“Come on, God, answer me. For years, I’m asking why, why are the innocent are dead and the guilty alive? Where is justice? Where is punishment? Or have you already answered? Have you already said to the world, ‘Here is justice, here is punishment’? Here, in me.”
For the past 35 years, Marvel Comics’ The Punisher wages a vigliante one-man war against the killers, the rapists, psychos, sadists, mob figures, and thieves as a self-styled judge, jury, and executioner using his years as both a soldier and a cop. So, why is it hard to for the ultimate Marvel Knight antihero to be translated into big-screen success after three attempts over the last twenty years? – most recently, Punisher: War Zone with British actor Ray Stevenson in the title role, which comes out on DVD on March 17. “Sometimes, I would like to get my hands on God” Castle said in the church.
Though his family was brutally murdered and he possess no superpowers, he’s not Batman, for The Punisher doesn’t walk the line between justice and revenge and seeks to fight crime to avenge and honor his loved ones. He’s not Superman: an inspiration to the world and leader by example as a Christ-like figure. He’s not your classic good guy out to help people, fight evil, save the world, because he hates criminals and wants them exterminated. Most of all, The Punisher believes that he’s meant to suffer and wants to die – but until that happens, he’ll continue to punish the gulity and corrupt.
“He has believed in destiny,” Steven Grant said in The Punisher Archives, after he wrote the 1985-86 mini-series. “He has done the patriotic thing, signed up for a horrific, chaotic war (Aren’t they all?) He has married and had children. He’s a churchgoer, not so much because he believes strongly but because that’s what people do. …
And it’s all taken away from him in a flash, in a place where he and his family should have been safe. He’s tossed from the myth of destiny into a chaotic existentialist universe. … He knows the likeliest scenario is that he’ll get shot. He’ll die. He knows this. … But he does it anyway because this is what he has chosen to do, and he knows it needs doing, regardless of the outcome. Whether anyone else sees it that way or not. So he’ll keep doing it as long as he can and if he dies that was always part of the deal. Everyone dies.”