Punisher - The Best 15 Stories (that Netflix Should Pay Attention To)

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Punisher

Punisher will have his own Netflix series, as we all expected and wanted after seeing his debut in Daredevil Season 2 (I guess we all wanted it…). Really - he was the standout in a season that, at times, seemed years ahead of its predecessor. But what should Netflix do with this character?

Thus far, there have been several attempts to bring the ultra-violent anti-hero to the big screen, but none of them struck a chord with the character’s fans (obviously, some say that Thomas Jane’s portrayal was better, but only when compared to the other ones, especially Dolph Lundgren’s atrocious turn). Jon Bernthal has proved that he belongs on the small screen, where darkness doesn't need to be toned down for the sake of a larger audience.

Most likely, Netflix will continue the story that began in Daredevil - with the Punisher apparently finding those behind his family's deaths. So I don't really believe that any of the following stories will be faithfully adapted, page for page. Nonetheless, any of them should at least be taken into account when Netflix movies ahead with the shooting.

So, without further ado, check it out - on the next page, Punisher finds someone just like him!

The Rachel Alves Saga

As said, Punisher seemed to have found the ones guilty for his family's deaths - and, apparently, it was all just an accident, with nobody wanting for him to lose the one he loved. And this works perfectly - after all, there is no reason to believe that Frank was actually a somebody in the MCU and, thus, being targeted for death.

And the same happened, in the comics, with Rachel Alves - back from a second tour in Afghanistan, she weds and, a couple of hours later, her entire family and her friends are gunned down by The Exchange (another case of at the wrong place at the wrong time). This tragic case had an impact on the Punisher, who decided to go after the organization himself.

Do you see that working on Netflix? I certainly do. The Punisher from Netflix proved to be pretty empathetic and having a clear vision on life. And seeing someone hurting in the same way he did will certainly make him seek revenge.

After Rachel Alves recovers and sees that there’s been no progress made in the investigation, she becomes a vigilante herself and an ally of Frank Castle. This could be the starting point of a great small screen partnership, one that could unearth actual conspiracies against US veterans (still, this is a series based on comics"¦).

On the next page, the deadliest assassin clashes with Castle!

Punisher Max: Bullseye

What if the Kingpin became a constant in the Netflix Marvel universe?

The Punisher Max series rewrites the story of Wilson Fisk’s becoming the Kingpin. He’s supposed to be a mythical figure, a legend the Punisher should pursue (as opposed to pursuing actual criminals). And while this is an interesting idea, it doesn't fit the Netflix Marvel universe, in which the Kingpin is pretty much real (that prison scene, with Fisk eating at the side of a dying former kingpin, is awesome).

So Bullseye should be introduced - I don't doubt that the third season of Daredevil will happen. However, a high-profile villain for the first Punisher season is needed.

In the Punisher Max storyline, the Kingpin reluctantly accepts an offer from the deadly assassin, who vows to bring Castle's head (most likely literally). The interactions between the anti-hero and the assassin, as well as between the assassin and his employer, are more than epic - just like the fights. And they show that Castle must actually plan ahead in order to counteract Bullseye.

On the next page, the aftermath of meeting the deadliest assassin.

Punisher Max: Frank

And since I’ve mentioned Punisher Max: Bullseye, the next chapter is titled Frank, and sees the anti-hero sent once again to prison. But I already saw that in the second season of Daredevil. So, instead of that, what if the core of the story (Frank's reflection on his life as a vigilante) takes place somewhere else.

Somewhere like his own lair, aided by the ever-helpful Claire Temple, with Kingpin's men on his trail. This would be a nice continuation of the conversation Punisher had with Daredevil on the rooftop, and Castle might actually reassess his whole perspective on vigilantism (yup, might, not will).

One of the best Castle scenes this year was when he was remembering his family and how he feared he would disappoint those he loved and how he had failed at doing what a father was supposed to do. Frank, the storyline, could tackle these same issues once again, this time with a different companion and this time going even further into his motives. Case in point, the excerpt below.

Am I a bad guy? Am I a good guy? Why do I keep on going?

On the next page, Frank Castle is nothing!

Return to Big Nothing

As we said previously, the Punisher has apparently found out who was behind the deaths of his family. And, apparently, it was all just an accident. But what if there is more to that? What if the Blacksmith is someone other than Schoonover, some twisted guy with a personal grudge and lots of power?

For this, Netflix could take its cues from Return to Big Nothing, in which Frank Castle goes against a former comrade from the war (obviously, it won't be Vietnam, as it is in the comics). It was already revealed that soldiers were responsible for killing Frank's family - but, somehow, the plot seemed to be too thin.

So we propose that a former comrade was indeed the Blacksmith, who knew that he was under surveillance, who had lots of power, and who also saw Frank Castle as, well, a big nothing. So the death of the family was the cherry on top for him. Could this be true?

