Deadpool and the Punisher: A Look at Their Violent History

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The not-so-friendly history between Deadpool and the Punisher

Deadpool vs. Punisher by Steve Dillon
Deadpool vs. Punisher by Steve Dillon. Marvel Comics

After the tragic death of his family, Frank Castle, a.k.a. the Punisher, has just one mission: to exterminate criminals. He's a no-nonsense, heavily armed, highly trained, and calculated killing-machine. 

Wade Wilson, a.k.a. Deadpool, is a motormouth mercenary with an accelerated healing factor. Unlike Frank, his mission hasn't been so focused over the years. He's villain in his earliest appearances, but then he had some moral dilemmas as a mercenary, and - at the time of writing - he's attempting to be a good guy; he's technically even an Avenger.

They're both antiheroes, they both love to use guns, and they're both very, very good at killing people. They'd be a ridiculously dangerous duo if they decided to work together. While there may be some parallels between these two badass Marvel characters, they're far from friends. In fact, Frank is just one of the many people who find Deadpool to be completely obnoxious. Sure, they've teamed-up a few times, but they've also had a few brutal brawls.

There have been some non-canon fights between these two - like in Deadpool Kills the Marvel UniverseThe Marvel Universe vs. The Punisher, and Space: Punisherbut for the sake of this article, we're going to take a look at three of the best encounters that took place in the primary Marvel Universe, which used to be called the Earth 616.

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Deadpool #54-55

Deadpool vs Punisher by Georges Jeanty, Jon Holdredge, and Tom Chu
Deadpool vs Punisher by Georges Jeanty, Jon Holdredge, and Tom Chu. Marvel Comics

In the story Welcome Back, Frank, the Punisher violently takes out Ma Gnucci, the head of a powerful mob. Well, in Deadpool #54 and #55, Ma Gnucci's nephew, Peter, is looking to collect the very large amount of money that his aunt left behind. There's just one little problem, though: the Punisher is still out there, and, as expected, the vigilante's still killing people connected to the criminal family. So, in an attempt to save himself from the seemingly unstoppable soldier, Peter hires a mercenary to take Frank out. Can you guess who he gets for the job? Yup, it's Deadpool! (Fess up, who guessed Solo?)

Co-writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Buddy Scalera, artist Georges Jeanty, inker Jon Holdredge, and colorist Tom Chu's two issues are full of comedy and bloodshed. Even though Deadpool is looking to put down Frank Castle once and for all, their fights are surprisingly lighthearted (as you can see above). It's never too over-the-top and it does get pretty vicious a few times, but overall, it's a good dose of silly fun.

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Suicide Kings

Deadpool vs the Punisher by Carlo Barberi, Sandu Florea, and Marte Gracia
Deadpool vs the Punisher by Carlo Barberi, Sandu Florea, and Marte Gracia. Marvel Comics

This limited series is pure popcorn entertainment. It's funny, loaded with great action sequences, full of cameos, and has eye-catching artwork. It's downright bloody and savage at times, but it's also consistently hilarious. Deadpool takes on plenty of goons, Tombstone, and even the Wrecking Crew, but it's his multiple fights with Punisher that leaves the strongest impression.

Co-writers Mike Benson and Adam Glass, artist Carlo Barberi, colorist Marte Gracia, and inker Sandu Florea clearly had a good time giving us fans a few more Punisher vs. Deadpool scenes. We get everything from Punisher using advanced technology to the two having a harsh, unarmed brawl. Both characters are presented as tough, dangerous, and clever combatants. Deadpool's goofing around quite a bit, but the fights don't feel like they're focusing too heavily on the comedy and turning Deadpool into an ineffective clown with a healing factor. If you really want to see these two duke it out, Suicide Kings is mandatory reading. It doesn't hurt that the story's such a blast, too.

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Punisher vs Deadpool by Kim Jacinto and Israel Silva
Punisher vs Deadpool by Kim Jacinto and Israel Silva. Marvel Comics

Back the 2008 Hulk series, Thunderbolt Ross, a.k.a. Red Hulk/Rulk, assembled a team - called Code Red - to go after Domino. They ended up fighting X-Force, and Ross' group happened to include Elektra, Deadpool, and Punisher. There weren't any noteworthy interactions between the three in that comic, but it wouldn't be the last time Ross brought that trio together. In the 2013 Thunderbolts series, Ross created a new group of Thunderbolts, and those three antiheroes once again found themselves on the same team.

The dynamic between Punisher and Deadpool became even worse once Punisher started developing a relationship with Elektra. You see, Deadpool was jealous of their newfound connection. At one point, Wade even bluntly commented that he could just kill Punisher, and that would make matters much easier for him. This twisted comment was followed by the two aiming their guns at each other, but Deadpool was quick to remind Punisher that only one of them can heal. Despite the two not exactly being best friends, they were able to tolerate one another on a few missions over the course of the run. It wasn't until Punisher set his sights on the Thunderbolts that another fight between them occurred.

If you know anything about Punisher, you probably know he's one hell of a good tactician. So, why would Punisher get into a physical conflict with a guy who can simply heal over and over again? It just isn't fair. Instead, Punisher ambushes Deadpool off-panel, dismembers him, and then stores the merc's body parts in different containers. It's not the most flattering scene around for Deadpool, but it sure is funny.