Article by @Pacodelareguera
Over the years, Frank Castle has had his fair amount of brutal fights across the various universes in the comicdom; I decided to make a top 10 list of his best fights using not only the 616 version of Frank Castle, but also his much older version of the recently ended MAX universe and a couple of 'out of continuity' crossovers.
Before I start I want to give a little insight about the Punisher fighting skills and put it into debate; according to the Marvel Universe official power ratings, his skill is in "level 6" out of 7, this means the following:
6.- Master of several forms of combat (http://marvel.wikia.com/Power_Grid)
Why in some comics he is sometimes treated by other characters like a brute fighter with non to little skill in hand to hand combat is beyond me, my guess is that his skills are mostly destined to immediate kill of the opponent and he has to restrain himself when fighting against Spiderman, Daredevil, Captain America and the likes; if someone wants to put that theory for debate, let´s do it, in the mean time, here is the list of the TOP 10 PUNISHER FIGHTS:
10.- The Punisher vs Daken
Where did it happen?: Dark Reign The List – Punisher (one-shot) 2009
We open with the fight that costed Frank his life and spawned the controversial FrankenCastle saga; this fight felt to me as kind of a 'cheap shot' to all the Punisher fans out there, don't get me wrong, it's a good, bloody, brutal fight worthy of Frank Castle.
But the fact that at the time The Punisher had access to all those super-toys and special weapons of the super human community and not be fully prepared for an attack by Norman Osborn and specially from Daken bothers me a little; Daken has almost the same set of skills that Wolverine has and Frank Castle knows very well those kind of skills for not to be prepared to face them at some point.
Still this fight was impressive and even with all the consequences it had (FrankenCastle) I recommend reading the issue, just to check out how even with a broken leg and an army of super armored henchmen on his tail Frank was able to “kill” Daken in just 3 pages and then put a bomb on him just to finish him… if not for that pesky healing factor.
09.- The Punisher vs The Joker
Where did it happen?: Punisher/Batman: Deadly Knights (one-shot) 1994
This is maybe one of the best Punisher crossovers out there, in it, Frank has the chance to go after the greatest of Batman’s villains and the confrontation is full of good moments, the scenario is very credible and well executed, The Joker is no match for The Punisher in a hand to hand situation, so he used his guns, monologues, distractions and obstacles in order to escape him.
The chase goes on, and was awesome, you start to think about what is Frank going to do when he catches the Joker, and he does.
It is really a very rare thing to see the Joker scared of someone who is arguably crazier than him; it’s a rich and revealing moment when he realizes that The Punisher is not going to put him back in Arkham Assylum, or, as Frank himself said it: “I´ve got all the therapy you need right here, comedian.”
I think that, if not for Batman, this could have been one of the most memorable moments in the history of crossovers, and comics in general, but well, I suppose we all know how it was going to end.
08.- The Punisher vs Bullseye (mini series)
Where did it happen?: Punisher vs Bullseye (miniseries) 2006
In my opinion, Bullseye should be a full time villain in Frank’s inexistent gallery, these guys cannot possibly kill each other, they are extremely alike and equal that all of his encounters should end in a tie or with a minimum advantage on one of the sides.
They are both good in hand to hand combat and the use of all kinds of guns, Bullseye has the edge obviously with his marksmanship using everything as a weapon but I think Frank is slightly better in his aim with firearms.
Even if he is one of the major nemesis of Daredevil, adding Bullseye to The Punisher cast should be an excellent addition, I remember seeing them more against each other back in the 90’s but there was never a solid follow up to those stories.
One thing is for sure, seeing these two rising hell every time they fight is why comics are incredible.
07.- Punisher vs Wolverine (Ennis)
Where did it happen?: The Punisher #16-17 (Marvel Knights) 2002
When this fight came out in the Marvel Knights series of the Punisher I was very confused, not because the outcome or what happened in the fight (some moments are hilarious) but because I always thought of the relationship between Logan and Frank as a one of mutual respect and teamwork.
Was quite of a shock to see them portrayed as they are in the comic, if you look at all the previous encounters of those two you will easily understand what I am talking about, they even called each other by their first names.
Still this couple of issues where a lot of fun and heavily reminds you of a Wile E. Coyote vs the Roadrunner kind of thing, the shot gun in the face, the uzi in the crotch, the steam roller… it’s like a Warner Bros. cartoon with two of the biggest badasses in the Marvel Universe.
I remember that at the time, the Wolverine writer (Frank Tieri) didn’t liked the way his character was treated in this issues, so he wrote a story in which kind of implied that The Punisher was gay or something… kind of lame if you ask me (if you want to check it out and judge for yourself it happened in Wolverine #186 (2003)).
06.-Punisher vs Barracuda
Where did it happen?: The Punisher #50-54 (MAX) 2007
Let´s be clear here: this fight HURTS, it´s just magnificent how good Garth Ennis is in making something brutal yet "appealing" in some sort of weird way, you can imagine this kind of violence in a Tarantino movie; Barracuda wants payback from Frank for previously cutting his fingers and taking out his eye, so he manages to kidnap the Punisher’s baby daughter that he doesn’t even know exists making it close and personal with Frank and unleashing all his rage.
Everything happens with a very cinematic motion thanks in big part to the art of Goran Parlov one of the best Punisher artists out there, his version of the Punisher is a very muscular and bulky one and Barracuda is even bigger and stronger, something in his very particular art works perfectly with the extremely violent fight he is narrating alongside Ennis.
There is everything here: punches, kicks, bites, guns, explosives, axes and even torture with a car battery and some jump leads.
Barracuda meets his end, not before we learn something about his past and why he became one of the most dangerous men in the planet (not THE most dangerous thought).
Hope you enjoyed this first part of the list, stay tuned for the second one coming soon here, to The Punisher Central!