Well, it could, since it would open up the possibility of continuing the origin story, and I believe that only began during Daredevil.

And this leads perfectly to the next storyline, which would reveal the identities of Schoonover's bosses!

Valley Forge, Valley Forge

This is another great Punisher story that sheds more light onto the character's past (for example, the ease with which he kills during war), continues the story from Daredevil Season 2, and might even make some connections to Jessica Jones (namely, a full blown Nuke sent to kill Frank Castle, as opposed to the incipient one from the first season).

And this story also focuses on the corruption in the army and with the still unrevealed Blacksmith wanting to take the Punisher out. This would be perfect and could serve as a backdrop for some flashbacks (or, as I would prefer it, even more monologues), which would bring a better understanding of Frank's persona.

Let's face it - don't you want to find out why he is a hero?

Obviously, Punisher gets his vengeance in the end, by killing all those corrupt generals.

Up Is Down and Black Is White

It isn't hard to see that the Punisher has left quite an impression on Hell's Kitchen. And, after the very public trial he had, it isn't too hard to see how his entire life could become an open book for anybody interested. And this is the point of Up Is Down and Black Is White - the villains playing really, really dirty by using personal information on Frank Castle. What could possibly hurt the man who believes he has nothing left?

Obviously, all villains play dirty - however, in this particular story, Frank's buried family is exhumed and raped, in order to drive the anti-hero mad. This is the kind of dirty I'm talking about - and this is the kind of act that would infuriate the Punisher.

Obviously, only Netflix could present something like this.

And what follows is even more interesting, since the audience will actually delve even more into the dark world and psyche of the anti-hero, and could actually catch a glimpse of his own personal hell, one in which his dead family constantly reminds him that he has failed them. This is dark. This is extremely dark.

And elements of the storyline on the next page would fit perfectly afterwards! After all, who would rape a dead body?

Long, Cold Dark

Well, Barracuda would do that.

Long, Cold Dark is about the Punisher finding out that he has another child - yay! However, he finds out after the said child is kidnapped by Barracuda and used as a sort of leverage (he even shoots the baby at point blank range, even if this were just a ruse, to make the Punisher go all out against him). This won't work in the Netflix universe; where did that kid come from? Wasn't Frank supposed to be a loving family man?

Leaving this aside, Long Cold Dark would pit Frank Castle against another former soldier, thus connecting a first season of the solo series to what was already presented during the second Daredevil season. So things should be kept just like in the comic, with this little detail changed.

And Barracuda, although a less known villain, would be a suitable antagonist, because he has the same training as Frank (and I guess I wasn't the only one to see what kind of training this was, in the epic prison fight scene), he is more physically imposing, and he would do even the unimaginable in order to defeat the Punisher.

And since I mentioned Barracuda, how about revealing the possible aftermath of their first encounter?

Barracuda

Introduced for the first time in 2006 as the ultimate gangster, Barracuda managed to subdue Frank Castle during their first encounter, even if the villain lost an eye and a couple of fingers in the process. Called as an enforcer, Barracuda made good use of his military training and defeated the Punisher - however, given his lack of a code (and, therefore, falling prey to his own obsessions), the villain let chance decide the fate of the anti-hero.

And that didn't work out too well for him, in the end.

But this is all about a first encounter between the two. As we mentioned, this was in the comics - and, granted, I guess it could work out just fine as a first encounter on the small screen. However, if this storyline follows the Long, Cold Dark one, then it would be even better.

The Punisher will be defeated by a bigger, even larger-than-life opponent, after losing his mind when seeing his family's remains desecrated. And I guess we all want to see some sharks doing their thing on Netflix"¦

I also want to see how Castle deals with ninjas"¦so, on the next page"¦

The Omega Effect

No, I will never get to see Spider-Man on the small screen - at least not anytime soon, especially since everybody is praising Tom Holland in the role. However, The Omega Effect doesn't really have to include him. As a matter of fact, it doesn't need Daredevil, either.

And that is because the Omega Drive was, basically, just a MacGuffin. And since it wasn't so important (what it contained), it may as well be changed. But to what? Well, there’s that pretty weird stuff we saw throughout Daredevil Season 2; the stuff that got Elektra killed.

Punisher would be the one to handle himself pretty well against some trained ninjas - just give him a gun and they won't be back up (not even Nobu). Wouldn't you want to see how Punisher, who is not as proficient at hand to hand combat as Daredevil, receives a lot of punishment from some ninjas, before prevailing?

Basically, his introduction in the Netflix universe was all about that - facing the storm. But it was also about the dialogue (and monologues, of course), pretty much like in the next entry.

