William "Billy" Russo was a Force Recon Marine who served alongside Frank Castle in Afghanistan, and the duo eventually became close friends. Russo and Castle were both recruited into Cerberus Squad under the leadership of William Rawlins, where they assisted in assassination missions. Upon leaving the Marine Corps, Russo was recruited by Rawlins to contribute to his illegal operations, gaining a financial reward and the ability to create his own company with Anvil. Russo's desire for power led him to betray Castle, allowing Rawlins to assassinate Castle's family. Once Castle returned, Russo was ordered to kill his former friend, as he used Dinah Madani to learn Castle's whereabouts, which had exposed Russo's own involvement in Operation Cerberus. Fearing he would be used as the scapegoat, Russo betrayed Rawlins, allowing Castle to kill him, before Russo had a grisly showdown with Castle, that had led to Russo's handsome face being horrifically scarred.
While attempting to repair his broken mind, Russo was able to escape from police custody and then began rebuilding his life, recruiting former soldiers to join him in a criminal gang, while asking for the help of Krista Dumont, his own former therapist, who he became infatuated with. All of Russo's crimes gained him a nickname of Jigsaw, until he was suddenly reunited with the Punisher, as Jigsaw finally remembered how the Punisher disfigured his face and destroyed his entire life. Jigsaw found himself being tracked down by many of his past friends, as he had attempted to fight back and destroy the Punisher through violence and manipulation. However, after Madani had almost killed Dumont and critically wounded him, Jigsaw met his fate as the Punisher, tipped off by Curtis Hoyle, found Jigsaw, and swiftly executed him as revenge for all Russo's past crimes.
- 1 Biography
- 1.1 Early Life
- 1.2 Marine Corps
- 1.3 Returning Home
- 1.4 Frank Castle's Return
- 1.5 Hunting Frank Castle
- 1.6 Desperate Measures
- 1.7 Painful Recovery
- 1.8 Going on the Run
- 1.9 Jigsaw's Campaign
- 1.10 Seeking Revenge
- 1.11 New Direction
- 1.12 Post-Mortem
- 2 Personality
- 3 Abilities
- 4 Equipment
- 5 Facilities
- 6 Relationships
- 7 Appearances
- 8 Trivia
- 9 Behind the Scenes
- 10 References
- 11 External Links
Born to a meth addict, Billy Russo was abandoned by his own birth mother, Carla Russo, outside of a fire station in Albany, New York. Russo had then entered into the system and lived throughout various foster homes, before placed in the Ray of Hope group home, although Russo kept his strong sense of patriotism and had felt lucky to be born in the United States of America despite his circumstances. Also during this time, Russo built a great love of the game of baseball, believing that he could become the next Joe DiMaggio, despite being too poor to afford his own baseball gloves and uniform, like many of the other children had, something Russo resented.
- "I must have been ten, eleven at the time. When a grown man tells you that you're pretty, you know nothing good is coming. Let's just say, I wasn't interested in the kind of games that he had in mind. So I went after him with the stickball bat. Caught him good a couple times, too. Then he broke my arm. Got pissed off, ripped my rotator cuff in three places."
- ―Billy Russo to Dinah Madani[src]
During his time at the Ray of Hope home, around the age of ten or eleven, Russo was also a victim of attempted child molestation when one of the good samaritans, Arthur Walsh, had called Russo pretty and had then attempted to attack him. Fearing for his own safety, Russo was still able to defend himself by then striking his attacker with a stickball bat, but not without still being severely injured by the perpetrator who proceeded to break his arm and ripped his rotator cuff in three places. When Tommy O'Neal finally spoke up about the abuse they were suffering, Walsh was sent to Sing Sing prison for his crimes.
Training with Frank Castle
Seeking new purpose in his life, Russo later joined the United States Marine Corps, becoming a fierce soldier. During his training, Russo met and became close friends with Frank Castle, a fellow marine in training. As they completed their training together, Russo and Castle both underwent the gauntlet, in which they would walk through all their fellow marines while getting beaten down to prove their endurance as well as their physical strength, with Castle giving Russo a mocking prep talk before he went through the gauntlet first.
Russo endured the punishment of being beaten by his fellow marines while being thrown into the freezing mud, eventually making it all the way through and being rewarded with cheers from his fellow men. Once Russo had made it through, it was the turn of Castle, who also endured the beating until he made it into Russo's arms at the end of the gauntlet. Laughing, Russo helped Castle onto his feet and told him that he loved him, before punching him in the stomach, much to the delight of everyone in attendance as the two brothers in arms had celebrated their success at making it through the gauntlet.
Recalling Past Trauma
- "It didn't matter that I didn't have a uniform or a real diamond to play on. I loved it, but Arthur took that away from me. After my shoulder healed I hated it. I hated playing, and, yeah it would hurt, but that wasn't it."
"Tell you what, Bill. I think about the shit you went through. I was one of these kids. Never stopped to think about how lucky I was."
- ―Billy Russo and Frank Castle[src]
As his friendship with Frank Castle grew, Russo brought Castle with him to revisit the Ray of Hope back in New York City where they watched the children playing baseball together. Russo reminisced about how much he had loved the game, but had always envied the other children who had better equipment than he had, noting how he believed he would be the next Joe DiMaggio. However, Russo had noted how Arthur Walsh took away Russo's love of the game when Walsh attempted to sexually molest him.
Russo told Castle how, following Walsh's assault, he came to hate baseball, to which Castle expressed his sympathy towards his friend, noting he had never stopped to think how lucky he was when he was a child to have his father attending every game he played, expressing a wish that Russo could have enjoyed that. As Russo acknowledged that the incident had made him the man he was today, while Castle noted that he was a badass since joined their United States Marine Corps, which they both laughed at. Russo then noted how he would always find himself returning to visit this location of his trauma.
During his time with the Marine Corps, Russo and Frank Castle were sent to Basra for a mission and they became trapped in a house and saved each other's lives multiple times. Russo and Castle were recruited along with other elite soldiers for a covert ops team. Their new leader, Agent Orange, explained they would helping to end the war, with Major Ray Schoonover explaining that they were all now part of Operation Cerberus, tasked with the capture, interrogation and assassination of high-profile targets, as Russo then compared their operation with the Phoenix Program.
While relaxing while also reading The Picture of Dorian Gray, Russo listened as Castle was introduced to Gunner Henderson who would be joining his squad. They discussed their teams while Russo noted how Orange had failed to give them his name leading to him getting the nickname. As Castle expressed his personal distrust for Orange, Russo quoted a poem telling Castle their mission was the do or die. When Castle noted that he knew it, Russo teased him about having read the poem all by himself, leading to Castle jokingly hitting Russo in the face with his football while also apologizing for doing it.
Russo rejoined Frank Castle back in their quarters just as Castle was opening birthday cards from his family and found his wife had gotten him Bruce Springstein tickets. Castle asked Russo if he had any plans for when he had returned home, to which Russo grinned and said that he did, leading to Castle then teasing Russo on his own reputation as a womanizer. Just as they discussed if Russo should instead find a woman to settle down with, Major Ray Schoonover walked inside and informed the pair that they would be needed for another mission briefing in five minutes time.
They entered their briefing to find Agent Orange was giving them a mission where they would come in on foot without any air support in order to capture a high value target who was believed to be hiding out there. When Schoonover invited Castle to give his opinion on the mission, he questioned why their new target would put themselves in this hard to escape from spot and claimed that this was likely a trap for Cerberus Squad. Schoonover asked Russo for his view to which he claimed to trust Castle; however, Orange just ignored their advice and insisted that they still go into the mission regardless.
Just as they predicted, the mission turned out to be an ambush as Russo and Castle became pinned down by enemy fire in Kandahar. As Russo noted that the enemy's mortars would kill them all if they did not do something, Castle explained that he would charge forward into the building and take out the enemy. Although Russo tried to go with him, Castle insisted that Russo had to stay behind and keep their soldiers safe, including Schoonover who had lost a hand. Russo and the remaining soldiers gave covering fire while Castle charged up the hill and furiously engaged with all the enemy alone.
Frank Castle's Rage
Russo made it back to base with the surviving member of Cerberus Squad once Frank Castle had successfully cleared out the enemy and allowed air support to get them to safety. While Russo sat alone looking at his hands covered in Ray Schoonover and other soldier's blood, they were interrupted by the arrival of Agent Orange, who show no regard for the state of all the soldiers in the room and those who were dead and instead asked if they had successfully killed the target as they had been ordered to do.
Upon hearing this, Castle became enraged and before Russo could get to him, he had punched Orange and punctured his eye socket. Russo and the soldiers managed to pull Castle away from Orange before he could do more damage as Russo ordered the other men to stand down while he then stood between Castle and Orange. When Castle demanded to know why Russo was protecting Orange, Russo insisted that he was not but was protecting Castle as he claimed that Orange would never be blamed for the utter disaster of the Ambush in Kandahar or any other failed mission he had authorized.
Russo insisted that Operation Cerberus was a complete lie and even told Castle to get out of the United States Armed Forces if he could, confessing that he was as he had already requested a transfer as soon as possible. Russo claimed that they could not keep doing all these sorts of missions any more as he looked down at Castle, who was bleeding heavily from a gunshot wound and was so enraged he could barely look Russo in the eye. Instead of saying anything more, Russo told Castle to look at himself before then walking away from his friend, ignoring Castle as he had called out to him.
Having returned back home for Afghanistan, Russo still continued his friendship with Frank Castle and his family, joining them for trips to Central Park. During one day out, Russo joked with Frank Castle, Jr. that his father had been highly uncreative when choosing his name, going on a long rant about how he had been named after Billy the Kid and how he had been the fastest gun in the West who was betrayed by his friend for money and fame, only for Lisa Castle to question how he knew his name's origin despite being an orphan.
Russo confessed to not knowing but Maria Castle insisted they were all the family he would ever need as the group of friends all shared a laugh. However, when William Rawlins learned Homeland Security agent Dinah Madani had received a tape of the Cerberus Squad as they had tortured and killed Ahmad Zubair, Russo was informed that Rawlins and Ray Schoonover, who believed Castle to be the source of the leak, had decided to assassinate him. Despite being ordered to be involved with the shooting, Russo strongly refused, but still did nothing to stop it, resulting in Castle's family being slaughtered.
- "There's none better. All my operators and instructors are former Special Forces. A government contract here, on US soil, would be a big deal for us."
"Where are your guys now?"
"Iraq and Afghanistan, mostly. Close protection work. Convoy security, that kind of thing. We do good work."
- ―Billy Russo and Dinah Madani[src]
Using resources given to him by William Rawlins, Russo founded his own private military company named Anvil, recruiting former United States Armed Forces soldiers to become his own private army. While conducting a training session for Homeland Security, Russo personally greeted Sam Stein who was disappointed in his own performance during the simulation as he had come close to shooting a hostage, with Russo promising that the real thing was always messier and Stein had done well regardless.
While Stein left to return all the equipment, Russo then introduced himself to Dinah Madani who questioned if Russo was the man in charge of the operation there, which he confirmed. While he was explaining how Anvil rented different spaces for all of their training exercises to keep things fresh, Russo then suggested that Anvil could make a deal with Homeland Security as a contract would be good business for them, while Madani explained that she had just returned from Afghanistan as Russo explained he had been himself before he had left the Marines, going private to found Anvil.
They were interrupted by Carson Wolf's arrival, who accused Madani of interrogating Russo, which she denied. While Russo invited Wolf to come to Anvil Headquarters to discuss a deal between their own organizations, Wolf cut him off to remind Madani to not get involved in case she was still looking into the Kandahar investigation. Wishing to get to know her better, Russo waited for Wolf to leave and then invited Madani to join him for a drink after they were both finally off duty, noting that once they were off duty she could discuss whatever she wanted with him, which Madani then happily agreed to.
Drink with Dinah Madani
Russo then took Dinah Madani out for a drink at a local bar, as she questioned if this was where he took women out to impress them. They discussed their time in Afghanistan as Madani claimed she had unfinished business there. Madani asked again which unit Russo served within the United States Marine Corps, to which Russo questioned if this was why Madani had agreed to join him, at which point Madani revealed she had already read his military file.
