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The story of The Punisher from the Marvel franchise


Early life

Born in Queens, New York, to parents of Sicilian ancestry, the young Francis Castiglione enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, eventually rising to the rank of Captain. He married his wife, Maria, who was already pregnant with their first child prior to his enlistment.

Marine Corps

During his time in the USMC, Castiglione graduated from boot camp and then went on to United States Marine Corps School of Infantry. While still in training, Castiglione met Phan Bighawk, an Native American scout. He was assigned to be Castiglione's guide, and through Phan, he learned how to survive in the wilderness.


Following his training, Castiglione served in the Vietnam War in a Special Operations Unit as a point man. He fought in numerous engagements and was the only survivor (from both sides) of a Viet Cong assault on Valley Forge Firebase in 1971.  For heroism in the line of duty, he was decorated with the Medal of Honor, the Navy Cross, three times the Silver Star and Bronze Stars, four times the Purple Heart, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. After finishing his second tour of duty in Vietnam, he came back to the United States and had a second child with his wife. He then signed up for a third tour to which he illegally re-entered the U.S. Marine Corps under the name of Frank Castle in order to return to battle. Castle served a total of four years in the Vietnam War (1968 to 1971). Six years later (1976) after the American involvement in Vietnam ended, Castle ran Special Black op training missions for Marine Recon Commandos in the upper New York State area.

Death of his family

While on leave, he took his wife and two small children to Central Park in New York City. Coincidentally, the family happened upon the scene of a mob killing on the Sheep's Meadow green in the park. Fearing witnesses, the mobsters murdered Castle's family in cold blood and escaped. Castle managed to survive the attack but was deeply traumatized by the incident. He was going to testify in court to identify the shooters, but Castle was denied this since the New York police department were deeply connected with the Mafia. He decided not to return to Marine duty.

Becoming The Punisher

When mobsters slew his family, Frank Castle vowed to spend the rest of his life avenging them. Trained as a Marine and equipped with state-of-the-art weapons, he now wages a one-man war against crime as the Punisher.

As The Punisher

The Punisher used his combat experience (four years as a U.S. Marine in a special operations unit in the Vietnam War), guerrilla warfare (combat assault attacks, assassinations, ambushes, hit and runs, bombings, using the enemies' own money, weapons, and supplies against them), urban warfare (using the crowded city of New York to blend in and disappear), psychological warfare (putting fear into the hearts of criminals), using detective-like skills (talking to people, reading obtained files on the people he goes after, tracking and surveying the enemy), always adapting to the enemy such as using the Mafia's own methods and tactics against them (interrogating and torturing suspects to death in order to get information from them) and whatever resources and means may be necessary to do so, ranging from light anti-tank weaponry to enraged polar bears, piranhas, and even a hydrogen fusion bomb.

The Punisher has fought virtually every known criminal organization, including the Italian Mafia, the Russian Mafia, the Japanese Yakuza, the Colombian and Mexican drug cartels, the Chinese Triads, Jamaican Yardies, the Aryan Brotherhood, the Irish mob, biker gangs, street gangs, gun running militias, muggers, killers, rapists, psychopaths, pedophiles, pimps, and corrupt police officers.

He funds his crusade by emptying wallets, bank accounts and money vault of criminals or crime syndicates, he disposes off. The money is used to pay for foods, safe houses, vehicles, medical expenses and weaponry in which he bought in the black market. In fact, illegal gun runners are the only people that can supply military grade firearms needed by him. The Punisher maintains vast amount of bank accounts under different fake ID. It is reported that he accumulates an assert of 100,000,000 dollars from looting mutiple mafia families. 

Meeting Spider-Man

He clashed with Spider-Man early in his career, believing him to be a common crook, but the two became uneasy allies on a regular basis, for example teaming up with the X-Man Nightcrawler to bring down Jigsaw who was trying to frame Castle for several killings.

The Punisher also assaulted such criminal business enterprises as drugs, weapons smuggling, money laundering and human trafficking. The Punisher fought organized crime long enough to know their modus operandi and predict their actions. Many of these organizations tried to kill the Punisher, using both their own men and hired contract killers, but the Punisher managed to kill almost every type of assassin, hitman, bounty hunter, and mercenary sent after him.

