Frank Castle was assigned to participate in the Operation Cerberus in Afghanistan, in order to eliminate the Afghan Insurgents. Castle joined Cerberus Squad led by William Rawlins and Ray Schoonover, and was stationed in Kandahar. With the help of Billy Russo and Morty Bennett, Rawlins secretly organized smuggling heroin to the United States of America.
Eventually, Ahmad Zubair learned about the operation, so Rawlins ordered Cerberus Squad to kidnap him. Following the tortured, Rawlins ordered Castle to execute him and bury him in an unmarked grave in Kandahar. However, Gunner Henderson secretly recorded the execution and sent the footage to David Lieberman who then sent it to Dinah Madani.
Following failed mission, Operation Cerberus was shut down and Cerberus Squad was demobilized. However, Rawlins learned that Zubair's execution was leaked but blamed Castle. Rawlins and Schoonover decided to eliminate both Castle and Lieberman in order to keep them out of the scandal. Upon Rawlins' orders, Carson Wolf track down Lieberman and shot him in the chest, deeming him as a traitor.
Using his criminal alter-ego "Blacksmith", Ray Schoonover organized a drug deal between the Kitchen Irish, the Dogs of Hell and Mexican Cartel in Central Park where Frank Castle spent time with his family upon his returning from Iraq.
Meanwhile, Samantha Reyes set up an undercover sting operation to arrest Blacksmith but did not clear the park of civilians. Schoonover did not appear in a park, so the gangs eventually emerged into the gunfight. Castle was shot in the head, while Maria Castle, Lisa Castle, and Frank Castle, Jr. lost their lives. Wounded Castle woke up in the hospital, demanding George Bach take him back at his home.
Gregory Tepper was assigned to examine the crime scene. However, he discovered that one of the killed gangsters was an undercover police officer. This could be used as evidence of operation and destroy Reyes' career. Reyes' men visited Tepper and ordered him to cover up the incident.
Violence on the Streets
In order to avenge the deaths of his family, Frank Castle targeted the Kitchen Irish, the Dogs of Hell, and a Mexican Cartel, as they were involved in the shooting. He took his first shots at the Dogs of Hell, ambushing a small team and massacring them all, including Smitty. Then he attacked the Mexican Cartel's hideout in Meatpacking District, hanging all cartel members on the meathooks.
Frank Castle learned about Kitchen Irish's meeting in the Burren Club who tried to reestablish control over New York City. Castle fired a shot through the window which hit Nesbitt in the forehead, killing him instantly, and then shot down all remaining Kitchen Irish members, except Grotto.
Grotto informed Nelson and Murdock about the massacre and claimed that it was carried out with military precision. Grotto asked them to help him get placed in witness protection as he was paranoid that Castle was currently looking for him. Despite Matt Murdock's protest, Foggy Nelson told Grotto that they will look into it. Grotto then passed out and fell out of his chair due to blood loss from his gunshot wound.
Grotto awoke in Metro-General Hospital with Karen Page and immediately began freaking out because whoever was looking for him would undoubtedly find and kill him. Frank Castle learned of Grotto's survival and decided to ensure his death by tracking him to the hospital. Castle charged into the hospital, fighting off a security guard on the way before blasting through the hallways with a shotgun. Grotto was saved by Page, who rushed him out of the room away from Castle.
Although Grotto managed to get out of the hospital with Page putting him in the car to drive away, Castle got onto the roof and used a sniper rifle to attempt to take out his target. Before Castle could execute Grotto, he was interrupted by Daredevil who disarmed Castle, engaging in a duel. Eventually, Castle managed to shot Daredevil in the head, ensuring that the wound was not fatal by aiming directly for the strongest part of the helmet, leaving Daredevil on the rooftop before escaping.
Becoming the Target
All murderous activities carried out by Frank Castle, made him a high-level target of the District Attorney's office. Samantha Reyes went to the 15th Precinct Police Station to meet Grotto. Blake Tower offered him to wear a wire to meet with Edgar Brass. In fact, Reyes and New York City Police Department intended to use Grotto as bait to capture Castle. However, Castle learned about the operation and planned his attack on Grotto, avoiding NYPD. Castle then attacked the Dogs of Hell, killing almost all the bikers and taking one of their trucks.