Russo questioned if Madani had come to Anvil for training or to ask him about his service record, which she confirmed. Once he insisted he would not be throwing his friends under the bus, Russo invited Madani to ask him the questions. Madani immediately asked Russo about Frank Castle and seemed surprised when Russo informed her that he and Castle had been close friends while serving together. Russo told the story of when he and Castle fought together in Basra, which he claimed to be the best night of his life, before expressing his regret that Castle had been killed, noting that he missed him.
While Madani noted that Castle had killed a lot of people before his own death, Russo then claimed that the people he had killed were all criminals and drug dealers. Madani questioned if Castle had become dirty while serving and even asked if he had gotten involved with smuggling heroin, which Russo simply laughed at, although Russo claimed that Castle's one way of staying clean was his family which were taken away from him. Changing the subject, Russo flirted with Mandani, asking if she was single before Madani's pager went off and she was forced to leave early.
Mourning Frank Castle
- "He didn't have to be alone. We could've helped him."
"Yeah. He didn't want any help. He wanted to kill every bastard who had a hand in it."
"I miss him. And I could see it. Even before what happened. He was changing. He was finding it harder and harder to come back."
- ―Billy Russo and Curtis Hoyle[src]
Russo went to visit Curtis Hoyle in St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church before his meeting with soldiers of the United States Armed Forces who were now suffering from PTSD. Hoyle mocked Russo, claiming that he moved too quietly and needed to wear a bell like a cat before they shook hands and had a cup of coffee. Russo gave Hoyle a cheque to fund the meetings, with Hoyle continuing to tease Russo before they discussed how everything was going with all of the recent meetings with veterans.
Hoyle invited Russo to stay so the men could see a soldier who had come back and had a successful second life with Anvil. Russo still, however, claimed that if he stayed he would feel guilty that he had gotten out of the war-zone before suffering PTSD, while Hoyle noted that there was nothing selfish about him funding the meetings with his own money. They then discussed how Anvil was doing as Hoyle noted how pleased he was that Russo had become the success he had always planned to become before Russo again offered Hoyle a position within Anvil, which Hoyle politely refused to accept.
Russo then asked if they would still be meeting that night to pay their respects to Frank Castle's grave, which Hoyle confirmed they would be as Russo helped him to get back up. As he was leaving, Russo turned around and recommended that Hoyle should come and work for him, jokingly promising that he would look after him; however, Hoyle noted that despite losing his leg during a battle, he had gotten out of the military in time as well and did not wish to go back to that life of combat, which Russo accepted as his answer and noted that this made them the lucky ones before Russo then walked away.
Arriving at Castle's grave later that night, Russo and Hoyle wished their late friend a happy birthday while they drank together. Russo expressed his regret that Castle had not come to them in the wake of the Massacre at Central Park so they could have avenged the deaths of Maria Castle and the children together, although Hoyle insisted that Castle did not want any help with killing everyone involved in his family's deaths. When Hoyle had quoted Castle regarding Kandahar, Russo questioned when Castle had made these comments before they continued drinking and remembering their lost friend.
- "We didn't want our lives to just be gray. We wanted them to mean something. We wanted to be a part of something bigger than ourselves! And here at Anvil, if you are recruited you will find that something. A new brotherhood to call your own. Something to fight for. To live for even."
- ―Billy Russo[src]
While at the Anvil Headquarters, Russo personally welcomed all the new recruits who were looking to join Anvil private military company. Giving a speech to the recruits, Russo explained in detail how to be trained for the United States Armed Forces, the government had already invested thousands of dollars into each and every one of them, and therefore they were all investments who should be doing the best they could with what had now been provided to them.
Questioning how much money each of them were currently earning, Russo argued that the problem was not that they were unworthy of the investment, but that they all simply needing to get the work that they were suited for, noting Anvil would give them the opportunity to fight for a living, which he knew was the reason they had signed up to be soldiers in the first place. Russo promised all the men looking to join up with Anvil the chance to find not just a living wage suitable for them, but something to fight and live for, while also giving them a new brotherhood of soldiers who they could stand with.
Russo had all of the recruits begin training, so he could examine their physical and mental state and judge if they were worthy candidates for joining Anvil's forces. While making his way all around the room, Russo noticed Lewis Wilson, who was training on the pull up bar with another recruit. Knowing that Wilson had come to him having spoken to Curtis Hoyle, Russo was impressed by Wilson's determination as he pushed the other recruit to continue training before Russo then continued making his way around the room to look at the progress of the other possible recruits as they continued their training.
Rejecting Lewis Wilson
- "Lewis, if you need work, I promise you I will find you something to do around here."
"Are you gonna give me a job mopping floors? Emptying trash? Is that making good on the investment my country made in me? You're just another liar in command."
"Okay. Okay, we're done. You need to leave. Now."
- ―Billy Russo and Lewis Wilson[src]
Entering his office, Russo spoke with Curtis Hoyle who had arrived to talk about the current mental state of Russo's possible new recruit for the team, Lewis Wilson, who had also been attending Hoyle's therapy sessions. Fearing that Wilson was not mentally stable, Hoyle recommended that Wilson not be selected for Anvil, noting that Wilson was living inside a hole he had dug within his back garden and had almost shot his own father by mistake due to his PTSD.
Although Russo argued that Wilson could just need to get back into the action since leaving Afghanistan and Anvil could provide this for him, Hoyle insisted that Wilson was a ticking time bomb and then made the point that Wilson was not the sort of soldier who would be able to protect any of his fellow men, noting that he would not want Wilson protecting him during a combat situation. Although Russo had questioned how Wilson would react when he was cut from Anvil, Hoyle reassured him that he would take of Wilson afterwards, which Russo accepted, trusting Hoyle's judgment on this.
Finding Wilson talking with some of the other Anvil recruits about his missions while he was in Mosul, Russo then called over Wilson for a private talk in which Russo asked him about the foxhole he had dug in his back garden. Clearly unnerved that Russo knew of this, Wilson then tried to claim that it was just a project he had undertaken and insisted that it was nothing to be alarmed about; however, Russo then noted that all his fellow United States Armed Forces recruits may not think the same as they all needed to trust in Wilson's mental stability while they were going on missions. Russo then told Wilson he would not be recruited, leading to Wilson blaming Hoyle for the rejection.
Wilson was clearly mortified by the rejection, claiming that Hoyle had first told him not to even try and be recruited into Anvil and had now sabotaged his chances as Russo tried to get Wilson to calm down as he began to raise his voice. While Russo defended Hoyle by claiming he was one of the finest men he had served with, he offered Wilson other work, but Wilson responded by insulting him for offering nothing but cleaning jobs and accused him of lying, so Russo then demanded that he leave Anvil Headquarters, much to Wilson's great disappointment as Russo had Wilson escorted back outside.
Dinah Madani Hook Up
Russo invited Dinah Madani to join him for a second drink, which they shared at a fancier restaurant than the last time. Madani then explained that they were drinking as she had had a difficult day at Homeland Security involving some hard decisions which she did not know if they were right or not, with Russo giving her advice and noting that he had also had a bad day. Turning the conversation more flirtatious, Madani suggested that they should do something about their days, to which Russo said he was open to suggestions.
Choosing to forget about their drinks and distract themselves from their bad days, the pair headed back to the Madani Residence where Russo and Madani immediately began kissing and removing their clothes, at which point Russo then noticed several harsh bruises on Madani's body caused by a recent car wreak. While Russo tried to stop due to concern over Madani's wellbeing, Madani just refused to discuss it and insisted that they continue. Ripping open Russo's own shirt, Madani took him to the bed where she got on top of him and the pair engaged in passionate sex throughout the night.
Russo and Madani had sex again the next day, and in the morning as Russo was finding his clothes he discovered some of Madani's work which detailed her investigation into Cerberus Squad. Russo then demanded to know what Madani was still not telling him, which she refused to answer before Russo questioned why Madani was still determined to insult Frank Castle's memory. Russo then noted that Madani was now clearly withholding information. Russo noted that the police had never found Castle's body after the Destruction of the Blacksmith's Ship which Russo had always wondered about.
Frank Castle's Return
Learning of Castle's Survival
- "Our friend. Our dead friend. You seen him recently?"
"I'm gonna need some help with this, Billy. What do you mean? Have I been back to the cemetery? Am I seeing ghosts or having flashbacks? What are we talking about?"
"Frank's alive, man. Sorry, I had to find out if you knew."
- ―Billy Russo and Curtis Hoyle[src]
Suspecting that Frank Castle was alive, Russo became sending out a radio call to him using the code-name Raven, but getting no answer. Russo was later contacted by Dinah Madani and asked to meet her on the outskirts of New York City. Pulling up beside her, Russo suggested that she had invited him there for an apology due to all the secrets she had been keeping from him before waiting until she told him what she needed. Madani asked Russo once again about Castle before she then informed him that Castle was indeed alive.
Madani explained to Russo that she needed to arrest Castle and noted that if anybody could help her find it, it would be Russo, but Russo questioned why he would even consider doing this. Madani explained that she believed Castle was investigating the same case of Kandahar that she was, alerting Russo that Operation Cerberus' secrets were in danger. Madani told Russo that the people who were also hunting Castle had left him for dead and would kill him if they did not get to him first. Russo promised to do what he could before thanking Madani for trusting him with this information.
Seeking to learn more, Russo then went to visit Curtis Hoyle and had immediately asked if he had seen Castle recently. Upon hearing the question, Hoyle appeared to be confused, asking if Russo had meant if he had visited the grave or seen ghosts. Believing that Hoyle did not know the truth, Russo then informed him of Castle's survival, which Hoyle just struggled to believe. Russo explained that he had learned from Homeland Security that Castle was now hurt and asked Hoyle if he had any idea on how to find him, noting that he could help get Castle out of the country and safe to make things right.
Reunion with Castle
- "So what? You're just gonna take them all on yourself? How's that going for you so far? Why don't you just let Homeland do it, man? Madani, she wants them just as bad as you do. Hey. You really think this is what Maria would've wanted for you? We didn't have a choice back then. Now we do."
- ―Billy Russo to Frank Castle[src]
Finally, Russo's calls were answered and Frank Castle had agreed to meet with him. Coming to the outskirts of New York City, Russo and Castle were reunited, as Russo first offered his condolences for the deaths of Castle's family. Once they sat down for a beer together Russo questioned why Castle had not reached out to him, noting that Dinah Madani was aware of Castle's survival. Russo told Castle about Anvil, with Castle teasing him over Russo's love for wearing suits as well as cars and Russo's sexual relationship with Madani.
Castle told Russo all that he knew of Operation Cerberus and their illegal actions in Kandahar, noting that he was now aware that Agent Orange, Major Ray Schoonover and Colonel Morty Bennett were all selling heroin and using the profits to fund their illegal assassination missions, mentioning that Gunner Henderson had been killed when he had tried to blow the whistle on the entire operation. Seeking to end Castle's search for those responsible for Cerberus, Russo then offered him the chance to go work for Anvil overseas and noting that although Castle's family were gone they were still brothers.
With the offer to take a new job with Anvil overseas still on the table, Castle left to think it over and decide what would be the best move for him; however, Russo began planning for his friend's assassination, fearing that Castle could expose Cerberus Squad and ruin everything he had been building since leaving the United States Armed Forces. Russo gathered together a large team of his best Anvil agents, who were all ready to fire upon Castle when he arrived, but after several hours of waiting, Castle had still not arrived. Irritated, Russo put his gun away and joined William Rawlins in their car, informing him that Castle was not coming, much to Rawlins' great annoyance.
Lying to Madani
- "If he's alive, he knows I'm looking for him and he'll reach out. But we're a small community, and so far, nothing. I wish I had better news for you, but according to my sources... Frank Castle is dead."
"If he's alive, after everything he's done, why not just go public?"
