154: Why No Punisher?

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Why No Punisher?

"Castle has no superpowers. The Punisher wears no mask. Men with his skills and physique walk the earth today. His costume consists of a T-shirt. The weapons he uses are real and readily available. Two generations have grown up with his stories, but no one has ever taken up his mantle. Castle's plausibility is unique among comic book heroes. We know why there's no Superman. We don't know why there's no Punisher."

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Being a fan of The Punisher, I loved this article! Well done!

I am reminded of this quote from Snow Crash: "Until a man is twenty-five, he still thinks, every so often, that under the right circumstances he could be the baddest motherfucker in the world. If I moved to a martial-arts monastery in China and studied real hard for ten years. If my family was wiped out by Colombian drug dealers and I swore myself to revenge. If I got a fatal disease, had one year to live, and devoted it to wiping out street crime. If I just dropped out and devoted my life to being bad."

Until those things happen I'll have to be content with not being the Punisher...

Ennis has actually touched on this a few times in the Max books. One that stands out for me particularly was the Widowmaker arc, in which the character who temporarily becomes him is unable to handle the weight of the act, while the cop who stands on the precipice steps away from it, largely as a result of Castle's own words - "You want to be me?"

He also made an early comment regarding Frank's motivations through Microchip in the first story arc, when Micro accuses him outright of using the death of his family to justify what he does, when in fact it's a simple matter of doing it because he likes it. As a lapsed Punisher fan returning to the fold, it was easy to overlook at the time, but in light of future stories like the one about his new daughter (which I wasn't aware of prior to this article) it becomes more clear.

I like it. I enjoy Castle's ambiguity. I enjoy the fact that he's the one guy in the Marvel universe with a clearly defined and utterly incorruptible moral code. It reminds me of a line in the original Punisher miniseries done by Grant and Zeck, spoken during a discussion about Castle's psych evaluation following his capture: "He tests so sane it's scary." Castle isn't immoral and he isn't insane; he's possessed of uniquely focused clarity that none of us can lay claim to. It's the sort of depth and complexity rarely seen in mainstream comic characters.

Except for Batman.

Lately I find his stories of revenge and disenchantment represent a nihilism that is difficult to swallow in this era of suicide bombers. I wonder how Frank Castle will evolve as America begins welcoming home the next generation of shell shocked veterans, who are fighting a war created in response to an act of rage of Punisher-like proportions.

Human Bomb:
Except for Batman.

Not really. Batman doesn't kill people, for one thing, which does away with whole layers of complexity the character could embrace. There was a Batman/Punisher crossover years ago, during the time when Azrael took over as Batman, and it was... meh. Largely forgettable. But one bit of it that did stick with me was the inevitable confrontation between the Punisher and the Joker. Just before Frank pulled the trigger, Batman leapt in to save the day, and held the Punisher off so the Joker could get away.

How many people has the Joker killed? At least hundreds, probably thousands. Batman can't stop him. No facility can hold him. Only one thing will bring him down and save innumerable lives - and Batman let him get away to keep that from happening.

That, to me, shifts from unflinching morality to far outside the boundaries of suspended disbelief. If Batman would sacrifice a thousand lives to save one - not to mention that the life in question is an irredeemably insane mass murderer - then he really is a douchebag.

It's the principle Malygris. It's like in The Killing Joke- the Joker captures Jim Gordon, locks him up and shoots/paralyses his daughter. However, when Batman comes to rescue him, Gordon tells him to get the Joker by the book. "Show him that our way works".

Batman could kill the Joker, but then he'd be no better than the thugs he takes down. He isn't a cop who's allowed to use lethal force, he's just a man looking for justice. If he started killing his opponents, he'd move from being the 'Caped Crusader' to being a simple psychopath asserting his alpha-dominance over other psychopaths. Why shouldn't he then be locked up?

Wow, I'm jumping into this discussion a few hours late, but I have to say I really enjoyed that article.

