Who is The Punisher? Frank Castle is a former Marine and a former family man who formerly had a conscience. After witnessing his wife and children losing their lives, Frank became unable to deal with his loss. The brutal nature of losing his family caused him to lose faith in the criminal justice system.
The criminals and gangs who roam the streets who get away with their crimes need to be stopped. Instead of using traditional means to stop them, Frank became The Punisher - a man hell-bent on vengeance.
Frank's brutal approach to achieving justice in the world makes him an anti-hero, as he does not hold back from eliminating his enemies in brutal fashion. No longer focused on achieving vengeance just for his family, Frank is looking to eliminate anyone who does not follow society's rules.
Throughout his time seeking vengeance, Frank has been through some incredible situations. Since Marvel comics are not grounded in reality, his character has seen some fantastic things. Whether it is body transformations, the supernatural, or accomplishing unimaginable feats, The Punisher has seen and done it all. There are few other Marvel characters with the scope that The Punisher has.
So who is The Punisher? According to showrunners, filmmakers, and comic writers, he can be just about anything in the world. In order to achieve his goals and fulfill his dark purpose, the Punisher has put his body through a lot over the years.
Here are the 20 Weirdest Things About The Punisher's Body.
20 He Sold His Soul To Be A Ghost Rider
The Punisher may be used to skulls on his uniform, but it likely took awhile to get used to his own skull being on fire.
In the far away future, Frank Castle ends up paying for his many sins in Hell, but winds up looking for a way out. Instead of suffering damnation in Hell, he sells what is left of his soul to become The Ghost Rider. The biggest change in Castle's character was surprisingly not his change to a demon.
His transition into becoming Ghost Rider also turned him into a wise-cracking, borderline insane motorcycle rider.
In addition to this, Castle's Ghost Rider is under the thumb of Thanos, and is also given one of his Infinity Stones to do his bidding. Perhaps Castle should have rethought his choice.
19 He’s Been Infected With The Venom Symbiote
Imagine the absolute worst combination of two things that could create the most havoc on Earth. Does a combination of Frank Castle and an alien symbiote spring to mind?
In another alternate timeline, instead of the alien symbiote attaching itself to Eddie Brock, it finds Castle. While most "partners" with the symbiote see themselves being taken over by Venom completely, Castle was able to resist losing all control. In this case, Venom actually took a step back and let Castle be in full control, as the violence he created with his new powers was more than satisfying for him.
While paired with Venom, Castle became more dangerous than ever. This was one of his most violent sprees.
18 He Became An Angel
Underneath all of the vigilante violence, The Punisher is a family man. Despite his family being taken away from him, he still holds a deep love for them, and would do anything to see them again.
Frank was given the opportunity to see them again, but first had to become an Angel of mortality.
Instead of marching to the beat of his own drum, Frank had to answer to a Guardian Angel, and become his own vigilante. If Frank follows the Guardian's instructions, he would be given a chance of making it to Heaven to see his family again. Otherwise, Frank is going to need to pay for his sins, and would certainly not be making it to the pearly gates.
The book itself was not well received critically, and was soon scrapped completely.
17 He was Torn Apart by Wolverine’s Son
During The Punisher’s Dark Reign comic series, fans saw something that they had never seen before. The Punisher was finally defeated, and it was by a very unlikely foe.
While feuding with Norman Osborn, Castle was attacked by his assassin, Daken. A little-known fact about Daken is that he is technically Wolverine’s son and shares his mutant strength and healing powers.
Unfortunately for Frank Castle, he was not equipped to defeat Daken, and wound up suffering serious consequences. Daken did not just take his life, but severed Castle’s arms and head from their regular places on his body. Frank’s body parts were left behind in a sewer, leaving fans to wonder what happened to their favorite anti-hero.
Thankfully, they would not have to wait too long before seeing what would become of Frank’s remains.
16 His body was reassembled as a "Franken-castle"
Following his decisive battle with Daken, The Punisher was left in pieces. For any normal human-being, this would mean the end of his run as an anti-hero. However, Frank Castle is anything but ordinary.
Frank's remains were found by Morbius the Vampire, who “re-composed” him into a Franken-Castle.
Frank’s stitched-up body is intended to be used as a weapon, but he is still sentient enough to not want to be controlled. Ultimately, Frank returns to his previous “mission” of ridding the world of evil.
Frank’s newly composed body provides him with the same tactical abilities that he had before combined with a new level of strength that allows him to defeat Daken. While Franken-Castle does not stick around for very long, he was a wildly entertaining addition to The Punisher Universe.
15 He Was A Zombie
While The Punisher has been able to survive some of the craziest situations, everyone has their limits. In this case, Frank Castle was no match for an overwhelming zombie apocalypse.
When the world is infected with a zombie plague, no one is safe. Most Marvel characters become infected and become zombies.
Fortunately for Castle, he was one of the final people to be infected.
