A former Marine turned brutal vigilante, Frank Castle lost his family in the crossfire from a Mafia conflict, and declared his own personal war on the criminal underworld using a vast arsenal of weaponry. He mainly works alone, his relations with the superhero community being strained at best.
Badass Normal: 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.
In the MAX continuity, no superheroes exist, but Frank's badassery is not lessened one bit.
Berserk Button: Desecrating the memory of his dead family, harming his illegitimate daughter, or otherwise harming innocent women and children.
Celibate Hero: 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 isn't opposed to sleeping with O'Brien in the MAX series though, but on the other hand he doesn't seem particularly enthusiastic about it either.
O'Brien: "I've been in jail around eighteen months. When we get through here, wanna jump in the sack?"
Chest Insignia: 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
The Dreaded: Every crook and mobster (and most "street" level supervillains) brown their trousers at the mere mention of Frank. In the MAX continuity, the smarter crooks are shown to be the ones who know to run like hell when they see him.
Polly: [during a firefight as Frank is cornered behind a bar] We've gotta go!
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He may be a violent, deranged sociopath and a jerk to almost everyone he meets but its shown that Frank does genuinely care about the people he saves and his few friends. After saving girls from a sex slave ring, he sets them all up with visas and really wants things to work out for them, while also acknowledging how screwed up their lives have become and always will be.
Karmic Thief: He swipes the cash that he finds on his raids to finance the war.
Knife Nut: If Frank uses a close combat weapon, it'll be a knife.
Knight Templar: At his most brutal, he's this. He's still on the side of good, but his methods are way beyond what most people find acceptable and his moral absolutist tendencies generally don't help sway anyone.
Fury: Drop the Punisher on one end of Latveria, and the Hulk on the other, and see who gets to the middle first.
Papa Wolf: Do not desecrate the memory of his dead wife and children, as Nicky Cavella learned the hard way. Likewise, Barracuda meets the fate he does by attempting to kill Sarah Frank's illegitimate daughter with Kathryn O'Brien.
He promises Galina that noone will hurt her again, and he makes good on his promise, from swinging the Mongolian like a flail, to beating his ally when the man attempted to kill her and get her blood, to acting as her bodyguard after their pick-up so the medics can't stick her with needles to extract the biological superweapon put inside her.
Shell-Shocked Veteran: Frank definitely fits the bill. After three brutal tours of duty in The Vietnam War, 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 love combat and killing people, with the death of his family possibly being only the final straw that caused his killing sprees.
Ungrateful Bastard: Rare 'heroic' version. If you aid the Punisher, even save his life repeatedly, don't expect him to show much gratitude if you're on his 'bad' list. Or his 'good' list either, as Yorkie has found out.
Used to Be a Sweet Kid: As seen in the one-shot The Tyger Frank was a tough but quiet, thoughtful kid who liked poetry, stood up to bullies who picked on weaker kids, and was friends with an older girl whom he had a crush on, and her older brother, a Marine. Then this girl was raped by the jackass son of the local mafia don and killed herself. Frank then takes his father's gun and tails the don's son, intending to kill him, only to witness the girl's brother brutally murder the guy himself.
Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Heroic type. He may be a psychopath with methods that are excessively brutal at best and completely and utterly unacceptable at worst, but he's a horribly broken shell of a man who has nothing else to live for and who essentially depends on violence to validate his existence. Even when you look at all of the bad things he's done in his career, the overwhelming shittiness of his existence just makes one feel sorry for the guy no matter what.
Killed Off for Real: So far. Given how many of the Punisher's most well known stories feature Frank solo, it seems unlikely that any writer will be motivated to bring him back long term.
Only Known by Their Nickname: Even people who didn't know about his activities usually just called him "Chip". Frank refers to him by his first name once during their entire partnership.
Accidental Misnaming: Mickey usually referred to Frank as "Johnny", the alias he was using when they first met.
Chronic Villainy: Despite being a main source of information for the Punisher, he tended to be embroiled in various petty crimes whenever Frank contacted him. He had to remind him of their arrangment.
Heel-Face Turn: In the original "Marvel Knights" series, he got hit by one of Dagger's light daggers, which sometimes cure someone's criminal impulses. Seeing that he genuinely turned over a new leaf, Frank let him be.
Biggus Dickus: Apparently. At the end of the series he's left the force and found a career in porn.
