Extended Punisher Badassery
I'm very glad to see you put the Punisher up in your Hall of Badassery. However, you noted at the end that you didn't know what the Punisher had been up to recently, so I thought I would enlighten you so that you can rest assured that he has not, in fact, been pussified - he's gotten even MORE hardcore.
Now, when he first returned, he went through an excellent (and often tongue-in-cheek) series that led to the Punisher movie (at least the part with the Russian). The highlight of this series was him punching a polar bear in the face, which I am sure you will agree is an excellent highlight. However, this series pales in comparison to the Punisher Max comics being written by Garth Ennis.
The series starts with an older - probably late 50s, early 60s - Frank Castle. As you can imagine, age has only made him more hardcore. He goes to the birthday party of a 100-year-old mafia don, kills him, kills just about everyone else at the party with an M-60 and fucking anti-personnel mines, and then shows up at the funeral to kill everyone who's left. He is not fucking around. So a government group, with his old sidekick Micro in tow, wants to recruit him to go hunt down Bin Laden and other nasty terrorist types for him. They capture him somehow and ask if he'll do it. He tells them to fuck off. Mobsters find out where he's being held and try to break in and kill him. The end result is that, unsurprisingly, everyone but Frank Castle is dead, and Micro gets shot in the head with a shotgun. He now works solo.
Over the run of this series, the following events have occurred:
A mobster dug up his family's grave and pissed on them. Castle went on three separate mobster killing sprees in one night until the city reburied his family, then slaughtered the mobster's entire crew, brought him out into the middle of nowhere, shot him in the gut, and left him to die slowly and horribly over three days.
A former Yugoslavian death squad set up a slavery ring, bringing in girls from Eastern Europe and using them in brothels. It was led by an evil motherfucker, his wife, and his father (who was the craziest and nastiest of all). Castle tortured him to death, threw his wife out of a 50-story window after smashing her repeatedly against bulletproof glass, and set his father on fire with gasoline and taped the whole thing to send back to Eastern Europe with a "Stay the fuck out of my territory" message.
Castle was hired by Nick Fury to go to Russia, break into a nuclear missile silo, and extract a little girl carrying a deadly virus. He does so, gets trapped in the silo, slaughters vast numbers of Russian troops, and escapes with the girl by *getting into a nuclear missile, launching it, and doing a HALO jump out of the fucking missile into the middle of Siberia*. The insanely hardcore Russian general in charge of getting him out of the silo decides that he is not, as the general had suspected, an American, but "a Russian who had been born there by mistake".
The same Russian general later finds out exactly who was in the silo, and lures Castle to Afghanistan. To combat him, he brings a fucking helicopter gunship, another helicopter, a MOAB, huge numbers of Siberian commandos, and enough of an arsenal to fight a small war. It is not enough. With the assistance of Katherine O'Brien, a hardcore ex-CIA chick who follows him around for some of the series mostly because she gets turned on by bad-boys and Frank Castle is as bad as they get (yes, he has sex with her), he destroys the commandos and shoots down the gunship. He then lets himself be captured so the general won't drop the MOAB on an innocent village, but hides a razor blade *in his wrist*, digs it out without changing his expression, cuts himself loose, gets the helicopter to crash, and kills the general and everyone left over.
Currently, he is the target of a bunch of mob widows whose various relatives he has slaughtered. As you can imagine, it is not going well for them.
Anyway, I thought you'd enjoy the update. Also, if you want to see a picture of Castle punching the bear, go to www.the-isb.com (an excellent comics blog). It's the logo.
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