I love Ennis' Punisher, and it's by far the best storyline I've followed in a long time. The amount of light shed on his psyche is astounding, and I love the comparisons between Batman and the Punisher in this thread.

"Batman could kill the Joker, but then he'd be no better than the thugs he takes down. He isn't a cop who's allowed to use lethal force, he's just a man looking for justice."

The same argument is used in the Punisher Vs. Daredevil storyline, and the general "Show him that our way works" argument is debunked due to the fact that their way DOESN'T work.
If it did, there'd have been no punisher / batman / joker / daredevil in the first place.

If there was an actual working criminal system that could hold powerful (influential) disturbed individuals such as the Kingpin or the Joker (Criminals that are both treated like royalty by fellow inmates) then there would be no need for the Punisher at all.

All in all he's a temporary means to an end as it is. He's a long way off being immortal and he's been near fatally wounded at least once per issue in the punisher MAX series as long as i've been reading it. There have been future incarnations of Batman, but I'm doubtful if there can be any other Punishers after Frank Castle. His story and psyche are utterly unique and I want to follow all of his current and future story arks through to the end.

tendo82:
Lately I find his stories of revenge and disenchantment represent a nihilism that is difficult to swallow in this era of suicide bombers.

Let's not lose sight of the fact that suicide bombers kill innocents. That's got nothing to do with revenge.

Loved the article. Makes me want to buy some Punisher comics... I don't think I own a single one!

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
It's the principle Malygris. It's like in The Killing Joke- the Joker captures Jim Gordon, locks him up and shoots/paralyses his daughter. However, when Batman comes to rescue him, Gordon tells him to get the Joker by the book. "Show him that our way works".

But by now, somebody - Batman, Robin, Alfred, somebody - should have figured out that it doesn't work. It's gone way beyond principle: By refusing to do what so obviously needs to be done, Batman has become an active part of the problem, almost as responsible for the murder of innocents as the Joker himself. In that crossover with the Punisher, all he had to do after coming upon the showdown between the Joker and Castle was to hold back for just a second. Check to make sure he didn't lock the keys in the Batmobile. Tighten his utility belt. Get that goddamn pebble that's been driving him crazy all day long out of his boot. Whatever. Five seconds hesitation and countless lives are saved.

But he doesn't. It's not principle, it's not morality. It's complicity - or it's a character so utterly lacking in depth that he responds to the same situation in the exact same predictable way every single time, without fail and no matter how horrible it may be, simply because there's nothing more to it.

Now, if you want Bat-complexity, we can talk about The Dark Knight Returns, and yeah, I'll grant you that Bruce Wayne and Frank Castle suddenly have an awful lot in common. Much like Ennis with the Max imprint, The Dark Knight featured an uncommonly-talented writer given free reign with an established but underused character; but whereas the Punisher Max is (I'm assuming) generally considered "canon" these days (and god, I hate that term), The Dark Knight Returns isn't. Which is a shame, because that's the kind of Batman that makes interesting reading: Complex, conflicted and deeply human.

Maybe some of the writers just take the Punisher too far. I like the concept of the Punisher: an exsoldier who fights a one-man war on criminals like a soldier would on his enemy. I just think that the whole thing gets bogged down in anti-war and anti-hero goblety gook. Heroes aren't supposed to be extremely complicated. The whole point of reading comic books is to escape reality. You cant have much of a fantasy to escape into if you cram too much politics and grey areas into it. Doing so turns a fantasy into a satire or fable. If that's what you want, fine but in doing so, the story ceases to be a comic book and becomes something else.

It's like insisting that a character from a funny sit-com TV show be made serious and dramatic. It doesn't really work.

Malygris:

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
It's the principle Malygris. It's like in The Killing Joke- the Joker captures Jim Gordon, locks him up and shoots/paralyses his daughter. However, when Batman comes to rescue him, Gordon tells him to get the Joker by the book. "Show him that our way works".

