Despite what the series' reputation might lead you to believe, there's still a good amount of hilarity amidst the violence.
In The Beginning
- After nearly getting his balls crushed by Micro, a newly humbled Roth decides to try and relax by lounging on the couch. Naturally, his buddy Kathryn can't help but give him grief over it.
Kathryn: You get a boner?
Roth: Shut the fuck up.
- There shouldn't be anything to laugh at when the Punisher does his usual thing after seeing a pimp who's apparently picked up a girl (who doesnt look more than 15) and forced her into the sex trade. An older prostitute who let slip that the girl might be underage, a runaway, and possibly forced into addiction watches Frank go into Tranquil Fury, walk over to the pimp, Neck Lift him, and drag him out of sight to do god knows what. Frank returns a minute later, puts a few hundred dollars in the old prostitute's hand, and tells her to get the girl out of there and warn the next guy to watch himself. The prostitute's reaction to all this?
* "That was not my fuckin' fault."
- Or her earlier response to Frank's questions about the girl: "What, are you some kinda fucking social worker now?"
- Cavella and his crew's introduction is one darkly humorous moment after the other. First, capo Larry Barucci tries to endear himself to the crew by impersonating a very stereotypical Boston accent. The crew, understandably, are not amused.
Larry: So you guys are from Boston too, huh? "Did ya leave ya cahh inna pahkin' laht?"
Pittsy: What're you, some kind of fuck?
- Pittsy's reaction to his meal deserves special mention.
Pittsy: What the fuck is this? [points at the red looking clam chowder]
Waitress: Chowder, New England clam chowder, like it says on the menu.
Pittsy: It's fuckin' red.
Waitress: It's supposed to be red...
Larry : See, that's how they make it down here, it ain't like where you guys —
Pittsy: You shut the fuck up. It's suppose to be white. Menu says New England clam chowder, you fuckin' make it like in fuckin' New England!
Waitress: But —
Pittsy: You shut the fuck up too. Go tell ya chef he's a sick fuck. Now get this fuckin' shit away from me an' bring me a bowla chicken soup, ya hear me? An' try notta have ya fuckin' period in it this time!
- Ink displaying his unexpectedly morbid sense of humor to a surprised Larry after Don Cesare was killed on his birthday. Notable as it's one of the few times he says anything other than "Huh":
Ink: You there when Cesare got whacked?
Larry: I- yeah, yeah, I was. That's right. The poor old guy, one minute he's enjoyin' his hundredth birthday party an' the next he's lyin' dead onna floor...
Ink: How'd ya tell a' difference?
- While watching on TV the CIA's abduction of Frank Castle, both Larry and Cavella make a morbid yet hilarious point about the government and the media. Cavella's analogy is incredibly morbid, but hilarious.
Larry: All they're s'posed to do now is feed the media a line an' stand by for further instructions. An' all inna name a' homeland security, Jesus, this is some serious shit...
Nicky: Larry, right now you could buttfuck a german shepherd onna tonight show an' get away with it, you remember to shout that after you come.
- Freakishly deformed Mad Bomber he may be, you can't deny that Finn Cooley has a good (albeit dark) sense of humor.
Michael: So... What've you really got planned for old man Nesbitt's millions...?
Finn: I wanna move to California. An' I'd like to ride Angelina Jolie, if she'll have me.
- There's something darkly humorous about seeing a fearsome gangster like Maginty get into an argument over the phone with Ped-Ef over same-day delivery. Mind you, the "mail" in question happens to be sliced up bits of human flesh, but still. It appears that not even gangsters are free from mundane problems.
Maginty: Forty-eight dollars for same-day delivery? Does the guy stop at Outback afterwards, or somethin'? Am I buyin' the son of a bitch a T-bone? Give who a try? Fuck UPS! If I wanted UPS I wouldn't called you, cocksucker! Just go on an' schedule the motherfucker, I'll pay your goddamn forty-eight fuckin' dollars.
- Then there's the sight of him kicking the crap out of his idiot friends for giving him grief over the situation, including him literally kicking one right on his ass. Not to mention that he was most pissed off by being called "cheap".
- When Michael and Finn go out the back exit to try and escape a firefight between The Punisher and the River Rats, they happen to find the boorish idiot who blew their cover. The kicker? The poor bastard's shit himself.
- We have this little tidbit between disfigured IRA bomber Finn Cooley and his Irish-American friend Michael Morrison.
Michael: Does... does it slip? (refering to Finn's mutilated, detached face)
Finn: You mean like your accent?
- Not long after, Finn discovers he does not have N-Word Privileges in Manhattan when, in the middle of an angry and racist rant, he finds himself flanked by half a dozen angry black men who overheard him, leading to a one-word Oh, Crap! reaction.
