. However, he has gone toe-to-toe with various superheroes and villains in the past.
* {{Badbutt}}: Any animated version of him will inevitably wind up as this, with the exception of ''Anime/IronManRiseOfTechnovore'', which shows him killing a group of terrorists and acting more like his comic book depiction.
* BaitTheDog: In General Zakharov's first appearance, while there's some whispering of his reputation and he does use the WeHaveReserves trope (though he was trying to dislodge terrorists from a nuclear silo), Zakharov in the end did stop a nuclear confrontation and showed '''way''' more patience with TheStarscream than he had a right to. Later, when we see him again, we find out [[MoralEventHorizon just how he]] [[InfantImmortality fought in]] [[SubvertedTrope in Afghanistan]].
* BearsAreBadNews:
** One of the earlier stories had Frank stranded in Alaskan wilderness and picking a fight with a bear.
** And there is the infamous moment when he deliberately angered a bunch of polar bears to kill mobsters in a zoo.
--->'''Punisher''': Cuddly. Lovable. Docile. '''*POW*''' That won't do at all.
* BerserkButton: Frank has several. His family is one, [[spoiler:his illegitimate daughter]] is another, and '''God help you''' if he finds out you're a human trafficker. In general, [[TheDulcineaEffect violence against women]] tends to be this, and at one point a group of widows (of gangsters killed by Frank) attempt to use this against him, by luring him into an ambush under the guise of a fake human-trafficking operation... it ''almost'' works.
* BlackAndGreyMorality: The Punisher is a [[SociopathicHero sociopathic,]] cruel, KnightTemplar, BloodKnight, [[OneManArmy mass-murderering]], VigilanteMan, but is recurrently put against UpToEleven versions of the worst sorts of people reality has to offer. Most Punisher villains don't seem to even ''have'' any character traits besides malice, greed, sadism, and selfishness. GarthEnnis writes the character as 100% aware of this, often repeatedly stating that his only reason to continue living is to punish those worse than himself.
* BlackComedy: Shows up from time to time throughout the character's history, but Ennis's 90s run is built on it.
-->'''Punisher''': Gunfight in the morgue rule one. Don't hide behind the thin guy.
%% ** The Barracuda mini-series.
* BloodKnight: Why does Frank kill? 33% for revenge, 33% for justice, and 33% because he likes it; the remaining 1% is just plain crazy.
* BookEnds: The first issue of Garth Ennis' mainstream series ended with Frank throwing a criminal off of the Empire State building. In the last issue, he does the same thing again and reflects on all that's happened since he came back.
* BrainwashedAndCrazy: Has happened a couple of times to Frank. He tried killing jaywalkers and his second sidekick's girlfriend.
* BreakoutCharacter: The Punisher originally appeared as a ComicBook/SpiderMan villain in 1974. He became popular and started to appear on a regular basis, eventually getting his own series in the '80s.
** Barracuda again, his popularity eventually giving him his own mini series.
* BroadStrokes: The first Punisher MAX series in relation to the Garth Ennis Marvel Knights series. The MAX series started immediately after the Knights series ended and though it takes place in its own continuity characters from the Knights series like Jen Cooke and Yorkie make appearances in the MAX series with events from the Knights series referenced, while superheroes who were in the Knights series (Spider-Man, Wolverine and Daredevil particularly) presumably don't exist.
* BrooklynRage: While some men might seek vengeance on those who killed their family, Frank Castle doesn't settle that low. He wants to kill every criminal. ''Every single one.''
* BrickJoke: In one issue of the MAX series, Nick Fury, who had previously gone on a rant about how smoking had been banned in public areas, said that he was going to "fuck every hooker I can find before some cocksucker bans that too." An issue or two later, he's seen in a large bed, with three women sleeping next to him.
* BulletproofHumanShield: A common tactic of Frank's; use a crook to kill a crook.
* BulletproofVest: Frank's original costume is decorated body armor, but the better writers make it clear that being shot even while wearing such protection is much like getting hit by a truck.
* BullyingADragon: When Frank walks in on Anti-Venom busting a Mexican crime syndicate in ''New Ways to Live'', they team up until he realizes Anti-Venom is his old adversary [[Comicbook/{{Venom}} Eddie Brock]], whereupon he promptly shoots Anti-Venom - who was in the process of thanking him - [[ChunkySalsaRule point-blank in the face with a shotgun]]. When the last surviving thug takes the ex-drug addict Anti-Venom had been using as an informant hostage, Frank coldly dismisses the girl as "a junkie" and takes aim, prompting Anti-Venom to pull his head back together, ''severely'' pissed off.
* ButForMeItWasTuesday: Frank's usual reaction when he runs into somebody trying to [[AvengingTheVillain Avenge The Villain]]. However, this also applies to people that Frank accidentally ''helps''.
** In the penultimate issue of GarthEnnis' Punisher Max "Widowmaker" arc, Castle is rescued by a woman who explains that she did it because Castle [[spoiler:killed her brutal mobster husband who beat and raped her and let his friends beat and rape her... Let's just say that she was really grateful for that slaughter in the first issue, as she knew for a fact she didn't have a chance in hell of pulling it off herself.]]
** In the final issue of Ennis' run, Castle is outmaneuvered and captured by a Special Forces unit. Turns out that its commander, [[FictionalCounterpart Colonel]] [[MorganFreeman Howe]], [[spoiler:''owes Frank his life'' - he rescued a teenage Howe from a Viet Cong camp during the war. To Castle, it was just another of his countless deniable operations. To Howe, it was the most important moment in his life - the reason he joined Special Forces in the first place.]] This is why he volunteered to take Castle [[spoiler:alive[[note]]he had every intention of stopping Castle's rampage... by capture, trial, conviction, and sentencing, ''not'' by extrajudicial killing[[/note]], and upon discovering that the generals who ordered the takedown were bastards, he freed Castle and let him kill them all]], which led to a CrowningMomentOfAwesome as Howe [[spoiler:only left him a single handgun and eight bullets to do it. Castle simply gave the eight generals eight PrettyLittleHeadshots and walked away.]]
** At the end of the issue that inroduced Jigsaw, Nightcrawler and Spider-Man discuss how much the guy hated Punisher for disfiguring him; but for Frank, its such a mundane occurrence he doesn't even remember it.
* ButtMonkey: Detective Soap, the biggest joke of NYPD, is the prime example. For that matter, if you're a police officer and The Punisher's case is assigned to you, it's a sure sign that you're in danger of becoming this. Charlie Schitti would be another great example of ButtMonkey, if not for the fact that just still being alive at the end is remarkably lucky for a (former) mobster.
* CaptainErsatz:
** One of the villains was a cult leader The Rev, who was an analogy to Jim Jones.
** "''Politically naive''" actress-turned-activist Alice from ''War Journal'' is one to Creator/JaneFonda.
* CarFu: In "Welcome Back, Frank," the mafia hires a former Desert Storm sniper to kill him. Frank just runs the guy over with an SUV, then backs up.
* CarnivalOfKillers: An early arc in ''Punisher: War Zone'' had the New York mob hiring the seven best assassins in the world to hunt down the Punisher. Such things are something of an occupational hazard for The Punisher.
* CelibateHero: Frank doesn't seem to have much interest in the ladies, but this is most likely justified by the fact that he still thinks about his family and/or he's too busy killing scum. He has had romantic encounters with some women, [[spoiler:including the one that resulted in his illegitimate daughter]], but it's not a significant part of his characterization outside of when he's written by Mike Baron, who has him sleeping around as much as your typical action hero.
* CharactersDroppingLikeFlies: Given the basic premise, no one is safe from death (even Frank died once, though he came back -- while making no reference to the whole affair). Recurring characters like Barracuda and Yorkie Mitchell are safe for maybe three arcs.
* CharlesAtlasSuperPower: Frank is occasionally depicted as this, between being a Vietnam veteran {{Determinator}} having [[ImprobableAimingSkills Impropable Aiming Skills]] and (as in the War Zone movie) extremely sensitive hearing. Some of his enemies - particularly The Russian - are similarly empowered.
* ChestInsignia: The Punisher's iconic skull. Like Batman, it serves as a heavily armored target and in the earlier issues the teeth were spare ammo magazines.
* ChristmasSpecial: He's dressed as Santa whilst gunning down mobsters ''multiple times''.
* ChronicallyCrashedCar: The Battle Van tended to get wrecked every time Frank brought it out.
* ClassicalAntiHero: Some writers also throw in this, a lonely, unstable shell of a man with no future, who can only function as a killing machine.
* CoincidentalBroadcast: All three new vigilantes watch the same broadcast about them and the Punisher, and say "''This gives me an idea''!" at the same time.
* ColdBloodedTorture: Particularly in the MAX series, Frank often resorts to nasty torture of those working for his target du jour or otherwise connected to them.
