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"Some people would tell you that I'm crazy. They would be wrong. It's not crazy when the state of the world makes you want to kill everyone responsible. It's crazy when it doesn't."

AKA: Francis David Castiglione/Frank Castle
Debut: Born #1

"Something to think about on your way to Hell. My family are avenged now. I wanted the five of you together so it could be done just right. But the war goes on. It's because of you and Apostolo that it is a war. Men like you, arrogant enough to think the streets are yours. You send your scum out to rob and extort, to fight your battles, to impose your will. You never give a fuck who might get hurt just for being in the way. Know this: I'm getting out of here. If I can start a riot, I can just as easily escape. And then I'll spend the rest of my life sending more of your people after you, I tell the dead man. Until you and your kind are gone from the world."

A young father who enlisted in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War in order to provide for his young family. However, his time in Vietnam would drastically change the man he was, growing addicted to combat and developing a love for war. Re-enlisting time and time again so he could experience the thrill of violence. Even expressing disappointment at the fact that the US would soon be withdrawing from Vietnam. When he finally came home after his third and last tour of duty, his only wish was to settle down with his family and live a nice domesticated lifestyle...


Until one fateful day in Central Park changed all that. He and his family found themselves caught in the crossfire of a mob shoot out. Mortally wounding him and leaving rest of his family dead. Since then he has dedicated his life to waging a brutal one man war on crime. A war he still continues fighting even after 30 years, and shows no signs of stopping any time soon.

Warning: Unmarked spoilers abound!

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    A To L 
  • The Ace: During his last tour of duty, he was often remarked as the finest officer the Marines at Valley Forge firebase had ever seen. An excellent sniper and brilliant military tactician, he is easily the most skilled and capable of all the men stationed there. Keeping all of his troops in line through a mixture of fear and respect. But mostly fear.
    • Broken Ace: However, combat prowess and military skill aside, we the reader know that he is also mentally unstable, possibly schizophrenic, and overall not in the right frame of mind.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Despite being A Lighter Shade of Black, this version of Frank is definitely more morally questionable than the mainstream version. While his war on crime is still half-Roaring Rampage of Revenge over his family's death and half-Blood Knight tendencies, unlike the canon Punisher he has zero interest in doing it for the sake of justice.
  • A Father to His Men: Averted. The Born miniseries makes it explicitly clear that his dedication to his men comes not from "love", but from his desire to fulfill his duty to the best of his abilities.
    • Played straight in Punisher: The Platoon which covered Frank's first tour of duty before he became a combat junkie. He is shown to be concerned for his men, humble and willing to learn from the grunts, and more than open to their opinions especially given that he ordered an airstrike on a seemingly abandoned village just because his sergeant told him a rumor that the place wasn't safe. Turns out, his sergeant was right.
  • I Ain't Got Time to Bleed: In Up is Down and Black Is White, we see him go on a one man Roaring Rampage of Revenge after the graves of his family are desecrated, trying to force the city government to bury them so he can get his head straight and go after the guy who did it. After an assault on a gang house, he later notices that he was shot in the arm and thinks that he should probably get it patched up. We later find out that he hadn't even bothered to take the bullet out.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: He may be a remorseless killer who uses the deaths of his family as an excuse to wage a one man war on crime in order to satisfy the blood lust he developed in Vietnam. But his enemies are depraved psychopaths who are the textbook definition of pure evil.
  • As Long as There is Evil: What Frank's rationale for his one man war on crime eventually comes down to.
    Frank: I went to war with murderers, thieves, with slavers and dealers, the parasites who preyed on human weakness. That weakness was a feeding ground that stretched beyond the infinite. The evil it fed would never end. So I decided, neither would my war.
  • The Atoner: His mission is partially motivated by the fact that he failed to protect his family from being gunned down. Frank feels that he sacrificed his family, as the voice he heard in Vietnam (The Grim Reaper? The Devil?) kept hounding him about a never-ending war, which when the NVA overran his base he accepted to save his life, only to be told that his family would be the "payment".
  • Author Avatar: Every now and then, writer Garth Ennis will use him as a mouth piece whenever he wants to get something important across to the reader. Sometimes it's subtle, other times... not so much. This quote from the first arc is a perfect example.
    Frank: Fighting for the people who run the world gets you stabbed in the back. You fight the wars they start and feed. You kill the monsters they create. And in the end you die from handling depleted uranium while they get rich on oil. I'm not going back to war so Colt can sell another million M-16's. I had enough of that shit back in 'Nam.
    Microchip: Frank that's not the way it is—
    Frank: There are 60,000 guys in DC who'd say otherwise. Except they can't say much of anything, because there nothing but names on a black wall.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Obviously. The man was a Force Recon Marine Captain in Vietnam. And is definitely one of the most ruthless and badass characters in the entire series.
