What if Frank Castle started taking on not only street criminals and mobsters but started taking on the super capitalists, wall streets barons, politicians, and other white collar criminals, many of whom reside in Washington D.C.
Instead of going the route of democracy, forgoing casting votes and following elections, Frank Castle walks in and one by one, picks off the losers of Congress. The GOP candidates undermining women’s rights, the Democrats who aren’t getting anything done, maybe…just maybe even taking out the President of the United States; of course that would mean that Lex Luthor or Norman Osborn was just voted into office.
And yet, Frank Castle is disillusioned with the world. He doesn’t care, at all. In brief moments we see his humanity creep back into his body, endowing him with strength, tenacity, that last minute jolt he needs to dispatch his enemy. But Punisher aims to kill the bad guys, the thieves and rapists, killers and thugs. That’s all. There isn’t any huge moral boundary or growing internal struggle with Frank Castle.
Maybe that’s why we love him so much, a hero without remorse, without putting much thought into his actions outside of “which gun to use” or “how to kill this next guy.” Simplicity at it’s most unrefined: a man, acts like a villain, looks like a villain, but isn’t a villain. It’s eerily similar to our politicians, they look just like men, seem like villains, act like villains, but ultimately maybe they’re not villains?
There is no definitive answer. Much like we’d like to see superheroes blowing bad guys to pieces at whim, it doesn’t happen. We love watching the carnage but we never learn from the heroes really, we get caught up in their adventures and their actions and rarely see their thoughts. That’s one reason why the Punisher stands out from the rest, his entire being is talking to the audience. He barely talks to other characters, and when he does manage a growl or two it isn’t much at all, no not until we see the black boxes at the corner of each cell dictating his every thought to us do we peer into his complicated mind.
We forget that Batman, Superman, Tony Stark, or Bruce Banner, just to name a few, are utter geniuses. Engineering, chemistry, physics, all seem like casual play things for these heroes, but we over look a lot of that, in favor of their immense power and the battles they get into. The Punisher is in a constant battle, a never-ending war against crime, innately we’re desensitized to his violence and follow his person a bit closer than usual.