* ColdSniper: Castle himself. His second tour of duty in 'Nam was spent performing sniper work and recon. Its never said exactly what went on (and the men he led on his third tour only knew rumours too grisly to be true) but Microchip knows about it and apparently it was when he first started to love violence.
* CombatPragmatist: The following quote from "Welcome Back, Frank" sums it up:
-->'''Frank Castle''': When you're on your own, behind enemy lines, no artillery, no air strikes, no hope of an evac, you don't fight dirty. You do things that make dirty look good.
** Also in "Welcome Back, Frank" one of the three hit men hired to kill Castle was an expert in multiple forms of martial arts. Instead of even thinking about trying to fight the man hand-to-hand, Castle surreptiously follows the man into the subway, stands behind him in the crowd on the platform, then pushes him in front of an oncoming train. Castle: "I have a favorite: Splat-Fu."
* CombatSadomasochist: Colonel [[MeaningfulName De Sade]] from ''Summer Special'' issues, who loved to be in the receiving end of pain as much as causing it.
* ComicallyMissingThePoint: When Ma Gnucci says she wants to kill the one who crippled her, one of her mooks says, "You want us to put a hit on the ''bear''?"
* ComicBookFantasyCasting: The MAX line has a lot of characters looking like famous "cool" actors in real life.
** Frank himself is a beefy Creator/ClintEastwood in the first arc; this particularly evident [[spoiler: when he's held prisoner by Microchip]].
** Paul Budiansky is Creator/SamuelLJackson.
** Budiansky's CSI friend is Creator/TommyLeeJones (And he hates ''Series/{{CSI}}''.)
** Colonel George Howe is Creator/MorganFreeman.
** From ''The Punisher Presents: Barracuda'', Big Chris Angelone is Creator/ChristopherWalken.
** Castle's CO in ''Born'' is [[http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000513/ William H. Macy.]]
* ComicBookTime: Explicitly averted, in the MAX series at least. Frank fought in and is described as a product of the Vietnam War. In the MAX series, he ages appropriately, and is drawn as a beefy 50/60 year old man...while the main continuity just tries not draw your attention to it too much.
* CoolGuns: Even though the Punisher uses a lot of different types of guns, he shows a preference for military weapons such as the M16 rifle or M1911 pistols.
** He actually had a ten-issue series titled "Armory" dedicated to showing off his guns and other equipment.
** In one arc of the MAX series he explains this as force of habit, from his days in Vietnam; even in a scene where he decries the killing power of [=M16=] rounds compared to those from an AK, he nevertheless states: "''I'm used to it. I'm good with it. And like I said, there '''is''' the [=M203=]."
** And from "Punisher : War Journal" (main continuity) - [[http://comicallycool.tumblr.com/post/5153227797/justchien-a-gun-that-shoots-swords-hell-yeah a gun that shoots swords.]]
* CrapsackWorld: The MAX series is the best example, with even the hero being a decidedly dark gray in a [[BlackAndGrayMorality black and gray world]].
* CriminalDoppelganger: In the {{Crossover}} ''[[ArchieComics Archie]] Meets The Punisher'', a criminal the Punisher has tracked to Riverdale looks very similar to Archie.
* {{Criminals}}: The Punisher has killed all kinds of them: [[TheMafia Mafiosi]], TheIrishMob, {{Yakuza}}, TheMafiya, [[TheCartel South American crime bosses]], [[WhiteCollarCrime embezzlers]], [[RuthlessModernPirates modern pirates]], [[EvilPoacher poachers]], [[GangBangers gang members]], [[MadBomber bombers]], [[PyroManiac pyromaniacs]], [[AllBikersAreHellsAngels bikers]], [[ThoseWackyNazis modern nazis]], [[SuperVillain super villains]], [[HiredGuns mercenaries]], [[ProfessionalKiller assassins]], {{Ninja}}, [[SerialKiller serial killers]], rapists, child molesters, slavers, terrorists, [[TheFamilyThatSlaysTogether killer families]], [[HollywoodSatanism Satan worshippers]], [[HollywoodVoodoo Voodoo priests]], [[VigilanteMan ruthless vigilantes]], [[DirtyCop crooked cops]], and so on.
* CrisisCrossover: He tends to be left out of these big events, partly because they don't fit his "''realistic''" tone, and partly because, as mentioned above, most of the spandex set ''really'' don't like him, and would rather he was in jail. Two notable exceptions:
** In the ComicBook/CivilWar, CaptainAmerica recruited him for the anti-registration side. Most of Cap's allies hated this -- especially when Cap tried to recruit some low-level villains, who the Punisher promptly ''shot dead in front of everyone''.
** Frank appears very briefly in the JusticeLeague-Avengers company crossover series. Batman sees him in action, and swiftly kicks the tar out of him.
* CrusadingWidower: Castle seeks vengeance then effects genocide on the American criminal element for the murder of his family during a botched mob hit. Garth Ennis took this concept in an interesting direction during the miniseries: "''Widowmaker''" for the Marvel MAX imprint of the character. In that arc several wives of high-level mafioso Frank Castle had brutally murdered come together to take vengeance on Frank. Unfortunately before Frank can come up against the potentially morally interesting decision of how to deal with them, they are interrupted by another Mafia widow. This widow is thankful to Frank for killing her husband, who she regarded as a diabolically vile monster, and has nothing for contempt for the other widows who cruelly abused her. Thus this apparently exonerates Frank of any blame or responsibility.
* CulturalTranslation: One of the early arcs had a CarnivalOfKillers, one of which was described by Frank as shooting "faster 'n greased lightning". The French translation has "[[LuckyLuke shoots faster than his own shadow]]".
* DangerouslyGenreSavvy: General Zahrakov, again. He uses MookChivalry ''twice'' to catch Frank unprepared. He's the only one in Russian intel to guess that the Americans would attempt a MoralEventHorizon for their FalseFlagOperation. Finally, he anticipates a DefensiveFeintTrap the Punisher had planned for him and even when warned by Rawlins and Dolnovich that he was heading into a trap, outwits all three of them and captures the Punisher. His only mistake really was taking SmugSnake Rawlins at his word when he said that he searched The Punisher properly. And we have this gem:
-->'''Rawlins''': For God's sake, why not [[[PsychoForHire give me a job]]]?\\
'''Zahrakov''': Because I am a soldier and you are something else. It is in your [[TheStarscream nature to betray]], a small child could tell you that. You would betray me and I would be forced to kill you--and why would I create that much trouble for myself?
* DarkerAndEdgier: Though pretty mainstream by today's standards, the first Punisher miniseries (''[[Comicbook/ThePunisherCircleOfBlood Circle of Blood]]'') was a far cry from most other Marvel Comics products of the mid 1980s. Today, ''The Punisher: Frank Castle'' (the MAX imprint title) is the epitome of this trope for Marvel.
* DarkIsNotEvil: The Punisher is an AntiHero example who only kills bad guys and he has black clothes with a skull. This, however, is often DependingOnTheWriter, as a lot of the time he practically qualifies as a VillainProtagonist.
* DeadMansTriggerFinger: A ComicBook/CaptainAmerica[=/=]Punisher teamup comic has Frank cause this with a precise knife-throw into a guard with a machine gun, which takes out the other guards for them.
* DeadpanSnarker: It's rare for him to make a joke, but when he does, Frank's shows he's got a very dark and cynical sense of humor.
-->'''Cop''': Any time you wanna finish that, big man: you an' me, wherever the fuck you like...\\
'''Frank''': I'm not really dating right now.
* DealWithTheDevil: In the MAX-continuity miniseries ''Punisher: Born'', which shows Frank during his last tour in Vietnam, he appears to talk with a mysterious voice in his head. Frank refuses to accept that the US is withdrawing from Vietnam and does everything he can to postpone shutting down his camp. [[spoiler:The Vietcong finally assault the base during a storm while the US army air support is cut off, killing everyone. Frank is the last American alive, and the voice makes him an offer. Eternal war, in exchange for ''something''. Frank accepts and survives when the US air strike finally arrives. Frank comes back home and meets his family at the airport, and the voice returns to claim the price for his eternal war: Frank's family.]]
* DeathByNewberyMedal: Frank's old guard dog, Max, which was killed off in the same arc it was introduced in. It's shot by a gangster trying to raid one of Frank's hideouts. When Frank sees that he's dying, he [[ShootTheDog puts him down]] with a knife. Frank's ''crying'' when he does this.
* DecompressedComic: ''The Punisher MAX''.