While Grotto was moving forward towards the warehouse, NYPD noticed an incoming truck and fired upon it. Castle's distraction worked as he planned, and took a position on a rooftop. Castle then took aim at Grotto before he was interrupted by Daredevil once again. While Castle was fighting Daredevil, Reyes ordered SWAT to open fire on them. Eventually, both Castle and Daredevil fell through a ceiling and Castle then kidnapped unconscious Daredevil.
Awakening on a rooftop, Daredevil argued with Frank Castle about his violent crusade, noting that he is murdering people. Castle decided to teach Daredevil a lesson, so he duct taped a gun to his hand. Castle informed Daredevil that there was only one round in the chamber and the only way to stop him was to shoot him in the head. Castle then dragged Grotto out, explaining that he was going to kill him, and the only way Daredevil could stop him was to shoot Castle. Daredevil refused to shoot Grotto, despite all of his crimes, so Castle decided to do it himself. Daredevil managed to shoot through his chains and free himself.
Daredevil attacked the Punisher, however, Grotto was killed, while Castle took aim at the Dogs of Hell's Club. Daredevil launched himself at Castle, but he was still able to take the shot, causing an explosion and alerting Jimmy the Bear. Daredevil subdued Castle, taking him inside the building and placing him in a freight elevator to make escape quickly. Just as Daredevil was about to leave the building with the still unconscious Castle, the Dogs of Hell arrived, angry at the destruction of their bikes. Daredevil managed to fight them and defeated all bikers.
Finn Cooley arrived at New York City to take revenge on the Punisher who killed his son and stole their money. Kitchen Irish scoured the city and eventually found Castle's hideout where they found the map of the Central Park. Figuring out that they will find Castle in the park, Kitchen Irish kidnapped Max and left the hideout.
In Central Park, Castle was approached by Kitchen Irish led by Rory who managed to stab Castle with a hypodermic needle. Castle subdued Rory, as the Kitchen Irish members surrounded him. Castle managed to shoot several of his men before Cooley ordered Kitchen Irish to taze Castle and abduct him. Later, Daredevil found Rory and forced him to tell where the Kitchen Irish had taken Castle. Meanwhile, Cooley was torturing Castle, in order to learn where Castle left their money. Eventually, Castle told him that it in his van and gave him the location.
However, criminals sent to the van to obtain the money were exploded by Castle's bomb. Castle managed to free himself and killed the other gangsters in the room before asking Cooley who killed his family. Cooley mocked Castle before he shot Cooley in the face and went to fight his way through the building. Daredevil busted into the building, helping him to take down all hostiles in front of them.
Arrest and Trial
Daredevil carried injured Castle to the Saint Michael's Cemetery, where he eventually found he could no longer walk and sat beside a grave. Knowing he could not get away from his arrest, Castle took the time to explain why he became a vigilante, telling Daredevil about how he came home from the United States Marine Corps only to witness his wife, son and daughter massacred by mobsters during a drug deal. When the New York City Police Department arrived on the scene, Castle did not attempt to escape and instead allowed himself to be arrested by Sergeant Brett Mahoney. He was taken on a stretcher and moved to an ambulance for treatment for his life-threatening injuries while the city's news reporters gathered around and photographed the now infamous Punisher being arrested by the police.
Castle was taken to Metro-General Hospital where his all of his wounds and he was kept under watch by the police. Castle was assigned Christopher Roth as his attorney, but he was visited by Nelson and Murdock and Matt Murdock explained that they wished to represent him. Murdock explained that they believed that Samantha Reyes now wanted him dead for some reason. They were pulled out of the room by Reyes but Castle informed Mahoney that he wanted them to be his lawyers, requesting to speak to Page without Foggy Nelson present. Once they were alone, Castle demanded to know what Page knew about his family, so she told him that Reyes wanted to run a story about him and his family being involved in a road side shooting not a gang shoot out which had really happened.
