Target Practice: 5 Punisher Stories That Netflix Can Adapt

Today was a great day for Marvel and Netflix fans as it was announced that The Punisher will be starring in his very own Netflix series. Making his debut in the recent second season of Daredevil, Jon Bernthal has breathed life into a character that Marvel has struggled to adapt to live-action, having made three previous attempts with Dolph Lundgren in 1989, Thomas Jane in 2004, and Ray Stevenson in 2008.

Frank Castle may seem a one note character, a gun-toting vigilante who puts down anyone in his crosshairs, but since his debut in 1974, The Punisher has become one of the most popular characters in the Marvel Universe and Netflix has a number of storylines it can adapt for a full season of Punisher goodness, and by goodness, meaning bad guys getting shot in the face.

Punisher - The Slavers
The Punisher – The Slavers


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The Slavers (2006)  

Garth Ennis’ run on The Punisher is nothing sort of legendary, and with this arc, he found a way to tell a fantastic story while also making people very uncomfortable. Frank saves a young woman from assault, finds out she has been forced into prostitution, and proceeds to dismantle the trafficking organization from the bottom up. This may not be a whole season’s worth of material but you can definitely get a nice two or three episode arc out of it.

Circle Of Blood (1986)

This was the first solo Punisher mini- series after appearing as a guest star in various Marvel titles, most notably Daredevil. A rather dark story for the 80’s, it showcases how violent the world of Frank Castle can be. Mob shootouts, Punisher wannabes, and even singing criminals punctuate a solid story. This could be a great starting point for the Netflix series with some tweaks.

Up Is Down, Black Is White (2005)

Another Garth Ennis story, this one has a mobster that digs up The Punisher’s family, and then urinates on their corpses on national television. Nicky Cavella is a depraved and fantastic villain and the carnage Castle inflicts on the path to Cavella is equal parts ludicrous and visceral.

Child’s Play (1988)

Frank Miller’s style was tailor-made for the dark world that Frank Castle inhabits. It’s The Punisher vs. drug dealers selling to kids. It’s dark, it’s gritty, and the bad guys get what’s coming to them.

Welcome Back, Frank (2000)

After the awful decision that was making The Punisher a supernatural demon slayer, Garth Ennis would return Castle to his roots in what is considered one of the definitive Punisher stories. Announcing his return to NYC by dismantling the Gnucci crime family, this arc is everything fans of the character have come to love. Dark humor, cutting satire, a dash of social commentary, and overblown villains (The Russian), this can definitely be a great start to the Netflix series.

The Punisher
The Punisher – Welcome Back, Frank

Honorable Mention: Barracuda

Barracuda is basically the Punisher with all the training and none of the moral compass. He’s big, mean, and as deadly as they come. It might be best to use him if the show makes it to a second season as he is quite the nemesis for Frank Castle.

Agree? Disagree?  Did I miss one or two?  Let us know or you can holler at me on Twitter @MatPDouglas

Mat Douglas
Mat Douglas
From Connecticut, that state between New York and Massachusetts, he enjoys well-made cookies, sarcasm, and Liverpool FC.