* DentedIron: Becomes a plot point in the second Punisher MAX series, in which the physical and sometimes emotional toll of waging a 30+ year war on crime has on Frank is explored. Frank goes through an increasingly ruthless RoguesGallery worth of foes including [[RealMenLoveJesus The Mennonite]], [[Comicbook/{{Daredevil}} MAX!Bullseye]], MAX!ComicBook/{{Elektra}}, and finally, [[KingpinInHisGym MAX!Kingpin]], getting more and more irrevocably battered after dispatching each one, [[spoiler: with the last one culminating in a long, drawn out, excruciating MutualKill]].
* DependingOnTheWriter: How much Frank fights to help innocents and how much because he likes killing, as well as how sane he is in general. This gets downright meta in the MAX "''Bullseye''" arc, where Bullseye nearly drives himself crazier trying to figure out Frank's exact motivation. His feelings towards other Marvel heroes he runs in to also varies with the writer. Does he view them as admirable but too soft? Just annoying obstacles in his path?
* DepravedDwarf: Frank and Wolverine take on an entire gang of these at one point, led by the midget brother of a mafia boss killed by Frank. It doesn't end well for them (or Wolverine).
* TheDeterminator: Frank, of course. As he once said "A man who doesn't have anything to lose, can't help but win."
* DirtyCoward: About 95% of the criminals behave like this when on the wrong end of a gunpoint, begging Frank for their lives and promising him anything and everything (this ''never'' helps). The remaining 5% are mostly [[PsychoForHire Psychos For Hire]] or otherwise too raving mad to feel fear - only very rarely you can see a sane villain who just has enough guts for something like FacingTheBulletsOneLiner.
* TheDogBitesBack: Zahrakov and Dolnovich get bitten back in the worse way by SmugSnake Rawlins after attacking his groin several times, wiping blood on his shirt, and generally kicking him around. Granted, Rawlins is such a bastard that they probably would've gotten a knife in the back ''regardless'', but at least don't give the guy ammunition.
* DontMakeMeDestroyYou: Inverted in "Mother Russia". Frank catches his partner doing something he shouldn't be doing. His partner shouts "Back off! Don't make me fuck you up!" Frank just kicks him in the face and knocks half his teeth out.
* DoubleStandardRapeFemaleOnMale: Averted: [[spoiler: Nicky Cavella]] was raped by his aunt when he was very young, presented as a serious issue instead of a point of humor.
* TheDreaded: Frank himself. The white skull on his chest has become such a terrifying icon of death that just the sight of it can make men from EASTERN EUROPEAN DEATH SQUADS fall to their knees and sob for mercy.
* DrivenToSuicide:
** Frank at the end of "Punisher Kills The Marvel Universe"
** Also, [[spoiler: criminal profiler Buddy Plugg.]]
* EmpoweredBadassNormal:
** There was a brief period of time in the [[TheDarkAgeofComicBooks nineties]] when Castle was given a supernatural bent. He became a divine assassin on behalf of God, using angelic firearms to smite demons in return for a chance to be reunited with his family in heaven. Predictably this didn't turn out to be a popular development. When Ennis began his run in "Welcome Back Frank", he pays lip service to it by acknowledging it before declaring: "''It didn't work out''."
** In ''Punisher: Born'', [[spoiler:Garth makes his own supernatural upgrade part of Frank's backstory: During the battle of Valley Forge, an enigmatic voice gave him the choice to either die in battle or be its agent on Earth. This entity is implied to be Death Itself, and it apparently guides The Punisher's hand.]]
** Later, ComicBook/{{Morbius}} the Living Vampire resurrected Frank as a FrankensteinsMonster version of himself after a fight with Daken left Frank shredded into pieces.
* EpicFail: In Issue #18 of the original Punisher: War Journal series, Frank is in Hawaii tracking down a gang of drug dealers. He ends up armed with an old double barreled pistol taken off the body of Captain Cook. Frank ambushes one of the dealers and fires at him, causing a loud bang and bright flash...followed by the ball bearing slipping out of the pistol. Frank then throws the gun at the guy, which he ducks causing the pistol to smack against the stump of a tree... which makes the other barrel discharge, hitting Frank right in the kevlar.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: Frank himself arguably qualifies, if you accept Ennis' version, in that he's a monster who knows he's a monster and has a strict code against harming innocents.
* ExcrementStatement: Nicky Cavella on Frank's dead family, in order to anger him.
* ExiledFromContinuity: The MAX series.
--> '''Marvel ComicBook/CivilWar Handbook On Punisher:''' Although recently Castle has escalated his war on crime [[UpToEleven even further, with record-breaking body counts]], he is paradoxically now rarely encountered in the field by any super hero save Daredevil. (...) [[LeaningOnTheFourthWall Itís almost like he inhabits two worlds, one where heroes can capture him and one where they canít, and he can slip from one to the other with ease]].
* ExplodingFishTanks: Frank has twice shot aquarium tanks with sharks in them to take out bad guys.
* FailureIsTheOnlyOption:
** The mainstream incarnation of The Punisher has only once succeeded at dispensing his own brand of justice to significant supervillains he encounters, even those who badly screw with him personally, like [[PsychoForHire Bullseye]]. Probably that's why he mostly goes for mundane mobsters, who don't have JokerImmunity (or superpowers). The one exception is Stilt Man, which he got with [[GroinAttack a bazooka to the groin]]. The saddest aspect of all is, getting offed by the Punisher was probably was the high point of Stilt Man's career.
** The second Punisher MAX series applies this trope to Frank's war on crime in general, with a common theme in the series being Frank's inability to effect any lasting change on New York's crime scene, where there never an end to the criminals no matter how many Frank offs. MAX!NickFury, who is revealed to have shadowed Frank for much of his war, laments at the end of the series that Frank murdered, suffered [[spoiler:and ultimately, died]] all for nothing... only for the next page to show that Frank inspired hordes of people to stand up for themselves and kick criminals out of their neighborhood.
** No matter what continuity Frank appears in, he will always lose his family to set up his reason for becoming The Punisher.
* FalseReassurance: If you're a criminal and The Punisher promises you something like "''scratching your name from his list''"... you better talk anyway, even if you are sufficiently GenreSavvy to recognize what that means, as being shot right after giving him the necessary information is still preferable to his [[ColdBloodedTorture other methods]] [[JackBauerInterrogationTechnique of loosening tongues]].
* FanDisservice: Mamma Cesare is at least eighty years old. [[{{Squick}} Both Fisk and the reader are given a view of her naked body]].
* FarmersDaughter: In the "''Welcome To The Bayou''" story, Frank runs into one of these (on a gas station in the middle of nowhere, but the idea is the same), who is a) dressed in far-too-revealing clothes and b) "crazy as a shithouse rat". She also turns out to be part of a family of inbred cannibal hicks.
* {{Fingore}}: Big Jesus smuggles [[spoiler:a razor blade]] under his ''fingernail''.
* FlamethrowerBackfire: The Punisher is well aware of the flamethrower's limitations: "Flamethrower's no good for a prolonged firefight. Sooner or later one of the tanks is going to take a bullet. Too bad for [[{{mooks}} them]] [[ShootTheFuelTank that's what I'm counting on."]]
* {{Flanderization}}: Frank's UltimateMarvel counterpart may be even more fanatic about his crusade than Frank is. Even having the UltimateMarvel version of ComicBook/GhostRider, an agent of {{Satan}}, telling him "''keep up the good work''" doesn't dissuade him from his killing spree. He thinks the message comes from his family, or maybe even God himself.
* FollowTheLeader: Almost single-handedly kick-started the DarkerAndEdgier trend of the late 80s and on through the 90s, and remains one of the few such series/characters to have retained his popularity and effectiveness after it died out (though Lord knows he's had his share of {{Dork Age}}s).
* FunetikAksent: Mrs. Pearse
* FunnyBackgroundEvent:
** On a filing cabinet in the police station, there is a stuffed pig in a policeman's uniform. Those cops must have a [[TakeThatUs good sense of humor]].
** When Ma Gnucci is in the hospital after being mauled by polar bears, there's a get well card on the bed with a picture of a teddy bear on it.
* GagPenis: Horribly, horribly subverted: the Guy is known only by the dimensions of his member when he's ''not'' aroused, and his employers use it to the fullest extent in their SnuffFilm enterprise (he ''splits the girls open''). Needless to say, revenge was had when his destined victims ripped him apart.
* GangstaStyle: Subverted in one of the Ennis comics. A gang member fires at Castle like this multiple times, but misses every shot. Frank calmly says "[[PreMortemOneLiner They put the sights on top for a reason]]" before downing the gangster with pinpoint accuracy.
* GenreBlind: The numerous gangsters, mobsters and other crooks who think that ''they'' [[AttackAttackAttack will be the one to finally bring Frank down]]. For an example: Maginty, who is otherwise one of the most DangerouslyGenreSavvy villains in the comics, cheerfully walks into his hideout ''without'' an armed escort after mentally torturing a RetiredMonster and leaving him in the room by himself. It's a good thing his {{Mook}}s came back to check on him--of course getting his fingers sliced off by said murderer didn't do much to dissuade him from walking into Nesbitt's BatmanGambit, making him doubly Genre Blind.