- We see later that they beat the crap out of them and would have killed Finn and Michael if Finn's face hadn't scared them off.
- Brenda's cavalier attitude over discovering her husband's severed body parts in the mail is Black Comedy at its finest.
Goon: You sure, Brenda?
Brenda: You think I don't know the fingers he stuck in me all the times he couldn't get it up?
- This later exchange deserves special mention.
Brenda: You sent guys round to the address written on the slip, didn't you?
Goon: It turned out to be a fag bar.
- Brenda seems to have a very grim sense of humor.
Goon: You — you think there's any chance he's still alive?
- Before heading out, Brenda tells her crew to throw Tommy's severed fingers in the trash so her kids won't find the package.
- Shortly after getting the shit kicked out of them by some very pissed-off scary black men, Michael and Finn are busy licking their wounds when Michael accidentally drops a rather callous remark at Finn's expense. The look on his face after he realizes what he just said is priceless.
Michael: They coulda killed us, Finn. We're lucky they saw your face and ran off — [realizes what he just said and wisely apologies] Sorry...
Finn: Ye're no fuckin' oil paintin' yerself, Michael!
- For an old timer, Yorkie's still got a wicked dry sense of humor.
Yorkie: I'm a lot older than Concord, lad — and no cunt's putting me in a museum.
- During the all-out firefight aboard a US naval carrier between the Punisher and the Westies, the reaction from the NYPD chopper pilot once he notices The Punisher doubles as both hilarious and awesome.
Ah. dispatch, we — oh, [catches a glimpse of the Punisher
] shit! Dispatch, yes! Affirmative! We need tactical!
- It's about the blackest of Black Comedy in the arc, but this troper couldn't help but laugh when the gangs had finally decided to work together get to the "prize" and find nothing but a giant block of plastic explosives with the word "Cunt" written in it.
- "You always were a goddamned ray of sweetness and light, weren't you, Fury?" "Check the small print, General. Nothing in there about us sucking each other's balls."
- Frank tracks down a Russian mobster named Leon Rastovich who got paroled early (Nick Fury arranged it to draw Frank out) to his mother's house. He recalls that Rastovich ran a child prostitution ring and that Rastovich's mother was rumoured to be supplying the operation with children, but her son wouldn't roll over on her. Right after he blows the guy's head off in front of his mama, we get a nice bit of Black Comedy:
): Bureau never did make those charges stick. Had half an idea about giving her the benefit of the doubt.
Mama Rastovich (charges him with a cleaver): Fucker! Cocksucker! Murdering son of a whore!
- Especially funny is that Frank has been shaking down Leon's goons to figure out where he was only to be told he is at his mom's place, Frank points out he should have thought of it earlier.
- At a secret briefing in a US Air Force base, one poor sap tries to tell Fury about the "no smoking" rules that are in place. Fury responds by telling him to fuck off and run the damn film.
- After making their way into the nuclear silo base. Vanheim is surprised to see just how lousy the security around the base is.
Vanheim: Guy just waved us through, he didn't even look at the I.D papers...
Frank: Lucky for us.
Vanheim: This is a nuclear missile base. Don't these people follow any kind of procedure?
- There's something funny and oddly heartwarming about Frank telling off his partner for swearing in front of a child like he's his mother.
- When The Dreaded General Nikolai Zakharov makes his first appearance, he gets hyped up by a nearby Russian officer who can't help but feel awe in his presence. Officer Seymon, on the other hand, notes that he looks like he ate one or two pies of stone.
- Seymon's facepalm after being embarrassed by a fellow officer deserves special mention as well.
- When Vanheim and Frank are discussing the best way to escape from a nuclear missile base, Vanheim notices Galina reading some rather unusual reading material.
Vanheim: Wait a minute, is that the file with the go-codes?
Frank: You brought your copy of Cat In the Hat, feel free.
- Fury's nonchalant response after hearing about the high amount of collateral damage caused by Frank is a perfect encapsulation of his character's cool demeanor.
- Later on, when the Generals are yelling at him for the clusterfuck that has transpired and blaming him for the whole ordeal, Fury simply responds by telling them to shut the fuck up.
- The unintentionally hilarious sight of Frank swinging The Mongolian around by his leg.◊ The whole thing just looks like something you'd expect to see in a Tex Avery cartoon, not a serious action drama.
Up Is Down and Black Is White
- Early on we are reintroduced to Rawlins and the cabal of sleazy Generals as they conspire in... a Starbucks of all places. Special mention goes to one of the Generals complains about the warmed ice latte.
General 1: Don't you own shares in this place?