Nelson explained that he had lost the death penalty and changed three life sentences down to one with a chance on parol in twenty-five years, although he would still likely be sent to Ryker's Island where he would likely be murdered. He recommended that Castle take the deal, advising that he tell Reyes that he would have to plead guilty to get the deal done and be over with the case with the best possible result for Castle. Reyes and Judge Cynthia Batzer were brought into Castle's hospital room alongside Nelson, Page and several armed guards. However, when Batzer asked how Castle pleaded, Castle stared straight into Reyes' eyes and pleaded not guilty. Batzer confirmed the plea and announced that his bail was now denied.
"The People vs Frank Castle"
The trial was highly publicized, with Judge Batzer complaining about how impossible it was to find an at least semi-impartial jury as everyone in New York City had an opinion on Castle. Castle meanwhile was locked in his cell and prepared for the trial.
During trial, Gregory Tepper was called in to discuss the examination of the bodies found at the massacre at Central Park. Once Tower had finished his questioning of the witness, Murdock stepped up asking him about his own career and how he had handled the case involving Castle. However just as Murdock began questioning him, Tepper asked to confess something, so Judge Batzer had the room cleared of the jury, viewers and Castle. While Castle was gone Tepper confessed to falsifying documents as he'd been threatened by a mysterious woman demanding his confession on record. However, confession was recognized irrelevant. The next day Ray Schoonover was bought in to be a new character witness for Castle, describing their time together in the United States Marine Corps and telling the story about mission in Kandahar without classified details. When Nelson asked Schoonover to describe Castle, he told the jury that Castle was a hero. When Reyes then attempted to question Schoonover's story, she only succeeded in confirming it and helping Castle's case.
As Castle prepared to take the stand in the courtroom, he was approached by Officer Roy Olsky who informed him that Wilson Fisk had information about who killed his family, information he would only get if he was sent to Ryker's Island. Castle took the stand and was questioned by Matt Murdock, who asked him to describe what happened the day that his family was killed while he also told the jury that New York City needed men like him to control the crime. Once Murdock finished his statement, Castle asked Judge Batzer if he could make a statement, and proceeded to tell the jury that he would commit the murders all over again, promising that he was not crazy and did not need Nelson and Murdock's help and that he would never be sent to a mental hospital for treatment. Castle became more enraged as he insisted that he enjoyed killing those men and told the people that he was the Punisher and would continue killing whoever he wanted. Castle was removed from the courtroom and sentenced to jail immediately.
Approached by Fisk
Transferred to Ryker's Island, Castle was escorted to meet with Fisk. Initially, Castle declined Fisk's offer for him to kill the fellow prisoner and ruler of the prison, Dutton, in exchange for forming a beneficial partnership between them to survive in prison. It was only until Fisk revealed to Castle that Dutton had information on the deaths of his family in Central Park and could likely give him the name of whoever was responsible for the massacre, that Castle accepted his offer.
Giving Castle the only weapon he could provide him with, a shiv, he informed that he would to take to Dutton's location by Olsky and would have only seven minutes to get the information he needed from Dutton, kill him, and escape.
With Olsky's assistance, Castle was allowed access to Dutton's cellblock where he immediately killed one of his guards before interrogating Dutton on what he knew on the day his family was killed. Dutton revealed that the supposed gang shooting was, in fact, a sting operation to bring out a crime lord known only as the Blacksmith, who did not appear, which in turn caused the gangs to panic and they soon began shooting. With this information, Castle was told that his crusade of violence would never end before he fatally stabbed Dutton and then attempted to escape. However, Olsky locked the door and walked away, trapping Castle in a corridor filled with all of the inmates.
The rest of the inmates, quickly realizing Castle was the one who stabbed Dutton, proceeded to charge at him, planning to beat Castle to death. The defenseless but determined Castle faced them head on and began fighting back, desperately trying to stay alive. The inmates continued to attack him with various weapons and shivs, but Castle's superior combat training allowed him to quickly disarm the men and use their weapons to kill them. After the battle, prison guards moved through the door, all of whom were dressed in full riot gear and ready to capture him. Once a smoke grenade had been dropped in the room, the exhausted Castle tried to defend himself before he was subdued by the overwhelming number of trained guards and was then arrested again.