** Notably, Nicky Cavella is told in no uncertain terms that his plan[[note]]to enrage the Punisher to cause the Punisher to drop his guard[[/note]] is fundamentally flawed without killers actually capable of exploiting the supposed opening.
* GenreSavvy: During the whole "Kills the Marvel Universe" issue, Frank manages to kill Comicbook/TheHulk. How? By following him undetected until he turns back into Banner. [[CombatPragmatist And then killing Banner.]]
* GiveChaseWithAngryNatives:
** Chased by Mafia goons through a zoo, Frank runs through the polar bear enclosure, punches the first sleepy one he sees and keeps running. By the time the goons get there, they are facing three very pissed-off polar bears.
** In another story, Frank is driving around town killing various gang members and criminals. One group survives the initial attack and gives chase. Frank gets rid of them by driving through a Mafia meeting without stopping, [[MoreDakka the gangstas following aren't so lucky]].
* {{Gorn}}: In the MAX Imprint, as written by GarthEnnis, the blood and guts are very detailed.
* GoryDiscretionShot: Unsurprisingly averted in the Max comics, in [[{{Gorn}} many, many glorious ways]].
* GunPorn: ''The Punisher Armory'' is an entire line devoted to loving descriptions of the guns and tactics he uses.
* GunsAkimbo: The Punisher frequently does this.
* HandicappedBadass: Frank lost an eye during his fight with the Red Vulture.
* HandyCuffs: Frank was captured by a minor gang leader named Machete, who insisted on killing a cuffed Castle in a machete duel. Castle rejects the machete, and kills the guy with his bare hands.
* HannibalLecture:
** Frank doesn't do this often, being TheStoic, but he completely destroys the last shreds of dignity Nicky Cavella has with one.
---> '''Cavella''': Either I walk outta here or I blow this little fuck all over you. It's your call.\\
'''Castle''': You won't shoot him. You're a coward. ...Psycho rep only takes you so far. After that, you've nothing. Hurt the boy and you die bad. You know that. But there's a part of you that still thinks that if you let him go, you've got a chance. And that part of you just won't shut up.
** Frank's S.A.S. pal Yorkie is the master of these. He'd probably have the TropeNamer weeping for forgiveness after a few minutes with him. In a DoubleSubversion, Barracuda [[ShutUpHannibal laughs off one of these]] after killing Yorkie, but true to form his dying speech echoes in his head at a most inopportune moment and gets under his skin -- allowing the Brit to punk him from the grave. (It's possible that Yorkie did it in the hopes that this would actually happen.)
--->'''Yorkie''': He's going to kill you. Not over me. You're going up against him, so he'll kill you. Because you're a ''joke'', in spite of it all... and he's the most dangerous man who ever walked this Earth.
* HeWhoFightsMonsters: The Punisher is often presented this way whenever he makes a guest appearance in more idealistic books like ''ComicBook/{{Spider-Man}}'' or ''ComicBook/{{Daredevil}}''. However, in his own books, he's portrayed as a profoundly messed up individual, more tortured machine than man.
* HeroAntagonist: Any superhero that shows up is likely to become this. Especially Comicbook/{{Daredevil}} who is the superhero most determined to put a stop to the Punisher to the point where they might as well be members of their respective rogues galleries.
* TheHeroDies: In the second Punisher MAX series, [[spoiler:Castle himself]] is killed. Even then, though, he manages to finish off what he started.
* HeroicDolphin: Subverted in an issue of ''The Punisher War Journal''. A Hawaiian "''kahuna''" controls sealife to rescue Frank from being stranded in the sea, and he thinks to himself that he didn't know that dolphins rescuing humans was true. When he gets back to the shore, she reveals that she actually used a shark to help him.
* HiddenInPlainSight: Despite being a fugitive for 30+ years and having his mugshot on the news semi-regularly the only time he is ever recognized is when he opens his coat and reveals the skull on his chest. Either people recognize him but pretend they don't or they don't watch a lot of news.
* HighAltitudeInterrogation: Frank uses this among other interrogation techniques. Like most typical [[AntiHero Anti-Heroes]], he often does go through with the threat of letting them plummet to death. In one notable example, Dolnovich used this trope on Rawlins to give him a last-minute attempt to come up with the BatmanGambit of his life. Notably he didn't even want to let Rawlins live in the first place and even tried to shoot down the latter's attempt to save his life.
* HollywoodSilencer: Averted in Punisher: War Zone. During Castle's attack on Jigsaw's hideout, Castle uses an M4 variant with a suppressor. The gunshots sound more like muffled cracks than a "fwip". Also, the Smith and Wesson model 500 he uses is fitted with a suppressor which makes the shots sound like loud thuds.
* ILoveThisTown: Officer Soap, who was promoted to Chief Inspector at the end of the ''Welcome Back Frank'' series, proudly looks out of his office to the Golden Sunset of New York... only to have a passing pigeon defecate on his head. Nevertheless, he warmly quotes this trope, for compared to all the hardships he endured trying to catch The Punisher, he was not going to let something as trivial as bird poop rain on his parade.
* ImperialStormtrooperMarksmanshipAcademy: Often justified, as most of the mook criminals he faces don't really have much skills or experience in real combat. Averted in the case of "''The Slavers''", when [[spoiler:Frank loses his self-discipline and breaks his cover by attacking a 'straggling' gunman, alerting his fellows]]... who ''are'' infantry veterans, aim down their weapons' sights, and use small unit tactics such as (effective) suppressing fire and flanking. End result: although he's able to swim away, non-powered gunmen ''actually defeat Frank Castle in combat and force '''him''' to flee for his life''.
--->'''Frank's monologue''': ''I saw straightaway it had been a mistake. These boys weren't ghetto trash like I was used to, the kind whose will you break in the first ten seconds of a firefight ... They were soldiers ... ''[splash page of Frank being hit]'' The end came even faster than I'd figured.''
* ImpersonatingAnOfficer: Frank has been known to use fake ID to enter crime scenes and get firsthand information before the detectives arrive.
* ImplacableMan: Frank himself, but the trope also extends to the enemies like the amnesiac Thorn, Roc who survived being shot in the head and having his neck broken and the Russian, who's just a large man. MAX series has Pittsy, Barracuda and the Mennonite.
* ImprovisedWeaponUser: Oh, so much. He uses piranha, giant snakes, rhinos, [[GroinAttack table saws]], nail guns, fuses, meat packing equipment, a shark, the list goes on and on. Some more notable examples:
** The keeper would have to be punching out a polar bear to anger it into taking out a mob boss, and using a pizza and the morbidly obese Mr. Bumpo on The Russian.
** One issue involved Castle assaulting an office building that was being used for snuff films. Security was ultra-tight, so he couldn't bring guns inside. Instead, he ended up killing the guards one by one with increasingly bizarre and brutal uses of office equipment. He started with [[ThePenIsMightier pens and pencils]], worked his way up to computer monitors as blunt instruments, [[EyeScream staplers to the eyes]], smashing a man's head to pulp in a copier machine...
** Once he used the freakin' Hulk against Daredevil, Spidey and Wolverine to get them off his back.
* ImprobableAimingSkills: While most of Frank's fights are up close, he pulls this off every now and then. For example, in one of his earliest fights he manages to shoot out both of Spider-Man's web shooters while he's in mid-leap.
* InstantDeathBullet: Played straight or subverted depending on the comic. Notably subverted in the finale to the Punisher MAX story arc, ''Up is Down and Black is White''.
* ItWorksBetterWithBullets: While attempting to infiltrate a drug cartel, the cartel's boss hands Punisher a rifle and orders him to execute a captured DEA agent. The Punisher turns the gun on the boss only to discover that the gun is unloaded. It was a test of Frank's loyalty.
* JackBauerInterrogationTechnique: Frank is a big fan of it.
* {{Jerkass}}: Kevin the bartender
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Frank is homicidal towards criminals and is very cold to innocents he comes across, but he does genuinely show concern for innocents. He does have a softer side that comes out on ''very'' rare occasions, too-he was notably a perfect gentleman towards Miss Grundy in ''Archie Meets The Punisher''.
* JokerImmunity:
** Most notably, the Kingpin. The biggest gang boss in New York, but it's been explained that Frank can't kill him because if he does, New York will be devastated by gangs trying to take his place.[[note]]The Punisher's first miniseries actually had Frank claim to have killed Fisk, who was not in New York at the time. He spends the following issues trying to stop the resulting gang war from spiraling out of control[[/note]] Also Jigsaw, who Frank has let live numerous times [[spoiler: except in the 2008 movie, where Frank impales him with a metal rod, then pushes him onto a large torch]].