- ―Billy Russo to Dinah Madani[src]
Russo returned into the Homeland Security Headquarters, where he smiled at Sam Stein as he then walked into Dinah Madani's office. Handing her a coffee, Russo went to kiss Madani only to be rejected as she was on duty. Russo briefly flirted with Madani before she noted how tired he looked and asked what information he had on Frank Castle. Russo, however, lied and claimed he had found nothing on Castle and had not been able to confirm he was alive.
Russo then claimed that he had also reached out to members of the United States Armed Forces who had served with Castle and had still failed to come up with any kind of information about Castle's current condition. Russo questioned why Madani had claimed Castle was hurt and she told him about the firefight in which a badly wounded Castle was the only survivor. Russo asked why Madani had not gone public with all this if she knew of Castle's survival, with Madani only noting that she had already told Russo more than she should have because she thought that he could help her find Castle.
Madani confirmed that she still did not know who was involved with the firefight that killed Gunner Henderson but she claimed she did not know, noting that without Castle she had no leads. Continuing to lie to Madani, Russo promised that if Castle was alive he would find him and bring him to her, hinting his aim was to end their professional relationship so that they could continue their new sexual relationship. Teasing Madani, Russo lied again and claimed nobody was listening to their conversation before leaving the building as Stein then went to ask about what Russo had wanted to know from Madani.
Updating William Rawlins
Russo went to meet with William Rawlins where they discussed how much the Country House Rawlins was staying in would cost before Rawlins questioned if Russo had been to see Dinah Madani which he noted Rawlins had already known he had and that he was indeed still sleeping with her. Rawlins gave Russo a glass of whiskey before Rawlins told Russo that they did not have to worry about Madani anymore now that Gunner Henderson had just been assassinated by Rawlins' men.
Assuring Rawlins that they would get to Frank Castle before Madani could, Russo promised that he knew Castle better than anyone else before Rawlins noted that Russo had made a mistake in not killing Castle when he had the chance. When Russo questioned the tactics of such a plan, Rawlins recommended using a sniper to kill Castle, leading to Russo mocking Rawlins by claiming that he used to find torturing people sexually arousing while a part of Cerberus Squad. Russo also noted that he had seen fear in Rawlins' eyes when Castle had attacked him in Kandahar before Russo had saved him.
Rawlins, however, warned that while he was grateful for Russo saving his life, he knew Russo was only protecting the man who would build his career, noting that if Castle exposed Operation Cerberus then Russo's life and career at Anvil would fall apart. Getting up, Russo then asked what they now planned to do about Morty Bennett, to which Rawlins claimed that they could not warn him Punisher was coming as he would run or talk so they would instead save his life and then take him under their protection where they would intend to kill him afterwards when Castle had finally been killed.
In a top secret operation which not even Morty Bennett was aware of, Russo and his team of Anvil agents waited outside Fort Bryon until they got the signal from the woman Bennett was with that Frank Castle had arrived in the building, at which point Russo informed all of his men and they rushed the building to attempt to assassinate their target, wearing masks and armed with military grade weapons to kill Castle.
As it turned out however, Castle was ready for their sudden ambush as he had filled the entire room with smoke making it impossible for Russo and his team to clearly make out their target. Armed with laser sights on their rifles, Russo and his unit scanned the room for either Castle or Bennett, only to discover that Castle was using his training within the United States Armed Forces as well as the smoke to his own advantage to take out Russo's men one by one. Seeing through Castle's plan, Russo turned off his own laser pointer to try and find an advantage while the rest of his men were slowly taken out.
Tracking a laser pointer which he had believed Castle had taken over, Russo waited until it was still and fired upon it, only to discover that Castle had in fact left it on the desk in order to trick Russo. As Russo scanned the room to find his target, Castle had managed to get the drop on Russo; however, and they then both shot and mildly wounded each other. When Castle told Russo, who he did not recognize due to the mask, to stay down, Russo ignored him and chased after him as Castle then jumped through the window and ran to safety on foot, as Russo continuing to fire after him despite just missing his shots.
With Castle now on the run from the military in the base, Russo then addressed his men, who were wounded from their encounters with the Punisher as he had managed to sneak up on and take advantage of all of them under the shadow of the smoke he had used. Russo then found Bennett, who was still wearing the ball gag Castle had left him with, who then questioned what Russo himself was doing there. Noting that Bennett was still partially undress from his time with the woman, Russo ordered Bennett to follow him and do exactly as he had instructed him to do, which Bennett agreed to do.
Russo brought Morty Bennett away from danger and he listened to Bennett yell at William Rawlins as he then furiously blamed him for allowing the Punisher to ambush and almost kill him. Bennett told Russo and Rawlins that he had told Fort Bryon that it had been a training exercise before then questioning what would be done next, to which Rawlins promised to get him out of the country with a new identity to ensure that the Punisher would not be able to find him, before Russo then ordered Bennett to leave his phone behind.
As Rawlins instructed, Russo took Bennett to a secure location in a cheap motel where they knew they would be safe from Frank Castle. Russo listened as Bennett complained about every aspect of the room before noting that Bennett had never liked him, while Bennett claimed that he had always seen the United States Marine Corps as filled with pretentious people like Russo. As Bennett explored the room, Russo allowed him to uncover the corpse of the Mistress he had been spending his night with, revealing their plan to then create a convincing murder scene for Bennett and his lover.
Bennett desperately pleaded with Russo, attempting to argue that he would soon be out of the United States Armed Forces and that what he had said before really did not matter. However, Russo ignored everything Bennett had said and proceeded to use his secret wrist blade to then fatally stab Bennett in the gut before taking the gun out of his hands. As the dying Bennett crawled across the floor, Russo watched as he bled the death while he ripped out the phone cable and told Bennett as he died on the floor that he had never liked him either before then calling Rawlins to confirm Bennett's death.
- "You had a choice. Me, I never did. You saw to that. And yet here I am. You know, all those years in those group homes gives you a lot of time to think. And now I'm returning the favor. Maybe you did me a solid, you know? I mean, the way I see it, you want weak kids, give 'em everything. But if you want 'em strong, treat 'em hard."
- ―Billy Russo to Carla Russo[src]
As always, Russo underwent his morning routine of skincare and styling his hair in front of a mirror to ensure that he looked his best. He then put on another of his expensive suits and cleaned his shoes before admiring himself in the mirror as he prepared to begin his day. Russo traveled to the nursing home where his mother Carla Russo was still being treated, doing his weekly visit to her, getting an update from Katie on his mother's condition as Katie informed her that this was still the same as usual.
Russo spoke to his mother, noting that she had been given a therapy lamp as she wanted and that the nurses had been cleaning her teeth for her. Russo proceeded to tell his mother about the tough week he had been having, noting that since Frank Castle had returned to New York City he knew that just smiling would not be enough to deal with Castle, as Castle intended to destroy Anvil and everything Russo had built since he had first joined with Operation Cerberus. Russo noted to his mother who was still not responding to what he said and that she was the one person who he could still be truly honest with.
When Russo tried to give his mother some water, she accidentally spilt it down herself which annoyed Russo. Standing over his terrified mother, Russo questioned if she would have done anything different if she could have raised him up again, reminding her of how her drug usage had led to him being put into foster homes as a child. Russo concluded that her abuse may have made Russo a stronger man in the end. Russo ripped the duvet off his mother before giving her her injection as she moaned in fear, telling her that he would have given anything for her love before Russo walked out of the building.
Discussing Battle Scars
Russo returned into the Madani Residence where Russo and Dinah Madani had sex in her shower. Once finished, Russo lay naked with only a towel in Madani's bed while watching her put on clothes ready to return to work at Homeland Security. As she looked at his body, Madani questioned where some of Russo's bruises came from, with Russo lying about the recent shootout which caused it and claiming that they had come from a paintball during his training.
Changing the subject, Russo pointed to one of his real scars which he explained he gained while in the United States Armed Forces and was shot with an AK-47. Russo asked Madani about her own scars to which she claimed one was from an angry lover who stabbed her, which Russo did not believe. Madani teased Russo by noted that he had so many scars and yet none on his attractive face before asking about two large scars on his shoulder, making up a story about how Russo's parachute had once failed to open and he then fell through a tree which resulted in the scars as they laughed together.
Russo calmly told Madani of how due to his mother's meth addiction he had been forced to grow up within the Ray of Hope group home where Arthur Walsh had almost sexually assaulted him at the age of either ten or eleven, before Russo had tried to defend himself which resulted in Walsh seriously damaging his shoulder, resulting in all of the scars. Madani confessed that she did not know about this part of Russo's life as it had not been in his personal file when she had been researching him, resulting in Russo teasing her over the middle class guilt she was feeling for having a good childhood unlike him.
Russo, however, noted that he still believed that regardless of all the trauma he had once suffered and the lack of knowledge about his exact birthplace, he still felt lucky for being born in the United States of America. Madani thanked Russo for feeling that he could trust her with these facts about his life, as Russo teased her over the fact that if they continued having real personal conversations then she may have to admit to liking him. As Madani finished putting on the rest of her clothes, she asked about Russo's mother as Russo told her that he still had no happy ending to his own personal life story.
Hunting Frank Castle
Meeting with William Rawlins
- "We go after him again, I can't use anybody on my payroll. I lost nine of my guys going after Henderson in those woods. I'mma need outside operators, and they will not be cheap."
"Guess everything comes down to money, doesn't it?"
"Easy to say for a guy who never worried about money."
- ―Billy Russo and William Rawlins[src]
On the outskirts of New York City, Russo stood alone as he awaited the arrival of William Rawlins. When Rawlins finally arrived, Russo listened as he ranted about how the United States of America used to be built on industries like coal, iron and steel whereas it was now run by markets and bankers who they were beholden to. Rawlins noted that it was time for them to go after Frank Castle, despite Russo warning that they would get in the way of a Homeland Security investigation which would be a risk to them being discovered.
Rawlins insisted that they had to kill Castle before he was arrested and confessed everything that happened with Operation Cerberus, so Russo agreed provided that they did not use anyone from Anvil's payroll, as he deemed it too risky and he had now lost too many of his own men already when they had gone after Gunner Henderson. When Russo insisted on finding outside operators who would not be cheap Rawlins moaned about how it always came down to money, to which Russo noted that Rawlins had never even had to worry about money once in his life, which Rawlins merely scoffed at.
As Russo questioned if Rawlins still thought he was better than him, Rawlins insulted him by claiming that Russo's pride was a weakness. Rawlins gave Russo the authorization to get his soldiers and wait for him to give him all the tactical plans from Homeland Security so that they could then allow the mission to go ahead. Rawlins then insulted Russo once again by questioning if he was now concerned about going against Dinah Madani, which Russo then denied as he stood over Rawlins and insisted that there was still nobody he was afraid of going against before Rawlins then walked away from him.
With William Rawlins permission, Russo gathered together his team his outside operators for the mission, meeting them just outside New York City where they would not be bothered by anyone who could possibly be spying on them. As they arrived at the location, Spencer Geiger jokingly questioned if they were not welcome at Anvil Headquarters anymore to which Russo noted that it was best they not be seen together as last time they worked together he blamed them for shooting the wrong people in front of all the wrong people.
As the group complained about being unable to get work since the last time when they had shot civilians in Iraq, Tom Weems questioned what could do for them, to which Russo promised to get them a job which would be to hunt down and assassinate Frank Castle which would be top secret and completely deniable for them. When Weems questioned how that helped them with the people seeking to take them down, Russo promised them cheques of fifty thousand dollars in exchange for their work, which they all agreed to as Geiger noted that clearly somebody really needed Castle to be killed.
With the intel gathered by William Rawlins, Russo's team waited in their van and prepared themselves for a firefight, with Russo packing extra knives along with his various guns. Russo observed his team and, once they were all ready to go, covered his face with a mask to protect his own identity as they all quietly stormed the Abandoned Warehouse and awaited Frank Castle's arrival so they could finally take him out once and for all, making their way up the stairs with their guns drawn and ready to immediately fire upon Castle.
As Russo and his team made their way into a large hallway however, they were then suddenly surrounded by Homeland Security who ordered them to drop their weapons and surrender. Russo ignored the order and fired upon one of the agents, which killed him instantly, resulting in a violent firefight breaking out. Russo's own team quickly found themselves outgunned and outmatched as the agents came at them from all sides, killing Jim Pruitt and Mike Bashille in the chaos. As Russo struggled to see a way out, he pushed Spencer Geiger into the line of fire as he then made a sudden run for freedom.