Castle was taken into solitary confinement where he was eventually visited by Fisk, who ordered the guards to remain outside. Castle then confronted Fisk for attempting to have him killed after murdering Dutton, but Fisk explained that since Castle's survival he had made a new plan involving him. Castle took the chance to attack Fisk but the wounded and exhausted Castle was swiftly overpowered by Fisk.
Fisk then ordered all the guards to remove Castle's handcuffs and informed him that he would set him free, when Castle asked why Fisk explained that he wished the Punisher to massacre all other criminal empires in New York City. Despite his desire to kill Fisk, Castle took the offer and was given a riot gear uniform by the guards which he used to walk out of Ryker's Island to continue his mission to kill criminals in the city.
Seeking for Truth
The public was horrified because of Castle's escape. Samantha Reyes discovered a copy of Castle's cranial radiography in her daughter’s backpack and was worried for her safety. Reyes was mortified and her daughter was put into protective custody. Fearing the worst, Reyes called upon the help of Nelson and Murdock to try to get some information about Castle and his location. However, Foggy Nelson insisted that she first explain the real reasons why Castle would be targeting her.
Both Reyes and Blake Tower explained how she had inadvertently caused the Massacre at Central Park which had claimed the lives of not only some gang members but Castle's entire family while Reyes had tried and failed to capture the Blacksmith. Although Karen Page insisted that Castle would not harm Reyes' child, she was not convinced and begged them to give her whatever information they could about him. As Reyes was speaking, Matt Murdock heard a gun being loaded and pushed his friends out of the way just as a hail of bullets shot Reyes through the back and killed her. Murdock pulled Page and Nelson down from gunfire, but Foggy was shot in the arm, injuring him.
The New York City Police Department and FBI swarmed the courthouse, searching for and blaming the assassination on the Punisher. The real assassin, Ray Schoonover began to cover his tracks and went on to eliminate his second target, Gregory Tepper.
Saving Karen Page
Seeking to clear his name, Castle sought out Karen Page, who had been working with Mitchell Ellison at the New York Bulletin to write a story about him. Finding her at her apartment, Castle knocked out her guards and greeted Page. Castle tried to convince her that he's not guilty of Reyes and Tepper's murders. Before he could finish his explanation, the apartment was attacked by Blacksmith. Castle managed to tackle Page to the ground and shielded her from the attacker. Once the gunfire had ceased, Castle pulled Page to her feet and together they made their way outside, keeping themselves low to the ground incase any more bullets were fired at them.
Castle stayed in Page's car until Page was finished being interviewed by Brett Mahoney. He suggested that Page could walk away from the danger but she decided to help Castle find and stop the Blacksmith. Knowing that he was being followed, Castle convinced Page that they should stop at a cafe. Seeing that the Blacksmith's men had finally pulled up outside the cafe, Castle ordered Page to hide in the kitchen with the waitress. Once they were gone, Castle waited for Chaney and Speed to get close to him before he charged forward firing his gun, shooting Chaney twice in the gut before dodging Speed's shotgun blast. Once he'd disarmed Speed, they resorted to brawling with their fists until Speed grabbed a knife, at which point Castle smashed the boiling coffee pot over his head before stabbing him repeatedly.
As Speed bled out on the floor, Castle found Chaney crawling across the floor, attempting to grab his gun. Castle stopped him and took the gun for himself, standing over the bleeding Chaney and demanding to know where he could find the Blacksmith when Chaney refused to answer Castle shot Speed through the skull. Chaney still refused to answer and told Castle to go to hell, so Castle resorted to beating his face in with the butt of the gun until Chaney finally broke and told him that he could find the Blacksmith at Pier 81. Although Chaney attempted to offer to bring Castle to the Blacksmith himself, Castle ignored him and instead shot him through the head. Castle told Page to go to the police and get protective custody. Castle then left the cafe in order to find and kill the man who was responsible for the deaths of his family.