Frank was even able to work with someone who has experience with zombies, when Ash Williams from Evil Dead appeared to assist him. Unfortunately, not even the "groovy" one was able to protect Frank from a hoard of zombies.
It is confirmed that Frank did become a zombie when he attacked and bit Scarlet Witch.
14 Intelligence Is One Of His Greatest Strengths
While brute strength is certainly his forte, The Punisher's intelligence and tactical abilities are second to none. It takes very careful planning to organize each of his hits, and even more to do it while not getting caught.
It may appear that Frank's smash-mouth style and brutal behavior is the mark of a wild man, but he is very meticulous. His previous training in the Marines had a large focus on tactical awareness, which makes him very dangerous. It would be one thing if he were a reckless vigilante, but he considers himself a professional. This regimented behavior actually makes him even more dangerous.
As stated on the show, "Do you really think that Castle is the kind of guy who walks into a building he doesn't know how to get out of?" Castle's tactical abilities makes him one of the most dangerous people in the Marvel Universe.
13 After Facial Reconstruction Surgery, He Was Black
Facial surgery sometimes involves receiving some light work done on skin or a bone following a small injury or accident, this comic took it to a whole new level.
While in prison, Frank was attacked by a criminal gang of a boss he had recently taken out. Instead of beating Frank up regularly, they cut his face up profusely, leaving him with many scars all over his face. While recovering, Frank used this as an opportunity to escape. In order to stay hidden from the law, he had an underground doctor perform surgery on his face.
His comment of “Change me so my best friend wouldn’t know me” was taken very literally.
The skin graft he received was from someone of a different race, causing Castle to look very different and readers everywhere to cringe.
12 He Was Played By Dolph Lundgren
Whether he is playing Russian boxer Ivan Drago or The Punisher himself, Dolph Lundgren is a very intimidating man.
In the first appearance of The Punisher on the big screen, Lundgren donned the white skull in 1989’s The Punisher. This rated-R feature holds a current 28% rating on RottenTomatoes, which is not exactly favorable. On the other hand, this is a high rating in comparison to all Punisher films out there in the universe.
Lundgren embodied Frank Castle very well, and seemed to relish in portraying a vigilante assassin. His imposing demeanor and muscular stature made him very believable in the role – if his acting chops could have been on the same level.
Unfortunately for Lundgren, 1980s action films do not always hold up well years later.
11 War Is In His Blood
Where do Frank's motivations come from? Most obviously, his drive for vengeance comes from losing his family. However, there are other pieces of Frank's life which have been crafted from his past.
While Frank's early life is not discussed in great detail, his father's life parallels his own.
Before starting a family, his father Mario Castiglione also served in the war.
With tours during World War II, Mario served in the Battle of Iwo Jima as a Marine. This is likely the same reason that Frank sought out the Marines as a teenager. After experiencing the horrors of war, Mario likely did not want the same for his only son, but Frank signed up anyways.
With such a strong father figure, Frank's motivations for joining the Marines become much clearer. Mario set a good example for Frank growing up, but one question remains: how would he feel about Frank's identity as The Punisher?
10 He’s Immune To The Plague
If the world every comes under attack of a virus that turns everyone in to sadistic man-eating predators, just call Frank Castle to help.
In the Marvel Universe vs The Punisher series, a plague has engulfed the world, and has affected almost everyone. Unfortunately, this also includes superheroes such as Thor, Spider-Man, and The Hulk. While superheroes of this caliber are difficult to take down on a regular day, this risk is even more so when they are combined with a pathogen which brings out the most violent qualities.
Throughout all of this chaos, Frank learns he is immune to the virus and begins fending off the infected. Despite the danger, Frank does seem to enjoy taking out this many people due to the virus.
9 Skurge from Thor: Ragnarok is his copycat
Frank Castle's signature automatic-gun-toting style is often duplicated, but never replicated. While other Marvel Universe characters have tried, The Punisher's smash-mouth style is one of a kind. However, one person who has come very close.
The Executioner Skurge is an Asgardian hell-bent on destroying Thor.
While Asgardians are normally seen with mythical weapons, The Executioner adapted a different style of combat. As seen in Thor: Ragnarok, Skurge yields dual M16 automatic machine guns, and wields them nearly as well as Castle himself. Not only do they use similar weapons, but they both look strikingly similar. With short hair, a muscular physique, and a no-nonsense look on their faces, both look like they will fight to the end if necessary.
Unfortunately, Skurge met his demise despite being locked and loaded with weapons, while The Punisher still remains one of the best to yield a gun.
8 He Took Out All The Avengers
When The Punisher is looking at his target through his scope, they are not getting away. Even if they are one of Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
In a one-shot graphic novel, The Punisher does exactly as the title of the novel suggests - he takes out each and every member of the Marvel Universe. This alternate timeline does not feature Castle's normal origin where his family is taken out by assassins meant for him. Instead, his family is an unfortunate casualty while the X-Men and The Avengers are fighting off aliens. Despite their seemingly good deed, they ran afoul of a very nasty person.