  • An Axe to Grind: During a vicious fight with Barracuda, he uses a nearby ax to hatchet off several of Barracuda's fingers. Not that this fazes him mind you.
  • Ax-Crazy: When he's pushed to the limit and his Berserker mode comes into play, Frank is bloodthirsty, deranged, and kills his enemies in extremely sadistic ways. In fact, his brutality makes his Mainstream counterpart look sane in comparison.
  • Badass Grandpa: He may be pushing sixty, but that hasn't stopped him from being one of the most dangerous and terrifying men to have ever walked the earth.
  • Badass in Distress: As lethal as he may be, he tends to find himself in situations that leave him in a state of distress and in need of rescue. Other times, it's all part of "his plan".
  • Badass Longcoat: Wears one to go along with his badass leather outfit.
  • Bad Dreams: A variant of sorts. His worst dream is actually a happy dream of an alternate future in which his family didn't go to the park and he is a grandfather who is having dinner with his wife, children, children-in-law, and grandchildren. The reason that he considers this a bad dream is because it painfully reminds him that his family is dead when he wakes up.
  • Beard of Sorrow: After his battle with Bullseye leaves him a shell of his former self, he eventually grows one of the during the Homeless arc.
  • Benevolent Boss: A downplayed example. During his time in charge of the Valley Forge firebase, he was most certainly a hardass to his troops, but his dedication to his men is never in doubt. And he even offers to help out Private Goodwin in dealing with a particularly nasty Marine.
  • Berserk Button: Frank has several. His family is one, his illegitimate daughter is another. And God help you if you are a human trafficker. In general, violence against women is a good way to incur his wrath.
    • Harming a child when you're around him is another good way to incur his wrath.
  • Blood Knight: He enjoyed his time in Vietnam a lot. It's also a Deconstructed Trope as he chose this side of himself instead of his family, driving them away. A decision he regrets.
  • Bookworm: Interestingly, he was quite the literary type as a child. Spending most of his time immersing himself in countless books, favoring poems in particular. He was even apart of his schools poetry class, much to the chagrin of his father.
  • Brooklyn Rage: Oh yes. He's from Brooklyn, and he has no shortage of rage.
  • Bulletproof Vest: He always makes sure to wear heavy body armor with a white skull on it, that is meant to draw attention and fire away from his head.
    • Played straight and slightly subverted in Up is Down and Black is White. Where he survives being shot at near point blank range by a shotgun with no apparent injuries due to his vest. Subverted in the sense that although it didn't kill him, it still hurt like hell, and it leaves him unable to move until help arrived.
  • Bully Hunter: It's revealed in The Tyger, that he'd regularly stand up against bullies who picked on smaller kids who couldn't fight back.
  • Byronic Hero: Quite possibly one of the greatest examples in the entire comic book medium. The man is an utterly ruthless, brooding, nihilistic, monomaniacal, borderline psychotic, and above all else, intelligent Vietnam veteran waging a one man war on crime with an almost crusader like fervor. Suffice it to say, he fits this trope like a fine leather glove.
  • Camping a Crapper: Averted. During his time in Vietnam he intended to frag the apathetic commander of the base while the guy is in the crapper, but has a change of heart at the last moment.
    • Played perfectly straight in Man Of Stone, where he has Rawlins cornered in a Kabul International Airport restroom with a machete.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Taken to ludicrous degrees. The man is hardcore enough to take enough damage to kill a thousand men, but he just keeps coming back. Sample Inner Monologue after being blasted at point blank range with a shotgun: "That's a rib gone. Not broken. Gone".
  • Chest Insignia: The prominent skull on his chest obviously. However, it's not just for show, it's meant for intimidation purposes, and is also the most heavily armored part of his body.
  • Chick Magnet: Despite his old age, Frank seems to have no trouble attracting his fair share of harem. Unfortunately for the ladies, Frank doesn't have much room in his life for romance.
  • Clark Kenting: Played with an a strange way. Despite the series' adherence to realism Frank doesn't even bother with any sort of disguise, all it takes is for him to switch out of his Punisher gear and into some civilian clothes, and all of a sudden, nobody recognizes him.
  • Cold Sniper: Was one during his second and third tours of duty in Vietnam, as shown in a story arc from Fury: My War Gone By. What's more, it's revealed that his second tour of duty as a Scout Sniper was when he first started to develop his love for violence.
  • Colonel Kilgore: More like a Captain Kilgore to be exact. The Punisher: Born mini series reveals that Frank had grown addicted to combat thanks to his time spent in Vietnam, and is said by the narrator to be in love with combat. At one point he even tricks a General threatening to close down his firebase into standing in a snipers view.
  • The Comically Serious: Given his taciturn nature, it's no real surprise that he ends up playing this role whenever he's around one of his more colorful associates.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: In the first arc, he is drawn to resemble a beefed up Clint Eastwood. Unfortunately later artist abandoned this design aesthetic.