** Lampshaded in his crossover with Batman. Frank has cornered the TropeNamer himself, who immediately starts cracking jokes about going to Arkham. Frank just coldly cocks his handgun and prepares to blow off the Joker's head, until Batman intervenes.
---> '''The Joker''' (Staring at Frank's gun) [[OhCrap ... You're really going to do it.]]
* TheJoysOfTorturingMooks: The video game was basically built on this.
* KickTheDog:
** Frank's murder of Microchip, his sidekick. Frank also killed the reformed Stiltman. Microchip was killed because he was turning a blind eye to government-funded drug operations to get his dough, making it a KickTheDog moment for himself as well. He was also given the chance to escape. They were holed up in a warehouse awaiting an attack from the mob. Frank told Micro to run but Micro decided to stay. Apparently he didn't quite understand what Frank meant.
** The villains also constantly do this (if not much, much worse), because as bad as he is, Frank's the protagonist.
** After rescuing a not-so-corrupt corporate executive from retaliatory gang rape for threatening to blow the whistle on a scheme, Frank shows an alarming amount of callousness towards the victim, telling him 'I bought you eggs and bacon--two days is more than enough to get over this'; unusual since [[DoubleStandard he's usually more sympathetic to female rape victims]]... although his indifference comes back to bite him in the ass later.
** Dolnovich, a loyal, level-headed hardass... who kills a reporter who wrote an unflattering book about his boss. Even then, he probably didn't deserve to die believing that his only son was going to be raped to death by his SmugSnake killer.
* KillerYoyo: One of Frank's one-time villains was an evil scientist with this weapon.
* KnifeNut: When met with an assassin who prefers knives, Frank's inner monologues notes that one must be either insane or really good to use knives. Then he notes that [[NeverBringAKnifeToAGunFight knives are nothing against guns]], and blows the guy away.
* KnightTemplar: The question is not "How far?" The question is "How fast will he get there?" In the MAX series, for example, Barracuda [[spoiler:kidnaps the daughter Frank had with O'Brien.]] He reacts...'''violently'''. Frank often has flashbacks to his children's deaths. He wakes up in the hospital with no idea what happened, but the skin doctors found under his fingernails and the flesh between his teeth jog his memory.
* LampshadeHanging: The aforementioned split in The Punisher's portrayal as regards to his interactions with the rest of the Marvel characters is lampshaded in ''Secret War: Secret Files'' (written in the voice of Nick Fury as entries in the SHIELD database); it comments on how it seems like Castle lives in "two different worlds," one where he interacts with the other heroes and one where he never crosses paths with them. Also:
--> "I caught a glimpse of heaven once. The Angels showed me. The idea was I'd kill for them. Clean up their mistakes on Earth. Eventually redeem myself. Tried it. Didn't like it. Told them where to stick it. So they brought me up to heaven, to see what I'd be missing. A wife. A son. A daughter. I hadn't seen them since they bled out in my arms. Then I was cast down. Back to a world of killers. Rapists. Psychos. Perverts. A brand new evil every minute, spewed out as fast as men can think them up. A world where pitching a criminal dwarf off a skyscraper to tell his fellow scum you're back is a sane and rational act. The angels thought it would be hell for me. But they were wrong."
* LeftForDead: In the Punisher MAX continuity, you CANNOT count on this trope to save your bacon. One particularly noteworthy example was when Castle drove Cavella out to some abandoned woods and shot him low in the gut with the intention of slowly killing him over several hours/days while he walked away. Perfect setup for Cavella to come back, right? Well, just to shoot down any ideas of him returning some mooks talk about how they found his corpse with the eyes eaten out. Just as well, as VillainDecay had wrung out any threat he had to begin with.
* LetThePastBurn: In the final ''Punisher Max'' arc "Homeless", after [[spoiler: the death of Frank]], Nick Fury takes a flamethrower to the house where the Castle family used to live and [[spoiler: where Frank had been staying during the events of the arc. By doing so he hopes to put an end to the tragedy that made The Punisher once and for all.]]
* LimitedWardrobe: While it's entertaining to think that Frank has been wearing the same skull T-shirt all these years, no doubt stained with the blood of hundreds, he appears to have lots of spares. He even states in one comic devoted to showing his equipment and methods that he orders the shirts by the gross (gross = 144).
* MadeOfIron: Especially in MAX, but even in mainstream continuity Castle's a tough bastard. By human standards, anyway.
--> '''Frank:''' That's a rib gone. Not broken. ''Gone.''
** In "The List", he continues trying to stab [[spoiler:Daken]] after - in less than a half hour - having being shot, hit with grenades, punched around, cut across the chest [[spoiler:by Daken]], broke a leg, getting his throat slashed, lost an arm and about three gallons of blood. He probably would still be fighting him as a disembodied head! ([[Film/MontyPythonAndTheHolyGrail Black Knight? Is that you?]])
** The Russian, Barracuda, and Pittsy all take enormous amounts of damage that would leave normal people nothing more than a greasy smear on the pavement.
** In the finale to Punisher MAX [[spoiler: Frank]] gets stabbed, shot, and beaten half to death by Electra (to the point where his face is described as looking like "a swollen wad of hamburger" by Nick Fury), shot multiple times by The Kingpin's goons, and endures a savage beating by Fisk himself, ''and still'' [[spoiler: manages to kill him in the end, only succumbing to his wounds much later.]]
** The Menonnite from Aaron's Punisher MAX [[spoiler: took a knife boot right to his crotch]] and still kept coming. It took [[spoiler: an electrified security system and a falling safe to kill him.]]
* MenAreTheExpendableGender: It's stated in the MAX series that the first time he killed a woman, he lost a lot of his supporters. (That she was already tried and imprisoned and no threat to anybody may have had something to do with it. It's not specified.)
* MerryChristmasInGotham: There's a story where Frank is about to snipe a drug lord, when suddenly there's a little girl pulling on his coat telling him she's lost her dad. Frank stares at her and puts the gun away. When they find her dad, he starts to thank him before recognizing his chest emblem and starting to panic. Frank tells him to calm down, that he should really teach his daughter not to talk to strangers, and then leaves.
* MookChivalry: Obviously used quite a lot. What makes this extra-hilarious is that the smarter bosses (Cavella, Zakharov, Maginty) actually take the failings of their Mooks into account and use it to engineer {{Batman Gambit}}s; Zakharov manages to blindside Frank with this trope twice.
* MookHorrorShow: In a Marvel MAX annual, from the POV of an arsonist, being pursued by the Punisher through Manhattan. It never once gave the Punisher's perspective; he was presented as simply an unstoppable force that the criminal just couldn't get away from.
* MoralityChain: Frank's family was this to him. In his origin story set in 'Nam he says to a fellow soldier that they might be his "''last chance''" to be something other than a BloodKnight.
* MoreDakka: Frank's solution to most problems is massive firepower. Submachine guns are just the starting point for automatic ballistic mayhem in his arsenal.
* MuggingTheMonster: Happens to Frank a lot, considering his habit of walking around the worst neighborhoods alone. Naturally this does not end well. In one short story, Frank pretends to be a drunken hobo to the specific purpose of practicing his knife fighting.
* MugglesDoItBetter: He has fought many super powered heroes and villains, sometimes beating them or at least fighting to a draw, with nothing more than his wits, aim, and guns. Averted of course at times... DependingOnTheWriter.
* MysteriousPast: In the MAX continuity Frank's military history started out as a mystery, with only the events of his third and final tour being detailed (in ''Born'') and the rest being {{Noodle Incident}}s. However, lately that is changing and Garth Ennis is gradually filling in the blanks.
* NeighbourhoodFriendlyGangsters: The Geracis, [[spoiler:who convince Frank to be their next Don]].
%%* NerdGlasses: Buddy Plug
* NeverHurtAnInnocent: This is one of the reasons the Punisher is an [[AntiHero Anti]] ''[[AntiHero Hero]]''. He takes great pains to avoid civilian casualties while he's gunning down dozens of [[{{Mook}} goons.]] Frank has also on occasions been shown to dislike killing animals, because an animal can't truly be guilty. That said, Frank's definition of "''innocent''" can be very narrow, as he would have shot an otherwise innocent drug addict to get to the gangster holding her hostage in ''New Ways to Live''. This, like many of his traits, [[DependingOnTheWriter varies quite a bit by the writer]].
* NeverLiveItDown: Invoked. The Head general of the terrorist plot after getting his face wrecked by Nick Fury. Characters in the story repeatedly bring up his humiliating beating and he reacts predictably in each case (i.e. snivelling).
