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The 10 Best PUNISHER Showdowns

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For the last 41 years (give or take…) Frank Castle has been going head-to-head with the biggest and baddest that the MCU has to offer.

A firm fan-favorite who’s appeared across numerous imprints, and made the (admittedly troubled) jump from comic book to a number of different media platforms, the legend of The Punisher is now firmly established. A dark avenging angel that fears naught, and will never stop.

He’s fought and dispatched countless opponents, using all manner of weaponry and circumstance to achieve his aims, even returning from the dead on a number of occasions to pursue his quest.

So If you crave a little more Punishment on your pages, here are ten of his most memorable face-offs:

10. Punisher Kills The Marvel Universe

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The title says it all, really.

When Officer Castle’s family are accidentally slain in the midst of an immense hero/villain clash, he resolves to rid the world once and for all of the super-powered menace. And this he does, with a full cast of the best and brightest Marvel has to offer being brutally dispatched. The remorseless and thorough manner in which The Punisher works here are classic Frank Castle, exploring his opponents weaknesses and feelings in order to achieve a bloody end result. As hero and villain quickly meet their demise, the whole affair leads to a surprisingly poignant and downtrodden conclusion.

9. Kitchen Irish (MAX)

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When IRA terror arrives in Hell’s Kitchen, Castle becomes embroiled in a Irish turf war, which culminates in a frenzied four-way gunfight aboard the USS Intrepid. This is classic Punisher MAX, resplendent with decapitations, bodies shredded by .50 caliber machine gun fire, and one of the most disfigured and memorable opponents in the series (that isn’t Jigsaw…).

8. Infinity

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With The Avengers off-world combatting the forces of Thanos, NYC is defenseless in the face of extraterrestrial attack. Caught up amidst the chaos, half of General Ross’s Thunderbolts meet the enemy head on, whilst Frank pursues his agenda to dispatch an infamous Mafia gang holed up in a local warehouse. It’s rare to find The Punisher working in a team, let alone sleeping with one of his colleagues, and the humorous asides between him and his fellow T-Bolts during the action make this a thoroughly enjoyable romp.

7. Means and Ends

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Hopefully a sign of how well John Bernthal’s portrayal will fit into series 2 of Netflix’s ‘Daredevil’ next year, this pitches The Punisher directly against the Man Without Fear, whilst trying to stop a homicidal Bushwhacker and also save the life of a young boy. The action is relentless, and the emotional investment in the story is high, genuinely questioning if Frank’s methods merely generate more problems for him to solve, and end up ultimately paying too high a price.

6. Punisher vs Thunderbolts

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Following a botched attempt on his life, Frank’s patience with his fellow team members ends, leading to a series of no holds-barred fight scenes, which don’t end well for Deadpool in particular. Following a touching one to one with Elektra, it all builds up to a Hulk-sized confrontation with General Ross, before the larger MCU is forced to intervene. Frankly, any story portraying how The Punisher takes on a Hulk will aways be a success.

5. Dark Reign

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Equipping himself with a black-market selection of Avengers weaponry, The Punisher breaks into The Hood’s nightclub. His opening gambit of using Pym particles to hide in a pizza delivery sets the ruthless tone, as he utilizes a variety of high-tech weapons to neutralize the best The Hood has to offer, including a fully enraged Mr Hyde. One of the nice features of the Dark Reign run is the addition of the high-tech weaponry to Frank’s toolkit which add a welcome and entertaining alternative to his more traditional bomb/bullet/blade approach.

4. Mother Russia (MAX)

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At the behest of Nick Fury, Frank must penetrate a Russian military base to locate a young girl who holds the key to developing a deadly bio weapon. It’s the MAX imprint Punisher at his best, starting with a bar-room brawl, before progressing through a hanger full of troops and a tank, and ending with a brutal and bloodied face-off against a deadly Siberian opponent. The brutality of Castle’s methods are tempered with his less-seen human side, as Garth Ennis off-sets the fight scenes with a warm human touch to The Punisher’s actions, and leads to some brilliant later returns to this story-arc.

3. The List

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Following a series of hit-and-run attacks against H.A.M.M.E.R, the patience of Norman Osborn finally runs out, and he unleashes the full fury of his agency on The Punisher, culminating in a life or death struggle with Daken, son of Wolverine. Essentially played as a frenetic chase scene, with the odds of survival narrowing with each frame, you’d be a hard man to not be choking back tears at the final scene…

2. Marvel Universe vs. The Punisher

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Having rather unfortunately reduced the majority of the U.S. population to ravenous mutants, Frank strikes a deal with a feral Spider-Man to safeguard the few survivors. The catch? It’s him and a mutated Deadpool/Black Widow against The Kingpin and what remains his twisted empire. Having established that humanity is damned as a direct result of Frank’s crusade, the book shows a Punisher riven by guilt and responsibility, pondering if he is just as savage as those he seeks to destroy.

1. Enter The War Zone

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When his protege, Rachel Alves, is convicted of the accidental murder of a cop, Frank decides to free her with a daring courtroom break. The only thing stopping him? The Avengers. But that’s nothing a stolen Iron Man suit and a bit of planning can’t solve. Watching our unpowered Anti-Hero mixing it up with the A-List roster of Avengers is what fans have been waiting for, managing to keep the action both grounded and believable. Well, by comic-book standards….

What did you think of the list? Let us know in the comment section at the bottom of the page!

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