When he made his debut in 1974, the Punisher’s willingness to kill his victims made him a novel, if tragic, figure in the Marvel comics, whose tragic past and his reasons for fighting crime made him pretty much the Marvel comics’ answer to Batman. Driven by the murder of his family by the mob while out at a picnic in New York City’s Central Park, the Punisher employs all of his knowledge gleaned from his years in the US army to wage an all-out one-man war on crime. Frank Castle is a war veteran, and a highly decorated US sniper, skilled in guerrilla warfare, hand to hand combat, and marksmanship.
The Punisher has to be one of the most unique Marvel comics characters since he is essentially an antihero whose actions have both sides gunning for him – the law for his vigilantism and brutality, the mob and any form of crime because he has killed so many of them and is a major threat to their survival.
His family’s killers were the first to be slain in this war, but despite that success, the Punisher does have a long list of enemies, many of them who have survived to tell the tale and gone back to become a major threat to Frank Castle’s life as he wages his war against crime in order to punish them.
Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin is hardly a surprise to be included in this list of Punisher villains since he controls a vast criminal empire, with his base of operations in New York City, the same city the Punisher’s family were murdered. This master criminal is an enemy of not only the Punisher but of Spider-Man and of Daredevil, which is the reason why he is at the top of this list.
The Marvel version of the Joker, which is appropriate considering the Punisher is the Marvel answer to Batman, Jigsaw is another character with a vendetta against the Punisher; which is natural given the Punisher is the one responsible for the physical and psychological scars Jigsaw suffers through. Utterly fixated on getting revenge on the Punisher, and determined to make him pay for what Castle did to him (Jigsaw), this criminal has, on many occasions, become obsessed with ending the Punisher.
Uniquely, the character of Jigsaw takes this a few steps further; he has impersonated the Punisher quite a few times, or he has brainwashed some poor innocent, like a police officer who was inexperienced and had a bad case of hero worship to turn him into a version of the Punisher! Jigsaw has murdered many in his crusade to get his revenge on Frank Castle, and he has also sent equally twisted people into the Punisher’s path as well. He keeps coming back for more, his hatred for Frank Castle being the only thing keeping him alive, though it is likely that in the end, one of them will probably die by the other’s hand.
A gigantic criminal who, like Frank Castle, was once a former marine, but unlike the Punisher turned into a fearsome gangster, though in his career he was so brutal he injured a classmate at school by jamming his thumbs into the other kids’ eyes, or he became a cannibal in a jungle. Barracuda is like the anti-Punisher in that he tends to solve his problems the way the Punisher does. He was a firm fan favourite, and he was eventually rewarded with his own series. Barracuda’s brutal career came to a nasty end when he kidnapped the Punisher’s daughter and held her hostage. He eventually came to a bloody end.
The Punisher villains are usually criminals, murderers or kidnappers, so it is probably not all that surprising that this psychopath is on this list. One of the worst kinds of psychopaths in a comic-book series, Nicky Cavella is what he is without a reason as simple as abuse, disfigurement, no accidental mutation, no tragic accident. No, he’s just a psychopath straight and simple who started out at a young age. His aunt persuaded him to murder his parents and his sister to frame an uncle so Nicky could take control of his father’s operation. The son of a highly respected figure of the mafia, he benefitted from the Punisher’s war against the mob since it gave him a chance to gain power.
Nicky Cavella was called in to sort the Punisher out, but his attitude towards the Punisher lost him his lieutenants, and the mafia. But the Punisher’s actions and his never-ending war on them made the mafia turn once more to Nicky for help. It was a bad idea. Nicky, for some sick reason, decided that desecration of the Castle graves would provoke a response and bring Castle out into the open. It got a response – the Punisher kidnapped him, marched him into the woods and was shot in the belly. The Punisher left, leaving Cavella to die in torment for days, dying of blood poisoning in the woods while the animals nibbled on him. Cavella liked to portray himself as a charismatic and suave individual, but in truth, he was just an emotionally unstable coward.
The matriarch of the Gnucci syndicate, a notorious criminal organisation, unsurprisingly did not take Frank Castle’s vendetta to destroy her family and everything they had worked on for years. No matter what was thrown at the Punisher, Frank Castle just despatched everything. Like a good criminal matriarch, she bribed the police, hired a hitmen trio, deployed her entire organisation… but it all failed. The Hitmen were the last straw because the Punisher making a personal house call, which resulted in her apparently dying in a fire. Another of the Punisher’s enemies pretended to be her to provoke him into making a mistake, but he saw through it.