Butt Monkey: He's the biggest joke in the NYPD. Some of his highlights include getting dropped on the head as a newborn, finding an ax murderer by getting drunk and sleeping with him, going out with an obvious crossdresser, and accidentally dating his own mother.
Childhood Brain Damage: A variation of the trope occurs: We see the nurse dropping him on his head just after being born, but he doesn't end up with any mental handicap for it (it's just there to show the crap life shoves on him started very early and never let up).
Interrupted Suicide The first time he tried to commit suicide, The Punisher talks him out of it and convinces him to be a mole for him. The second time, he Ate His Gun in the restroom of his favorite bar and the bartender stops him, but only so he wouldn't have to clean up the blood. This leads to Soap...
NYPD: He manges to blackmail his way to Commissioner before being blackmailed back down.
Took a Level in Badass: He threatens the cruel bartender, breaks the nose of an snitch, and even shoots the Punisher and almost arrests him.
Then subverted almost immediately as the Punisher just gives him a mean look in the middle of his attempted arrest and Soap breaks down whimpering.
Colonel Yorkie Mitchell
A British officer who served with Castle in Vietnam. Shows up periodically to provide intelligence or recruit Frank for a mission in Britain.
A Marine sergeant and decorated Afghan War veteran, Rachel saw her husband and entire wedding party die when they got in the way of a gangland hit ordered by Stephanie Gerard and Chris Poulsen. She worked alongside The Punisher for a time, eventually donning the same skull insignia worn by him.
Woman in Black: Wears a black special ops suit at first, then dons a replica of Castle's Punisher costume.
AKA: Billy "The Beaut" Russo
"You may not remember my name— but does my face seem familiar?"
A hitman for the Maggia and the Costa crime family, pretty-boy Billy "The Beaut" Russo had his face mangled when The Punisher shoved him through a plate glass window. Left with a tattered mess of a face, Billy took the name Jigsaw, and set about doing his best to ruin Castle's life.
Abusive Parents: Billy abused his son Henry, even forcing him to kill a cat that he had let inside by telling him that he'd kill his mother if he didn't.
Affably Evil: In Matt Fraction's The Punisher: War Journal, he's extremely personable (if still a psychotic sociopath). Probably because he's tired of the whole "try to kill the Punisher" circus and just wants to move on with his life.
Evil Counterpart: Often wears an inverted version of The Punisher's costume (white with a black skull on the chest), and has trained himself to be Frank's physical match.
Genre Savvy: Every now and then. In the Suicide Run arc, Jigsaw shows up at a meeting between several big wig criminals for the sole purpose of telling them that no matter what they have planned, Frank will turn it back on them and kill them. During John Ostander's run, when Jigsaw has kidnapped a mafia family Frank has befriended and hears that Frank is coming for the hostages, he orders his men to kill them because he knows that Frank can't win if he can't save his friends.
Joker Immunity: Jigsaw even lampshades this and the Punisher justifies letting him live since Jigsaw is more of a danger to his fellow criminals than innocents.
Mad Eye: The reconstruction of his face left his left eye larger in appereance.
Man in White: Favours white suits, and a colour inverted Punisher costume much of the time.
Nightmare Face: He's been mutilated to a grotesque degree, to the point that his surgeons were forced to reconstruct his features from scratch.
The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: When he heard that Castle had been fried in electric chair, he started killing those responsible while ranting how inappropiate it was that he didn't get to kill him.
Professional Killer: Was an assassin for the Maggia before reaching his current station in life.
The Mentally Ill: Section 8'ed, meaning he was deemed mentally unfit for military service.
Monumental Battle: His final battle with Spidey and the Punisher occurs on top of the Statue of Liberty.
Jack the Ripoff: An unnamed criminal became the third Hitman after buying the name and gear from the Hobgoblin.
Pet the Dog: The Punisher owed his life to the Hitman. While dangling from the Statue of Liberty, the Hitman informs Frank that he owes him a life, not his life, and tells him to save Spider-Man and J. Jonah Jameson instead.
Sam Smith was the leader of a would-be suicide cult called Church of the Saved, whose zealousness was stopped by the Punisher. He struck a deal with Satan note (Actually the demon Belasco posing as him), and returned later with a plan to sterilize the American populace.
Von Burian was part of Frank's military unit in The Vietnam War. After the conflict, he was hired by the DEA for illegal drug operations. He later became a mercenary whose brand of work made him a target to The Punisher.