But by now, somebody - Batman, Robin, Alfred, somebody - should have figured out that it doesn't work. It's gone way beyond principle: By refusing to do what so obviously needs to be done, Batman has become an active part of the problem, almost as responsible for the murder of innocents as the Joker himself. In that crossover with the Punisher, all he had to do after coming upon the showdown between the Joker and Castle was to hold back for just a second. Check to make sure he didn't lock the keys in the Batmobile. Tighten his utility belt. Get that goddamn pebble that's been driving him crazy all day long out of his boot. Whatever. Five seconds hesitation and countless lives are saved.

But he doesn't. It's not principle, it's not morality. It's complicity - or it's a character so utterly lacking in depth that he responds to the same situation in the exact same predictable way every single time, without fail and no matter how horrible it may be, simply because there's nothing more to it.

Now, if you want Bat-complexity, we can talk about The Dark Knight Returns, and yeah, I'll grant you that Bruce Wayne and Frank Castle suddenly have an awful lot in common. Much like Ennis with the Max imprint, The Dark Knight featured an uncommonly-talented writer given free reign with an established but underused character; but whereas the Punisher Max is (I'm assuming) generally considered "canon" these days (and god, I hate that term), The Dark Knight Returns isn't. Which is a shame, because that's the kind of Batman that makes interesting reading: Complex, conflicted and deeply human.

Malygris is looking at comics the wrong way, its not supposed to be a representation of real life. the opposite, theres not supposed to be depth, thats what normal life is for. Super heroes and all that is entertainment, escape from reality. Its not something to admire for its intelligently written or depth.. there's some obviously for those that seek it but not as much as anyone of your caliber would want.

Your in the wrong crowd.

Punisher is the closest thing to that what you seek, Punisher was always a very NON-Marvel character, thats why it appeals to you so much. The real human side, the reality of it. but fictional none the less, matters not cause in the end its created for enjoyment or intellectually stimulating.

I like characters with some depth. Many superheros are really shaped in the WW2 era, where thinking was black-white, and so were the super heros. I like non black-white thinking, makes it easier to relate to.

Can be too much as well. I saw the daredevil movie and bought a few magazines...that guy, sorry to say, is a whiner.

You said that's no one can be the Punisher. Well I know 150 men who would differ from you. They even use a similar logo. IT's a movie now, I'll send you a link to download with you like (I don't endorce piracy).

http://www.mininova.org/tor/1016967

The review from IMDB
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0861739/

Now what I like in Castle is that he really does criticize the oblivious thinking of the american super hero. Wich by the way are always the "mith man", perfect in body and mind, right or righteous in every act. I have all their comics books, both in portuguese and english, and the punisher in portuguese is "O justiceiro", literally the guy who does justice, not the punisher "O algoz ou Punidor" the one who punishes.

Malygris:
It's not principle, it's not morality. It's complicity - or it's a character so utterly lacking in depth that he responds to the same situation in the exact same predictable way every single time, without fail and no matter how horrible it may be, simply because there's nothing more to it.

Or it's a refusal to become the monster he beheld, no matter how long the abyss has been gazing back within.

The difference between Bruce Wayne and Frank Castle is that Wayne wants the justice system to work, and works to help the system. Castle doesn't care about the system; despite his reverence for the trappings of Americana he cares nothing for the US Constitution or Bill of Rights. The irony is that if Castle "wins", he'll destroy what he's trying to preserve... his ideal, if taken to its logical conclusion, isn't Captain America; it's Judge Dredd.

-- Steve

That was a great read. This is why I love The Escapist; you can find great nuggets like this that you'd be hard pressed to find anywhere else. Thanks!

Mmm, a nice little article, although I'm a little miffed that I now know how Castle and Barracuda finish things.

Ah well, we live and learn.

TheUnbeholden:

But by now, somebody - Batman, Robin, Alfred, somebody - should have figured out that it doesn't work.