* NewYorkCityCops: Whenever the NYPD show up, they are usually put into three groups; [[SympatheticInspectorAntagonist honest cops who truly believe that the Punisher is a danger to society]], {{Dirty Cop}}s who end up becoming more victims of ThePunisher, or cops that secretly approve of the vigilante's activities and don't put that much effort into arresting him.
* NoNonsenseNemesis:
** Inverted (at least with respect to morality) in a ''Punisher''/''Franchise/{{Batman}}'' {{crossover}}.
--->'''Punisher:''' I've got all the therapy you'll ever need right here, comedian.\\
'''[[SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker Joker]]:''' ... [[OhCrap you're really going to shoot?]]
** Played with in the regular comics quite a lot, especially the MAX series. In the "In the Beginning" arc, villain Nicky Cavella puts a gun to the Punisher's head when the Punisher is tied up and pulls the trigger. [[spoiler: The Punisher dodges the shot and bites off several of Cavella's fingers.]] Later lampshaded in the "Widowmaker" arc, where several villains comment how every time the Punisher is captured, the villain doesn't just shoot him.
* NonLethalWarfare: Generally averted, however the Punisher has been known to carry less-lethal weapons around. In the earlier stories, he often used "Mercy Bullets" when teamed up with other superheroes so as not to violate their no-kill rules; with no explanation as to what they were. Modern stories will sometimes explicitly mention him using rubber bullets. He'll usually only use non-lethal weapons grudgingly. For instance, in the ''Omega Effect'' crossover with Spider-Man and Daredevil:
-->'''Punisher:''' We'll need forty minutes to prep the action.\\
'''Spider-Man:''' With ''zero'' fatalities?\\
'''Punisher:''' Forty-five.
** At one point, corrupt generals tried siccing special forces soldiers on him, figuring that Frank Castle couldn't bring himself to kill American soldiers... [[TechnicalPacifist he sure didn't, but he didn't go quietly.]][[note]]Unbeknownst to the generals, they were ''also'' practicing this trope on their commander's orders, and eventually do manage to bring him down.[[/note]]
%% * NonPoweredCostumedHero: Close enough to hero for the trope.
* NoodleIncident: We catch the tail end of [[ButtMonkey Soap]] describing how he was once handcuffed to a dead sheep.
* OhCrap:
** The closest Castle has ever gotten to doing one of these was when he was fighting Pittsy, a balding fatso of at least 60 years old. Halfway into the fight, he tore off Pittsy's bandage where he received an EyeScream and [[{{fingore}} broke his fingers]]. Pittsy gave him a ClusterFBomb in defiance and popped all of his fingers in place, ready to fight. Frank looked on in disbelief.
---> '''Frank''': "Asshole's been eating his spinach."
** Happens again when at the end of the arc, where Pittsy comes walking toward him, [[spoiler:with part of the fence he was impaled on before Frank landed on him after a 2-story leap out a window still sticking through him. Frank shoots him in the face with a shotgun, and the man falls ''after'' following a few more steps. Frank is left staring at the corpse, trying to convince himself the man is actually dead and those last few steps were reflexive.]]
** He was also taken aback when [[Comicbook/{{Venom}} Anti-Venom]] got back up after having his head blown in half by a shotgun.
* OmniscientMoralityLicense: Quite common, particularly in issues written by Garth Ennis; Frank seems to know without fail whether any given person is a criminal who deserves death or not... or he's just extremely good at self-justification. [[spoiler: This could be a trait he has as Death's avatar, an aspect of his character Ennis introduced.]]
* OneManArmy: In the side materials to ''Comicbok/SecretWar'', NickFury compares the Punisher's destructive capabilities to that of ''Comicbook/IncredibleHulk's''.
* OneSteveLimit: Averted. Oddly enough, of the men who killed his family was also named Frank. (Which takes on ''rather'' interesting implications considering the outcome of ''Born'', of course...)
* OnlyAFleshWound: About 90% of times when Frank actually gets shot, it's OnlyAFleshWound, as a side effect of him being MadeOfIron. Sure, writers pay some superficial attention to things like blood loss and shock, but Frank still can operate at practically 100% efficiency within hours after, say, taking bullets from a machine gun in his flank and shoulder, outside of the MAX series; since it's set in a more realistic universe than most Marvel books, Frank is noticably impaired by severe injuries. Of course, in such situations he doesn't stop fighting, he just starts fighting ''dirty''. The less strength he has to call on, the more creative he gets in his combat and interrogation methods. Barracuda once succeeds in putting him in traction - less than three days later, Frank's got Barracuda's nuts wired to a car battery, "''and the world was a beautiful place''." Less than three hours after that, Frank's burying a fire ax in Barracuda's chest.
* TheOnlyOneAllowedToDefeatYou: Jigsaw, started to feel this way about Punisher when he heard about his (fake) death in the electric chair.
* OpponentSwitch: The ''Acts of Vengeance'' event saw SelfDemonstrating/DoctorDoom deciding to one-up Kingpin by taking out the Punisher.
* PapaWolf: In the MAX series, regarding his [[spoiler:illegitimate]] daughter. Barracuda learned this the hard way. Also in the "Mother Russia" arc, Frank is sent to retrieve a biological weapon that is inside a little girl. The little girl is sad that people are "always mean to her" and Frank promises that if anyone tries to be mean to her, he will be ''much'' meaner to them. [[UnstoppableRage He]] [[PapaWolf keeps]] [[CurbStompBattle that]] [[{{Determinator}} promise.]]
* TheParagon: At the end of the second MAX series, Frank becomes this in a dark, FamilyUnfriendlyAesop-[[BuffySpeak y kind of way]]. [[spoiler: His latest skirmish with MAX!Kingpin has proven fatal for the both of them, and after over 30 years, Frank Castle's war is finally over. As MAX!NickFury cleans up the carnage left by Frank's last battle, he muses that Frank's war was [[WhatASenselessWasteOfHumanLife ultimately useless in the big picture]]. Cue news reports of citizens across New York banding together in Punisher-themed gear and exacting vigilante justice on local criminals. Even Fury had to crack a smile.]]
* PayEvilUntoEvil: Pretty much the cornerstone trope of The Punisher is doing bad things to even worse people.
* ThePenIsMightier: One mook got his nickname (Inky) when he killed a guy by shoving a pen in his eye and into his brain.
* PetTheDog:
** Having beaten Jigsaw, Frank goes to finish the job when Soap calls for help, having been taken prisoner. It nearly costs him his life, as Soap tries to reason not to kill Jigsaw, before shouting a warning when he tries to shoot The Punisher.
** Frank's an avid dog petter, though of course it's a case of DependingOnTheWriter. A typical moment would be when his BerserkButton is smashed and he discovers women smuggled into sex slavery. He rescues them then as they speed off he hands a detonator to one of the captives, telling her to blow up the ship and the slavers.
** In his final ''MAX'' appearance, Comicbook/NickFury [[spoiler: finds Frank had written ''I'm sorry'' on the walls of his old house (for failing to save his family.)]] Fury then pets the dog by [[spoiler: using Frank's flamethrower to burn the house down and drive away the police raking over old wounds.]]
** In the end of Greg Rucka's run, Frank [[YouShallNotPass stays behind to take on a whole bunch of superheroes]], [[spoiler:including Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and Black Widow]] in order to buy time for his partner, Rachel Cole-Alves, to escape.
* PlayAlongPrisoner: Whenever The Punisher is jailed, it's usually because he allowed himself to be (usually he walks up to a police station and says "''I surrender''"), so he can kill one or more guys who are unreachable otherwise. Given that he's the friggin' Punisher, no one gives him trouble (those that do [[TooDumbToLive don't last very long]]).
* PlotPoweredStamina: After shrugging off shotgun shells and sniper rifle bullets for years, in "Widowmaker" Frank takes a ''nine mil'' from a ''suppressed'' [=MP5=] at considerable distance, and apparently it went right ''through his chest'', creating a hole in his back that according to Jenny, "was too big for sutures, all I could do was pack it full of gauze." He spends the rest of the story arc bed-ridden, allowing Jenny to become the "She-Punisher" for a short while.
* PowerArmor: Frank had Micro whip up a suit in order to combat a bunch of cybernetic mutant hunters. He broke it, and had in repaired in order to assault a gang boss who was selling a modified version of PCP... and then broke it again.
* PrivateEyeMonologue: The MAX series is typically narrated by The Punisher, who's every bit as gritty and cynical as one would expect.
* PsychoForHire:
** Barracuda, The Russian, Jigsaw - most of Frank's serious opponents are this.
** Finn Cooley used to be this, until he decided that this lifestyle was for the birds and that he was going to get him some sweet inheritance money. So he could ride Creator/AngelinaJolie if she'd have him, apparently. Didn't last long, unfortunately.
** MAX Bullseye takes this to a whole new level, with his psychotic side being even ''less'' picky about the death and destruction caused in carrying out his contracts than in his other incarnations.
