The Punisher: 4 of His Most Ridiculous Battles

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The Punisher: 4 of His Most Ridiculous Battles

Punisher vs. Daredevil by John McCrea, Crimelab Studios, and Avalon Studios
Punisher vs. Daredevil by John McCrea, Crimelab Studios, and Avalon Studios. Marvel Comics

Frank Castle, a.k.a. the Punisher, may be just a human, but that hasn't stopped him from getting into conflicts with a huge variety of formidable - and not-so-formidable - characters in the Marvel Universe. From killing Stilt-Man by shooting him in the crotch with a rocket, to taking on Spider-Man and Nightcrawler, Punisher's been in a lot incredibly entertaining and brutal fights. Some of his fights, though, have been downright ridiculous. Sometimes he's incredibly outclassed, and other times his fights are delightfully over-the-top or seriously dark. Well, it's time to give some of those fights some extra love.

For simplicity's sake, I'm going to highlight just four of the most ridiculous fights he's had in the regular 616 Marvel Universe. If I allowed fights from any universe, then obviously stuff like his bloody fight with Barracuda, the What If? issue where Punisher wears the venom symbiote, and at least one scene from Punisher Kills The Marvel Universe would be in here! But for now, I'm keeping it concise. There's dozens of great fights to choose from, but if you're a Punisher fans, odds are you'll have a good time revisiting these four ridiculous fights. Seeing as there's so many terrific options, you can bet this won't be the only article that highlight's the Punisher's battles.

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The Punisher vs. Daredevil, Spider-Man, AND Wolverine

The Punisher vs. Wolverine by John McCrea, Crimelab Studios, and Avalon Studios
The Punisher vs. Wolverine by John McCrea, Crimelab Studios, and Avalon Studios. Marvel Comics

Let's start with a totally over-the-top fight. In writer Garth Ennis and artist John McCrea's story, Confederacy of Dunces, Matt Murdock, a.k.a. Daredevil, joins forces with James "Logan" Howlett, a.k.a. Wolverine, and Peter Parker, a.k.a. Spider-Man, to bring in the vigilante. Daredevil says the Punisher's killing spree needs to end, but he won't allow them to take him down permanently. Instead, Murdock convinces them - and Wolverine's really the only one who needs convincing - that Punisher needs to be brought to justice through the legal system. Otherwise, they'd be just like Frank. What follows is a complete embarrassing experience for fans of the three heroes, but a hilariously fun read for Punisher fans.

Not only is Castle able to manipulate the three into fighting each other in the beginning, but he's also able to violently take down Wolverine (by blowing up the lower part of his body with a rocket), fool Spider-Man into thinking he can't move or else explosives will go off (so much for spider-sense?), and uses pure brute force to temporarily disable the Man Without Fear. As if all of that wasn't humiliating enough for the team, Punisher then gets the Hulk - yes, the Hulk - on his side, and he even came up with a way to control the Jade Giant. With just one punch, the Green Goliath sends Logan flying from New York all the way to Boston. That's right, in just one story, Wolverine gets his nose smashed in, chopped in the throat, blown apart, and then punched about 200 miles away. In a previous issue, Ennis also had Punisher blast off Wolverine's face, shoot him in the crotch (with a shotgun), and run him over with a steamroller. If Wolverine bumps into Punisher, he better hope Ennis isn't writing the encounter.

To be (somewhat) fair, Punisher did imply that any one of the three good guys could take him down in mere seconds in a direct fight. But the combination of Punisher's tactical mind and Ennis' love for the character allowed Frank Castle to absolutely wreck the trio of heroes. 