The only reason it doesn't work is because the Joker is popular characters and writes are too lazy to come up with new characters so they install a revolving door in Arkham Asylum. Obviously, there is no possible way he could escape so many times.

Other than Ennis's version, I never liked the Punisher. He's too one note. I find it easier to believe that a spider bite could give someone superpowers than Punisher being able to escape police detection (He runs around in busy public restaurants without a mask on!) and avoid killing an innocent person (or an undercover cop) with all the bullets flying everywhere.

Also the marvel universe version of him makes no sense. With so many shape shifters, illusionists, psychics, and people from other dimensions running around, how can the Punisher be sure who is guilty? The first issue he showed up in, he tried to kill Spiderman! That's why Batman doesn't kill people and I oppose the death penalty. What if you're wrong about someone being guilty?

The Slavers and Kitchen Irish arc was good though.

Pseudonym 2 try getting MAX edition.

Pseudonym2:

Other than Ennis's version, I never liked the Punisher. He's too one note. I find it easier to believe that a spider bite could give someone superpowers than Punisher being able to escape police detection (He runs around in busy public restaurants without a mask on!) and avoid killing an innocent person (or an undercover cop) with all the bullets flying everywhere.

I'm pretty certain he's been arrested a few times (the conclusion of Daredevil vs. Punisher) Castle allowed himself to be arrested so he could work inside Rykers and get to the heart of the problem (The Jackal who was manipulating events from inside)

Also, Anton P. Nym, The punisher DOES want the justice system to work, but more often than not he has to do things his own way, because he mainly just sees his way as being right and that's that. There have been occasions where he's helped the police to take down criminal organisations rather than just wipe them out completely. All in all the duality of him winning meaning everyone losing is a very cool way to look at it and I may have to look into it deeper.

Brazuca... The Slavers and Kitchen Irish are MAX edition.

Peace.

Hi all,

Thanks for the great discussion and comments. You've raised some issues that I want to address.

Batman vs. The Punisher.

It's been said that there are really only two superheroes: Superman and Batman. Everyone else is just a variation of these archetypes. The idea is that either you're a guy with superpowers or a crimefighter with mad skills and special equipment. The latter type is usually seen as more true to life, though it encompasses sci-fi heroes like Iron Man. You could say, then, that The Punisher is just a Batman variant.

But the differences are important, and they consist of more than just a willingness to kill.

The debate about how each character gets the job done matters only to a point. Neither Batman, nor Superman, nor the Punisher nor any hero ever puts an end to crime. All of them work outside of the law. None thinks the justice system sufficient.

In a way, all comic book heroes are reactionary figures.

Let's move on to other differences. I'd argue that equipment and identity distinguish the Punisher. He has no alter-ego, and he uses mostly real-world equipment. Yes; from time-to-time, the Punisher has used near sci-fi gear, but never anything as outlandish as Batman. Castle kills with real guns.

If you want to read the craziest Punisher comic of all time, pick up The Punisher Armory, a 10-issue series from the early '90s. You never see Castle in the book. The comic consists of nothing but drawings of real-world equipment with Castle talking about it in editor's boxes. Seriously: page after page of guns, knives, body armor, fighting dummies, shooting ranges, tear gas, and so on. Much of this is stuff you can actually buy. And Castle just blabs to you about it. For ten issues.

That realism is part of what makes the P-man so compelling.

Brazuca: thanks for the heads-up on that movie--and thanks especially for the extremely interesting way The Punisher has been translated into Portuguese. But are you telling me that the movie about the Special Brazilian Police Squad has a basis in reality? I'm saying that Punisher comics tell us why there's no Punisher in real life, not in other fiction.

TheUnbeholden and dukethepcdr: you're raising an important question, and girlysprite has pointed the way to the answer. Yes; comic book superheroes were originally escapist fantasy, but when Stan Lee took charge of Marvel in the early '60s, things changed. Superheroes became complicated, and they've been so for over forty years. The Punisher is absolutely a product of this evolution, and that's why I find comparing him to Captain America so interesting. Cap is an unreformed Golden Age character--pure escapism.