General 2: Got a daughter on the board of directors.
General 1: Tell her the warmed ice latte tastes like shit.
Rawlins: Can we stop talking about your fagaccino for one second?
- Even funnier once you realize that 'warmed ice latte' is marketing-speak for 'watered-down coffee.' No wonder it tastes awful.
- The instigating video that starts this arc is this, purely because it crosses the line so many times it becomes impossible to do anything but laugh at the audacity of it all.
- During Castle's rampage, we cut to a scene showing the mayor consulting his advisers on how to deal with the Punisher crisis, since they can't go after him without risking civilian casualties, nor can they just let him go Total War on the criminals.
Mayor: Well, what's the good news?
Johnathan: Crime's down.
Mayor: Fuck you, Johnathan.
- And before, one of the advisors suggests waiting in the hope that the Punisher stops, everyone in the table gives him a Death Glare.
- Nicolas Cavella's continued obliviousness to Theresa's obvious attraction towards him serves as a nice little Running Gag in an otherwise serious arc.
- The manner in which Castle and O'Brien "hook up".
O'Brien: I've been in jail for eighteen months. When we get through here, you want to go jump in the sack?
Frank: (completely deadpan, with the same face he'd use to make a threat) Sure.
- O'Brien and Roth coming to Frank's rescue:
Roth: Get in the fucking car, you prick!
Best offer I'm likely to get all night.
- When pointing out what a shitshow Cavella's crew is, Rawlins refers to Theresa as "whatever the thing with the tits is".
- The back and forth banter between Officer Parker and Officer Miller creates these kinda moments quite often (and serves as relief in what's otherwise a very dark and bleak story).
Officer Miller: This is all your fault. If you hadn't gotten so close to the fuck, he wouldn't have got your gun off you.
Officer Parker: I seem to recall he did the same to you.
Officer Miller: Only 'cause I was under your hundred and seventy pound ass.
Officer Parker: Well, look on the bright side. A good two-thirds of that is cock.
- It's rare for Frank Castle to ever crack 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.
- Barracuda's Establishing Character Moment where he plows his car into a gangbanger's car, then blasts all his henchmen with a giant machine gun before telling the gang leader to turn off the obnoxious rap song he's blasting at full volume.
Barracuda: Fool, turn off that bullshit!
- Or his nonplussed reaction when the drug-addict prostitute he hired dies from a snakebite on his boat.
Barracuda: Shit. (*unceremoniously kicks her off the pier and sails off*)
- When Barracuda finally sees Frank Castle in the flesh, he can't help but snark how he was expecting him to be taller.
- After feeding the Punisher to a pool of sharks, Barracuda sails back to shore while singing a lovely little song.
- How Barracuda decides to introduce himself to Demot and Si when Harry has them meet for the first time.
Barracuda: Yeah, I could use some white boy pussy. They do.
Dermot & Si: *shocked and frightened faces*
- Frank Castle lying near-unconscious on a pier? Nothing inherently funny there. A bird taking a shit on his face while he's lying there, complete with an annoyed Frank stating "fucking birds" in a completely deadpan tone? Hilarious.
- Frank tossing out Barracuda's severed fingers to a pack of hungry birds as revenge for Barracuda laying him out earlier.
- While on the boat, Barracuda tosses his other captive Horace overboard to the sharks, then grumbles to himself about needing to get his fingers reattached. Frank asks if he put them in a bag before putting them on ice.
Punisher: Putting them directly on the ice destroys the nerves, means they can't be reattached.
Barracuda: No shit? Guess the fuckin' joke's on me! *deadlifts Punisher and tosses him overboard*
- Barracuda's been put on the trail of Dermot and Alice, who have been having an affair. The last panel of Issue #34 is Barracuda listening in on Dermot and Alice's affair, and waiting to murder the hell out of them with a machete after they finish having sex in the bath. Despite his missing eye and maimed hand, he has the most comically giddy look on his face at the opportunity to pretend to be Jason Vorhees.
- The death of poor Si is no laughing matter, but one can't help but have a dark chuckle at Barracuda's response upon finding his corpse.
Barracuda: [To Dermot and Alice]] Shit...! You Wall Street folks play kinda rough, don't you?
- There's something hilarious about watching Barracuda scarfing down a plate of pancakes with the same enthusiasm he usually brings to killing people.
Man Of Stone
- This "romantic" exchange between Frank and O'Brien.
O'Brien: You cold?
O'Brien: You lonely?
O'Brien: You want to jump my bones anyway?
"Seem to remember telling myself this wasn't going to happen. But that was yesterday."
- Later, after they've slaughtered over half of Zhakharov's men, the two of them stand over the carnage -
O'Brien: I'd like to fuck you right here and now, you know that?