Kitchen Irish

Okay, so maybe not all of it. However, Kitchen Irish shows why some series work and why some don't. And it is pretty simple - establish a connection between the audience and all the characters, no matter how unimportant they seem to be. And then let it all blow up in the audience's face.

Obviously, Garth Ennis was the one to come up with Kitchen Irish - and, since many of his creations are on this list (Barracuda, for example, is his creation), I might as well mention why: because many of his secondary (and even tertiary, if I may say so) characters are fully fleshed out. And when the Punisher kills someone, you know who just died.

Many a time it’s been said that the character is repetitive - well, he may be, and on Netflix, he and his life story may become ultraviolent, brooding, and kind of depressing. But as long as the creators of the show take only the best things from the comics (again, it isn't about entire storylines at all), then it should be good.

Maybe as good as the next story on this list, which delves even deeper into the Punisher's persona.

Born

A faithful adaptation of this storyline cannot happen - it takes place during the Vietnam War, when Jon Bernthal's character wasn't even born. However, small tweaks can be made to adapt the story to the current version of the character.

And it can happen via flashbacks. We've seen tons of them during both the Daredevil season (more in the second one, of course), as well as during Jessica Jones. So it is possible for Punisher as well.

And it’s important, since Born shows that the Punisher existed within Frank Castle well before the time when his family was killed. As a matter of fact, several references are made in the second season of Daredevil, when Frank said that killing has always been easy for him.

A faithful adaptation is out of the question - but I do believe that more of this story should make its way to the small screen. In this way, a clear distinction will be made between Punisher and Daredevil, even if this means contradicting the epic, you know you’re one bad day away from being me in a big way .

Moving on, the next page is about the time when Punisher became a full-fledged (anti-)hero, leaving behind the status of supporting character.

Circle of Blood

Circle of Blood is just the beginning of a bigger Punisher story arc, in which the anti-hero is pitted against an organization he himself believed to be good. It is also the story in which the character's most definitive traits are outlined, including his code of honor.

Basically, Punisher is sprung out of prison by an organization called the Trust, which is actively fighting crime. It isn't so, though. And this does resemble what happened in the second season of Daredevil - however, Frank knew that he was released by a villain. And he says that the next time they meet he won't be so forgiving.

At this moment, it is safe to say that Kingpin is the best villain in the MCU (Loki is more of an anti-hero, while the most recent reviews say that Zemo is another miss for Marvel). So Circle of Blood could be about the Kingpin still manipulating Frank into killing his competition. And when Frank finally finds out, there will be blood.

In the Beginning

In the Beginning is all about getting down to business - there's no time for pleasantries, as Microchip sells Frank to an extra governmental agency (here comes Nuke again), with the mob hot on his heels, with literal bloodbaths. It is the perfect continuation of the story and would also introduce a supporting Punisher character.

After the events of the second Daredevil season and after the very public trial and the disappearance of the villain from prison, I guess that there are several agencies (and not only) searching for him.

This is all about the violence of the character, that doesn't tangle itself in needless secondary plotlines or, for that matter, that doesn't pertain to a major one. Frank Castle exists no longer - this is just the Punisher, making his way out of the hairiest situations and toward the very top.

Welcome Back, Frank

Welcome Back, Frank is considered the comic book run that salvaged the character, while also being arguably the best of the lot. It was also the main source of inspiration for the Thomas Jane vehicle, though certain changes were made.

Basically, Frank returns to the city after a long period of time, and secludes himself in a building with all sorts of social outcasts as he pursues the Gnucci crime syndicate. Unlike in the movie, though, Frank uses everything at hand in order to impart punishment, including a zoo.

We mention this arc here because it shows that Punisher can also be funny at times - especially during his relationship with Soap, the detective in charge of catching him (who secretly aids him). And while we like our Punisher as violent as he comes, some brief moments of respite would be needed.

This arc also features the Russian (who, like Frank, is a soldier). But the Netflix series would be served better by this issue if they borrowed the kind of humor for which Welcome Back, Frank is known.

On the next page, my personal favorite, for the terrific art and the terrific theme!

The Slavers

I have no idea how this could be worked into the Netflix universe - maybe the Hand could be depicted as being one and the same with the Slavers. But I doubt it could work.

The Slavers is yet another perfect example why Garth Ennis is probably the best Punisher writer. The way the story comes to life (aided by the amazing and gritty art, as well) makes me understand each one of the characters - from the mains to the secondary. Furthermore, while the Punisher is best seen as an anti-hero (would you side with Daredevil and his one rule, or with Frank?), the answer is pretty clear here.

And don't expect the Slavers to be filled with walking clichés - instead, expect a mature story, like no other could have told, about the modern day sex trafficking.

Many of the arcs on this list may or may not find a place in the Netflix universe. Seeing how the character was introduced, I can bet that the Slavers will have to wait for a second season of the Punisher (or further down the road) before being tackled with.

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