So it's okay to talk about superheroes and crimefighters in some depth. They're deep these days! And, if you're lucky, you'll talk with people who have taken just as strong an interest in these characters. I've been lucky here.

Thanks, everybody.

Ray.

By the way, a few links relating to this topic.

First a funny little comic, that shows the core idea of superman and justice; http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=1204#comic

For those who love the black and white thinking of the fourties and fifties, and the innocence of characters in these times, take a look at the supderdickery site. Yes, the name is a bit iffy, but basically the site was centered around the idea 'Superman is a dick'. Now it also has categories like propaganda extravaganza, seduction of the innocent (innuendo), suffering sappho (all bondage issues of wonder woman), and more. While it is just a good laugh, it is also a fun stroll through the past of super hero comics, especially the propaganda part.

http://www.superdickery.com

You might like the links too ray ;)

Actually, it would be an interesting read too...an article about superheros and their role in propaganda en info/commercials through time.

Yes man how could I forget. Kitchen Irish, was translated as "Kitchen Heell, Cozinha do Inferno". That bomb, the fireman helping him, no cops to run after him, later MI6...
From my point of view the only thing that punisher lacks is a group to help him, back up him. It's to difficult to get out from a shooting by yourself alive. Unless your Rambo or Castle.

About Bope, the squad, yes, true. Just changed their names. They still exist and operate.

You have to remember that the Punisher and Batman have two different modus operandi.

The Punisher is simply avenging the death of his family on anyone who gets in his way. He's like the Count Of Monte Cristo, in that his vengeance is in order to make himself feel better. He is, when you come down to it, a little self-obsessed in his goal.

Batman, however, fights crime out of a sense of justice. His parents death was crucial in shaping his future, but his crusade isn't simply based on revenge. Rather, it's based more around helping Gotham City and its citizens, a city that deep down he loves. And this is where the crucial difference lies.

Castle, in his pursuit of vengeance, is free to choose whatever means of 'justice' he deems necessary. In most cases, this involves lots of guns. He answers only to himself, so why should he worry about death and murder?

Batman, on the other hand, has to accept responsibilities in his role as protector. He answers not only to himself, but to the city of Gotham as well. In order to fulfil his role as the city's 'Dark Knight' he needs to rise above fascist murder in the streets, and show the citizens of Gotham that he is above the monsters he fights against. Murder can have just as many unforeseen repercussions as letting someone live.

Killing the Joker may save lives. However, it would also cause the inhabitants of the city, both criminals and the innocent, to live in fear of Batman. And that isn't why he donned the cape and cowl.

You also have to remember that if either the Punisher's or Batman's methods did work, comic writers would soon be out of work.

To put it simply: Frank doesn't belive in the system. Batman just reinforce the system with his abilitys. (I know Batman sometimes uses ilegal methods, but he has more control).

Batman believes in the system. Batman knows there are corrupt people in the system, but works with those who aren't because he believes the system can work. The Punisher knows better, and has a healthy mistrust of authority due to his experiences in Vietnam.

Batman is psychologically incapable of murder because of the horror associated with the murder of his parents. Even in The Dark Knight Returns he cannot bring himself to kill the Joker even though he knows it is what should be done. Frank Castle was inured to the horror of death after three tours in Vietnam, and very possibly gained a taste for killing.

Basically they have two very different psychologies due to their different experiences.

Wow, great read.

Ray,

I'm so glad I stumbled across this article. What a great read!

I stumbled onto Punisher from a good friend of mine, who gave me the first trade of Ennis' MAX series, and I loved it. As he continued to pass on trades, he taught me all about the different Punisher stories, and writers take on him, and I quickly became sold on (at least for me) Ennis' MAX being the definitive take on him. The latest arc I read was the Barracuda one and I loved it. I thought the almost cartoony nature of the art gave it another great element that made the story more pulpy than the grittier realism of before.