The Punisher was highly mobile. He had many bases of operations and did not limit himself to working only in New York City. He has been to many places in the U.S. and around the globe fighting crime such as the British Isles, Latin America (Central and South America), Europe and Russia. The Punisher had an extensive criminal record due to his activities. Law enforcement such as the police, the FBI, the CIA, and even S.H.I.E.L.D. were aware of his existence and made many attempts to capture him; however, many rank-and-file officers were reluctant to take action against the Punisher because, while they disapproved of his methods of fighting crime, they believed he made the world a better place. The Punisher himself disregarded what police and the public thought of him. The Punisher killed corrupt cops, but in doing so stirred police into heightened action against him. Castle was also caught and imprisoned (generally in Ryker's Island) many times, but always escaped.

Civil War

Initially Castle was not concerned about the civil war between the heroes until the government started using superpowered criminals to enforce the law. This act made Castle enter the war on the side of Captain America and the Secret Avengers. After rescuing Spider-Man from Pro-Registration forces, he brought the beaten and unconscious hero to the Anti-Registration hideout.

Some heroes were apprehensive about having the vigilante in their midst while some were outraged not wanting him there at all, but after he assured them that he could get them into the Baxter Building, Captain America allowed him to join. Unfortunately on the eve of the final battle, two supervillains attempted to join the Anti-Registration forces and the Punisher killed them outright. Enraged, Captain America attacked Castle for his lack of self-control and for not finding the better man within himself.

When the war was over, Frank found himself on the run from G.W. Bridge and S.H.I.E.L.D. once again.

The Punisher made a brief appearance in Mexico where he was working on a parallel path with Moon Knight to take out the Alcantara drug cartel.

Dark Reign

After the Skrull Invasion, Norman Osborn  became the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. and renamed it H.A.M.M.E.R. Frank attempted to shoot Osborn, but the Sentry stopped the bullet. Sentry began to fight Frank. Frank was able to hide in his van until a man named Henry led him to a hideout. Henry then gave Frank information on a drug ring he wanted the Punisher to eradicate. Hank took photos of the fight, which made the news papers. Osborn read it and ordered the Hood to have Frank killed.

The Hood needed help to take Frank down, so he brought Microchip back from the dead. The Hood said he would bring back David's son if he took out the Punisher. After Microchip failed to do so, the Hood summoned back some supervillains from the dead to help take out the Punisher. The Hood then took G.W. Bridge's wife away and killed her, while his son was kidnapped. The Hood also took Frank's family out of their grave. Frank saw the Hood and Microchip, with G.W. Bridge tied up. The Hood told Frank to kill Bridge so he could have his family, and Microchip's son, back from the dead. Frank refused to do so. Microchip took the Hood's gun and killed G.W.Bridge. Microchip's son and Frank's family were brought back to life. Frank was shocked to see his family alive. Firebrand burn his family and Microchip's son alive but is killed by Frank. The Hood and Frank battled it out. While Frank was on the losing side, he bribed the Hood with one of his family members. The Hood let him go and told him that Henry was Jigsaw's son.

Soon after, Osborn dispatched Daken  and dozens of H.A.M.M.E.R. agents to kill Frank. Frank is shoot in the leg by the agents and Daken slice Frank to pieces. Those pieces were then recovered by the Moloids and the Man-Thing.


After his death at the hands of Daken, Castle was resurrected by Morbius and the Legion of Monsters as a patchwork Frankenstein-like creature to help them against a group of Samurai-like men lead by the mysterious Hellsgaard, who killed monsters for "not being of God". At first Frank refused to help them out and disappeared into the sewers. The Living Mummy later tried to reason with him and showed him Wolfman's armory.

Again, he refused. When the group attacked the monsters hideout Frank was angered by the death of a child Moloid and fought back. After intense violent battles alongside the Legion of Monsters against Hellsgaard he would eventually take his revenge against Daken in Tokyo, but was interrupted by Wolverine. At the conclusion of the series, the creature FrankenCastle was transformed back into a normal human through use of Ulysses Bloodstone's Bloodstone.

After Healing

After healing completely he started hunting the Hood but without results so he went after Micro. On his way a woman in a black leather suit attacked him. She pretended she was his burnt wife but it was later revealed that it was Lady Gorgon who he had also burned working with Jigsaw. This all ended with a final confrontation between Jigsaw, Henry, and Frank. Lady Gorgon was killed by Master Yoshiokya, a leader of the Hand and Jigsaw fell in a fire. Frank told Henry that if he ever saw him again, he would kill him.

The Exchange

A violent gang war resulted in the murders of nearly 30 people at a wedding reception, including the groom, leaving the bride, Marine Sergeant Rachel Cole-Alves, a widow just hours after getting married. Frank had connections with one of the detectives on the case and used the information he gave him to kill members of theExchange, the group responsible, before the police had a chance to question them. He left one alive and followed him as he searched for a safe haven. But his bosses knew he was marked by the Punisher and killed him, then sent the new Vulture to kill Frank. Though he won his battle with the Vulture, he was left seriously wounded, and spent the next three months recovering.