* RasputinianDeath:
** Many Dragons or more physically tough {{Big Bad}}s require a rather spectacular sendoff. See Pitsy, The Russian, and Barracuda.
** [[spoiler:Frank himself]] gets one in "Dark Reign", when Daken quite literally tears him apart piece by piece. Then Morbius the Living Vampire brings him back as a patchwork monster [[spoiler:(Franken-Castle).]]
* RedRightHand: The Russian has a huge scar on his face.
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge: Frank's entire point, in some incarnations, tearing through entire towns worth of criminals connected to the death of his family.
* RuthlessModernPirates: Frank targets modern day pirates as readily as any other criminals. The River Rats from ''Punisher MAX'' are one example.
* ScaryBlackMan:
** ''Barracuda''. The guy loses all the fingers on one hand and still fights just as well.
** Maginty in "Kitchen Irish": Kidnaps a RetiredMonster's grandson to make him do his work (cutting up bodies so they can't be found) on a live man, then brings said grandkid in to watch.
* ScopeSnipe: The first Punisher story in ''The Nam'' depicts Frank Castle as a sniper in Vietnam. The entire two-part story is plagiarized verbatim from Carlos Hathcock's RealLife experience, including the Scope Snipe finale.
* SemperFi: [[CaptainObvious Frank's a Marine]]. Subverted in Ennis's work, especially ''The Punisher: Born''. The story takes place in a base filled with Marines who are amoral washouts, apathetic or cruel, run by idiot commanding officers. As a Marine, Frank Castle was shown to be addicted to combat, willing to indirectly kill a general in order to keep his firebase (and therefore, ''his'' war) going. Certainly doesn't sit well with the brave, heroic image the USMC typically has.
* SerialKiller: Frank tries to present himself as the Mission-Based type, but in later stories, he's shown to be more of the Hedonistic type; subconsciously obsessed with the idea of a never-ending war to sate [[ColonelKilgore the bloodlust he developed in Vietnam]]. In the Young Masters arc of ComicBook/YoungAvengers, Hawkeye (Kate Bishop) notes that the superhero community of the MarvelUniverse only sees the Punisher as a serial killer and any real hero would bring him down as hard as any villain if necessary.
* SerialKillerKiller: Frank's more of a Mass Murderer Murderer but he still fits.
* SeriesContinuityError:
** Oddly, Frank's daughter has had at least four different names, Barbara, Donna, Christie and Lisa, while the name of his son (Frank Jr) is always consistent. Also Microchip's real name was originally "Lowell Bartholomew Ori", but was changed to "Linus Liberman" later. Additionally, the first time Frank's father is mentioned he's given the name "Mario", but a later story arc has him named "Lorenzo".
** Also goes for Frank's last name (sometimes his birth name is Castiglione, other times it isn't; the whole thing was a clumsy attempt to add mobbed-up relatives as part of an ExpansionPackPast) and his Vietnam service (usually shown as an officer, many stories feature him instead as an enlisted rifleman). Several attempts at an AuthorsSavingThrow have him illegally re-entering the Marine Corps under his assumed name, which only raises further questions.
* ShellShockedVeteran: After three brutal tours of duty in UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar, Frank Castle lost his wife and children to Mafia thugs and now wages a one-man war on crime. Various authors have toyed with Frank's mental state, and Garth Ennis has suggested that in Vietnam, Frank started to [[BloodKnight love combat and killing people]], with the death of his family possibly being only the final straw that caused his killing sprees.
* ShootTheShaggyDog: The Barracuda mini-series, as he fails to accomplish anything he wanted.
* ShotgunWedding: ''Welcome to the Bayou'' has an absolutely psychotic woman suggesting this as Frank's fate. He thinks he'd prefer being eaten by cannibals.
* ShoutOut:
** The late, great, Puerto Rican rapper "Big Punn" (he had a heart attack; dude was 400 pounds).
** The Colonel who tries to capture The Punisher in "Valley Forge, Valley Forge" has the likeness of Creator/MorganFreeman.
** Ma Gucci mentions Namor the SubMariner by name in the midst of all her snarking, and it's thrown in with lots of other off-hand reference to lots of different Marvel heroes made throughout the book.
** One of the mooks is reading ''Literature/TheBridgesOfMadisonCounty,'' of all things.
** In ''The Punisher: Assassin's Guild'' oneshot comic, Frank guns down [[LawyerFriendlyCameo thinly-disguised counterparts]] of Franchise/LupinIII and his gang.
** While fighting Roc, who keeps on going even after having his neck snapped, Frank notes that the guy's "just like [[Franchise/FridayThe13th Jason]], he never dies!"
* SilentWhisper: Bullseye whispers something to Frank as they fight. Frank's reaction implies Bullseye was ''spot on'' in guessing what the last thing Frank's wife ever said to him was.
* SinisterMinister: The Rev, a CaptainErsatz of Jim Jones, and one of the few villains to survive his initial run-in with Frank.
* SlasherSmile: Many of the Punisher's PsychoForHire foes and Frank himself occasionally sports one in the mainstream Marvel universe.
* SlidingScaleOfAntagonistVileness: Subverted repeatedly. Killing {{Anti Villain}}s and {{Harmless Villain}}s accounts for the majority of Frank's KickTheDog moments.
* SmugSnake:
** The conspiracy of generals in the MAX arc "Valley Forge, Valley Forge" is perhaps the best example, as it consists of eight incompetent [[SmugSnake Smug Snakes]] (who cause a great deal of death and suffering nevertheless), but it is far from the only example... the Punisher's opponents in general are no criminal masterminds.
** Nicky Cavella was downgraded to this as the start of his VillainDecay.
** Rawlins is so much of a smug snake that he can't help but crack wise even when he's getting his eye pulled out by the Punisher. It'd make him pretty badass actually if he wasn't such a sniveller.
** If MAX Bullseye wasn't so frightening and bloodthirsty he'd go down as the biggest Smug Snake of them all. He's so full of himself that he takes time out to tease Frank during their chases.
* SociopathicHero: Frank is either this or a VillainProtagonist.
%% * SomethingCompletelyDifferent: The Barracuda mini-series.
* SpoilerTitle: There's an AlternateContinuity comic which asks the question "What would happen if the Castle's had been caught in the middle of a Superhero battle instead of a gangland shooting?" It's called [[spoiler: The Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe]].
* SquashedFlat: One of the stories has Wolverine coming after Frank, mistaking that recent mutilations are his doing. Due to Wolverine's HealingFactor, Frank uses a steamroller to get him off his track.
* StealthHiBye: While Frank doesn't do this much in his own books, it is a fairly common way for him to take his leave at the end of a superhero team up.
* TheStoic: Frank is either calm, detached, and homicidal, or (much more rarely) [[TranquilFury pissed off and homicidal]]. That's it. To quote the videogame (written by Garth Ennis):
--> ''* after blasting Bushwacker through a wall* '' I don't smile much. Don't smile ever. But if I did, [[SlasherSmile this would be one.]]
* StoryBreakerTeamUp: ''[[ArchieComics Archie]] Meets The Punisher'' puts, thanks to the setting being primarily Archie's, much less of an emphasis on Frank's common traits involving death and mayhem.
* SuperDetailedFightNarration: Punisher's various authors have employed this, to incredible anatomical precision.
* SupermanStaysOutOfGotham:
** Avoided by having the DarkerAndEdgier Punisher relegated to his own MAX title while the Marvel Universe Punisher took up Captain America's costume for an issue and had some LighterAndSofter (by comparison) adventures.
** Creator/GregRucka indicated, when starting his 2011 series, it was all a matter of viewpoint. The other superheroes are far better equipped to deal with major threats like Comicbook/{{Galactus}}, Comicbook/NormanOsborn and [[Comicbook/DoctorStrange Dormammu]], but ''someone'' has to pay attention to the drug pushers and mobsters.
* SympathyForTheDevil: Averted or subverted repeatedly.
** When general Zakharov gave a MotiveRant detailing why he [[IDidWhatIHadToDo did all of those horrible things]] -- and ''not'' smashing his face in mid-sentence, but instead waiting until the end and even asking if he was ready. It was a MercyKill, but after hearing what Frank did about the general, it's doubtful that he would've spared him even if he wasn't dying. But Zakharov's final words ''do'' to seem to touch a nerve in Frank, given how he's a veteran of UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar, in which he did more than a few horrible things himself.
--->'''Zakharov''': ''Kill ([[SmugSnake Rawlins]]), Castle. Our world is bad, but we are soldiers. He is a '''parasite'''; he would make the world this way '''forever'''''.
** The ONLY person Frank feels sorry for when he guns down a cadre of swamp-dwelling cannibals is the PsychopathicManchild banished to the edge of the community, kinda-sorta blaming himself for pissing the poor bastard off.