Frank: Everything in moderation.
- Yorkie asking O'Brien the one question that has confounded him for years:
- Yorkie's final, hilarious dismissal to O'Brien, on the topic of Frank:
Yorkie: Be sure and tell him I called him a cunt.
- Rawlins has an extremely foul mouth even by Max standards, but when he's finally cornered by Frank with no way out he can only whisper "Oh no."
Valley Forge, Valley Forge
Other Story Arcs
- MAX!Bullseye is a bottomless well of twisted, dark hilarity. After spending a few issues gushing over how great Frank is, they finally come face to face as Bullseye sits behind bullet-proof glass. After rambling inaudibly to Frank through the glassnote , he gets out a pen and paper...
Bullseye's notepad: What's your favorite color? Red, right?
[Frank reads, raises an eyebrow and silently pulls out and sticks a chunk of C4 on the glass]
Bullseye's notepad: ...Blue?
- Bullseye makes fun of his mainstream counterpart's Improbable Aiming Skills by mocking the idea of killing someone with a toothpick... then pulls out a gun and blows his target's head off.
- Bullseye mentioning that he once tracked an eskimo over miles of frozen tundra, then stabbed him to death with an icicle made of his own frozen feces. That wasn't a mission or anything, he was just on vacation.
- His Mood Whiplash talk with Vanessa Fisk where he darkly advises her to just forget about killing her husband and rebuild her life somewhere else because of the Slippery Slope killing puts you on...only to immediately snap back to his normal, cheerful self.
Bullseye: I'm glad we had this talk!
- At one point, Bullseye is interrogating one of the weapon suppliers who's had dealings with Frank, where he asks him various mundane questions about Frank to get into the latter's head. Meanwhile, a dirty cop is briefing the Kingpin, who is observing the interrogation, on Bullseye's background.
Dirty Cop: This is a thoroughly dangerous man you're dealing with here, Mr. Fisk.
Bullseye: No, no, no! A redwood, you idiot! He'd be a redwood! *smashes the captive's head with a bat*
Dirty Cop: He's also crazier than fucking shit, in case you hadn't noticed.
- From the Kingpin arc, there's a moment where Frank is heI ading towards Fisk's home in a car and as he's driving, he notices something...
Funny, could've sworn for a second there was someone following me, in a horse and buggy.
- The unintentionally comical sight of Kingpin throwing a dead mook at The Punisher during their final battle. Thanks to his massive frame and the way the panel is drawn it looks like something straight out of Donkey Kong.
- This bit in Naked Kill where a crook begs for his life and offers a trade. Remember, this is the Punisher saying this:
I look like I'm here to swap Pokemon cards?
- The Platoon has Ennis' usual role of incompetent military officer filled out by the son of a North Vietnamese general, who is in way over his head and is a rare example of a non-gaming scrub, angry that the Americans use their air force instead of fighting on the ground. Giap never outright insults or gets angry at him, but when the dumbass dies because he didn't take cover during an airstrike, is heard to reassure the medic that he'll serve the VC just as efficiently as before, even missing his head.
- Get Castle has a drug-smuggling SAS colonel with a talent for tongue-lashings. After Frank has killed two of them with a Claymore mine:
Colonel: A claymore! A fucking claymore! This is sheep shagging country, not the bastard Mekong cunting delta!
Staff Sergeant: Aye. That's what it looked like, sir.
Captain: We tried to scare him off outside the pub. Didn't work. Might be Special Forces, maybe.
Colonel: Oh, do you really think so, Captain Woodward? And do you think my father shagged my mother at some point too?
Colonel: So much for low key. SAS troopers blown to bits on "training exercise". We're going to get the brass down on us like a tonne of bricks. Bright side is, whoever Rambo the wondercunt is, he's not the authorities. So, we get him, this goes away. And we do it quietly, understand?
Colonel: I truly hope for your sake that's not the fucking football scores, staff sergeant.
- ''Punisher presents: Barracuda": Even more Barracuda, but now he's charged with making a man out of the short, pale, nerdy, hemophiliac son of a mobster. Odd Couple doesn't begin to describe it, especially with Barracuda never letting up on the homeboy talk.
- During the MAX Christmas Special, numerous crooks are all competing against each other to a mobster's newborn son. This leads to this gem of black comedy between two gangbangers:
- Barracuda is a nearly infinite well of Black Comedy and Crosses the Line Twice, mostly thanks to his eternally cheerful demeanor while doing patently horrible things. His reveal of baby Sarah O'Brien nee Castle probably takes the cake.
Barracuda: Congratulations, muthafucka. It's a bitch.