Damage was a gang member who was caught by Punisher's battlevan's defense-mechanisms. In act of Cruel Mercy, Frank decided to leave him into a life in agony, and dropped him to a nearby hospital. He was then recruited to a project of Kingpin's that rebuild him into a killing machine.
Badass Moustache: His former gang didn't allow its members to have beards or moustaches, but he was deemed tough enough to be an exception.
Evil Knockoff: He is turned into a duplicate of the Punisher so that he can framed for killing innocents.
A mercenary and terrorist-for-hire of Middle Eastern extraction, Muzaffar Lambert, alias Saracen, brooked no interference with his operations. When Frank Castle destroyed one of his missions, Saracen took it personally, kicking off a rivalry that would result in the deaths of Castle's only remaining relatives, and Lambert himself.
Badass Moustache: Saracen was an evil, evil guy, but there was no denying that both he and his moustache were very badass.
Badass Normal: Like most of Castle's enemies, Saracen had no superhuman powers. He earns points, however, for being one of the most wanted terrorists in the world, in a 'verse where a sizeable portion of the population can shoot lasers out of their orifices and throw cars around like dolls.
You Killed My Father: You killed my aunt and uncle, actually. There's a reason Castle wanted this guy dead.
Rosalie was the spoiled daughter of Julius Carbone, who had fling with Frank during his infiltration of her organization. After death of her father, she swore revenge on the Punisher after his part in dropping the Carbone family from top of the foodchain.
Arranged Marriage: She was arranged to marry an Italian mafioso's son, but the massacre at the Island of the Sleeping Sharks put a stop to that.
Cannot rest until the stone-face man dies. Cannot rest until I stand over him. Until I see him breathe his last breath.
Sal was the younger brother of mob boss Julius Carbone, who was nearly killed when Frank (who was infiltrating the Carbone organization as Johnny Tower) chased him into a frozen lake. He barely survived, but now shows no reaction to pain, and has no memory beyond knowing who tried to kill him.
Nightmare Face: He likes to psyche out his opponents by displaying a rictus grin, which coupled with his scarred face is enough to give them a pause. Except for the Punisher, who simply just shoots him.
Psycho for Hire: And sometimes he won't even bother to wait for that pesky "hiring" part, he just walks up to someone and forces himself on their servitude.
"Hey Punisher, remember The Russian?"
A hulking giant from Smolensk with clear, if undisclosed, superhuman powers, the relentlessly cheerful Russian exists to mock Frank Castle's ability to kill people. Initially hired by Ma Gnucci, The Russian has clashed with The Punisher on several occasions, and despite seemingly dying a number of times, always comes back.
Adorkable: A rare evil example. Affectionate towards his allies/friends, wants to get "lots of Levis and CD's" with a million dollar reward, and is openly a fan of GOOD Superheroes (Mighty Thor Good Communist, with that Big Hammer of his!).
Affably Evil: Murderous, violent and psychopathic. He is, nonetheless, incredibly friendly to his enemies, actively complimenting and joking with them mid-fight.
Ascended Fanboy: He is a huge fan of the Fantastic Four, X-Men and Spider-man and is the president of his local chapter of the "Daredevil: Man Without Fear" fan club.
Super Strength: The Russian's strength crosses into the metahuman. He can punch through walls, ripped a toilet out of the floor and swung it like a club, and once crushed a man while trying to hug him.
A former AIM scientist, Stephanie Gerard left her parent organisation to set up a new criminal organisation, The Exchange. Wearing civilian clothes instead of spandex, she and her allies recruit former AIM and Hydra personnel in the interests of creating a new force in the underworld.
Antivillain: At least when compared to most of The Punisher's other foes. Stephanie has no interest in hurting innocent people (berating the men who shot up Rachel's wedding), tries to run her organisation with a minimum of casualties, and in general tries to get things accomplished with a minimum of bloodshed and fuss.
Frame-Up: Calls the police, claims Castle and Cole-Alves are attacking his office building, then proceeds to slaughter them all himself. The resulting shootout leaves sixteen dead, including Poulsen and three cops, and sees Castle and Cole-Alves hunted for murder (though Cole-Alves really did kill Detective Walter Bolt).
Hand Cannon: His modified nine milimetre, with which he's able to hit police officers on the street from several stories up in an office building.