Favorite moment of Barracuda's, if I remember it right: He takes down a bunch of thugs in a jeep, and he's stuffing one of them into the trunk of a car.

The thug begs for his life, "Please man, don't hurt him, don't do this, don't kill me, please..."

Barracuda says, "Man, you cry like a bitch I'm gonna F--- you like a bitch."

The next panel is the thug, paused, halfway in the trunk... terrified.

Next panel Barracuda slams it closed.

I'm so sold on MAX as being the definitive Punisher that now when I read other incarnations they just seem... silly. Civil War's Punisher for example. I like that they had Punisher's reverence for Cap in there. But his language was dumbed down. And his character not nearly as hardcore. He just doesn't seem to fit in a world of superheroes.

The new movie I thought was a fun ride, and surely not as good as MAX. But Stevenson did something stoic and magical with the roll which I think rocked.

And my fave line from your article:
"Castle loves war, and he needed his family to die so that he could become the Punisher. Now, he gets to spend his life doing what he loves. Another chance to be a father would spoil his fun - and ours."

That's DARK.
B

Great article.
Always wanted to get into Punisher but never got around to actually doing it, dunno why.
I love superheroes that have no super powers.

First off, I have to say I actually, if not loved, liked the original with Dolph. It's far superior to the last two movies, which is a sad comment on their quality.

There's no Punisher, because, really, there's little that's original or hasn't been done already by scores of other t-shirt clad, gun wielding vigilantes. It's not the Punisher's (or his authors) fault, it's just that the way was already paved, and trod upon, and trod upon, by the Rambo's, Dirty Harry's, and Death Wish's of the past.

Until someone manages to give him a different spin, or write a truly outstanding story/plot, it's unlikely the Punisher movie will ever succeed. Beyond pleasing fanboi, that is.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
You have to remember that the Punisher and Batman have two different modus operandi.

The Punisher is simply avenging the death of his family on anyone who gets in his way. He's like the Count Of Monte Cristo, in that his vengeance is in order to make himself feel better. He is, when you come down to it, a little self-obsessed in his goal.

Batman, however, fights crime out of a sense of justice. His parents death was crucial in shaping his future, but his crusade isn't simply based on revenge. Rather, it's based more around helping Gotham City and its citizens, a city that deep down he loves. And this is where the crucial difference lies.

Castle, in his pursuit of vengeance, is free to choose whatever means of 'justice' he deems necessary. In most cases, this involves lots of guns. He answers only to himself, so why should he worry about death and murder?

Batman, on the other hand, has to accept responsibilities in his role as protector. He answers not only to himself, but to the city of Gotham as well. In order to fulfil his role as the city's 'Dark Knight' he needs to rise above fascist murder in the streets, and show the citizens of Gotham that he is above the monsters he fights against. Murder can have just as many unforeseen repercussions as letting someone live.

Killing the Joker may save lives. However, it would also cause the inhabitants of the city, both criminals and the innocent, to live in fear of Batman. And that isn't why he donned the cape and cowl.

You also have to remember that if either the Punisher's or Batman's methods did work, comic writers would soon be out of work.

I disagree, I think Batman, in a lot of ways, is self indulgent in his war on crime. The way I've always interpreted him as a character was as someone who hates the criminal fraternity that murdered his beloved parents. He inherited his love of Gotham from his father but didn't have the courage to explore the way of peace so instead he turned to the martial option.

He has no responsibility to anybody in Gotham. He answers to no one except for his own sense of self worth and conscience. While he does not kill anybody his methods are brutal and panic inducing. The original idea behind the bat as a symbol was Bruce Wayne's terror of them as a child. He would become an entity that the criminals of Gotham would fear and they would feel what it was like for the normal citizens. I love Batman but he's a thug who preys on the strong (criminals) out of a need to do something.

That's my personal interpretation anyway.

