It’s safe to say that The Punisher is one of the most violent characters in the Marvel Universe. It’s estimated that Frank Castle has murdered around 48,000 people since his creation back in 1974, proving that he’s not someone to get on the wrong side of. Frank Castle has recently returned to the spotlight thanks to Jon Bernthal playing him on the Netflix Daredevil series. We’ve picked apart that number to find 15 of the most satisfying kills in his long and storied career of murder. There was plenty to choose from. With a kill count like Castle’s, there’s probably some we’ve missed — but these are kills that stood out to us as the absolute most satisfying ones of the whole bunch.
We’ve taken moments from all across various Punisher titles, including some of the weirder takes on the character. There aren’t any entries from any of the live-action versions of Frank Castle, but that’s not to say they’re not just as or even more satisfying than some of the ones listed here. Our honourable mentions go to the prison fight scene in Daredevil season 2, the short Punisher film Dirty Laundry and that moment in the game where you put a goon through a woodchipper. All good fun.
15. THE BLACK DAWN FIGHTERS
In The Punisher #20, Marvel’s “Secret Wars” event was ending and the multiverse begins to collapse. Since a terrorist group going by the name of the “Black Dawn Fighters” have been executing American hostages, Frank decides to kill the whole group. They also killed one of his associates, so he’s looking for revenge. He wages a one-man-war against the terrorists, wiping them out one by one. He even bursts into a bathroom and drowns a terrorist in a toilet.
Castle manages to take out the leader of the group by slicing him across his chest with a combat knife and then using his boot heel to finish off the job –he’s certainly practical. The Punisher manages to take out the final few goons in a blaze of glory whilst taking several bullets himself. He eventually collapses to the floor and bleeds out as the multiverse collapses and the series ends.
14. JACK O’ LANTERN AND JESTER
During the course of Mark Millar’s Civil War, Spider-Man unmasks himself live on television. This is so the world can see his faith in Tony Stark’s pro-registration argument, but eventually Peter comes around. In the ensuing fight, he’s hunted down by Jack O’ Lantern and the Jester throughout the sewers as they beat him within an inch of his life. Eventually, The Punisher comes to Spidey’s aid and blows Jack O’Lantern’s head off with a shotgun and shoots the Jester in the chest, killing him before he can kill Spider-Man.
Castle then takes the injured web-slinger to Captain America for medical help. The Punisher is a complete wild card in Civil War, but saving people like this prove that somewhere underneath the bulletproof vest and the ammo, he still has a sense of right and wrong. It’s still pretty grim when they show Jack O’Lantern’s brain being blown apart though.
13. JEAN DeWOLFF
In the Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #2, Jeanne DeWolff turns out not to be the honest detective that Spider-Man thought she was. (We didn’t get her name wrong, Brian Michael Bendis actually changed her name from DeWolfe in Ultimate Spider-Man.) She was targeted by The Punisher because she was a dirty cop under the payroll of the Kingpin. When a hitman going by the name of ‘The Kangaroo’ began going after the Kingpin, DeWolff managed to convince Spider-Man and several other vigilantes to take him out of the picture.
When DeWolff arrived to make the arrest, she was brutally shot by Frank Castle. Since she was an ally to Spidey, he was understandably a little confused until Daredevil and The Punisher cleared it up. It’s implied that she was the Kingpin’s lover as well as his employee, and seeing the iconic villain emotionally beaten by her death is quite a sight.
12. VERA KONSTANTIN
The Punisher seemingly enjoyed getting rid of the head of a sex trafficking organization that abducted girls off the streets. He tells her that her partner Cristu told him everything about who she is and how she operates. Especially the part where she ordered her group of thugs to break any kidnapped girls into submission by sexually assaulting them first. It’s the flashback to a distressing scene that really hammers her brutality home.
He begins by savagely beating Konstantin and ironically throwing her into the same bulletproof glass meant to protect her. Castle tells Vera that he truly hates who she is, and the organization she runs. He throws her numerous times with enough force that the frame holding the glass in place is forced out of the skyscraper, along with Vera Konstantin as she hurtles towards the pavement.
