For most people, meeting a heavily-armed tactical weapons expert like The Punisher in a dark alley isn’t the sort of thing they ever hope to have to deal with. Frank Castle is a super-soldier without every having gone through Captain America's super-soldier process. Evan as street-level superhero without actual superpowers, however, he’s about as dangerous as you can get without some meta-enhancement. Outlaws fear this cold-blooded vigilante as he plows through in his war on crime. The Punisher not only has serious firepower, but also the world’s greatest expertise in wielding it.
This means that an ordinary person would stand no chance facing off against him. Even without weapons, this guy is a formidable martial artist and no-holds-barred street brawler. What about when he faces off against his fellow Marvel Comics Universe characters? How would The Punisher fare against some of the most powerful folks in that pantheon? In some cases, it’s a no-brainer: The Punisher just doesn’t have the superpowers to keep up with most superpowered Marvel characters. But in others, he would absolutely wipe out the competition in a one-on-one faceoff. And there’s a whole lot of in-between as well. We already know that he’s been able to hold his own against both Spider-Man and Daredevil in more than one occasion. Let us focus then on the contests which would yield a clear winner and yield it quickly!
Here are 10 Marvel Characters The Punisher Could Defeat In Seconds (And 10 Who’d Destroy Him).
20 Hawkeye (defeat)
Clint Barton isn’t exactly the most awe-inspiring superhero in the Marvel Universe. Yes, he’s a decent fighter, yes, he has a quiver of trick arrows, and yes, he’s an expert marksman, but from there, his resume gets kind of thin. As a cog in the larger machine of a team like the Avengers, he serves an important purpose, but in a one-on-one face-off, the Punisher is bringing a whole lot of guns to an arrow fight!
Stripped bare of their weapons, they may be able to fight each other to a standstill, but if Mr. Castle storms the castle with automatic rifles, rocket launchers and flame throwers, Hawkeye would be toast very soon. Sorry, Clint, but your smoke bolt won’t get you out of this one!
19 Thor (destroy)
It takes just four words to settle this argument pretty quickly: “Thor is a god.” No gun-toting human is going to stand a chance against a true deity like the son of Odin. Still, let’s count the ways that Thor would absolutely demolish the Punisher. To begin with, he’s pretty invulnerable to most ammunition. From there, things get really tough. He can fly, hurl, and direct his invulnerable hammer, summon storms and is as tough as the Hulk.
Let us suppose the Punisher is armed with mystical weapons, perhaps forged by dwarves. It’s still a bad deal for Frank. Thor is super fast, can use his hammer defensively and even for teleportation, plus he can call up his daddy when he’s in real trouble.
18 Kingpin (defeat)
Kingpin is not a supervillain to be trifled with. His manipulation skills and organizational prowess are unmatched. This is what makes him such an effective mob leader, and why he is so dangerous. Is he a pretty strong dude? Sure, he is, but not strong enough.
In a face-to-face on some street corner, with no help from his goons, hired assassins or crooked cops, Wilson Fisk simply would not last five seconds against a master fighter like Frank Castle. Forget it if they were equally armed-- even in hand-to-hand combat, Punisher is the far more effective contender, having been trained by the military in all sorts of powerful moves. Kingpin would be smeared on the street in no time.
17 Doctor Doom (destroy)
Victor Von Doom is the self-proclaimed Ruler of Latveria and easily one of the toughest bad guys in all of the Marvel Universe. Beyond being an absolute genius and potent tactician, Doctor Doom employs a hybrid of sci-fi gadgets and Roma magic to make him so formidable that he’s defeated everybody from The Fantastic Four to the Silver Surfer. Not only that, but he wears a suit of armor outfitted with energy weapons, conjuration enhancers, and all manner of super-sophisticated defensive and offensive powers.
Basically, this guy is an evil mashup of Iron Man, Reed Richards and Doctor Strange. The Punisher could come with all the bullets in the world, but it would make no difference against the will of Doom!
16 Black Widow (defeat)
No offense to the top-level super-spy known as the Black Widow, but in a fair fight, she gets outclassed by The Punisher. Let’s start with the obvious assets Natasha Romanoff brings to the table as a trained black ops agent: like Frank Castle, she is a fantastic fighter. She also probably has a similar handle on how to use guns and bazookas.
However, Black Widow isn’t the type of superhero who takes on armies single-handedly. She’s more of a deep cover operator, the ghost who can sneak into the machine and strike the vulnerable spot. The Punisher, on the other hand, is a full-bore soldier whose focus is open combat employing overwhelming force. When it comes to a person-to-person battle, Black Widow would probably see her last day.