"Death" of the Punisher
With the information he had gathered from Chaney, Castle tracked the Blacksmith's docked ship. He proceeded to gun down several criminals on the dock who were guarding the ship, before he boarded, and found a significant stash of heroin onboard. Taking numerous cans of gasoline from the docks nearby, he doused the boxes of heroin, while taunting and calling for the Blacksmith. A man emerged with a SIG pistol and shoot at him then retreated, as Castle returned fire with his H&K 416 rifle.
Castle hunted down the last man on the ship, engaging in a brief gunfight. When the man ran out of ammunition, Castle responded by shooting him in the shoulder, ordering him to admit he was the Blacksmith and that he was the one who had killed his family when the man refused to speak, Castle chose to shoot him in the leg with his S&W 1911 pistol. The man pleaded for his life and then half-heartedly admitted to being the Blacksmith and begged for death as Castle pressed his gun into the man's face.
Suddenly, Daredevil who learned about the location from Madame Gao, arrived on the boat and intervened, telling Castle that the man was lying and was not the Blacksmith. Castle then prepared to execute him, so Daredevil knocked the pistol out of Castle's hand before the two engaged in an unarmed fight, which ended with Daredevil defeating Castle and revealing that the man was just a patsy to bait Castle. Furious about being denied revenge, Castle accused Daredevil's methods of failing, telling him that he did not understand the pain of having his family taken away from him, even making Daredevil admit that Castle's methods were sometimes the answer.
Daredevil sensed there was a substantial amount of gunpowder below decks, which would cause a massive explosion if the gasoline from earlier was ignited. As more henchmen arrived, including Gosnell who personally called Castle out for the fight, Castle agreed to leave, but then pushed Daredevil into the water to save him, and revealed himself so they would open fire and the ship exploded in a massive fireball, causing shrapnel to hit and kill Gosnell and his men.
New York City Police Department discovered pier and had found that Frank Castle most likely dead. However, Castle was barely able to survive and escape. Castle recognized Gosnell at the ship, and deduced that Ray Schoonover might be involved.
- "You think this all of this is about a bad drug deal? That's what you see. You're losing your touch, Frank. Your kids, at the park? Nah. Who cares? That's never what this has been about. It's about what happened with you. With all of us. Kandahar. You think they would ever let that go?"
- ―Ray Schoonover to Frank Castle
Karen Page late visited Schoonover inside his home. Page explained that she was there because she now wished to do a profile on the real Frank Castle and she believed that Schoonover was the only person who had any good things to say about Castle. She began the interview by asking Schoonover if he liked Castle as a man and Schoonover told her stories of their time together in the United States Marine Corps. However as they were speaking, Page realized Schoonover's identity as the Blacksmith when she noticed a picture of Gosnell, who's burnt corpse she had seen at Pier 81. Realizing he had now been made, Schoonover drew his gun and took Page hostage.
Schoonover led Page outside by gunpoint and ordered her to get into her car and drive away from his house while keeping the gun aimed at her head. Suddenly Castle drove out of the shadows and drove into the side of the car. Castle ripped wounded Schoonover from the car and dragged him through the woods. As Castle threw Schoonover to the ground, Page eventually caught up with the pair and tried desperately to convince Castle to let Schoonover go. Seeing no way out for him, Schoonover instead continued mocking Castle, hinting to him that his family's deaths were more to do with Operation Cerberus and Castle's actions while in Kandahar, with Page demanding to know what he was talking about which neither Schoonover or Castle explained. Despite Page still begging Castle to let him go, he instead dragged the wounded Schoonover inside of a nearby cabin in order to kill him. After small talk, Castle managed to took a single shot right in Schoonover's head.
With Schoonover now dead, Castle eventually explored a secret room within the cabin that contained Schoonover's impressive armory filled with military-grade weapons. Castle began looking over the various weapons closely, which included a minigun as well as a bulletproof vest that had all previously belonged to Schoonover.