Russo charged down the stairs followed by Tom Weems, who was then wounded by a shot to his legs, causing him to fall to the floor. As Weems begged for help, Russo ignored his cries and instead fired a single shot into Weems' skull, killing him instantly to ensure Weems could not give Homeland his name if he had been captured. As he fired several more warning shots behind him, Russo then made his own desperate run for freedom while he still could, followed closely by Dinah Madani as Russo made it back outside. As another agent almost saw him, Russo managed to kill him with a single bullet.
Before Russo could get away however, Sam Stein appeared and held Russo at gunpoint, ordering him to drop his weapon and get down onto his knees. Russo did as instructed and allowed Stein, who was now confident that Russo was defenseless to get close to him. Once Stein removed Russo's main knife, he then removed Russo's face mask and briefly paused in surprise at seeing who was to blame. But Russo used his brief pause to his own advantage by using his hidden wrist blade to stab Stein multiple times into the throat before leaving him to bleed out as Russo proceeded to make his escape.
Caring for Madani
- "Do you know that I've been to seventeen funerals? Friends, guys that I served with. You think I don't know what this feeling is like?"
"Were any of them your fault?"
"If I wanted to go that way. Sure. Maybe if I'd shot this guy, or stopped that guy. Been there a second sooner, stayed a second later. So maybe."
- ―Billy Russo and Dinah Madani[src]
Russo left Dinah Madani to find the dead agent and the dying Sam Stein as he made his escape, knowing that even if Stein survived long enough to be found by her, he would be unable to tell her Russo's deception due to choking on his own blood. Russo then returned to the scene of the crime to pick up the traumatized Madani as he took her back into the Madani Residence where he put her in the bath and softly cleaned all Stein's blood off her face, with Madani unaware that Russo was responsible.
Russo soon returned to the Madani Residence and questioned why Madani was not out dealing with all of the Bombings over New York City, to which Madani claimed that Homeland Security did not want her out there before kissing Russo and trying to remove his clothes. Russo argued that sex would not make all of the pain go away, much to her annoyance. Russo explained how he had been to seventeen funerals for friends and other men he had served with in the United States Armed Forces, to which Madani asked if any of these deaths were his fault, with Russo noting that maybe that was the case.
Russo then questioned if Stein himself had been to blame for his own death, noting that Stein had managed to get stabbed while he was still holding a gun to his killer. All of this still did not stir up Madani, despite Russo arguing that she needed to get back out there and seek out the terrorist who was attacking New York City, with Russo even suggesting that if she could not do this then she should then consider retiring from active duty with Homeland Security; however, Madani then just noted that her career was likely finished regardless of whether she got out of bed or not due to her previous actions.
Madani then confessed to Russo that the Ambush at the Abandoned Warehouse had been her attempt to kill the men hunting Frank Castle which had resulted in the deaths of several agents including Stein which she was directly responsible for. Russo argued that Madani had just been trying to do the right thing, although she insisted that nobody would care about her intentions but only the results of her actions. Russo noted that the people judging her had not been there and so did not understand, to which Madani noted that neither was he before walking away, as Russo considered his next move.
Anvil Protection Job
In the wake of the terrorist's threats, Russo and Anvil were hired by Senator Stan Ori as private security. Russo introduced himself to Ori in the Royal Hospitality who questioned Russo's own views on the terrorist, to which Russo had explained that he would be more than happy to kill him in the blink of an eye in the wake of the Bombings over New York City. Ori questioned if such violence only caused more violence, to which Russo noted that he made a living from violence, recommending Ori view Anvil's presence as his life insurance.
Ori noted that he was a key spokesman in the anti-gun debate which would make him hiring armed guards problematic, to which Russo questioned if his personal principles were worth dying for. Impressed by this, Ori hired Anvil as Russo promised to begin work immediately, leaving Isaac Lange and Simon to stand guard while Russo collected more agents and provided needed security measures. When Russo had joked about killing the terrorist in the most humane way possible, Ori laughed before shaking Russo's hand and welcoming onboard as Russo had then left Lange there while he got some more agents.
With all of his guards in place, Russo then spoke with Ori about their upcoming interview with the New York Bulletin, with Ori insisting on doing the interview downstairs in public while Russo insisted that this would be a mistake. As Ori had claimed that hiding in his hotel room from the terrorist would send out the wrong message to their public, Russo claimed he was less concerned with Ori's image than he was over keeping Ori from being assassinated. Getting a call, Russo then quietly excused himself as he then stepped outside of the room and had answered the call to find Frank Castle was on the other line.
Castle noted just how business with Anvil must be good due to their newest high value target, although Russo then noted that according to the news reports this was all down to Castle himself. Russo once again noted that his offer to get Castle out of New York City was still on the table if he wanted it to avoid being arrested. Castle noted that Wilson was already on his way to assassinate Ori to keep him from making his speech, explaining that Wilson had told him this directly. Castle suggested getting Ori safe while Castle could ambush and kill Wilson, telling Russo to keep all of the Anvil agents out of his way.
As Castle hung up the call, Russo met Karen Page as she arrived to interview Ori, immediately noting that he was aware that Page carried a gun with her, promising she could get the gun returned once their interview was over. They discussed the irony of an anti-gun Senator choosing the military contractor as his new private security, to which Russo jokingly claimed Anvil was their best choice out there. When Page questioned where Russo studied to gain such good marketing skills, he answered that it had been in Afghanistan, before welcoming her into Ori's hotel suite in order to finally begin their interview.
While making his way throughout the hotel with a small team of Anvil agents, Russo encountered Dinah Madani who had been waiting for him, with Russo noting that he thought it was great to see her back at work in the wake of the recent incidents involving her. Russo noted that he could not really talk due to still protecting Stan Ori, to which Madani claimed she was there to talk about some of Anvil's agents, handing him the files of Tom Weems and the others on that team, with Madani noting that they had killed her agents and had also previously worked for Anvil.
Russo insisted that he did not have a personal connection to these men, claiming that although they had indeed previously worked for him several years ago, but they had also likely worked freelance for other organizations, claiming that Anvil had a strict policy on not to rehire men who had ever worked for criminal organizations. Russo questioned what Madani and Homeland Security had been involved with to cross paths with these men before questioning if he had become a suspect in Sam Stein's death, with Madani noting that the fifth man on the team had escaped without being identified.
Russo promised Madani that he was look into the case to find the fifth suspect, before then suggesting that he come into the Madani Residence later that night to then discuss it further, although Madani rejected this. Changing the subject, Madani noted that if the New York Bulletin was to be believed, then Russo was protecting Ori from both Lewis Wilson and Frank Castle, questioning if Russo was willing to kill his friend to which Russo claimed that if he had to he would. As they discussed Castle, Russo was suddenly alerted by an alarm and realized one of his agents was not answering his radio.
While Wilson was causing chaos and Ori was being taken to safety, Russo eventually caught up with Madani and Castle in the hotel's stairway, with Russo attempting to kill Castle by shooting him in the head, missing his shot and wounding Castle. As Castle fell down the stairs, Madani aimed her gun at Russo who attempted to find his shot to finish off his target. As Madani demanded to know why he had fired, Russo claimed he thought that Castle was aiming for her and he was therefore just trying to protect her. Madani demanded that Russo lower his gun, but he refused and continued aiming.
Madani insisted that she was a federal agent ordering him to lower his weapon, but still Russo refused, before comparing his actions to war and claiming that the only crime in war would be to lose. Madani noted that she had realized that Russo had indeed killed Stein during the Ambush at the Abandoned Warehouse, as Russo then aimed his gun at Madani. Before Russo could execute Castle and Madani, he was suddenly found by the New York City Police Department who took Russo and Madani into custody while Castle was able to get away and later assisted in killing Wilson during the chaos.
Questioned by Brett Mahoney
- "I just lost four guys, and you're implying what? Negligence?"
"Wouldn't be the first time an outfit like yours got paid for a job it wasn't qualified to handle."
"'Cause you guys, NYPD, you're blameless, right? I mean, you guys never get shit wrong. You ever serve, Sergeant?"
- ―Billy Russo and Brett Mahoney[src]
During the wake of the recent Attack on Stan Ori, Russo had soon sat down beside Detective Sergeant Brett Mahoney of the New York City Police Department to give his statement based on the incident. Mahoney began by asking Russo directly about Lewis Wilson and how Wilson had been offered a job at Anvil, with Russo noting the interview itself had been a favor for Curtis Hoyle and Wilson had soon been rejected for as to Wilson's poor mental health.
Discussing how Wilson had been able to breach all Anvil's security, Mahoney explained that Wilson had killed Isaac Lange and taken his uniform, noting that this had made breaching their security so easy. Seeing that Mahoney was questioning his team's skills, Russo noting that Stan Ori was still alive thanks to the work of Anvil, pointing out that four Anvil agents had just been killed and so they should not be accused of negligence now. Russo then turned the questions back on Mahoney, comparing the United States Armed Forces with the Police Department to insist they completed the mission.
Mahoney noted that it was a big coincidence involved with his case due to Russo almost recruiting Wilson and having served alongside Frank Castle who was now believed to have been working alongside Wilson to try to assassinate Ori. Tired of the questioning, Russo then insisted that either Mahoney arrest him or he would walk away. As Russo attempted to walk away, Mahoney demanded to know when had been the last time he had spoken with Castle, to which Russo claimed he had not spoken to him in two years, also claiming he had believed Castle was dead before then before walking away.
- "Here's what I think's happened. You're pissed Frank Castle got away, and you're looking to blame me, so you sent your guys to come down to pick me up. But now, now you're realizing that maybe that wasn't such a smart move. Now, if this was official, you wouldn't be sitting there alone."
- ―Billy Russo to Dinah Madani[src]
In the wake of the Attack on Stan Ori, Russo decided to give a public statement on WHiH World News as he claimed that he had believed his friend Frank Castle had been dead but declared that the man Castle had become was a monster. On behalf of Anvil, Russo promised that his priority would be finding Castle, who was still on the run after Lewis Wilson's death, and vowed that Anvil would contribute in anyway they could, questioning what had happened to Castle.
Russo then made a trip to the Homeland Security Headquarters upon being summoned to give a statement on the recent events, being accompanied by two armed guards. Russo arrived in the main room where agent Dinah Madani thanked him for coming, to which Russo joked that he had made his living from being around whenever the government called. Russo sat down for his interview, which Madani recorded as she presented him with pictures from the Ambush at the Abandoned Warehouse, including images of the men killed at their shootout, to which Russo questioned why he was there.
Madani presented Russo with an image of Sam Stein's corpse and accused him of being a murderer who was soon going to pay. Russo, however, claimed that he had only been at that location to collect Madani before saying on camera that he had brought her back to the Madani Residence and noting that they had previously engaged in a sexual relationship within that residence. Madani then questioned if Russo and Castle had engaged in illegal actions while stationed they had both been stationed in Kandahar, to which Russo noted that his own file showed no record of him being stationed in Kandahar.
Madani then turned off the camera before giving Russo the offer to give her everything on Operation Cerberus and his own dealings with William Rawlins, with the mention of Rawlins' name causing Russo to look up. While Madani issued him with threats, Russo claimed that Madani was merely haunted by the deaths of both Stein and Ahmad Zubair and was looking for someone to target, to which Madani then noted that she was looking for Castle who in turn was now aiming to kill Russo for his betrayal if Madani was not able to capture him first, causing Russo to then reconsider her offer for safety.
Using the CIA's surveillance equipment, William Rawlins was able to discover that Frank Castle had just recently been in contact with the family of the believed to be deceased David Lieberman when Zach Lieberman called a hotline in order to give up information on Castle's current whereabouts. Russo had agent Jack go into the Lieberman Residence where they proceeded to kidnap both Zach and Sarah Lieberman. Russo then had the pair tied up in an empty warehouse in the hope that Castle would seek them out, allowing Russo to assassinate him.