* TeethClenchedTeamwork: Force Frank to team up with another hero, and this trope is the result. While he and the hero community in general tend to dislike one another, he's at least willing to work with them against the 'real' villains. Averted more often than most people might assume, at least in the nineties. Frank had quite a few crossovers, and most of the people he worked with were either okay with him or felt he was a good man at heart. There were only a few who outright hated him.
* ThemedAliases: The Punisher often uses aliases that are linked to Castle, his real last name: Charles Fort, [=McRook=], Frank Rook, Francis Stronghold, Johnny Tower, Frankie Villa, etc.
* ThouShaltNotKill: Unlike the traditional position of heroes, it's rare when the villain du jour ''doesn't'' wind up getting killed by the end of the story.
* ThreateningShark:
** A couple of mobsters thought that a big shark in equally big (and not bulletproof) glass fish tank would be a great addition to their opulent mansion. They eventually learn their lesson just before their messy demise.
** Barracuda was thought to have met his end by one in his first arc in the MAX series.
* TooDumbToLive: Quite a lot of villains.
** One minor gangster was dumb enough to brag about how he would take over his boss' territory and "business" when Frank (who had just offed said boss) was still right there; this was met with the predictable results:
---> '''Gangster''': I-I-I...I mean I'm gonna leave all this shit behind me. Get a job. Leave town.\\
'''Frank:''' Yeah. Well. ''* shoots him* '' Just in case.
** Special mention goes to Nicky Cavella, a jackass of a mob dude who got the astoundingly ''bright'' idea to dig up the remains of Frank's family and ''urinates on them''. And then release the footage to the news media in the hopes of getting Castle [[IncrediblyLamePun pissed off]] and go berserk. Yeah. It's been nice knowing you, Nicky. Notably, it ''doesn't even work'': Instead of murdering the hell out of Nicky, Frank instead murders the hell out of everyone ''but'' Nicky, demanding that the city re-bury his family's remains, or he'll keep murder-spreeing until they do. When they finally do bury the remains, ''then'' Frank goes after Nicky, completely calm and ''utterly vindictive''. Nicky spent the intervening time oscillating between gloating that the Punisher was terrified of him ''and'' doing his work of taking out other gangs, and batshit paranoid that Frank was going to kill him at any second.
*** As [[SmugSnake Rawlins]] pointed out, Nicky didn't spend any of that time getting mooks that could have taken advantage of Frank's dropped guard! (Frank's ''still'' pissed off enough that when he goes after Nicky, he goes along with [[SchmuckBait an obvious setup]] ''despite'' recognizing the setup for one, but [[SpannerInTheWorks he's bailed out of that one]].)
** Another special mention goes to the [=Westies/Maginty/River Rats/Cooley=] for actually believing that their RetiredMonster boss actually wanted to give them his fortune. Frank and Yorkie couldn't help but think that this was odd and they didn't even know him.
* TortureTechnician: Not a villain, but Frank is pretty knowledgable about the human anatomy and torture methods. Press a BerserkButton of his and you'll wish he was just practicing the JackBauerInterrogationTechnique.
* TranquilFury: More often than not, Frank's completely and totally calm when brutally murdering villains. Pushing one of his {{Berserk Button}}s leads to UnstoppableRage. Either way, people die.
* TroubledBackstoryFlashback
* VengeanceFeelsEmpty: Yorkie Mitchell meets with Frank, bringing with him the son of a fellow soldier murdered by an Irish terrorist now hiding in New York. In the end, the kid kills his father's murderer, but states he doesn't feel any better for it.
* VictoryByEndurance: There's one story where a mook barely escapes from Frank, and his mental condition gradually worsens as he seeks help everywhere. Frank barely appears at all except at the end, allowing the mook to tire himself out all by himself.
* VideoGameCrueltyPotential: The 2005 videogame's big draw was the JackBauerInterrogationTechnique, wherein Frank could beat, threaten, or otherwise pry answers out of enemy grunts he manages to grab. Combine that with environment specific actions (Piranha tank interrogation anyone?), and you have this trope.
* VigilanteExecution: Frank once executed an arsonist as he was leaving the court. [[DeathByIrony With a fire truck]].
* VigilanteMan:
** He's actually been ''called'' "Vigilante Man" a couple of times.
** Frank also has a disdain for other "amateur" vigilantes as shown when he calls out the "Vigilante Squad" (a trio of Punisher fanboys who don't have as much scruples) for being AxCrazy {{Knight Templar}}s before gunning them down.
* VillainousBreakdown: Cavella and Barracuda break down spectacularly, the former turning into a simpering pants-wetter and the latter turning into a raving lunatic. Finn Cooley's breakdown is more physical than mental, as his face continues rotting with each appearance. Surprisingly averted with Rawlins, though, because even as things repeatedly go to hell for him he can't help but act the smug little weasel he is, and [[spoiler:a simple "Oh no" -- with an OhCrap expression -- suffices for his final downfall]].
* WallOfWeapons: Frequently, with one issue devoted to a detailed study of his armory.
* WeaponizedCar: The Battle Van, which Frank had a tendency to trash every time he used it. He also once had what was basically a go-cart from Hell. It was destroyed in its second appearance.
* WeHaveReserves: Subverted spectacularly at one point; Nicky Cavella, desperate to finish off the Punisher, attempts to bully his ''capo'' underlings into giving him their men. Not only do they tell him to get bent, they also rant at how they're not going to serve as cannon fodder for an obvious GeneralFailure [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome complete with his mooks giving him a Hannibal Lecture on how much of a fuckup he is]]. This took major brass on their end, since Nicky was known for among other things chopping up a preteen and serving him to his father.
** They could die Nicky Cavella's hands, or they could die at the Punisher's hands...
* WellIntentionedExtremist: Frank's uncompromising morality is mixed with the fact that he's [[AxCrazy quite]] [[BloodKnight nuts.]]
* WhatADrag: Punisher does this once to a homophobic priest who had killed a young gay man, sparking a near-war between the sheriff (the victim's lover) and the military supplies dealer (the victim's mother).
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse:
** Averted with most of the recurring villains from earlier books, whose plotpoints were resolved in various one-shots, annuals and miniseries before all three of Punisher's main books came to an end.
** Played straight with Thorn, who is probably still shuffling around [[{{Joisey}} Newark]] and Dr. Ng, who is shown surviving his debut but fails to make an another appearance.
* WhatTheHellHero: The Punisher gets this from almost every superhero (and a few supervillains) he comes across. Frank himself occasionally gets to deliver these.
* WhyWontYouDie: Frank to Pittsy, after dealing the latter incredible amounts of damage, even by comic book standards.
* WifeBasherBasher: Frank is [[UpToEleven extra-cruel]] towards scum who beat women.
* WorthyOpponent: Frank Castle to General Zakharov in the "Mother Russia" arc, as he explains after Frank [[spoiler:successfully escapes the nuclear missile silo by setting one of the missiles to defuse at 8000 feet, stowing away inside, launching it and parachuting to safety.]] Especially notable because it came after spending the whole arc insisting to his disbelieving inferiors that they were under attack from Americans and not Arab terrorists.
--> ''"That was no American. It was a Russian who was born there by mistake."''
* WouldHitAGirl: When he finds out that [[spoiler:Vera]] was actually the brains behind the human trafficking operation (i.e. was the one who told the mooks to "break" their victims by gang rape) in "The Slavers," he repeatedly throws her face-first against a shatterproof window, reasoning correctly that the frame would give before the windowpane did.
* WouldNotShootAGoodGuy: Frank doesn't kill honest cops ({{Dirty Cop}}s aren't so lucky).
** The final run of Garth Ennis' take on The Punisher involved Frank being in the sights of a cabal of Corrupt US Army Generals... who use their connections to send a group of honest US Soldiers after him. Frank doesn't kill them, but the soldiers learn the hard way that [[ThouShaltNotKill non-lethal force]] [[GoodIsNotNice doesn't mean gentle force.]] [[spoiler:Thanks to the orders of their commander, who deliberately accepted the task to cover for [[AndroclesLion his own agenda]], they return the "''favor''".]]
** Naturally he avoids lethal force against superheroes as well, with the exception of the {{Elseworld}} issue ''[[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin The Punisher Kills The Marvel Universe]]''.
* XanatosGambit: Overlapping with ThanatosGambit, Old Man Nesbitt gave each of his PsychoForHire {{Inadequate Inheritor}}s a piece of a code that they would have to put together in order to get at his inheritance. After they almost kill each other trying to steal the other pieces of the code, as they expected, they decide to call a truce. [[spoiler: When they all come together to collect, it's revealed that the secret location for his funds has no money in it at all, just an extremely powerful explosive with an expletive scrawled on it]]. That'll get 'em.
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