  • Consummate Professional: The man lives and breathes this trope. Whether he's battling deranged hitmen, carnivorous hillbillies or trying to avoid ending up as shark food. He never once loses his stoic frown.
  • Cool Car: In Welcome to the Bayou, when he needs to drive down to Louisiana in order to drop off some "cargo", he travels in a sweet 1970's era American muscle car.
  • Cool Hat: The classic US military boonie hat he was wearing during his final tour of duty in Vietnam.
  • Cool Shades: Wears a pair of these in Welcome to the Bayou.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Being an ex-Force Recon Marine, it's no surprise that he demonstrates this all the time. Always being ready and having a back-up plan in case things go sour. Knowing he will be outgunned and outnumbered, so plans out every one of his missions well ahead of advance.
  • Dark Is Not Evil/Evil Wears Black: Which one of these categories he falls into largely depends on however's writing him at the time. Under Garth Ennis' pen he fell closer to the former category, while Jason Aaron's interpretation hues closer to the latter.
  • Deadpan Snarker: It's rare for him to ever make a joke. But when he does, he shows he has a very dark and cynical sense of humor.
    Officer Miller: Hey, any time you wanna finish that, big man: you an' me, wherever the fuck you like...
    Frank: I'm not really dating right now.
  • Deal with the Devil: In the Born mini series, Frank appears to be talking with a mysterious voice in his head. He refuses to accept that the US is withdrawing from Vietnam and does everything he can to postpone shutting down his camp. Later on, the NVA finally assault the base during a storm while the US air support is cut off, killing everyone. Frank is the last Marine 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, when the voice suddenly returns to claim the price for his eternal war: His family.
  • Death by Adaptation: In the main continuity Marvel would never dream of permanently killing off an important marquee character like him. In this continuity? Not so much.
  • Death Glare: He gives these out constantly, but the most notable example would have to be the one he gives to Private Stevie Goodwin. Where after having a look of Castle's eyes, Goodwin gets a feeling that he'd rather face an enraged drug-pusher and his razor instead.
  • Death Seeker: His character shows shades of this from time to time. Most notably in the sequel series written by Jason Aaron.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: The very essence of the Punisher is deconstructed thoroughly throughout the course of the series— especially so in the second half, Punisher MAX. Frank may be a living death-machine with over 2,000 kills to his name, but the series goes to great lengths to detail how toxic and harmful living a life of constant conflict for thirty years straight is for anybody. By the last few issues, Frank's a broken old man suffering from delirium and chronic bodily pains, and his life ends in an unceremonious bloodbath interspersed with scenes depicting Frank remembering his happy life with his family. Not in any way is Frank's horrible lifestyle treated as something awesome or comic-worthy—we're not reading about some brooding Anti-Hero who makes the hard decisions when no one else can, we're reading about a psychopathic Blood Knight fight and suffer and bleed until he dies as he lived: fighting petty, pathetic criminals tooth-and-nail.
  • Dented Iron: As the series progresses, we begin to see the toll that his 30+ year on crime has had on both his body, and his state of mind. He goes through an increasingly ruthless Rogues Gallery worth of foes including the Mennonite, Bullsey, Elektra, and finally the Kingpin. Getting more and more irrevocably battered after dispatching each one, with the last one culminating in a long drawn out, excruciating Mutual Kill.
  • Depending on the Artist: Although he is consistently drawn to resemble a man in his 40's. A few of the later artist took some "liberties" with this design aesthetic. This is most evident in Six Hours to Kill, where he looks like he's thirty years younger all of a sudden.
  • Doom Magnet: Lets just keep this short by saying that very bad things commonly happen to people that Frank cares about. This even gets lampshaded at one point. Where Frank notes that Yorkie was killed for no other reason than the fact that he was associated with him.
  • The Dreaded: Especially among criminals. The smart crooks know that running from the Punisher is a smarter choice than fighting him.
    Goon#1: We gotta go!
    Goon#2: We got this guy, Pol! We got this gu-
    Goon#1: Eamon. 'That guy' is the fucking Punisher. We have got to go.
  • Drop the Hammer: During a vicious battle with the deranged hitman Bullseye, Frank is briefly left without a gun and forced to improvised. And, well... see for yourself.
  • Dying Alone: His ultimate fate. Despite successfully killing off the Kingpin and his goons he eventually succumbs to his wounds and dies on the streets all by himself. With no one around to mourn for him. Only Nick Fury even attends his funeral.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: Frank was a Marine in Vietnam. He was a Scout Sniper, served in special operations (Force Reconnaissance) and was an exchange officer with the Australian Special Air Service. Simply put, he's a badass to the core.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Arguably. Remorseless monster he may be his flashbacks to his past life showed that he did indeed deeply love his family.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: A rare heroic example, Frank knows full well that he's a monster and has a strict code against harming innocents or good guys, choosing to take out his wrath on criminals instead.
