castle garth

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“I met a sniper once, at Bragg. Kid from Alabama. Wasn’t long after Korea finished up. Everyone was talking about going home, and some asshole asked this kid how he could do the things he’d done: How he could pull the trigger on so many people. He didn’t bat an eyelid. He said shooting, being a marksman, it helped him make sense of the world. He said the four constant, steady clicks of the bolt– up and back, forward and down– put him in mind of a kind of mechanism. Like clockwork, maybe. In a warzone, in the middle of all that blood and chaos, he’d found one simple thing he could rely on. When things got bad, it banished the fear. In battle, it gave him back control. Well that day in Laos– I watched Frank Castle make the world make sense.”

Fury MAX by Garth Ennis, Goran Parlov

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The Punisher #8

Garth Ennis + Steve Dillon


Frank Castle is not under any delusions about himself. He doesn’t think his methods are better than those of say, Matt Murdock or Peter Parker. Nor does he do his work actually thinking he makes a difference for good; he doesn’t go home and pat himself on the back, or really think he can make a dent in crime. His mindset is a nihilistic one; he knows there is no end, he knows what he does is not right, but it’s the mission he has given himself – and he is very good at it.

Many will criticize the Punisher’s concept, since they believe that we’re supposed to think the opposite: they believe this is a character that justifies brutality and murder as the right course of action; that his behavior is glorified. This is untrue. Here, he doesn’t tell Joan “because of my family” or anything dramatic about how these criminal monsters must be stopped. He doesn’t make excuses for himself. He doesn’t consider himself to be a good person, or a person who makes the world safe, because – well, frankly, that would be a very messed up thing, and that would make the character incredibly shallow.