15 Scarlet Witch (destroy)
Wanda Maximoff is a mutant, she has telekinetic abilities, and she can do something really weird: she can change the probable outcome of any given situation with her “chaos magic.” Let’s take a look at the scenario: here comes The Punisher rolling in on a tank, weapons armed and primed, ready to rain havoc on the poor Scarlet Witch. Suddenly, the tank gets stuck in some mud, all of Frank’s guns jam, and a nearby wall just happens to fall on him.
These reality-warping powers are so scary that they reconfigured the entire fates of many Marvel characters in the House of M saga. Technically, she could scramble events and make it so Frank’s family is still alive and he never even becomes The Punisher. Check and mate!
14 Iceman (defeat)
When it comes to the merry world of Marvel’s original mutants, the X-Men pioneer known as Iceman has always been a fan favorite. This is a guy who can make your beer cold in two seconds and whip around on frozen bridges. He’s had epic battles against the Human Torch – pretty much the Yang to Iceman’s Ying – and has even bravely come out as gay.
The Punisher could easily arm himself to deal with Bobby Drake’s powers. How about some napalm to heat things up for Iceman? Can ice walls really stop rocket-propelled grenades? Sure, Bobby could cool things down enough to make conditions extreme for Mr. Castle. As a trained special forces officer, a heavy parka would be all he needs to get the job done!
13 Deadpool (destroy)
Deadpool and The Punisher are evenly matched in many crucial ways. Both are master hand-to-hand combat experts. Both are very well versed in the ways of munitions, firearms, and all other manner of weapons. Of course, both just love blowing stuff up! If they were both normal humans, they would truly be at stalemat-- but that’s a huge “if.”
The fact is that the Merc with a Mouth is actually a mutant with a regenerative healing power that puts Wolverine to shame. To put it another way – he pretty much seems immortal. No matter how many bullet holes the Punisher drilled into Deadpool, they will close right back up. Frank has no such power. Wade Wilson would make short work of Frank Castle.
12 Nick Fury (defeat)
What’s that you say? Nick Fury, the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. is every bit the weapons expert that Frank Castle is? Oh, and you believe they have both been similarly trained in hand-to-hand combat, so this one should be a stalemate? Sorry, but we beg to differ.
Yes, Fury is a well-trained fighter who probably could handle some weapons that The Punisher has never even see, but the fact remains that Fury’s primary role is not as front-line soldier anymore – and hasn’t been in some time. Having been the man behind the scenes for some time now makes him less of an asset in single combat. Meanwhile, Frank takes it to the street every single day. Nick would lose this one big time.
11 Iron Man (destroy)
Bullet-proof armor? Check. Advanced weapons systems? Check. Genius-level thinker? Check. Ability to take on the Hulk himself? Check. We could go on.
Tony Stark’s famous Iron Man exoskeletal suit is truly a technical marvel. It flies, it blasts energy beams, and so much more. The Punisher simply would not last a second up against the Golden Avenger. Maybe Frank Castle gets his hands on some serious ballistics, lasers, or metal-melting ordinance. Even then, Iron Man makes short work of him. The artificial intelligence powering the suit plus Tony’s own natural brilliance will generally find a way around just about anybody. Frank Castle isn’t even in the same league-- he'd go down quicker than you can say “Obadiah Stane.”
10 Groot (defeat)
Guardians of the Galaxy team member Groot has more superpowers than merely repeating the words “I am Groot” over and over again. He is incredibly strong. He can regenerate lost pieces of himself, and he can command other plants to attack his enemies. However, as we learned in the movies, he is not immortal.
Frank Castle is a one-man army. Not to be too facetious, what the heck could Groot do if The Punisher were to drop some Agent Orange on him? The anti-foliage chemical could make the walking tree wither away to nothing. Seriously, all it would take for Castle to knock this extraterrestrial superhero out would be the proper ordinance. As we all know, The Punisher goes to great lengths to be properly prepared.
9 Gamora (destroy)
As the adopted daughter of none other than Thanos, the Mad Titan who ended half of all life in the universe, Gamora is no slouch. She has not only been trained to be an A-level fighter, she’s also been imbued with super-strength, had her agility and speed enhanced, and basically has spent her whole life prepping for an epic battle against Warlock’s evil future self, The Magus.
Gamora knows how to handle advanced alien weaponry. Frank Castle is no cosmic powerhouse. He’s a mere human being. Gamora is the kind of warrior who faces off against crashing starships. The Punisher has guns that go boom-boom. This one isn’t even a contest, the green-skinned assassin would take Mr. Castle out in nothing flat.
8 Mystique (defeat)
We don’t want to sneeze at the power many of Marvel’s mutants have, but let’s take a look at Mystique. Yes, she is a tough fighter, there’s no question on that. Her shape-shifting powers make her an excellent spy; the ultimate mole who could successfully impersonate anyone in a deep cover assignment.
