His upcoming spotlight on Daredevil season 2 looks like it’ll be operating in top-notch kind of shared landscape. The first, a bland, ‘bythenumbers’ action vehicle starring Dolph Lundgren, is barely worth mentioning. Thanks to film rights being spread out all over Hollywood, those movies happened away from the flashy pyrokinetics of Marvel’s other superhero movies like top-notch comics versions of the Punisher. Frank Castle had been the subject of four major motion pictures over the decades. The films that followed homed in closer to the righteous ‘revenge flick’ vibe of the character’s comic book iterations. Like being a resurrected agent who hunted celestial beings from Heaven and Hell, The Punisher was revisited multiple times in standalone projects that tried to tether him to more fantastical concepts. In these stories, the Punisher’s brand of justice was a single one available to balance the scales against the drug dealers, hired killers and similar miscreants he was taking down. Accordingly the Punisher is most interesting when he’s juxtaposed against Marvel’s other superheroes, frank Castle was a bad guy in his first appearance. His solo adventures in the 1980s and 1990s tended to happen in their own little pocket realities that were more grounded than some of Marvel’s fictional universe.
The massive success of The Dark Knight Returns shifted mainstream superhero comics towards a much darker tone. That shift, with massive amounts of overexposure, probably contributed to the character falling out of favor in the early 1990s. Coming from the Marvel Knights and Max imprints, the Punisher revivals of early 2000s done by the Preacher team of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon stripped away any mysticism and focused on a cynical, comically bleak version of the character. Theirs was a Punisher with little angst, one who punked out Spider Man and Daredevil in embarrassing ways. Punisher going to be the primary antagonist for the Man Without Fear, when the second of season of Daredevil starts on Friday March 18.
The two characters have a long history of battling each other, thanks to their philosophical differences with regard to how to deliver justice to criminals. Besides, The tension between sudden execution and possible rehabilitation makes the Punisher one of Marvel’s most controversial and popular characters, and it goes all the way back to the first appearance of the skull wearing vigilante. Needless to say, The tautly executed series by Steven Grant and Mike Zeck showed Castle taking on a vast criminal network in increasingly violent fashion, much like Death Wish, Dirty Harry and similar action movies of the late 1970s and 1980s.
Over the next decade, Frank Castle showed up as a random secondtier character in stories featuring various other characters. When he was the headliner of a five issue miniseries, That all changed in 1986. Readers saw how the deaths of his family from crossfire during a mafia shootout sparked a lifelong obsession with delivering his own brand of vigilante justice, when the character’s backstory was revealed. Notice, The Punisher was in league with Spidey nemesis the Jackal and showed no compunction about killing lawbreakers without due process. The Punisher was essentially a villain when he first showed up in The Amazing ‘SpiderMan’ #129 in Accused of killing Norman Osborn, the wallcrawler himself was the Punisher’s target in his first appearance.