While looking at the utterly terrified Liebermans, Russo questioned if Rawlins had known that David Lieberman was alive, to which Rawlins noted that Carson Wolf had assured him that he had been murdered. Russo claimed that the entire situation was currently getting out of hand since he had killed Homeland Security agents and that Rawlins' name was somehow now known by Dinah Madani. Rawlins noted that he had gotten Marion James involved in the operation, meaning if they were caught then the CIA would come out looking bad, which James did not want to happen, meaning they were protected.
Russo, however, noted that none of them were safe now that Castle knew that he was involved, with Rawlins recommending that as they would all be in danger as long as he was alive, they go into Micro's Hideout where Castle had been tracked to using Sarah Lieberman's phone and finally assassinate him. Russo had refused to go himself, refusing to expose himself any more than he already had, instead sending in his Anvil agents. Russo suggested that Rawlins go in person, which he refused to do as he did not wish to get his hands dirty with their situation, which did not surprise Russo.
While Russo watched over Sarah and Zach Lieberman, he sent a squad of well armed Anvil agents to Micro's Hideout in an attempt to find and kill Frank Castle once and for all. Shortly after they arrived, Russo was called by Jack who informed him that there seemed to be nobody at the Hideout anymore, but they had found footage of Cerberus Squad while they were torturing and killing Ahmad Zubair as well as a mysterious count down on the computer. When Russo learned that Castle's phone was still there, he realized that this was his trap and ordered them to get out.
Russo's conversation with Jack was cut short as the Punisher then caused an explosion as he ambushed the entire team. Having waited several minutes, Russo's phone rang again only for Castle to be on the other side accusing Russo of not having the balls to face him in person and sending in his men to do his dirty work. Castle vowed that sooner or later they would face off in which one would kill the other, which Russo denied as Castle was a wanted man and would likely be captured or killed by Homeland Security before they could ever face off against each other one final time.
Castle warned that if anything happened to either of the Liebermans, then Micro would release everything on Operation Cerberus, so they agreed to have an exchange for Micro and Punisher in exchange for the Liebermans, which Castle agreed to as he told Russo to contact him was everything was arranged before hanging up. Russo then traveled to hideout where he discovered all of the corpses Castle had left in his wake, alongside the footage of William Rawlins torturing Zubair and the countdown clock, causing Russo to then curse as he considered what his next actions would be.
Russo arranged the trade of the Punisher and Micro in exchange for the Sarah and Zach Lieberman. Russo took position with his sniper rifle as he watched the exchange got underway, with the Liebermans under threat of being burned alive if anything went wrong. However, suddenly Homeland Security agents arrived on the scene, causing chaos as Castle was captured while Lieberman was seemingly killed during the crossfire. Russo cursed for Lieberman's death before shooting out Homeland Security's tires and making his escape.
Taking Frank Castle back to Micro's Hideout, Russo awoke him as Castle noted that the Hideout was looking better since it was now covered in the blood of Anvil agents. Russo noted that while he was in Cerberus Squad he had never considered what it would be like to be in his victim's place, which Castle was now in. Russo questioned why Homeland Security had turned up, with Castle denying that he had any knowledge while questioning if Lieberman had called them, noting that he did not want to see Russo and William Rawlins under arrest, but he instead wanted to see both of them dead.
Russo, however, merely laughed at all Castle's threats, claiming that Castle stood no chance of ever winning and would not be able to kill him or Rawlins, just telling him that the last choice Castle would be allowed to make would be how he would die. Russo noted that the Liebermans were safe as Castle demanded to know where Micro was, to which Russo explained that Micro was dead and so Castle had to turn off the footage of Ahmad Zubair's death. Castle asked Russo if the Massacre at Central Park was unavoidable, questioning if Russo had killed Maria Castle and their children himself.
Sitting down, Russo told Castle he had not been at Central Park, also noting that if he was then he would not have missed the chance to kill Castle himself, claiming that he had told Ray Schoonover that he wanted no part in their deaths. As Castle cried upon learning his own friend had been aware that all his family would be slaughtered, Russo told him to look him in the eye while Russo insisted that he had never wanted any of this to happen. Russo offered Castle an easy or hard death, while he called Russo's bluff, telling Russo to kill him himself, knowing he could not until the countdown had stopped.
Frank Castle's Torture
- "They're all dead because of you. I get it. That's a heavy, heavy burden. It's time to put it down. You're a revenant. Walking the earth, completely unaware that you're already dead. I hate seeing you like this. It's sad. Give it up, Frank. Give it up, and I'll make it clean and fast. Go out like a soldier."
- ―Billy Russo to Frank Castle[src]
Russo continued mocking Frank Castle, even when Castle accused him of purely being obsessed with his own self image. Russo claimed that this were about who he saw when he looked in the mirror, telling Castle when he knew when he looked in the mirror Castle only saw some who lost his wife and his two children and would soon lose his life, to which Castle claimed that Russo had lost his honor every since he had accepted money to commit treason.
Russo noted that they had both witnessed breaking while in these situations and demanded the passcode, just as William Rawlins then entered the room, promising that things would get considerably more painful if he did not comply. Castle questioned if Russo really trusted Rawlins, asking if Morty Bennett had also trusted him before he had been murdered, but Rawlins explained that he and Russo had mutual interests. Russo then watched on as Rawlins put on his heavy leather gloves and then began striking Castle across the face multiple times, eventually causing Castle to lose some teeth and spit out blood.
Several hours into the torture, Russo had begun cleaning up Castle's blood from his face as he began to question who and what Castle was protecting, as everyone he cared about was now dead, including Gunner Henderson and Micro, and they were all dead because of Castle's actions. Russo then suggested that Castle give up and allow Russo to give him a clean death, until finally Castle claimed that he was ready to die, begging Russo to be the one to kill him cleanly and not Rawlins, as he knew Rawlins would prefer to continue torturing him until his heart gave out through all of the agonizing pain.
Russo agreed to Castle's wish to kill him as Castle confessed that the way to turn off the countdown was using a retinal scanner which was on Micro's desk and a passcode which he knew. Russo had his Anvil agents drag Castle's chair up onto the computer, ordering the hacker to move aside so Castle could enter the passcode which his fingerprints and use the retinal scanner to end the countdown. Both Russo and Rawlins watched while Castle entered the code and used the retinal scan, finally stopping the footage of Cerberus Squad while they tortured and killed Ahmad Zubair, much to their relief.
However, just as Rawlins began mocking Castle and claiming that he was disappointed in him, Castle drew a blade hidden under his chair and plunged it into Rawlins' chest before anybody could react fast enough to stop him. Russo desperately attempted to pull Rawlins away but Castle was still able to drag him over and bit into Rawlins' neck, causing the CIA agent to scream out in agony. As they wrestled on the floor, Russo then struck Castle with the butt of his gun, finally freeing Rawlins from his grip as Rawlins proceeded to kick Castle in the head out of anger and knocked him unconscious.
Betraying William Rawlins
- "You've lost your mind. I was out of Afghanistan clean. None of this would be happening if you hadn't gone after him. You pulled me back into the mud."
"I pulled you out of the mud, gutter rat! Billy, don't get confused. Men like me make the plans. Men like you shed the blood."
- ―Billy Russo and William Rawlins[src]
Russo monitored the hacker as she deleted all of Micro's files he had left on the computer, while she commented on how they would have never gotten past all of his security. When the hacker noted that she would like to meet Micro, Russo told her he was dead and threatened to kill her if she ever revealed anything she had seen to the public. Russo then began watching as William Rawlins continued torturing Frank Castle, horrified at how deranged Rawlins was.
Interrupting the torture, Russo told Rawlins that Castle had had enough and they should leave the hideout once everything had been wiped from the computers. When Russo noted that he would be killing Castle himself, Rawlins refused, noting that Castle had taken things from him and therefore would not be allowed to die easily, claiming that he did not care about the promise he had made to him. Having heard Rawlins' words, Russo began questioning if he had lost his position within the CIA, asking Rawlins directly what Castle had taken from him, which Rawlins still refused to answer.
Tired on the unneeded pain being caused, Russo dragged Rawlins away from Castle and demanded that he stop, only for Rawlins to furiously claim that Russo still served his needs and should not be involved. Russo claimed he had gotten out of Afghanistan without being mentally damaged and because of Rawlins, he was now being dragged into the mud, with Rawlins claiming that he had pulled him out of the mud. Rawlins then went on to claim that Russo had dirtied himself by killing Homeland Security agents, noting it was because of Rawlins and his CIA influence that Russo had gotten this far.
Disgusted, Russo claimed that he should have allowed Castle to kill Rawlins while back in Kandahar as Rawlins laughed in his face at the threat. Wishing to disrupt Rawlins' plans, Russo went behind Castle and placed his gun to the back of his head, with Rawlins ordering him to stop under the threat of then being handed over to Homeland Security. Desperate to be the one to kill Castle, Rawlins drew his gun and aimed it at Russo, noting that Castle owed him an eye. Seeing that Rawlins had become a serious threat to him due to his declining mental stability, Russo quietly cut Castle's ties and walked away.
As the hacker informed Russo that she was done and was sent off with her money, Russo watched as Rawlins injected Castle with a burst of adrenaline to ensure he experienced all the pain. Russo kept his distance as he saw Rawlins' attempt to cut out Castle's eye being blocked when Castle broke himself out of his bounds and knocked Rawlins to the floor. Russo calmly took Rawlins' gun away and just watched closely as Castle proceeded to furiously throw Rawlins to the floor, stabbing him repeatedly before beating him senseless and finishing his revenge by plunging his thumbs into Rawlins' eyes.
Russo smiled as Castle fell off Rawlins' bloodied corpse, struggling to breathe, with Russo commenting on how he always liked watching Castle killing somebody. As Russo made his way to the dying Castle, he questioned what he had meant as Castle claimed that he wished he could live long enough to see the look on Russo's face when he realized he was done and would now lose everything. Just as Castle noted he would use Rawlins' own gun to kill Castle, he heard Dinah Madani's Homeland team bursting inside, as Russo was shot in the shoulder and forced to escape before he could kill Castle.
Having escaped from inside Micro's Hideout just before he could be captured by any of Dinah Madani's agents and eventually managed to make it back to Anvil Headquarters. Russo focused on pulling out the bullet from his arm before pouring whiskey on the wound to clean it, despite this causing him considerable pain. Having patched up the wound, Russo then collected his weapons and cash and prepared to go on the run, only to then overhear some incoming agents who had managed to find his location and had come to capture and bring Russo to justice.
Using his knowledge of the building's layout to his advantage, Russo managed to kill the two agents who had come inside his own office almost immediately, before taking their radios and making his way towards the exit. As the Homeland Security agents spoke to each other on the radio during their search for their target, Russo used this to learn their positions within the building's hallways in order to get ahead and quietly execute them all with his silenced pistol, with his training in the United States Armed Forces allowing him to kill them with perfect accuracy before they could even see him coming.
Once Russo had eventually killed all of the Homeland Security agents who he could find within the building, he made his way outside and calmly set off a bomb within the Anvil Headquarters. Without looking back, Russo kept walking as Anvil, the company he had built from the ground up, was completely destroyed in a fireball. Knowing that he had become a high-value target for Homeland Security, and that he had lost everything William Rawlins and he had been building for years, Russo set about finding Frank Castle so that he could execute his revenge against his former friend for ruining his life.
Seeking information, Russo went into Curtis Hoyle's Apartment and awaited his awakening, taking his hidden pistol from underneath the adjacent pillow. Once Curtis Hoyle awoke, Russo revealed himself as Hoyle noted that he had seen reports on the news about Russo being armed and dangerous. Russo questioned if it was Lewis Wilson who had given Hoyle all of the bruises on his face which he confirmed, as Russo noted he would have killed Wilson before he had even gotten a chance, before allowing Hoyle put his false leg on.