Back in action, Frank journeyed to upstate New York on a mission to kill multiple Exchange managers. There, he encountered Rachel Cole-Alves, who was using her Marine background to get revenge on the Exchange. Since they both wanted the same thing, the two began to work together.

Eventually, Frank learned that Daredevil was in possession of the Omega Drive, a data drive made of unstable molecules containing information on multiple crime organizations, which Frank wanted for himself. Daredevil refused to hand it over to him, but Frank agreed to help him destroy it since it meant he could spend the night fighting crime. However, Rachel wanted the drive to help her get revenge on the Exchange and stole it off of Daredevil before he could destroy it. It took some convincing from Daredevil to get her to return it. Rachel then fled the scene.

Angry that she has let her emotions dictate her actions, Frank confronts her and has her prove her loyalty to the mission by making her burn her wedding photo. With a renewed sense of focus, the duo made their move against the Exchange. Rachel confronted Stephanie Gerard, the leader of the Exchange, in her heavily protected office while Frank shot his way in through the window using bullets tipped with Adamantium to destroy the bulletproof glass. The confusion gave Rachel the chance to kill Gerard with a garrote, but Gerard's partner, Christian Poulsen, who harbored an unrequited love for her, reacted violently, slaying everyone in the building, innocent or not.

Though they stopped him, his actions resulted in dozens of deaths, including three cops, whose deaths were blamed on the Punisher. The duo split up, but Rachel, having killed one of the cops on accident, wanted to end her life out of guilt. Frank stopped her but she was brought in by the police shortly after. When the news reached Spider-Man, he asked for the Avengers help in bringing him in.

Frank continued his mission outside the country even as Black Widow pursued him around the globe under the orders of the Avengers, only for him to slip away. Thor soon found him and convinced him to return to New York and help save Rachel from the death penalty. But instead of turning himself in, he freed her just as the Avengers planned. However, they did not anticipate his actions and he was able to buy her enough time to escape. As a result, he was captured by the Avengers and placed in a special cell designed by Iron Man that separated him from other prisoners he might try to kill.


At one point, the Punisher was recruited by General Thaddeus Ross to be a part of his new Thunderbolts team alongside Elektra, Deadpool, and Venom. But unfortunately he is betrayed by Ross and started defeating his fellow members, beating  the Red-hulk, Ghost rider, Elektra, Deadpool and Venom, thus Frank Castle returned to the life of an outlawed vigilante alone.

War Machine Frank Castle

Frank's use of the War Machine Armor didn't go unnoticed, and he was quickly targeted by the superhuman community when he returned to America. While on the run from the superheroes, Frank went after Baron Zemo. He was overpowered by Hydra's forces, but Black Widow and Winter Soldier helped him on Fury's behalf. With their help, Frank intercepted Hydra's attempt to break out the fascist Steve Rogers out of the Shadow Pillar. In the middle of the breakout, Frank was once again confronted by members of the superhuman community, including Iron Man. In the end, Jim Rhodes, the former owner of the War Machine Armor, stepped in and convinced Frank to hand over the suit. Frank was taken into custody, but he was broken out by Black Widow and the Winter Soldier.


The Punisher starred in his own movie series, which depicted him as the protagonist - however much like in the comics he is not a classical "hero" and commits acts that could be seen as immoral if not for the fact the people he fought were much worse than himself (a case of "evil versus evil").

The Punisher (1989)

In the first film, Frank Castle (portrayed by Dolph Lundgren) tries to stop Yakuza boss Lady Tanaka from taking over the New York underworld and selling children into slavery. Despite the creative license taken with the character, he closely resembles the Punisher of the late 80's and early 90's, who conducts his war on organized crime like a machine with no other purpose in life.

The Punisher (2004)

The second film is a revision of the origin story of Frank Castle, this time portrayed by Thomas Jane. This take on the Punisher has many elements of the Western genre, and focuses on his complex scheme to avenge his family on Howard Saint's crime family.

Punisher: War Zone

In the third film, Castle (portrayed by Ray Stevenson) learns to his dismay that a mobster he's recently killed was actually an undercover cop with a wife and child. He also faces off with Jigsaw and Looney Bin Jim.

Marvel Cinematic Universe

Main article: Punisher (Marvel Cinematic Universe)
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