11. BRUCE BANNER
In Secret Wars: Battleworld #1 this reality fused The Punisher and the spirt of Doctor Strange together. Since this version of Frank Castle was out of his own dimension, the main Marvel Universe Doctor Strange sent versions of the Hulk, Wolverine and Ghost Rider after him. Since Castle has the power of Doctor Strange at his disposal — he simply reverts the Hulk back to normal as Bruce Banner. And with a clench of his fist, The Punisher turns Banner into dust.
It’s so impressive, because it’s done so quickly, and without any hesitation whatsoever. This also shows us how smart Frank Castle can be, simply working around the problem of the Hulk by wiping out Banner instead. The story even saw Castle take out the Ghost Rider by using magical ice and a spellbound rocket launcher –- it’s bold.
When Castle is pitted against every single super-powered being in The Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe, a mysterious benefactor aids him by funding his entire crusade. The man named Kesselring also breaks him out of prison, but as time goes by and he makes his way through the list, he begins to tire of slaying the heroes and tells Kesselring he’s out after his final kill.
Kesselring begins to taunt his crusade, telling Frank that he’ll never be finished since a new wave of heroes will emerge at some point. When he pulls a gun on Castle, he swiftly shoots Kesselring to end their business relationship. As he walks out, he warns Kesselring’s guards not to come after him otherwise they’ll get a bullet too. Not that they’re likely to try come after him since he’s just murdered the majority of the world’s superheroes.
9. THE RUSSIAN
In The Punisher Vol.5 #11, the classic Punisher villain is murdered in a particularly inventive way by Castle. He’s hired by Ma Gnucci to take out Frank after he feeds her to a group of polar bears. When the two face off, they tumble through a long fight, but Frank adds to his creative killing methods as they crash through into the apartment of Frank’s neighbor. The neighbor happens to be a severely obese man, Mr. Bumpo.
The Punisher scolds The Russian’s face with a slice of hot pizza Mr. Bumpo had been eating, and then hurls him on top of The Russian. The weight of the neighbor suffocates The Russian, and to add insult to injury, Castle cuts off his head to intimidate the guards looking after the Gnucci’s before he attacks Ma. After all, if The Russian can’t handle Frank Castle, they wouldn’t stand a chance.
8. MA GNUCCI
The Punisher finally kills Ma Gnucci, the head of the Gnucci crime family in The Punisher vol. 5 #12. Even after he thought he’d actually killed the villain by hurling her to a group of hungry Polar Bears, she comes back with a fury after having all of her arms and legs chewed off. Since he had already wiped out her brother and her three sons — she’s kept alive by sheer rage for Castle.
He’d already killed 80 of her soldiers by this point, and has been refused any more help in getting rid of Castle. She’s got nothing left when Frank arrives at the mansion to burn it down. After escaping, Ma Gnucci tries to bite Castle’s leg as a last attempt. That is until he kicks the quadruple amputee back into the burning building with no way to escape. It’s a well-deserved brutal death.
The start of Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe sees a change in Frank Castle’s origin story — his entire family aren’t wiped out in a gangland crossfire, but in the midst of a superhero battle. The X-Men and the Avengers are fighting a group of aliens called the Brood, and Frank turns up to find his family dead. At first, none of the heroes attempt to take responsibility for their deaths, and simply shift the blame.
Eventually, Cyclops makes an attempt at saying sorry and offers his condolences to Frank. Not being one for a hug, The Punisher pulls out his pistol and shoots him in the head at close range. It’s the immediate response that shows his mentality, and sets the tone for the rest of the story. Scott’s death does feel a little deserved, since he tries to tell Castle “we didn’t know they were there”. Ouch.