  • Failure Hero: This is what he ultimately comes down to. No matter how many criminals he kills or crime rings he bust. At the end of the day, putting a permanent end to crime is impossible.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: Although he is by no means a little man (he's listed as being approximately 6'6), he still tends to get this from time to time.
    Barracuda: You know for some reason I was expecting the motherfucker to be taller.
  • Face of a Thug: Ironically enough. Despite making a living by killing criminals, one cant help but overlook the fact that he himself has the face of a villain.
  • Fingerless Gloves: He wears a sweet pair of leather ones, in case you needed further prove of his badass credentials.
  • From Camouflage to Criminal: An interesting variation. Although he certainly would never think of himself as a criminal. The truth is vigilantism is very much illegal. And therefore, that makes Frank a criminal.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: In one particularly creepy moment, after he and O'Brien had just finished making love, they are attacked in their sleep by Theresa; Nicky's right hand woman. Thankfully, even in the nude they both manage to overwhelm and kill her.
  • Genius Bruiser: Much like his mainstream counterpart, but here his internal dialog really highlights how carefully he plans, both before and during a fight.
  • Gun Nut: As a general rule of thumb, whenever he gets his hands on a new or rare gun, you can count on him to deliver all sorts of trivia facts about the gun in question. This ranges from its origins, cost, caliber of the bullet, multiple uses and etc. Suffice it to say, the man provides the trope picture for a reason.
  • Guns Akimbo: One of his favorite tactics. One notable moment in the Mother Russia arc, saw him duel wielding a pair of AK-47s.
  • The Gunslinger: Him being a Vietnam era Marine, it's no surprise that he is a master of all four types.
  • Hand Cannon: In The Slavers, he decides to eschew his traditional M1911 in favor of a Desert Eagle.
  • The Hero Dies: In the final story arc, all of Frank's years of physical abuse finally catch up to him, as he eventually succumbs to his wounds after a brutal fight with the Kingpin that leaves both men dead.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: In Long Cold Dark, he briefly replaces his Badass Longcoat in favor of a sick leather jacket to better compliment his matching leather pants, boots and fingerless leather gloves. Further cementing his badassery.
  • Heroic BSoD: He ends up suffering from one of these in a one-shot story after believing that he shot and killed a young girl. He nearly kills himself over it, until discovering that she was already dead and he was set up.
  • Homeless Hero: As you could probably guess from the name, the Homeless arc features a now homeless Frank trying to continue his war on crime without the aid of his safehouses or usual equipment. He get's his act together eventually.
  • Hypocrite: He himself surprisingly. But it's not revealed until #16 of the second Punisher MAX series, where it's revealed that he had decided to divorce his wife and leave his kids with her, in order to satisfy his new-found bloodlust. Way back, in #4 of the original MAX series, he had told Microchip how he had almost killed his neighbor because said neighbor had left his wife for another woman. Ultimately, Frank proved to be no different from his victim. As both of them where willing to abandon their spouses to satisfy their own lusts.
    • Of course, given Frank's guilt over choosing combat instead of his family, his rage could be him projecting himself onto the other guy. In that case, he's giving his neighbor the beating he wishes he could give to himself.
  • Iconic Outfit: His white skull t-shirt is about as close to a uniform he has. Put his use of a raven black trenchcoat has gone on to become equally synonymous with him. He's even been depicted wearing it in a number of future adaptation.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: To go along with his stoic, icy demeanor. Especially apparent in the Widowmaker arc.
  • Impaled Palm: During a fight with Pittsy, the little bastard picks up a broken glass shard which he uses to slice up Frank. Luckily Frank resolves the situation by catching the glass... in his palm, then snapping off the larger part of it. Ending Pittsy's onslaught.
  • Impersonating an Officer: He has done this from time to time in order to get closer to a crime scene.
    Frank: The I.D got me onto crime scenes now and then — two, three minutes at a time, enough to pick up any intel.
  • Implacable Man: A heroic example. Whenever he sets his sights on one particular dirtbag. There's very little that anyone can do to stop him from making short work of said dirtbag.
  • Ineffectual Loner: Just like his mainstream incarnation. On the rare occasion that he does team up with anyone, he makes it very clear that it is only temporary.
  • Inner Monologue: He has a habit of doing this. Whether battling a gang of capos, fighting off deranged hillbillies, or trying to avoid ending up as shark food.
  • Interservice Rivalry: During an M-60 duel with Barracuda (an Army Special Forces soldier), 'Cuda chides Frank's marksman abilities asking where Frank learned to shoot, to which Frank (who's a Force Recon US Marine) coolly responds with: "That would be Khe Sanh. Spring of sixty eight. You fucking Army puke."
  • In the Blood: It's later that his father was a Marine as well, who had seen action in WW2. Specifically in the Pacific theater. One flashback even shows a young Frank Castle, (awaiting for deployment in Vietnam) visiting his terminally ill father, hoping that he will give him some advice as to what he can expect on the battlefield.