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The Punisher vs. Sentry

The Punisher vs. Sentry by Jerome Opena, Dan Brown, and Joe Caramagna
The Punisher vs. Sentry by Jerome Opena, Dan Brown, and Joe Caramagna. Marvel Comics

After Marvel's big event Secret Invasion, Norman Osborn, a.k.a. Green Goblin, is praised as a hero. S.H.I.E.L.D. is replaced with an agency called H.A.M.M.E.R. and it's led by Osborn. Obviously, Punisher isn't just going to sit back and do nothing as a mad man takes control. So, Frank grabs an advanced sniper rifle and sets up shop four miles away from where Osborn is giving a speech. Frank lines up his shot and then pulls the trigger. Right before the bullet can strike Norman in the head, Sentry - an immensely powerful hero - catches the projectile. In case you're unfamiliar with Sentry, you should know he slugged it out with World War Hulk. Yeah, he's a titan. Now, Sentry sets his sights on Punisher. It's a superhero with "the power of one million exploding suns" versus a skilled human. Who would you honestly place your money on? Sentry, right? Of course you would!

Thankfully, writer Rick Remender handles the blatantly unfair fight in a pretty believable way. Frank notes that Sentry could easily finish the encounter any time he wants to, but the powerhouse wants to talk. Punisher unleashes some explosives, but, as expected, they accomplish nothing. He even shoots Sentry in the face and drenches him in acid, but again, it doesn't even faze the durable guy. As Sentry shrugs everything off with ease, Punisher's pain tolerance is being put to the test. Frank falls from a great height, a barb stabs him in the kidney, and - with an effortless push - Sentry sends Frank violently flying out of the warehouse. In the end, Frank barely escapes. It's not thanks to an explosive. It's not thanks to some kind of ridiculously powerful weapon. Eventually, it's a bluff that allows Frank to elude Sentry's grasp. If it wasn't for Punisher's pain tolerance and brilliant tactical mind, Sentry would have easily capture him.

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The Punisher vs. The Russian

The Punisher vs. The Russian by Steve Dillon, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Chris Sotomayor
The Punisher vs. The Russian by Steve Dillon, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Chris Sotomayor. Marvel Comics

Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Chris Sotomayor's story arc Welcome Back Frank is without question one of the most memorable Punisher stories. Purposefully absurd at times and with a strong insight into Frank Castle's psyche, this story is something every Punisher fan should read at least once. In fact, I even wrote an article about that! While there's a lot of amusing moments throughout the story, one of the most exciting sequences has to be the big confrontation between Frank and the Russian.

Despite the Russian's surreal level of pain tolerance and strength, he's a playful brute who's oblivious to his own might. It's an especially rough encounter for Frank as he's punched and smashed around his apartment. The Russian is having a blast as he toys with Frank, and Frank... well, he's basically just getting pulverized. Punisher does manage to get some hits in, but all of them accomplish absolutely nothing against the ridiculously tough villain. Just in case you don't know how the fight ends, I won't spoil it for you. It's definitely an unexpected and twisted way to beat the guy.

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The Punisher vs. Daken

The Punisher vs. Daken by John Romita Jr, Klaus Janson, and Dean White
The Punisher vs. Daken by John Romita Jr, Klaus Janson, and Dean White. Marvel Comics

Frank Castle put himself on Norman Osborn's radar after he tried to assassinate the villain with a high-tech sniper rifle. Thanks to Norman's vast resources as the head of H.A.M.M.E.R., he was able to finally locate Punisher. Norman wants Punisher dead and he's not going to take any chances, so the foe deploys a huge group of well-armed troops and Wolverine's deadly son, Daken. The odds are clearly stacked against Punisher, but hasn't that almost always been the case for the tough anti-hero? We're talking about a human - a very well trained and determined human - who's been able to accomplish the seemingly impossible, after all! This time around, however, Frank's luck runs out. But before he takes his final breath, Frank's able to put up one hell of a good fight.

Punisher's two encounters with Daken are jaw-droppingly savage. It's quite an unfair battle (Daken can heal from everything Frank dishes out), but Punisher makes sure it's one that the villain will never forget. Daken's words cut keep and his claws cut even deeper, but Punisher makes sure Daken has to endure a whole lot of pain and really work for the win. It's truly vicious stuff and John Romita JrKlaus Janson, and Dean White do an awesome job making the fight every bit as grim, shocking, and emotional as it should be.