Russo questioned how long Hoyle knew Frank Castle was still alive, which he did not answer and instead tried to convince Russo that he needed help. Russo mocked this idea of going to Hoyle's therapy sessions and, when Hoyle questioned if he had really ever turned his life around since leaving the United States Armed Forces, Russo then admitted he did not. Hoyle then got to his feet and asked if he was allowed to make coffee, which Russo told him he could do as Hoyle explained that he had kept Castle's secrets because he was asked to, noting that Castle only ever wanted to protect Russo.
Russo went on to suggest that Castle was, in fact, the one to blame for everything that had gone wrong before feeling the need to defend the actions of Operation Cerberus by noting the drugs would have gotten out of Afghanistan anyway so he and Ray Schoonover might as well have made the deals. As Hoyle opened all the curtains, he noted that Russo and Castle were very alike, except Castle would never betray a brother, but Russo noted that he was there to force Hoyle to betray Castle, threatening to shoot him in his good leg until he revealed the truth, asking once again where Castle was.
Hoyle offered Russo the coffee, taking a drink out of his own to show it was not poisoned. However, just as Russo went to take the coffee, he realized that he had been convinced to step into the center of the room with the windows now fully exposed. Sensing the trap, Russo dived to the floor just as Castle fired a shot from his sniper rifle, barely missing Russo. Furious, Russo dived for cover and shot Hoyle in the shoulder as he hid, with Russo continuing to fire at him. As the shooting stopped, Russo held a knife up to the window which Castle fired at, confirming that he was still aiming for him.
As Russo complained that he was taking these betrayals personally, Hoyle's phone then began to ring so Russo allowed him to answer it. Hoyle then told Russo that Castle wanted to speak to him and threw him the phone, as Russo noted that they knew each other so well that they were able to predict each other's attacks. Castle ordered Russo to let Hoyle go to ensure nobody else got hurt but Russo still refused, telling Castle that he intended to hurt everybody Castle ever cared about in order to get to him, threatening to allow Hoyle to bled out, but Castle threatened to call Homeland Security if he did.
Russo only agreed to leave Hoyle alone, if Castle agreed to empty the rifle, as Russo listened to ensure this happened. Getting onto his feet, Russo made eye contact with Castle and suggested that they meet that night for a final showdown to end their hunt, telling Castle to meet him by the Central Park Carousel, knowing that returning to the sight of the Massacre at Central Park would likely put Castle off balance emotionally and give Russo the advantage. With this agreed upon, Russo gave Castle a military salute and walking out of Hoyle's apartment in order to get ready for the final showdown.
In order to give himself the clear advantage, Russo decided to capture two young employees at the Central Park and use them as his hostages. Finding Carl and Hayley, who was closing up at the end of the day, Russo cornered them in the office and held them at gunpoint. Russo then proceeded to tie them both up to the carousel horses, with their arms raised, and gave them both heavy cuts on their arms, ensuring that they would bleed heavily unless their arms were lowered.
Knowing that the Punisher would be getting close, Russo turned on the carousel as Carl and Hayley cried out in pain and fear as they spun around and around. Russo then called Castle on the phone, ensuring that he could see the pair suffering before noting that two more children would soon die because him, reminding Castle of the deaths of Frank Castle, Jr. and Lisa Castle at that same spot during the Massacre at Central Park. However, to Russo's surprise, Castle used the tactic of firing grenades into the air, forcing Russo to have to take cover from all the large charges that were erupting.
Despite being distracting by the explosions, Russo caught sight of the Punisher charging towards him and began firing upon him. The two former friends continued firing upon each other, with Russo managing to shoot Castle in the leg while they both took cover and reloaded. Taking advantage of the fact that Castle needed to pause to bandage his leg, Russo charged across the park and ran just beside the Carousel to find cover. The pair both waited for a clear shot before they both got onboard the Carousel, using the horses as cover as they attempted to find the fatal shot to kill the other.
Knowing that Castle would be emotionally off balance owing to the location they were fighting in, Russo called out to him, claiming that they needed this kind of violence in their lives to feel whole and that this was all they were good for since leaving the United States Armed Forces. Russo claimed that neither of them was good people before they both caught a glimpse of each other and began shooting again and using the fake horses to maintain cover. During the next moment of quiet, Russo then questioned who would mourn them all once they were dead and claimed that they were, in fact, the same.
As they had spotted each other again, Russo fired towards Castle and managed to shoot him in the stomach, with Castle being saved by his vest. However, one of Castle's bullets managed to bounce of a steel pole and embedded itself within Russo's cheek as he screamed out in both pain and anger and the thought of now being permanently scarred on his face. Spitting out the bullet, Russo decided enough was enough, stopping the Carousel and furiously threatening to kill Hayley and Carl if Castle did not show himself, as Russo then ordered the terrified kids to beg for their lives.
Punisher did as Russo instructed and came around the corner, telling Russo to let the kids go. Russo, however, demanded that he instead throw away both his gun and his knife, as he told Castle that all his attachments were a weakness and shot Castle in the chest, claiming that he never had anybody. While Castle struggled to stand, Russo shot him again, ignoring Castle's claims that Russo had a family with the Castles. However, before Russo to execute Castle, Dinah Madani suddenly appeared and Russo managed to spin around and shot her directly in the head before she could stop and arrest him.
Losing his Face
Furious upon seeing Dinah Madani seemingly being killed by Russo's gunshot, Punisher got up and, using the distraction to his advantage, charged at Russo. Punisher managed to pull Russo's gun away from him and tried to shoot him in the face, barely missing all the shots before Russo was able to throw away the gun. As the pair began to fight, Russo managed to knock the Punisher to the floor and kicked him repeatedly.
The pair had begun furiously throwing one another to the ground, as Castle hit Russo in the face and refused to allow him to get back up. Eventually, Russo was able to dodge one of Castle's blows, causing him to punch the ground as Russo managed to get up and continued the fight. Seeking to gain an advantage, Russo was able to draw his knife and began furiously slashing at Castle, cutting at his vest while attempting to cut a vital artery. However, the enraged Castle had still continued beating Russo down and had eventually managed to take the knife away from him, putting Russo back on the defense.
Castle managed to pin Russo against one of the mirrors, cracking it, as he attempted to plunge Russo's own knife into his eye socket. Using on his strength to keep him at bay, Russo then simply smiled at Castle as he used his hidden wrist blade to stab straight through Castle's arm, causing him intense agony. Throwing Castle away from him, Russo retook his own knife and then began attacking him with both blades, cutting into his arms several times before Castle was able to land a hard kick against Russo and attempted to then regain the upper hand against his former friend during the brutal fight.
Before long their clash ended as Russo had plunged the blade into Castle's shoulder and threw him against the mirror, cracking it even further and causing some largely broken shards to fall onto the floor. Getting right into the Castle's face, Russo told him to look at himself before he called him pathetic. Russo then pulled the blade out of Castle's shoulder and attempted to plunge it into his throat to finish him off, however, he failed to see Castle had picked a large piece of the broken mirror which he had then stabbed straight into Russo's stomach, causing a lot blood to pour out from Russo's wound.
Pulling a piece of the broken mirror out of his gut, Russo desperately attempted to defend himself but was in far too much agony, allowing Castle to beat him mercilessly and punch him straight into another mirror, cracking it. Unable to defend himself, Russo was grabbed by Castle and, to his utter horror, was dragged face first across a broken mirror, brutally ripping the side of his face apart as he screamed in agony. Enraged by the damage caused to his face, Russo attempted to attack Castle only to once again to smashed face first into another mirror as Russo fell to the ground, unable to move from the pain.
Castle forced Russo to look into his reflection in the broken mirror, as Russo saw all the horrific damage done to his once handsome face. Horrified by the sight of himself, Russo begged Castle to kill him as he held the shard of mirror onto Russo's throat. However, to Russo's horror, Castle then dropped the shard and claimed that he would not be killing him now, telling him that death would be too easy for him as he then proceeded to kick Russo face first into the broken mirror. Promising Russo would now learn about pain and about loss, Castle then grabbed Russo's hair and smashed his face into the mirror.
While Russo's face was torn to shreds by being repeatedly smashed into the cracked mirror, Castle got down to his level and explained how each morning he searched for his wife and his two children and would realize that they were all gone forever. Castle told him that he wanted Russo to feel the same pain while he looked at his mangled face in the mirror each morning and remembered what he lost and that he would remember Castle doing it to him. Castle then smashed Russo's face directly into the mirror one last time, causing permanent and horrific scarring to him as Russo finally lost consciousness.
Russo then soon arrested once the New York City Police Department arrived on the scene and took him straight to the hospital, along with Madani who miraculously survived Russo's gunshot. Under the close watch of Marion James and Rafael Hernandez, Russo was then put into surgery and underwent eleven hours of work, seemingly saving his life. However, Russo went into a coma due to all of the trauma he had sustained from the fight, with the doctors unsure if he would ever regain consciousness again or if he would regain any higher level of brain function or any memory of his past life what so ever.
Krista Dumont's Treatment
Following six weeks of treatment and multiple surgeries, Russo awoke from his coma, now without memories of his previous actions involving William Rawlins and the Massacre at Central Park, as he became confused about how he gained his facial scars. For his treatment, Russo was also assigned Krista Dumont as his personal therapist and was given a plain white mask to hide his facial scarring which greatly upset him. During treatment, Russo would attempt to get some exercise but would become frustrated as he could only do minimal pushups before having to stop.
Having been watching him, Dumont questioned how many pushups Russo could do while with the Marine Corps, to which Russo told a story of his recruiter who pushed his potential soldier's limits during training with pushups. Wiping his sweat while keeping his scarred face hidden, Russo complained about how he could no longer walk across a room without beginning to sweat, although Dumont insisted that Russo had already achieved a considerable amount during his six months of recovery, although Russo had remained unimpressed by the comment due to his frustration about his situation.
As Dumont had told him that he was being too harsh on himself and recommended that he hang in there, Russo laughed out loud as he compared this concept to a kitten hanging on a branch, mockingly demonstrating this with his hands. As Russo recalled having this as a poster back at Ray of Hope, he began to get confused as his head continued pounding. Dumont then changed the subject and asked if Russo was still seeing the Skull imagery in his dreams, which Russo had confirmed he was although he begged Dumont to not talk about those dreams as Russo began to have another mini panic attack.
Dumont was able to calm Russo down as she promised that they would continue breaking down the things that were causing him such distress piece by piece. With Russo now relaxed, Dumont told him how her other patients often used their white masks to present the person they wanted to be seen as and suggested that Russo try this, although Russo was unimpressed by the concept of decorating his mask. Since Dumont was serious about her suggestion, Russo had compared this to a kindergarten activity similar to finger painting and initially refused, although Dumont convinced him to reconsider.
- "I was the best version of myself out there in the service. Swift, silent, deadly. We all were all of those things. We were a family, and we were fighting for something. We weren't afraid of shit. And now... Now, there's something just, just on the edges of my mind. It's like a dark shadow just waiting for me. The thing is, Doc I deserve to feel the fear. I don't know why, but I know I deserve this."
- ―Billy Russo to Krista Dumont[src]
Despite his initial reluctance, Russo decorated his White Mask with lines that represented how he saw his own facial scars as chunks of his flesh being missing. Once the mask was complete, Russo sat down with Krista Dumont once again as she complimented Russo on all his work with the mask, although Russo had insisted that the mask still felt the same regardless of that work he had already done to it. As Dumont then questioned how he was feeling mentally, Russo claimed that he still did not know.
Russo did however, inform Dumont that he had recently done a bit of thinking about the people he did know from the United States Marine Corps who he had described as his family, noting how he had never had this family before then and confirmed that he still missed them. Considering what to say for the moment, Russo told Dumont how he had been the best version of himself while part of the Marine Corps serving in Afghanistan, noting how they were a family and a force to be reckoned with. Russo commented on how he was fearless back then but now he was constantly afraid of everything in his dreams.
As Russo continued to get more distressed while describing some kind of a dark shadow constantly waiting for him in the edges of his mind, Dumont watched over him closely before Russo then made his confession that he believed that he did indeed deserve everything that has happened to him, although he still did not know what he had done to deserve it. While Russo bowed his head in quiet shame and despair, Dumont made her suggestion that Russo look into the possibility of his own redemption while promising that every person deserved this and had vowed to help him get there eventually.