Also known as Rich van Burian, Sniper was originally part of the same unit as Frank Castle when he was in Vietnam with Ray Schoonover as their commanding officer. He came to blows with The Punisher when Sniper was part of Schoonover’s smuggling operation as an enforcer after the war. He remained a villain until his death in Wolverine and The Punisher: Damaging Evidence Vol. 1, #3. When it seemed that the cyborg, Damage, might have the chance to kill the Punisher, Sniper tried to beat him to it.
He ended up taking hostages at a funeral and trying to force Frank to choose whether he should shoot a woman or her child. Eventually Frank overpowered his old teammate and stabbed him, leaving him to die in an open grave. His death carries more weight since they served together before Castle took on the role of The Punisher.
During the “Long Cold Dark”, Barracuda tries to hit The Punisher where it hurts — his family. He tortures and murders Castle’s old friend Yorkie Mitchell until he finds out the location of Castle’s sister, who’s looking after his baby girl that he had with a deceased CIA agent. After numerous fights, The Punisher heads to his sister’s house to stop Barracuda. He even makes Castle think he’s already murdered the child to throw him off his game.
Luckily, Frank takes him down and tortures him until he tells him where the baby is. As he’s fixing the booby-trapped the car seat, Barracuda wakes up and chases Castle. The fight gets truly brutal, with Barracuda losing his nose in the fight as well as his arm. Castle loses his front teeth before shooting Barracuda in the head with his own AK-47. Don’t go after The Punisher’s family.
This one goes right back to The Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe and takes us to the end of the story. Whenever Frank Castle got himself arrested across the story, Matt Murdock would attempt to persuade Frank to give up his murderous crusade. It turns out that in this story, Frank saved Matt from a gang of bullies when they were just boys growing up in New York. After The Punisher kills Kesselring, he sets his sights on Daredevil.
He manages to stab him, after Murdock had pleaded with him to let it go. The Punisher realizes he’s killed the one person who’s tried to help him when Matt takes off his mask. It leaves Frank to make an impossible choice. On one hand it answers the question of who would win that fight, but when Frank realizes what he’s done, that victory might not be as clear.
3. THE KINGPIN
The Kingpin is one of the most notorious villains in the Marvel Universe, and in The Punisher MAX #22”, The Punisher manages to kill him. It’s a bloody fight to the finish. After Kingpin’s goons have been wiped out and they’ve landed a few bullets on Frank, he decides to try do it himself. The crime lord brutally beats Castle against a fire hydrant and nearly drowns him.
The Punisher responds by biting the end of the Kingpin’s tongue off, stabbing him in the side of the head with a claw hammer and then finally shooting him in the back of the head several times. The Kingpin gets what he deserves after he’s clawed his way to the top of the crime families of New York and letting a mobster slit his son’s throat.
Marvel Universe Vs. The Punisher #1 saw a plague that turned heroes and villains into cannibalistic killers. The story opens with The Punisher narrating the story, and telling the reader that he’s already killed Deadpool 33 times already. He’s shot him, burnt him, dropped him in the Hudson River and fed him to the lions in the zoo. Castle’s final method is to chop him into little pieces and bury them at separate parts of the city so he can’t regenerate.
The Punisher also mentions that most of the zombie-type heroes don’t speak, but Deadpool is the only one who doesn’t shut up. Deadpool is currently one of the most popular characters in comics, and seeing him finally killed by The Punisher is a strange breath of fresh air. No more wise-cracking Wade.
We’ve included some of the best kills from The Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe, but this last entry truly caps off the story. After Frank realizes the damage he’s done when he murdered Matt Murdock on his crusade, he takes the gun in his own mouth and makes one last kill. Himself, which is a satisfying end to the story.
It would be easy to call The Punisher an anti-hero, but he’s doing all of this because he believes it’s right. So it becomes a fitting end for Frank Castle, if a little sad. Going out in a blaze of glory is honorable, but that means someone else killed The Punisher, nobody should be able to own that mantle. If they ever want to kill him on Netflix, that’s the way he should do it — by his own hand.
Which other Punisher kills did you think were satisfying? Let us know in the comments!
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