  • In the Hood: In the the last issue of Man of Stone, he wears an improvised hoodie to help shield his face from the scorching hot Afghan sun. Plus it also happens to look really fucking cool.
  • Invulnerable Knuckles: Averted. In Long Cold Dark, he wakes up in a hospital after blacking out after Barracuda annouced his attention to torture his illegitimate baby daughter in front of him. He was able to piece together what happened based on his injuries, which included broken knuckles.
    Frank: My knuckles are a mess. All of them bruised, a couple cracked. Which means the kind of punches you don't think about before you throw.
  • It's Personal: Normally he prefers to take a much more business oriented approach to his war on crime. To him, taking out pimps, and drug dealers is just another day at the office. That is until one particular capo had the ingenious idea of unearthing the remains of his family... and pissing on them. Then, it becomes personal. Frank proceeds to go on a one man warpath across the criminal underworld, killing sixty-eight mobsters in one night and vows to continue until the police bury his family. The arc ends with Frank dragging the man responsible out into the woods and shooting him in the stomach, then leaving him to die a long, inevitable death.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • His murder of Microchip, his former sidekick. To elaborate, Microchip was killed because he was turning a blind eye to government-funded drug operations to get his dough, making it a Kick the Dog moment for himself.
  • Knight Templar: Unlike his mainstream counterpart. The question here isn't, "how far will he go?" But "how fast can he get there?"
  • Limited Wardrobe: He doesn't own much more than some trenchcoats, and a pair of identical skull T-shirts. Justified, since working as a vigilante doesn't really allow for personal possessions.
  • Little "No": Frank is pretty much made up of these, thanks to his taciturn and rather blunt nature.
  • Living Legend: Being a Vietnam vet who spent years as the scourge of the underworld. It only makes sense that he would become this.

    M To Y 
  • Machete Mayhem: The weapon he chooses to dispose of Rawlins. Although we don't get to see it, we can only imagine that it was... messy.
  • Made of Iron: Castle is one seriously tough S.O.B. So much so that his ability to withstand unfathomable levels of pain lapses into another trope altogether. It ultimately takes an insane amount of gunfire coupled with a brutal fight with Wilson Fisk to finally kill him, and the former seems to be more of an irritant than an actual fatal wounding at the time.
    Frank: That's a rib gone. Not broken, gone.
    • It's implied in Punisher: Born, that Frank's near-inhumane ability to survive damage that would have killed a lesser man is the result of him making a unconscious pact with Death/The Grim Reaper during his final tour in Vietnam. It was this pact that would allow him to fight a war that never ended. But at a price.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: This tends to happen to him. A lot. The most extreme example would have to be when he took a point blank shotgun slug to the stomach. Didn't slow him down though.
    Frank: That's a rib gone. Not broken. Gone.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: It's been implied via Word of God, that the mysterious voice in his head never existed, and that his supposed "Deal with the Devil" was merely a manifestation of his delusions. So depending on the reader's interpretation, he's either Death's personal avatar on Earth, or a madman who began hearing "voices" in his head.
  • My Greatest Failure: His greatest failure was the loss of his family, for which he blames himself as much as the mobsters who gunned them down, believing that he should have been able to protect them. It's later established that his war against criminals is as much to punish himself as it is to punish them.
  • Near-Death Experience: Throughout his long, storied, hellish life he has gone through two of these. The first was near the end of his final tour of duty in 'Nam. Where his firebase was overrun by the NVA, during this big battle, he makes a deal with Death itself. He is given the option of dying there in 'Nam or having supernatural protection and thusly, a guarantee to see his family again. But the latter option will have a price. Hint: it's his family. The second occurrence takes place on the day that his family was slain in a mob shootout.
  • Neck Snap: On the occasion that he finds himself without a firearm, there is always the more "hands on" alternative.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: A downplayed example. As a young boy he developed a fascination with the greatest killers in the animal kingdom after listening to the "The Tyger" in a poetry group.
  • '90s Anti-Hero: Bleak outlook on life? Check. Brooding attitude, intimidating name, and no shortage of firepower? Check, check and double check.
  • Nominal Hero: Frank's only interest is in killing people he thinks are bad. He'll save innocent lives when he can, but for the most part he doesn't care about what happens to them afterwards. Although he does make exceptions.
  • Nothing Personal: When he meets up with a pair of disgruntled police officers (who he had beaten up in a previous encounter) in a dinner. He tells them that they are taking their past scuffle way to personally.
    Frank: If this is about that night in Brooklyn, you two are taking it way to personally.
  • Not Wearing Tights: Unlike his mainstream counterpart, Frank is never once seen wearing his iconic black and white tights. Instead he opts for a more practical leather outfit.