Tormented by Dinah Madani
Despite the good progress Russo was making, he still found himself being tormented by Dinah Madani, who went in his room at Sacred Saints Hospital and drank while watching him. Due to his trauma, Russo did not know who Madani was and why she hated him, with no memories of how he manipulated Madani and killed Sam Stein. One night, Madani had been once again watching over the sleeping Russo while drinking alcohol, before getting into his face and called him an asshole before walking out of the room, with Russo hiding the fact that he was actually awake.
As usual, every night Russo nightmares of skull imagery which had caused him to twist and turn during the night until he awoke with a start. One morning he awoke to find Madani looking down at him, clearly enjoying the fact that his dreams were causing Russo such distress. As Madani mockingly asked him about his dream, Russo questioned Madani about why she kept coming there, insisting that he did not know who she was, with Madani staying mostly silent before smugly acknowledging that Russo did indeed not know who she really was, which still continued to greatly unnerve Russo.
They were interrupted by Krista Dumont's arrival who happily greeted Madani and introduced herself. Madani told Dumont her theory that Russo was faking his lack of memory, although Dumont insisted that Russo did not have the mental strength to do this. When asked how he was, Russo told Dumont that his face and head were hurting and explained that he had managed to get some sleep, all the while with Madani keeping a close watch on Russo. Seeing how uncomfortable she was making him, Dumont requested that Madani leave the room so that she could begin her daily therapy session with Russo.
As Madani asked Dumont what she knew of all Russo's crimes, she insisted that she only cared about Russo's health and not his past, with Russo noting that they were rebuilding the jigsaw puzzle of his broken mind. Madani, however, continued to insist that Russo could not be trusted, also calling him the best liar that she had ever met throughout a career dealing with liars, with Dumont noting that her own work was to help patients like Russo discover the truth and then deal with that, with Madani telling her that Russo deserved to spend the rest of his life in prison for his crimes against her and all the lives he took before he had been injured and then taken into custody.
Turning their conversation around, Dumont noted how Madani also suffered her own head trauma which might be affecting her views, although Madani insisted that she was fine and left, telling Russo that she would return that night to watch over him. Once they were alone, Russo asked Dumont about what he did which had made Madani hate him, before becoming frustrated as Dumont reminded him that they had already discussed this. Russo was then freed from his bed restraints and asked pain relief. As Dumont left, she reminded Russo that he was the one who had shot Madani directly in the head.
Memories and Nightmares
As usual, Russo sat down beside Krista Dumont to begin his therapy session, with Dumont handing Russo his tablets to swallow, which he did while keeping his mask on and turning away to ensure Dumont did not see his face. As they began, Dumont commented that Russo seemed to be getting stronger, with Russo noting that while he was not allowed to run or use the gym at Sacred Saints Hospital, he was pushing himself to get stronger every day, although Russo had confirmed that the exercise was not helping him to get any sleep.
Dumont then asked Russo about his dreams, which clearly annoyed him as he noted how they been over this numerous times, to which Dumont asked him to indulge her regardless. Russo then her about his dreams in which he saw the Skull Imagery mixed with blood and the sounds of broken glass, although he still could not connect these images to the Duel at the Central Park Carousel that caused all his facial scars. Dumont began to ask Russo about how he felt during these dreams, asking if it instilled feelings of dread, although Russo insisted that they were just dreams and refused to answer.
As Dumont continued to push him for a reaction, Russo had become annoyed and questioned why they kept doing this, to which Dumont told him that one day he would give her different answers and that would be significant. Clearly tense from all of these questions, Russo removed his hood and complained that his head was now hurting, as Dumont noted that the doctor had told her that there was no reason why Russo's head should hurt, to which the angered Russo furiously told her that it was not the doctor's face that was suffering and then questioned if Dumont thought that he was lying about his pain.
Taking a breath, Dumont questioned if Russo remembered how his face became scarred or who was there, although Russo confirmed that he did not. When Dumont had asked what was the last thing he remembered clearly, Russo told her that he remembered his time at the United States Marine Corps where he had been having fun with his fellow marines. Russo told Dumont how he remembered Frank Castle being there having fun with them, telling Dumont how Castle was his brother in arms, although Russo confirmed that he could not remember where Castle was now or what he was doing now.
Russo questioned Dumont over why all her questions about Castle mattered, telling her how he could no longer understand what was real and what was not due to his brain damage, telling Dumont that while he understood what he had been told had happened to him, he could not feel inside his gut that any of that was real. Continuing to complain about his headaches, Russo begged Dumont to bring him some Tylenol to relieve some of his pain, clearly not remembering that Dumont had already given him some more Tylenol which he had already taken just minutes earlier, which Dumont made note of.
Going on the Run
Having had another night where he could only sleep for two hours, Russo sat down with Krista Dumont for their therapy, with Russo struggling to control his leg which continued shaking. As Dumont asked him what he did with their sleeping pills which had been provided to him by the doctors, Russo told her that he flushed them down the toilet, insisting he was trained by the United States Marine Corps on how to avoid sleep. Dumont asked if Russo was too scared to sleep due to his nightmares he continued to suffer from, to which Russo had then become clearly stressed.
Dumont explained to Russo that their medical plan for him was that he would continue to be exposed to these nightmares with the hope that this would help him to eventually control them, which Russo still struggled to accept. Dumont then asked if she could look inside of Russo's notebook, which he allowed, as she found multiple sketches of the Skull Imagery which Russo had been haunted by for so long. While Dumont explained the concept of recalling his nightmares and why they were trying to understand his, Russo began pacing around his room, becoming considerably more anxious by the subject.
Losing his temper, Russo slapped his notebook out from Dumont's hand and furiously questioned why Dumont would not actually help him. This action caused the New York City Police Department officers stationed outside the room to charge inside, believing that Dumont could be in danger, although she tried to tell them to step back while she attempted to calm Russo back down. While Dumont noted that what they were talking about was scary, Russo interrupted her by noting how she appeared to have it all figured out with her work with his White Mask and the notebook but he did not believe that Dumont really understood what was happening to him inside his head.
With Dumont attempting to calm their situation down, she touched Russo's shoulder, only for him to slap her hand away, causing the officers to step in. However, as soon as those officers came close, Russo's military training kicked in as he swiftly and brutally subdued both of the men, using their own batons and tasers to his advantage as he managed to beat them both into submission, breaking the last officers hand and tazing his neck. With this violent action now done, Russo locked eyes with the now completely horrified Dumont, as he decided to take his chance to make his escape from the hospital.
Before the alarm was raised and now with the terrified Dumont by his side, Russo made his escape from Sacred Saints Hospital, keeping his arm locked around Dumont as they walked through the hospital's corridors and towards the exit, while still attempting not to cause any alarm from any of the other doctors who were still working. As they continued walking and using her keycard, Dumont was then greeted by another man, however, she managed to remain calm and not raise the alarm, despite Russo threatening her while they had walked past several more police officers who did not notice them leaving.
Once they finally got outside, Russo then furiously questioned why Dumont had not screamed or raised the alarm, to which she insisted that she simply did not wish for Russo to get hurt and insisting that Russo was still not ready to be on his own in New York City, as she asked him to trust her and to put things right if he went back with her. Believing this could not happen, Russo instead removed his face mask, finally revealing his scars, and told Dumont that there was no putting right what had been done to him. With that, Russo made his escape, leaving Dumont behind to be questioned by the police.
Getting into New York
- "What? This is some Edward Scissorhands shit right here. What happened, Ed? Your mommy stick your face in the blender? Say something, dummy! You got a tongue in your head? Jesus Christ. What, are you deaf, too? Man, you are one sad bastard. This ain't the short bus, buddy."
- ―Rick to Billy Russo[src]
Having gotten away from Sacred Saints Hospital, Russo had begun making the journey back towards New York City, with no idea about what he was going to do once he was there. Avoiding attention as best he could, Russo got onto a bus which drove him into the city, sitting quietly on his own and considering his next move. During this journey, Russo encountered Rick, a smug bully who took notice of Russo's dirty clothes and scarred face, comparing him to Edward Scissorhands, although Russo did not react to these comments.
While Rick continued making his mocking comments, Russo recalled his escape from the hospital and Krista Dumont's comments to him, until Rick finally got off the bus, calling Russo a sad loser while he was getting off, shoving Russo's head on the way out as a final insult to him. Once Rick was gone, Russo then got to his feet and followed him off the bus, walking behind him into an empty alleyway where nobody could see them. Rick, however, sensing that somebody was following him, stopped walking and drew his switchblade from in his pocket, prepared to kill Russo if he dared to step closer to him.
Despite having the switchblade still aimed towards him and with Rick questioning what he wanted, Russo remained calm and, with a slight smirk on his face, he stepped towards Rick. Using his skills gained from his time with the United States Marine Corps, Russo was able to swiftly disarm and kill Rick without raising the alarm. With the bully now dead, Russo proceeded to steal his jacket, jeans and shoes, as well as his sunglasses, walking away from Rick's corpse as he then continued making his way into New York, believing that his changed appearance could also help him blend into the crowd easier.
Having made it into the city, Russo's first stop was to get into a bar where he ordered himself a drink and used Rick's switchblade to cut off his hospital tag, hoping that this would not draw attention to him. While the hockey match continued playing on the television above the bar, Russo ordered another drink. However, just as Russo took the drink he noticed that the television had changed to an update from WJBP-TV, showing his own face and announcing his escape from the hospital, much to Russo's complete horror as the reporter had described Russo as being armed and highly dangerous.
Clearly highly unnerved by seeing his own face being broadcast on the news with warnings to the New York City Police Department to be on the lookout for him, Russo's mind thought back to his previous therapy sessions with Krista Dumont, when she had first presented him with his White Mask and asked him to decorate it with the fact that he had wanted the world to see. With this thought in his mind, Russo looked at his reflection in the mirror behind the bar, studying the heavy scarring that covered his face. Not wanting to be seen by any customers or bar staff, Russo had then quietly left the bar.
With nowhere to go and nobody he could turn to, Russo soon found himself traveling to where he had played baseball as a child while he was part of the Ray of Hope. While he sat and looked over the field, Russo recalled how he had once brought Frank Castle into this same location and told him about his time there playing with the children, and how he had been sexually abused by Arthur Walsh. Russo then stayed sat, looking over the field as he began to slowly fall to sleep, only to get sudden nightmares of Skull Imagery which snapped him back awake in an instant as he struggled to catch his breath.
Seeking to confront the only man who he could actually recall having damaged him, Russo went to the home of Arthur Walsh, as greeted the shocked Walsh in his own kitchen. Not recognizing Russo, Walsh initially assumed he was being robbed and told Russo that he only had a television which was worth any money and told him to take it and leave without doing him any harm; however, Russo got onto his feet and claimed that he did not intend to harm Walsh, questioning if he actually remembered him or not as Walsh shook his head.
Russo had then introduced himself to Walsh, explaining how he had been a member of the Ray of Hope group home, which seemed to remind Walsh of his sexual assault against Russo which was why he would be there. Seeking to calm the situation to ensure that Russo did not attempt to attack him, Walsh offered him some coffee, which Russo accepted while Walsh explained his new coffee maker which had a timer. Russo noted how it had been several months since he had been allowed to drink his coffee, with Walsh offering to make the coffee Irish by adding whiskey, which Russo had also accepted.
Taking a sip of the coffee, Russo told Walsh how he visited the Ray of Hope group home and found that it had recently been turned into a new set of apartments, which Walsh did not actually appear to be interested in. Russo then explained how he had not known where to go, to which Walsh commented on how he was surprised that Russo had come to see him, noting that he did not believe that. Believing that Russo was looking for a handout from him, Walsh explained how it had been too late as the authorities had taken everything from him already and therefore Russo would not be his main priority.
As Walsh questioned what had actually happened to Russo's face, a comment which distressed Russo as he put his head into his hands and would only comment that an accident had caused all of his facial scars. While Walsh looked on nervously, the frantic Russo then got to his feet and told Walsh how his own head and brain had also been messed up as a result of his recent injuries but noted that he had still remembered what Walsh's home address was, despite his memory issues. Walsh then commented on how Russo had been a handsome child, noting that what had happened to his face was a shame.