Leaving the Past
Castle returned to his family's home with stolen arsenal and found at the kitchen table newspaper featuring an article on his trial, with the x-ray of his skull as the front image. Using this image as inspiration, Castle went into the garage with the Bulletproof Vest he found in the armory and began spray painting an image onto it. Castle, donning his bulletproof vest with a spray-painted skull-like symbol, embraced the mantle of the Punisher.
With his new uniform and logo on his bulletproof vest, Castle assisted Daredevil in his confrontation with the Hand. Using his sniper rifle, he dispatched four assassins in quick succession, giving Daredevil an opening to fight and eventually defeat Nobu Yoshioka, launching him off the roof of the building to his death. As the battle concluded, Castle gave a nod towards his ally while he promised to see Daredevil another time before walking away.
With all those who had a hand in the deaths of his family lying dead in morgues, in the streets and other places throughout Hell's Kitchen, the Punisher accepted a closure and proceeded to burn away the last memories of his former life, setting his home on fire. Armed with the weapons from Schoonover's armory, Castle prepared to leave Hell's Kitchen to continue to punish crime the only way he saw fit. He was last seen in his home where he retrieving a CD with his name "Micro" on it. On CD was footage of Ahmad Zubair's execution.
The Last Survivors
Months after, the Punisher continued to hunt and kill all of the gangs who had been responsible for killing his family. Heading to Alabama, the Punisher ended up chasing down two members of the Dogs of Hell, shooting at them with a shotgun from his own van until they crashed. As they men lay in pain, the Punisher reciting Penny and Dime before running them over with his van and killing them.
The Punisher traveled into El Paso, Texas, where he had eventually tracked down Cartel Sicario the last remaining surviving member of the Mexican Cartel who had believed he had finally escaped from the Punisher's wrath. Taking a position far away from Sicario, the Punisher set up his sniper rifle and watched as Sicario celebrated his return with his allies. Punisher fired a single bullet which struck Sicario directly in the forehead, killing him instantly before the horrified prostitutes.
Upon returning to New York City, the Punisher then tracked down Mickey O'Hare, the last remaining member of the Kitchen Irish who was attempting to catch a flight from JFK International Airport and return home to the safety of Ireland. The Punisher soon found O'Hare in the bathroom and then furiously charged into the stall to confront him, knocking him down and locking the door behind him. O'Hare begged Castle to spare his life, desperately questioning what would change if he died. Punisher however then calmly admitted that he knew that killing O'Hare would not bring his wife and two children back but made it clear that this no longer mattered to him as he now desired O'Hare's death. Punisher stopped O'Hare from calling for help by knocking him back and then strangled him with his own tie until O'Hare eventually ran out of the air and was chocked to death.
With seemingly all the gangs destroyed who had been involved with the Massacre at Central Park root and stem, as well as the individuals such as Dutton and Ray Schoonover also now deceased, Castle believed that his family had finally been avenged once and for all. Believing that he no longer had a war to fight for, Castle then gave up the mantle of the Punisher, symbolically burning his vest as he considered every single person he had killed to avenge the mindless death of his family. Castle told Curtis Hoyle that he was still alive and assumed the new name of Pete Castiglione.
However, Castle was contacted by Micro, mysterious hacker who sent him footage of Zubair's execution. After a temporary conflict, Micro informed him that massacre in Central Park was more than Castle believed. Micro said that conflict linked with Operation Cerberus and Punisher returned to violence to eliminate former members of Cerberus Squad who were actually involved.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Punisher: 1.03: Kandahar
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 The Punisher: 1.02: Two Dead Men
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Daredevil: 2.09: Seven Minutes in Heaven
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Daredevil: 2.04: Penny and Dime
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 Daredevil: 2.01: Bang
- ↑ Daredevil: 2.02: Dogs to a Gunfight
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Daredevil: 2.03: New York's Finest
- ↑ Daredevil: 2.06: Regrets Only
- ↑ Daredevil: 2.07: Semper Fidelis
- ↑ Daredevil: 2.08: Guilty as Sin
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Daredevil: 2.11: .380
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 Daredevil: 2.12: The Dark at the End of the Tunnel
- ↑ Daredevil: 2.13: A Cold Day in Hell's Kitchen
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 The Punisher: 1.01: 3 AM