Castle proceeds to systemically take out all of the favorite Marvel Universe characters, before taking his own life. It's a very dark end to a very dark story that will likely never make it into the MCU.
7 He's Straight-Edge
While not necessarily a straight-edge person throughout his whole life, certain versions of The Punisher portray him as one of the most regimented members of the Marvel Universe.
In an effort to maintain focus on his vigilante mission, Frank remains abstinent from illegal substance and alcohol.
Despite the nature of his work, Frank also does not utilize pain medication.
The purpose of keeping away from these substances is that he believes they affect his body negatively and could impact one of his targets. Each of the mentioned substances alters the body or mind, which he does not consider positive.
Due to Frank's regimented attitude, he remains incredibly focused. It has also been pointed out on The Punisher Netflix show that Frank consumes a lot of coffee, which only serves to keep him hyper-alert without the negative drawbacks.
6 He Was Played By Thomas Jane
With a large gap from 1989 to 2004, The Punisher was not seen on the big screen. That was until Hung star Thomas Jane resurrected him to retell this story.
The Punisher treated Frank Castle more like an unknown vigilante instead of being a part of a much larger Marvel Universe. However unlike its predecessor, this film was much darker and grittier. 2004’s The Punisher also positioned Frank Castle as an undercover FBI agent instead of a former Marine.
Jane himself had the dark and brooding qualities to portray Frank Castle, and while not as physically imposing as Dolph Lundgren, looked at home in an intense action film. On the other hand, this is also the only large-scale action film that Jane has starred in, so perhaps this genre was not for him.
5 He Has Defeated The Hulk
There are very few people in the world who can claim to have taken out The Hulk before. Frank Castle is certainly one of those people.
On more than one occasion, Frank has been able to defeat The Hulk using different methods.
While these do not always follow what is known about The Hulk in the Marvel Universe, exceptions can be made. During one instance, he defeated The Hulk by eliminating him while he transformed into Bruce Banner (which seems like the most viable option). In another much more gruesome instance, he removed The Hulk's head after using an Adamantium Arrow through his eye.
The Punisher has eliminated most superheroes in the Marvel Universe in various different universes. However, taking out the Hulk deserves bragging rights.
4 He Hooked Up With Elektra
While some fans of the Marvel Universe only know Elektra from the original Ben Affleck Daredevil film appearances, she has a much deeper history with other Marvel characters.
In Thunderbolts #30, the two assassins meet while vying for mutual targets.
However, this meeting goes much different for Castle. Rather than him getting to take out his own targets, Elektra actually takes them out before he has the chance to. Naturally, this makes her one of the most attractive women Frank has ever seen.
Their encounter made fans want more from these two, so their potential continuation on Netflix's Daredevil show is an exciting possibility. With some slight hints that the two of them have a daughter together in some comics, there are many different ways to go with this story.
3 His Marine Training
If there is one reason for The Punisher's tough-as-nails attitude, it would be due to time as a Marine. The training to become a Marine is not a joke, and only the strong survive it.
Frank joined the Marines at eighteen and had very little experience as a marksman or in combat. It took very little time for him to catch on, and he was eventually trained as a Scout Sniper due to his natural marksmanship. Eventually, this led to him being invited to join Special Operations missions where his skills could be put to "good use."
Castle does not fear anything, and is one of the first people to jump directly into battle and do whatever job needs to be done. That is not only his Marine training-- just part of his attitude.
2 He Was Played By Ray Stevenson
After Dolph Lundgren and Thomas Jane, the most recent Punisher film from 2008 was certainly not well-received. Punisher: War Zone starred Ray Stevenson as Frank Castle, but he paled in comparison to his predecessors.
Originally, this film was meant to be a follow-up to the 2004 film, however Thomas Jane had declined to reprise the role. This meant a new Frank Castle had to be cast, which led to the relatively unknown Stevenson being cast.
Unfortunately, this led to this film being the lowest-grossing Marvel film of all time.
The film was criticized for not adding anything new to the Punisher universe as it followed the same plot as the previous films. It was not until Netflix’s The Punisher starring Jon Bernthal that the franchise would see success again.
1 He Struggles With PTSD From Military Service
Despite all of his violence and vengeance, it is important to remember that Frank Castle is still a man. Not only this, but he is a man who has experienced some unforgettable things in his lifetime. From his time in the military to witnessing his own family’s execution, this leaves a mark on a man.
Showrunner of Netflix’s The Punisher Steve Lightfoot says that it is an important part of the character, “We are asking them to manage these extreme environments and then return home as though everything is fine. How could we do this show and not touch on that?”
Fans have seen Frank suffer from visions and terrors of his time in the service, and unfortunately this post-traumatic stress disorder certainly contributes to his violent tendencies.
Do you have other trivia to share about The Punisher's body? Let us know in the comments!