  • Oh, Crap!: The look on his face in Born. Just as he's reuniting with his loving family, he suddenly here's the mysterious voice from the past come back again. Telling Frank that he's come to claim the "price" for his eternal war. i.e: His family.
  • Omniscient Morality License: He seems to know without fail whether any given person is a criminal who deserves death or not... or he's just really good at self justification. This could be a trait he has as Death's/The Grim Reaper's personal avatar, an aspect of his character Garth Ennis introduced in the Punisher Born mini-series.
    • Probably the most extreme example is when he thinks he accidentally killed an innocent girl during a raid, before shooting himself over it he has a hallucination of the little girl which gives him enough pause to realize the girl was already dead and that he only shot people that deserved it.
  • One-Man Army: Obviously; taken Up to Eleven in Mother Russia, where he single-handedly holds off the Russian Army.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: A fact he never let's himself forget about. It's because of this that he began his 30 year long war against crime, and he doesn't plan on slowing down anytime soon.
  • Overranked Soldier: The Valley Forge arc, identifies Frank as a "21 year old Captain in April 1971", during his final tour in Vietnam. Exactly how he earned the rank of Captain at such a young age is a mystery. Made all the more impressive by the fact that not only was Frank a Marine, but a Force Recon Marine. It turns out that Nick Fury recommended he be promoted to Captain early after Frank proved himself on a mission to kill a North Vietnamese general.
  • Papa Wolf: In Long Cold Dark, Castle's vengeful nemesis Barracuda targets Frank by kidnapping the daughter he unknowingly had with Kathryn O'Brien. When finds out, he is pissed, to say the least, and at one point he spends an hour running electricity from a car battery through 'Cuda's genitals in retribution.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: In a one shot story, Frank's disguise consist of him wearing a flimsy mustache held together with spirit gum and not much else. Naturally his disguise isn't fooling anyone. As he is immediately recognized by the guard at the front gate. With Frank having to kill the guard quickly before he could blow his cover. However, he appears to be aware of how poor his disguise is and has planned ahead.
    Female Escort: You don't really think that disguise is going to fool anyone do you?
    Frank: I'm counting on all eyes being on you.
    Escort: Flattery?
    Frank: Strategy.
  • The Paragon: At the end of the second MAX series, he becomes this in a very dark way. His latest skirmish with the Kingpin has proven fatal for the both of them, and after 30+ years, his war is finally over. As Nick Fury cleans up the carnage left by Frank's last battle, he muses that Frank's war was 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.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Ever since his family was slain in a Mob hit. This has become his entire MO. Exactly how far he's willing to go with it depends on the situation.
  • Perma-Stubble: Later artist such as Goran Parlov, draws Frank with one of these.
  • Perpetual Frowner: True to his stoic nature, he never ever smiles.
  • Pet the Dog: In The Slavers, the compassion he shows towards an escaped abductee is one of the few times we ever get to see beneath his hardened exterior and catch a glimpse of the warm man he once was.
    • His gentle side is on full display when he is guarding the six year old Galina. Going so far as to admonish one of his colleagues for swearing in front of her. He even gets the little girl some ice cream.
  • Play-Along Prisoner: More often than not, whenever he finds himself taken prisoner. It's only because he allowed himself to be taken in. Usually as part of whatever convoluted plan he's got cooked up.
  • Plot-Powered Stamina: After shrugging off shotgun shells and sniper rifle bullets for years, in Widowmaker Frank takes a nine millimeter round 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". Leading him to be bed-ridden for the rest of the story.
  • Post Apocalyptic Gasmask: In The End one shot story, when Frank and a sidekick of his venture across the nuclear remains of New York City, they wear a pair of these. Unfortunately it's not enough to save them from the nuclear radiation. As Frank notes that the radiation is at such dangerously high levels that it would take "another thousand years" before the air would be clean again.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: At one point when he's about to execute a street thug who was aiming his gun sideways, Frank tells the thug this:"They put the sights on top for a reason."
  • Properly Paranoid: He tends to lapse into this more often than not. But given the countless perilous dangers he faces in his world, you can't really blame him. It even gets lampshaded at one point.
    Frank: Call it paranoia if you want. But I've come to trust that nagging itch at the base of my skull.
  • Psychotic Smirk: In the first arc, while being held in CIA custody and questioned/analyzed by his former friend Micro, he is probed on the subject of his dead family. Castle reacts to this is in an extremely uncharacteristic fashion. By putting on the mother of all psychotically evil smirks. And yes, It's every bit as chilling as you'd imagine.
  • Rasputinian Death: He himself is a victim of this trope. As he spends the latter half of the Homeless arc, dying a slow agonizing death. In issue #21, still bloody and battered from his fight with Elektra, Frank later journeys over to his old house where the Kingpin and half a dozen of his goons are waiting for him. Once there, the goons quickly surround Frank and proceed to open fire on him... except Frank Determinator won't go down... Fighting through the pain, Frank manages to kill all the goons and engages Fisk in a vicious drag-out street fight. The next page cuts to Fisk standing just outside his tower, begging the guards to let him in. Unfortunately for Fisk, Frank kills him before he can retreat inside. Having killed the Kingpin, Frank then walks all the way to his old home before finally succumbing to his wounds and dying on the streets.
