Following the cancellation of most of Netflix's Marvel Cinematic Universe shows that included Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, fans were hopeful but worried about the future of the remaining series Jessica Jones and The Punisher. Unfortunately, both series were axed just as they were set to return to Netflix. We have yet to see the final season of Jessica Jones, season two of The Punisher finalized what was essentially the origin of Frank Castle, leaving much of the character's comic history disappointingly unexplored.
While some version of these series might return on another streaming service, it's likely there are a few things we will now never get to see from Jon Bernthal's Punisher. 10 things, to be precise, which we'll look at today.
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10 The Battle Van
Castle has used a number of Battle Vans since it first appeared back in 1975's Giant-Size Spider-Man #4, ranging from bare minimum transportation to fully loaded assault vehicle. Punisher's Battle Van at its prime featured built-in weapon and surveillance systems that we'd love to see in live-action.
The Netflix series did showcase Castle's preference for vans in his war on crime, though neither season really introduced his high-tech combat wagon properly. The Battle Van was initially inspired (along with the character of Castle) by the "War Wagon" from Don Pendleton's The Executioner novels.
9 Lynn Michaels
Lynn Michaels was a police officer who first appeared in Punisher: War Journal #7. Michaels was chasing a serial rapist in Central Park when she first encountered Frank, and the two found themselves occasionally working together.
Lynn became disillusioned with the police force after a child murderer went uncharged for his crimes due to a faulty warrant, and she followed in Frank's footsteps, taking the murderer's life. She soon became known by criminals as the 'Lady Punisher' after she donned a kevlar suit inspired by Castle. Michaels later went on to work for S.H.I.E.L.D. as an undercover agent in Jigsaw's gang.
8 Rachel Cole-Alves
Michaels may have adopted the skull of the Punisher, but Rachel Cole-Alvez earned it. Rachel was first introduced in 2011's The Punisher #1, where readers first met the young Marine Sergeant on her wedding day. Unfortunately, a battle between members of the Owl's organization and a group known as The Exchange interrupted the Cole-Alves reception.
This resulted in the execution of all the witnesses at the wedding, though Rachel survived and sought revenge against The Exchange, which brought her into contact with the Punisher. They eventually began working together in militaristic operations against The Exchange and other criminals.
7 "Army of One"
Garth Ennis was one of the most respected modern writers behind The Punisher, and in 2001 he came together with Steve Dillon and Jimmy Palmiotti to take the character to a new level of destruction with "Army of One."
Following a battle with the resurrected powerhouse known as The Russian, Frank discovers an island full of soldiers turned evil minions under the command of former USMC General Kreigkopf. Frank takes the opportunity to lay waste to the island before hijacking the enemy planes stocked with a hydrogen bomb. Castle once again seizes his opportunity and drops the nuke on the island, killing over two thousand.
6 Riverdale Crossover
Assuming the Netflix series had continued, and given the initial premise of the various crossovers series, The Punisher would have been ready for a crossover of its own after a few seasons. And while a crossover with The CW's Riverdale (which airs on Netflix outside of the US) seems ridiculous, there is actually comic precedent for the meeting.
During the 90s' trend of intercompany crossovers, Marvel and Archie Comics teamed up to produce an incredibly odd pairing with Archie Meets The Punisher. Castle headed to Riverdale in search of a drug smuggler named Red, who was the spitting image of Archie. Hilarity ensued.
We've seen great battles full of revenge and retribution over the various volumes of The Punisher. However, given the nature of Frank Castle's mission and propensity for fatalities, we don't see a lot of recurring villains in the franchise. That's why it becomes such a big deal when an enemy of the Punisher actually manages to survive their encounter to trouble Castle again.
Barracuda was one such villain, who first appeared in the non-canon adult comic Punisher MAX. Barracuda was a fan-favorite assassin who received his own mini-series and made a great foe for Frank, though Frank eventually did what he does to all of his villains.
It's possible this particular storyline might not have been seen on screen regardless of Netflix's cancellation of the series, unless the series was in desperate need of a "Jump the Shark" moment. Franken-Castle is exactly what it sounds like - a reanimated version of the Punisher, who is put together after his fatal dismemberment by Daken, the son of Wolverine.
His reanimation was thanks to the mystical Bloodstone and an underground race of monsters, and he quickly set out on a quest for revenge against Daken. Franken-Castle was eventually reverted back to his normal human punishing self, and fans were left with the memories.
3 Angel of Death
If the previous entry didn't qualify as "jumping the shark," then look no further than the 1998 Punisher: Purgatory mini-series, which took the gritty crime-filled revenge story of The Punisher and took it deep into supernatural territory. Following the suicide of Frank Castle, he was resurrected as a punishing angel of death, complete with spiky angelic guns and a glowing sigil on his forehead.
The Angel Punisher schtick wasn't too well received by fans and was quickly forgotten in Punisher continuity, though the character does occasionally reference his former gig, with even deities like the Egyptian Khonshu remarking on his angelic associations.
2 War Machine
Following the death of James "Rhodey" Rhodes AKA War Machine in Marvel's Civil War II comic event and Frank Castle's misguided alliance with Hydra Cap in Secret Empire, he took on a new weapon in his war on crime - the War Machine armor. Punisher was initially tipped off to the whereabouts of the armor by Nick Fury Jr. so Castle could pull a job for Fury.
However, to no one's surprise, Castle refused to return the armor and a bloodbath of criminals ensued. It was only after a reborn Rhodey appeared and, from one military man to another, was able to convince Castle to give up the armor and turn hintof in to the authorities.
The Thunderbolts were originally a team of villains masquerading as heroes, but over the years had evolved into a government-operated strike force that gave villains a chance at redemption. However, the Thunderbolts were taken over by General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross AKA Red Hulk, who assembled a new covert team of anti-heroes.
This lineup of Thunderbolts included characters like Elektra (another Netflix MCU character), Deadpool, Agent Venom (Flash Thompson), Ghost Rider, and The Punisher. Castle worked alongside the team for a number of missions and developed an intimate relationship with Elektra, before turning on the team for their criminal actions.