On the battlefield, however, she just does not have the weapons expertise to take on The Punisher. She would have nowhere to hide as he would probably use special tech goggles to follow her movements. Frank could almost definitely outclass her in a straight-up fight as well. There’s no mystery as to how Mystique would do in this clash.
7 Hulk (destroy)
Hulk is the strongest one there is. What does that mean exactly? Well, he’s bullet-proof, bomb-proof, missile-proof, and just about anything-proof. The US Army has thrown battalions at Marvel’s jolly green giant, and he’s torn apart their tanks, cannons, and everything else like so much tissue paper. What in the world could Punisher do to stop him?
Let’s pretend Frank’s got Hulk-busting weaponry, perhaps courtesy of The Leader. None of that stuff has ever worked for long. Bruce Banner’s alter ego just gets angrier and stronger. Frank Castle wouldn’t have a chance. If he was smart, he’d just forfeit before the fight started.
6 Vulture (defeat)
It may not seem fair to include some low-grade supervillains when considering a conflict with Frank Castle, but we need to cover the whole spectrum of Marvel characters in our sampling. Spider-Man baddie The Vulture isn’t exactly the most powerful foe The Punisher could face. He flies around, he has some moderate weaponry, and that’s about it.
The Punisher, on the other hand, can shoot down planes, blast away tanks and rain down the wrath of the gods in the form of hot lead. He even uses guided missiles from time to time, which could easily outrun this poor old thief. For The Punisher, a fight with the Vulture would pretty much be nothing more than a turkey shoot!
5 Jean Grey (destroy)
Before we get started on this entry, let’s define the exact contestant in this case. Jean Grey could essentially be two people. One is the telekinetic mutant who also has limited telepathic powers. The other is the being she becomes when she is possessed by the Phoenix force, an elemental power which literally feasts on stars. Forget that one-- of course Dark Phoenix would wipe the Punisher out!
What about the Omega-level mutant? With her formidable ability to move objects with her mind, Frank Castle would probably never get a bullet to hit her. And if she tools around inside his mind, he’ll never even get the drop on her. No matter who she is, Jean Grey wins this fight with no problem.
4 Hellcat (defeat)
Patsy Walker has had many interesting personas in her long and storied comic book appearances. First premiering as the protagonist of a teen romance comic, she went on to become a superhero after Marvel’s revolutionary 1961 revamp happened. For the purposes of this contest, we're focus on her incarnation as Hellcat, a street-level brawler with no special powers.
Sure, she’s tenacious and doesn’t give up in a fight, but The Punisher is simply tougher and his arsenal of explosives and projectiles easily outmatch Hellcat’s metal claws. She does have some mild mystical powers which provide defenses against magic attacks – but not against bullets. We all love Patsy and wish her nine lives, but up against Frank Castle, that just wouldn’t happen!
3 Magneto (destroy)
Doing the math on this one should not prove too tough. The Punisher mainly uses metal weapons to take out his enemies. That means guns, bullets, knives, bombs, grenades – you get the idea. Magneto, one of the most powerful mutants of all time, has absolute control over all things metal by virtue of his mastery of magnetism. What does this mean? Frank Castle’s main asset as a force to be reckoned with has been taken out.
In fact, any weapon he does bring would be instantly turned against him. Theoretically, he could show up with wooden or plastic arrows or bullets, but Magneto could still shield himself with any scrap metal laying around and promptly wrap a street lamp around the Punisher’s head in seconds. Frank may as well throw in the towel this time.
2 Agent Carter (defeat)
Here we have one of the most excellent secret agents ever to grace the world of the Marvel Universe. Peggy Carter is not just a soldier, but also brilliant in espionage. She can handle guns pretty well and her bravery behind enemy lines during wartime is legendary. Still, she’s just not the sort of battlefield warrior that Frank Castle is.
The Punisher would come at Agent Carter with everything he had, were he inclined to do so. The incredibly aggressive antihero would easily outmatch Peggy in a face-to-face confrontation. We know she would give it everything she’s got, but Castle would outgun her very quickly.
1 Hela (destroy)
Only a handful of entities in the known Marvel universes could be expected to take on Hela, the Asgardian goddess of the afterlife. For one thing, she is pretty much immortal, while the Punisher is clearly just a regular human. For another, this is the woman who crushed Thor’s hammer Mjolnir with her bare hands-- that’s mystically-forged metal we’re talking about! Regular earthly projectiles like bullets and missiles would be child’s play by comparison.
Meanwhile, Hela literally controls mortality with the palm of her hand. With just a gesture, she could end the Punisher’s life as easily as Thanos snapped away half of the universe’s living beings. This is pretty much a no-contest situation!
What Marvel character would you like to see The Punisher fight? Let us know in the comments!