  • Reality Ensues: By the time of Punisher MAX, Frank's become so old and worn from all the years of fighting that he literally has to force himself to get out of bed and fight criminals—criminals who begin fearing him way less than they used to because he's beginning to show his age.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: A trick of the lighting gives him red eyes during the events of Up is Down, Black is White, moments before he guns down a party of Russian gangsters. Typically such an act from him wouldn't justify the symbolism, but in this case it represents the Tranquil Fury mixed with Unstoppable Rage that consumes him after Nicky Cavella dares defile his long-dead family's remains on national television.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Due to his unflappable stoic nature, whenever he briefly teams up with anyone he will always be the blue oni.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Goes on one in nearly every story arc, terrorizing whomever was stupid enough to mess with him or someone he cares about.
  • Sanity Slippage: His mental instability dates as far back to his years of service in Vietnam, where he believed to be hearing voices in his head. But what really drove him over the edge was the death of his family.
  • Semper Fi: During his time in Vietnam, Frank was a Force Recon Marine. What's more, in his final tour of duty he was the Captain of a Marine Outpost.
  • Serial-Killer Killer: It's more or less been implied via Word of God that Frank is essentially a serial killer who happens to go after other serial killers. At the beginning of the series he's currently over 2000.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: It's suggested that in Vietnam, Frank grew to love combat and bloodshed, with the death of his family being the final straw that finally caused him to snap.
    • Ultimately defied. As the one shot issue The Tyger, makes it clear that his sociopath behavior didn't spring from his time in Vietnam, instead his issues built cumulatively and not just from traumatic events either. See Single-Issue Psychology below.
  • Sherlock Scan: Frequently used in order to establish his experience as a Marine veteran. Whatever he's in a life or death situation or not, he always takes the time to pick up every little detail he can.
  • Single-Issue Psychology: Averted. Most people believe everything he does is due to his family's death, while journalists, authors, psychologists and other researchers look into his history and pin it on Vietnam. In actuality The Punisher didn't spring from any one event, his issues built cumulatively and not just from traumatic events either. Reading "The Tyger" in a poetry group inspired a fascination with the greatest killers in the animal kingdom.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Although he rarely speaks. His internal monologues are littered with profanity.
  • Skeleton Motif: The skull on his chest obviously. However, unlike most examples of this trope, it's more than just a fashion statement. It's meant for both strategic and intimidation purposes.
  • Sociopathic Hero: The poster boy for this trope if there ever was one. And taken to levels that his mainstream counterpart could only dream of.
  • Sociopathic Soldier: In Punisher: Born, he tried to present himself as a Type 1. However as the story goes on, it becomes quite obvious that he's closer to a Type 2. A combat junkie who continues to re-enlist for another tour of duty for the sake of quenching his lust for violence and bloodshed.
  • Sole Survivor: Either through divine intervention or having the devil's luck, he has somehow been the lone survivor of two life threatening incidents. First he survived the battle of Firebase Valley Forge. That is, everyone on both sides (USMC garrison vs VC/NVA Regiment) perished... except for him. Then there was that one day in central park. Where his entire family was wiped out in a mob shootout.
  • Start of Darkness: In the one-shot The Tyger, we see a pivotal moment in Frank's life as a child, when he witnessed a young Marine from his neighbourhood burn alive the serial rapist son of the local mafia boss, who had among others raped the man's sister, and get away with it. The pubescent Frank was intending to try to kill the guy himself with his father's gun, but the Marine got there first.
  • Steel Ear Drums: Judging from the amount of in-door firefights that he has had throughout his 30+ year vigilante career, the man must have adamantium ear drums. Cause other wise the man should be deaf by now.
  • The Stoic: The default expression that Frank has on him at all times. Even when he's dishing out punishment, he never once changes his calm, emotionless expression.
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: His self titled story arc details his experiences with this back during the period between his return from Vietnam and the death of his family. He struggled to be a normal family man again, but the whole time he desperately craved a return to war and violence in general. Parallels are drawn between this period in his past and the present, where he's in prison.
  • Straw Nihilist: Unsurprisingly, given the nature of his work and the life he's lead, Frank has developed a very bleak outlook on life. Best exemplified by this quote.
    Frank: There is no God. There are no souls. All we are is meat and bones. These are certainties I learned long ago.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: He's 6'5, broody, and quite rugged looking for a man his age. What's more this trait has turned him into quite the Chick Magnet.
