The Punisher is back on Netflix, which means it's time again to watch Frank Castle do what he does best to people who do their worst. As we know by the trailers, Punisher's going up against a right-wing, religious fanatic in this season, plus his old pal Billy Russo. We expect those two to be pretty bad, but that doesn't mean they'll be the worst Punisher villains ever. In fact, take a quick look through Frank's comic book history and you'll see he's faced a lot of evil in his day. Or, if you don't have the time to go through over two decades of comics, why not just check out the list we made? Without further ado, here are the 10 worst villains Punisher has ever faced.
10. The Russian
Most villains that go toe-to-toe with the Punisher end up dead after a couple comic book pages. To survive beyond that takes a special kind of survivability, one that the Russian definitely possesses. The Russian showed up in the 2000 Garth Ennis run, and what makes him particularly bad is just how difficult he is to kill. After being hired by the Italian mafia to take out Frank, the Russian is stabbed, shot, suffocated, and even beheaded by the Punisher. But he comes back anyway. Yes, it's in cyborg form, but the fact that he shrugs off losing his head means that the Russian deserves a spot on this list. Even if it is number 10.
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When we say that we're listing Punisher's "worst" enemies, we're pretty much talking about most evil, not most poorly constructed. However, Bushwacker is a little bit of both. With a machine-gun arm and a supervillain name that sounds like it came from a Mark Twain novel, Bushwacker is a dangerous combination of awkward and vile. Bushwacker's motivations are never very clear, he goes from bloodthirsty Mutant-hunter to hired gun for Kingpin. Maybe it's because he's had so many bad-guy bosses, but it feels like Bushwacker just can't pick a type of evil to stick with. It's even more confusing when you consider that before his machine-gun arm days, Bushwacker was... a priest?
8. Finn Cooley
Finn Cooley isn't the only character on this list with a severely scarred face. However, that doesn't mean he doesn't deserve a spot on this list. An ex-soldier of the IRA, Cooley is a psychopathic terrorist with a penchant for chaos. He is an expert bomb-maker, with the exception of the bomb that left him seriously disfigured for life. Cooley's view of the world is as something to be conquered, and the violent way he goes about conquering it makes him not just a high-ranking member of the Irish mob, but a serious threat to Castle. Cooley appears in the R-rated MAX version of the Punisher comic, and it's only appropriate that he does so. Finn Cooley is just a little too evil for Marvel's regular continuity.
Oh, and if you remember Daredevil season two, you might remember a character called Finn Cooley. But trust us, the one in the comics is a lot more messed up. Facially and otherwise.
7. Agent William Rawlins
You might recognize the character of Rawlins from his on-screen appearance in Punisher season one. If so, you'll know that Rawlin's disconnected, cruel way of looking at humanity earns him a spot on this list. Rawlins is the embodiment of a power-hungry CIA spook. He deals death from the shadows, sacrificing any innocent life he needs to keep the status quo. If you watched season one, you know that Rawlins has something to do with the death of Frank Castle's family. That's not true of the character in the comics, but it doesn't mean he hasn't done a thousand things just as bad.
So many of the Punisher's worst foes are just human beings, but Daken is so much more. The psychopathic son of Wolverine, Daken has the mutant ability to heal from deadly wounds. But that isn't the only thing Daken has over other Punisher villains. What sets Daken apart is that he has actually killed Frank Castle. Frank comes back from death in a storyline called Franken-castle, but that doesn't mean Daken doesn't deserve the title of the Man Who Killed the Punisher. For this, and the other heinous acts Daken has committed in Marvel comics, we think Daken absolutely should be in a list of the Punisher's worst foes... Like Bane is to Batman, Daken is the villain who actually beats the hero.
There are so many disappointing things about the cancellation of Netflix's Daredevil. One of them is that we were so close to seeing a fully-developed Bullseye onscreen. Another is that, had Bullseye appeared in Daredevil, we might've also seen him go up against the Punisher. The pairing of Bullseye and Punisher is always fun to watch because of their differences in personality. It's almost a Batman/Joker dynamic; a cackling murderer up against a deadly serious hero. Bullseye has fought Punisher in several different iterations of the character, from Punisher MAX to Marvel Knights to the main Marvel continuity. But no matter how different those face-offs are, one thing is consistent: Punisher and Bullseye are characters that deserve each other.
Speaking of Daredevil villains, here's one that actually has encountered Frank on TV. We saw Wilson Fisk and Frank Castle meet up in season two of Daredevil, but in the comics, their interactions have been a lot more frequent. And a lot more deadly. An R-rated, truly vile take on the character of Kingpin showed up in the Punisher MAX storyline. This Wilson Fisk isn't as brilliant and conniving as the one with whom we're familiar, but he is just as cruel and ruthless. Maybe even more so. After a pretty satisfying wrap-up of the Kingpin/Daredevil arc in season three of the Netflix show, it would have been great to see Frank Castle go after a Kingpin who has truly lost all restraint. Then again, that probably would've been too dark even for the Netflix side of the MCU.
Frank Castle is a product of war. So, too, is the man called Barracuda. An ex-Green Beret, Barracuda went from the armed forces to the CIA to the mob, with a line of bodies trailing behind. He is just as vicious as Frank Castle but with some serious advantages. First, he's connected to some powerful, evil people. Second, he's got a team of hired killers that fight alongside him. But third, and probably most important, Barracuda genuinely loves to kill. Whether it's a foe or just an innocent bystander, Barracuda loves the feeling of taking a life. And the things he's done to achieve that feeling would make even the most hardened of killers sick to know.
You had to know that Punisher's arch nemesis would be pretty high on the top of this list. If Billy Russo had a heart at all, it's downright rotten. As it's been said several times in the comics, Billy's distorted face reflects an even more distorted soul. What's interesting about this character is that, even though he appears in the regular Marvel continuity, Jigsaw commits some truly awful crimes. They get even worse when Russo makes his way into Marvel's mature line of comics. Controversially, Netflix decided not to scar Billy too bad for his return in Punisher season two. But are his actions disgusting enough to still merit him the number two spot on this list? You'll just have to watch the second season to find out...
1. Marvel Cannibals
Alright, we know this is kind of cheating. After all, the top entry on this list isn't just one villain, but an entire comic book universe of them. In a storyline called "Marvel Universe vs. The Punisher," every single Marvel character has turned into a violent, hell-bent cannibal. As that description implies, these characters are truly damnable in their actions. Their purpose is solely to feast upon the flesh of their fellow Marvel characters, and the only thing that can keep them from this goal is death. Fortunately for the survivors of this grim, alternate-reality Marvel Universe, death is kind of Frank Castle's specialty.
Who do you think is the Punisher's worst villain? Do you agree with our rankings? Let us know in the comments section below!