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Tear Jerker / The Punisher MAX

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  • The very first issue opens up with Frank recounting the fateful day in central park where his family where killed in the crossfire of a mob shootout. Complete with him giving a step by step autopsy of how their wounds killed them.
  • The entirety of Viorica's backstory from The Slavers definitely counts. All of it. Just try not to tear up while she's telling Frank all the terrible things that she has had to endure.
    • The same goes for all the poor girls that are being held as sex slaves by the slavers. Really the entire arc can be summed up as one long Tear Jerker.
    • The very last page, showing Viorica having a severe PTSD episode triggered by just watching a normal family with their baby, is a heart-wrenching slap of reality. Frank paid evil unto evil, but all that violent retribution ultimately doesn't really help the victims of said evil.
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    • Jen Cooke talking about how difficult it is to get anyone to listen about the realities of human trafficking. Like a lot of horrible shit, most average people just shut down when they hear about it because it's too big and too depressing and requires such a monumental effort to even scratch that they'd rather pretend it doesn't happen at all, and that's not touching on the ones who think that women on some level deserve or want this kind of horrible treatment.
    • The fact this story is incredibly bleak is horrible. Frank stopped the slavers yet the poor girls cannot get back to their normal life.
  • In Man Of Stone, the British journalist telling Frank about the sorts of "tactics" that General Zakharov used during the Soviet-Afghan war, is every bit as harrowing as it is heartbreaking. Especially the part where he tells Frank about what Zakharov did to the baby Hint: It wasn't pleasant.
    • Made worse because Zakharov isnt the kind of narcissistic monster you normally see from this character type, he genuinely thinks that all the horrible things he did was for the "greater good" because as soon as the mujahideen realized they "belonged" to the USSR now, the sooner the fighting would stop, and the bloodshed would end. It's a similar argument used for dropping the atom bombs on Japan, if far more hands on and brutal. And of course, it was All for Nothing because just like every other country that decided to invade Afghanistan, they just ran aground and fizzled out. Up until his death, Zakharov is convinced that his lifetime of brutality and cruelty makes him superior to Smug Snake Rawlins because he saw it as clinical militarism rather than self-promotion.
  • The flashbacks to Castle's pre-Punisher life in the "Frank" arc. They show that even when he still had his family he was completely detached and unable to withstand a non-violent life. In fact, the last thing he ever said to his wife is I'm leaving. And in the final issue we get a poignant visual showing just how much he regrets that decision: The words "I'm sorry" painted (perhaps in blood) on a wall inside his old family house. Just for an extra kick we get the final entry in his War Journal: "Still in old house. Sleep in living room now. Bedroom smells too much like Maria. I won't go in there anymore." The second half of the series is one big tearjerker for Frank.
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    • One of Frank's few remaining friends, a former military medic who's now a doctor who occasionally patches him up, has a chat with him during the last story arc for the series. He can't bring himself to tell Frank the truth: that during the last reunion Frank attended, when Maria was still alive, he could tell she was miserable, and thinks of her as "the most unhappy woman he had ever seen". He decides that the Hippocratic Oath covers easing any part of his patient's pain and just lies to Frank, telling him that he clearly remembers how much Maria loved him.
    The doctor: What would the truth have been? The truth was that his wife was a very sad woman. Though Frank's tour of duty was up and he was there, in the house, sleeping right next to her... I think she was still waiting for him to come home. And something tells me, even if that woman was alive today... she'd be waiting still.
  • The very last few pages as Frank tries to walk back to his old house after killing the Kingpin, mortally wounded himself, we get to see flashbacks that go further and further back, including Maria telling him she's pregnant, or promising to teach Frank how to kiss properly when the two were courting as teenagers. This is one of Frank's last memories, and he finally drops dead on the sidewalk, 40 years after the loss of his family.
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  • Nick Fury burning down Frank's old house after his death, including his personal effects and his journals, to keep the media from getting their hands on them.
    Fury: Jesus Frank, and I thought my life was depressing...
  • Lauren Buvoli's fate in The Tyger. She was one of the few all-around nice characters in the series, only to commit suicide after being raped by Vincent Rosa.
  • The Long, Cold Dark. Frank finds out that his encounter with Kathryn O'Brien has resulted in a daughter named Sarah, and Barracuda is all too happy with killing the little girl to get revenge on Frank. Fortunately, Frank successfully stops Barracuda and rescues his daughter, and while dropping Sarah off to the care of Kathryn's sister Barbara, he asks her to give a Sarah a good life and to give her no reason to contact him.
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