  • Terror Hero: Deliberately invoked by him. A large part of his success stems from the fact that the average criminal is scared shitless of him. And the more scared of him they are, the more likely they are to give up and flee in terror at the mere sight of him.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: One of Frank's favorite tactics. At one point he even dispatches a pair of Russian soldiers with an anti-aircraft gun.
    Frank: Twelve point seven mm Dushka's just like our fifty cal. Really designed to be used only on aircraft. You use it on people? You turn them into paint.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare In the in-universe book title "Valley Forge", the soldier who was the first to find Frank Castle in the middle of hundreds of dead Vietcong and Marines mentioned thousand-yard stares as common enough in Vietnam, so you can imagine what he felt like when describing Franks as a million-mile stare.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Hamburgers, apparently. He is frequently seen chowing on one and, in Barracuda's introductory arc, eats three within the span of the same arc.
  • Tranquil Fury: He varies between this and Unstoppable Rage, depending on the situation.
  • The Unfettered: While other versions of him may have depicted him as a well meaning but misguided individual who follows some sort of code. Here, he is written as truly unfettered. All that matters to him now is punishing the guilty.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Despite being something of an unstoppable killing machine, Frank Castle is typically a very calm, methodical man. That is until something happens to blood relatives:
    • The single occasion in the series where we see Frank totally out of control is when Barracuda threatens to torture his baby daughter with O'Brien to death in front of him. He's so utterly enraged that he breaks a pair of handcuffs by brute strength, and goes into a fugue state so extreme that he can't remember exactly what happened and has to reconstruct it by deduction.
  • The Uriah Gambit: In the Born miniseries, after getting chewed out by a Marine general who threatened to close down his firebase (and thus remove him from his beloved war), he manages to eliminate said General by recommending the view from a hilltop while standing in front of a sniper warning sign.
  • 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 sick fuck of a 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.
  • Vigilante Man: The one true constant of his character, no matter what continuity or universe he is in. He exist to punish the quilty However in this continuity, the trope is deconstructed to hell and back. See Deconstructed Character Archetype above for more details.
  • Villainous Cheekbones: When drawn by Leandro Fernandez, he sported some very noticeable cheekbones, that were further accentuated thanks to some lighting trickery.
  • Villains Out Shopping: He isn't always obliterating gangsters you know. Other times he's stopping by a local restaurant for a bite.
  • Villain Protagonist: Arguably. If you accept a certain interpretation of him, then it becomes easy to accept the fact that he's a monster who's well aware that he's a monster. Yet chooses to spare innocents, instead going after individuals who are even worse than he is.
  • The Vietnam Vet: The most defining experience in his life that would mold him into the man that he would eventually become. What's more it was his time in 'Nam and subsequent murder of his family that caused him to snap as badly as he did.
  • Wall of Weapons: His secret lair is filled to the brim with all sorts of lethal firearms that adore his wall. Heck, just take a look at his page image!
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Although he is by no means ugly in his old age, he was noticeably more handsome and rugged in his youth.
  • Weapon of Choice: In one of his internal monologues he describes why the M16 has always been one of his favorite firearms.
    Frank: I'm good at it, I'm use to it, and like I said there is the M203.
  • World's Best Warrior: He's often remarked, both in-universe and by Word of God, as one of the most dangerous warriors to have ever lived. And for good reason. Possessing combat ability great enough to absolutely trounce a team of eight highly skilled Delta Force operatives half his age, with non-lethal tactics no less. And a master strategist always planning for contingencies, and has back-up plans for his back-up plans. Suffice it to say, there's a very good reason the criminal underworld is scared shitless of this man.
  • Would Hit a Girl: In The Slavers when Frank finally gets his hands on one of the female ringleaders behind the human trafficking operation. He repeatedly throws her face-first against a shatterproof window, reasoning correctly that the frame would give before the windowpane did.
  • Would Not Shoot a Good Guy: When a cabal of crooked military Generals use their connections to send a group of Delta Force operatives after Frank, he thankfully doesn't kill them. But the soldiers learn the hard way that non-lethal force doesn't mean gentle force.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: The one true constant in each and every one of his depictions is Frank's unwillingness to ever lay his hands on a child. In fact it's for this very reason that Nick Fury chooses him for the top secret mission of rescuing a Russian child from a nuclear silo base. Knowing full well that not only will Frank refuse to harm her, but will also go out of his way to make sure that nobody else hurts her as well.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: If you're a criminal he's coerced into helping him, don't expect him to let you go afterwards. As many unfortunate mooks have learned the hard way.
  • Young and in Charge: He was only 21 years old in his final tour of duty in Vietnam, and yet he was already in charge of an entire Marine Firebase. Justified in that the rest of the officers in the base were either incompetent morons, or apathetic idiots, not fit to run a base of this size.
  • Younger Than They Look: Amusingly enough, back in his final tour of duty in 'Nam. You could easily mistake him for a man in his late thirties. Despite the fact that he was only a then 21 year old Captain.


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