OT: That was a great read, one of the best I've gone through on this site. I'm definitely going to have to see if I can dig up Ennis' punisher somewhere around here and get into the character again.

Malygris:

Human Bomb:
Except for Batman.

Not really. Batman doesn't kill people, for one thing, which does away with whole layers of complexity the character could embrace. There was a Batman/Punisher crossover years ago, during the time when Azrael took over as Batman, and it was... meh. Largely forgettable. But one bit of it that did stick with me was the inevitable confrontation between the Punisher and the Joker. Just before Frank pulled the trigger, Batman leapt in to save the day, and held the Punisher off so the Joker could get away.

How many people has the Joker killed? At least hundreds, probably thousands. Batman can't stop him. No facility can hold him. Only one thing will bring him down and save innumerable lives - and Batman let him get away to keep that from happening.

That, to me, shifts from unflinching morality to far outside the boundaries of suspended disbelief. If Batman would sacrifice a thousand lives to save one - not to mention that the life in question is an irredeemably insane mass murderer - then he really is a douchebag.

Keep in mind that this is the Joker we're talking about, and if Batman did kill him, we don't know that hell would be any more secure a prison for the Joker than Arkham Asylum. They'd probably kick him out, and he'd come back with demon powers. Batman doesn't want that. :D

Although, with all the fun he had in Batman: Arkham Asylum, I can't help but wonder how the Joker would fare in the ORIGINAL Arkham Asylum.

Loved this article! I am a huge Punisher fan and will continue to be as well regardless of the movies they make.

Just a point to all the people saying that there is no point in killing one man to save thousands, because then you are no better than the murderer.

Ummm no... That would make you significantly better than them because you just saved many innocent people from painful death. While the now dead killer CAUSED pain and suffering on innocents. Moral high ground works great if you never ever ever deal with people who do not have moral low ground. Moral high ground just means that you are willing to let the bad guy get away with something until they get bored with it or they kill you instead. "Now do not shoot that man in the face! Blam! See now you should feel bad and never do that again. HEY do not shoot that pregnant lady now! Blam! Well now you should feel really bad and that will stop you. HEY are you really going to blow up a school bus now?!"

See the Punisher would have saved all the people past the first death by killing the criminal before they had a chance to kill again.

Just a reminder high morals do not stop bullets

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
It's the principle Malygris. It's like in The Killing Joke- the Joker captures Jim Gordon, locks him up and shoots/paralyses his daughter. However, when Batman comes to rescue him, Gordon tells him to get the Joker by the book. "Show him that our way works".

Batman could kill the Joker, but then he'd be no better than the thugs he takes down. He isn't a cop who's allowed to use lethal force, he's just a man looking for justice. If he started killing his opponents, he'd move from being the 'Caped Crusader' to being a simple psychopath asserting his alpha-dominance over other psychopaths. Why shouldn't he then be locked up?

It is that line of thought which leaves me wondering how the next Batman movie will go, with the Batman perceived to be a killing vigilante with his confession of committing the crimes that Harvey Two-Face Dent actually committed. Batman can't recant, since that would logically put the blame back on Harvey and would cause a lot of harm to a city trying to bring itself from the darkness it had been in for decades.
The Punisher, however, is free from that conundrum. His reputation is of no holds barred when dealing with criminals. One asks why he returns to the battle when he does have a daughter he could be raising himself, gaining back the family that he once lost. I don't think it is so much love of the battle, as it is that Castle feels nobody else can do what he can. Punish without remorse while maintaining a focus of dealing with only those who deserve it most. Barracuda is a strong reminder of how carried away someone can get, and innocents get caught in the crosshairs.
Why is there no Punisher? That is actually a good question, one which actually scares me. One part of the answer is possibly that there is such a strong gray area between right and wrong in today's world that it would be difficult to know who really deserves a bullet and who doesn't. I guess since that is my perception, I am thankfully safe from becoming a Punisher.
Or a Barracuda.

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