The longer that Russo sat down with Walsh, the more agitated Walsh became, claiming that he had been a good mentor to all the children under his care until Tommy O'Neal had exposed him as a pedophile, resulting in his pension being stripped away and Walsh spending ten years in Sing Sing for his crimes. Rather than feeling any guilt, Walsh instead complained about how he viewed all this as unjust, claiming that he had dedicated his life to helping the children at Ray of Hope and did more than Russo's own mother had ever done for him as she left him behind in his care, a comment which alarmed Russo.
Continuing to get more and more agitated, Walsh told Russo how he had always loved the children who were under his care, claiming that some of these young boys were willing to provide sexual favors in exchange for his love, something Russo had not done when Walsh had cornered him. As Russo sat in confused horror, while recalling these traumatic events in his youth, Walsh had reminded him of how Russo had attacked him with a stick when Walsh had assaulted him, while questioning why Russo had come to his home and noted that whatever bad things happened in Russo's life were not his fault.
Attempting to regain some strength in this conversation, Russo then told Walsh how he had joined the Marine Corps after leaving Ray of Hope, only for Walsh to insult him and ask if a Hajji had destroyed his face, mockingly saluting Russo and thanking him for all his service. Laughing in his face, Walsh questioned if Russo had come into his home because he was less picky about sexual favors now that he was not so pretty due to his scars. In response, Russo had furiously attacked Walsh, eventually brutally murdering him by stabbing him in the chest with a wooden stick and leaving his bloody corpse.
Krista Dumont's Sympathy
Now covered in Arthur Walsh's blood, Russo went to the only person he could think could still help him, Krista Dumont. Knocking on the door of her Apartment, Russo had immediately identified himself before Dumont opened the door to find Russo standing before her in his bloodstained shirt. Clearly, both horrified and concerned by seeing him again, Dumont had first questioned if Russo was hurt, which he claimed to not be before she then invited him to come in.
Once inside, the stuttering Russo had explained that he did not know who else he could turn to in his time of need other than Dumont, who questioned how Russo had been able to find her apartment, to which Russo confessed that he had simply followed her home. Getting to the point, Dumont questioned Russo over whose blood he had over his clothes and hands, as Russo could not stop shaking and instead of answering, instead begged Dumont to help him. Sympathetic to Russo in his time of need, Dumont then helped him onto his feet and showed Russo to her bathroom so that he could take a shower.
Upon stepping out of the bathroom having washed Walsh's blood off his body, Russo found Dumont in the hallway, as she held her phone in her hand and debated with herself whether or not she should now inform the New York City Police Department about Russo's location, now knowing that he had just murdered somebody and was unsure of his intentions for her, now that he was in her apartment. Seeing this, Russo told Dumont, who was startled by finding him behind her, that he would not blame her if she called the cops to tell them where he was, knowing that in law this was the correct action to take.
With his White Mask back in his hands, Russo reminded Dumont about how she had asked him what face he had wanted the rest of the world to see, noting that his current scarred face had everything that he ever did wrong written all over it. Russo told Dumont that he wanted to see the best version of himself in the mirror again as he questioned if Dumont even thought that this was even possible for somebody like him. Taking a moment to consider this, Dumont finally turned off her phone, indicating to Russo that she was now willing to take that risk for him, which was a massive relief for Russo.
Having been given somewhere to stay for the night, Russo attempted to get some sleep, but continued to be haunted by his dreams of the blood with Skull Imagery and broken glass. As the dreams got more intense, Russo was awoken by Krista Dumont as Russo launched up from the sofa with a start, now completely covered in sweat. Seeing his distress from all of his continued nightmares, Dumont then reassured Russo that he was now safe and questioned if he could still recall who she was, which Russo then confirmed that he could.
Having been given some water, Russo then attempted to go back to sleep, which Dumont refused to allow despite Russo insisting that he did not want to have a discussion about all of his nightmares. When Dumont suggested that they engage with his feelings, Russo told her that he did not want to feel but kill those dreams. Seeing that Russo was becoming more distressed by the conversation, Dumont asked him to point out five blue items in her Apartment in an attempt to get him to calm down by focusing on something other than his feelings of anger, which Russo did and soon relaxed as a result of the test.
Taking a breath, Russo asked Dumont why she was helping him, to which she had simply stated that it was her job to help him. Russo, however, continued to ask why Dumont had not called the New York City Police Department who were still searching for him, but Dumont recommended Russo to focus onto their current environment in order to keep him relaxed and also stop him from losing control. Dumont told Russo that she did not know why she let him inside her home, other than that had seemed like the right thing to do in order to help somebody who she saw as needing somebody to care.
Russo noted that she could now get into serious trouble for aiding a wanted fugitive like him, which Dumont acknowledged was the truth but did not seem to reconsider her decision regardless before Russo had requested more water in order to help him to relax. As Dumont took the glass and went to get some more water for him, Russo had thanked her before burying his head in his hands, thinking about his continued nightmares and his current situation. Russo then made the point to Dumont that she might be the last person alive who actually cared about him, something that had clearly distressed him.
In House Therapy
Despite being awake, Russo learned that he still could not get away from all his nightmares, as bloodied skull images continued to haunt him. While he struggled to cope with these going on inside his head, he was rejoined by Krista Dumont who had returned from buying him some newer clothes to wear, despite Russo noting that she did not have to do any of that for him, as Dumont noted that he needed something until they could figure out what they would do next.
Russo, however, told Dumont that he had no intention of going back to Sacred Saints Hospital ever again, noting that he would rather die than allow this to happen. Since Dumont ignored this, Russo insisted that this was the truth and claimed that Dumont did not understand how it felt. However, Dumont made it clear that she did understand, noting she knew Russo felt scared, helpless and hurt, which were all emotions which were felt by more people than just Russo, to which Russo noted that everybody had their own issues to deal with, although at least Dumont still remembered whatever had damaged her.
The same day, Russo took a shower in Dumont's Apartment and had stepped out to hear that Dumont was currently in a therapy session with Jake Nelson, another United States Armed Forces veteran who she was assisting with trauma. Russo listened as Nelson discussed his suffering and how he dealt with all this pain by drinking at his bar called McFeeney's. Russo listened to Dumont's advice to Nelson, in which she advised him to consider how he would accept these world shattering changes which had happened to him. Russo listened to all this advice and considered how these could impact his own life.
Meeting Jake Nelson
Seeking to gain a new ally, Russo went to McFeeney's where he then sought out Jake Nelson. Sitting down by Nelson, Russo was initially asked politely to find somewhere else to sit, but when Nelson saw his facial scars, he decided to stay quiet. Getting his drink, Russo asked Nelson if he earned his jacket by serving in the United States Armed Forces, which Nelson confirmed before asking if Russo could say the same about his facial scars, as Russo stopped himself getting angry and jokingly said that Nelson should see the other guy.
Russo had then offered to buy Nelson another drink, first respectfully asking if a soldier like Nelson had wanted to drink with a member of the Marine Corps, which Nelson accepted. As the evening wore on, Nelson got considerably more drunk which he was concerned about, although Russo reminded him that he no longer had to wake up first thing in the morning to go out marching. Nelson questioned if Russo missed being a part of the Marine Corps, as Russo confirmed that he missed it every single day, noting that he mainly missed being around his fellow Marines who he had always considered his brothers.
Agreeing with his point, Nelson made the comparison between the friends made in the armed forces with the soft civilians they were seeing back in New York City, with Russo becoming briefly triggered when some girl's camera flash got in his eye, causing him to hear the sounds of broken glass and screaming from his incident. Nelson then offered Russo some cocaine, which Russo refused as he watched while Nelson took the drugs, with Nelson also commenting on how there was an entire army out in the streets of New York who were all feeling the same emotions of frustration as they were feeling.
Nelson had continued to complain he had been hearing for a long time that all of the former veterans were the problem, while he now believed that they were not the problem but the bullshit they had all come back to. Russo then suggested that would happen if they just rose up and gave the entire world their middle fingers, which clearly excited Nelson. However, to Russo's surprise, Nelson revealed that he was fully aware of who he was sat next to. Reacting to this, Russo grabbed a glass as a weapon, only for Nelson to then claim it was an honor to meet him as the pair then shake hands with respect.
Living with Krista Dumont
Russo later returned into Krista Dumont's Apartment where he tried not to cause too much noise as he entered, carefully opening and closing the door. Walking through the hallway while removing the jacket that had once belonged to Rick, Russo then stepped past Dumont's room and could not help but stop when he noticed that he could see Dumont was in her underwear as she changed. Dumont had soon noticed Russo watching her and then closed her door.
Hoping it makes it up to Dumont, Russo made some tea and waiting for her to come out of her room which Dumont accepted, noting that Russo had made it just as she liked it. As Dumont made a passive aggressive comment that he did not miss much, Russo attempted to apologize for what happened as he claimed that he was not actually spying on her. Dumont, however, made it clear that this was not what she was talking about as Russo realized she meant how he spied on her and Jake Nelson's therapy, although Russo expressed his belief that Dumont had actually wanted him to overhear their session.
Dumont, however, told Russo that he was taking too many risks and called his recent behavior self destructive, referring to how Russo had met with Nelson at McFeeney's. Hearing this, Russo questioned if Dumont was attempting to transform him as well, to which Dumont claimed that she simply believed that everybody was worth saving, even if Russo did not believe it himself. Hearing this, Russo noted how, since losing Anvil and everything he had been building, he had nothing left to lose, noting that Dumont still had a lot she could lose as a direct result of her recent decisions with assisting Russo.
Russo questioned why Dumont would take the risk of helping him, calling this action self-destructive, while also making the comment that whatever was driving Dumont to make these decisions, it was not all about Russo himself. Dumont then questioned where Russo had been the night before, to which he confirmed that he had done for a drink with Nelson at McFeeney's, with Dumont questioning if speaking to a fellow Armed Forces vet helped, which he confirmed as said they had a lot in common. Dumont told Russo not to leave again, or at least make sure that he was not caught if he did.
Having been left alone in Dumont's Apartment, Russo began doing exercise as he had done back at Sacred Saints Hospital, doing his push-ups and feeling himself getting stronger, as a result, as he was now determined to regain all his former strength so he could begin rebuilding himself as the man he had been before his face had been disfigured, both physically and mentally. Once his exercise was done, Russo then found himself sneaking into Dumont's office and looking through all her belongings, eventually finding his therapy mask along with a revolver in her drawers, both of which he took for himself.
As Russo continued looking through Dumont's personal belongings, he had also found all of Dumont's paperwork regarding her therapy sessions with Russo, in which she had described his condition and expressed her belief that she could have done more good for him if she was able to begin her care earlier. As he had continued reading, Russo found that Dumont had often compared him with somebody known as KM, although there were no details about who KM was or how Russo had become disfigured. With nothing written about the cause of his scars, Russo had decided to find out for himself.
Confronting Curtis Hoyle
- "I paid already. Don't you think? I'm never going back, Curtis. So anyone who comes at me it will be all or nothing do you hear me? Now, a little birdie told me that you've been asking about me. And in here... In here, me and you, we're still brothers, man. So all this, all this? This is hard for me, you know? Now, I need you to tell me how did this happen to me?"
- ―Billy Russo to Curtis Hoyle[src]
Seeking some answers on what had happened to him, Russo sought out the only man he thought might know the truth, Curtis Hoyle, who he tracked to an empty car park. Wearing his Therapy Mask and also armed with Krista Dumont's revolver, Russo had then revealed himself to Hoyle and forced Hoyle to remove his gun and eject the magazine and round while he still aimed the revolver at his friend. Hoyle confirmed that he had gotten the gun due to Russo's escape before Russo then lowered his own gun.
Russo commented on how his lawyers told him that he shot Hoyle, noting that he did not remember this, claiming that once he found out all he wanted to do was to call Hoyle and try and fix their friendship. Russo noted how he knew that Hoyle came to visit him once before, and claimed to be sorry, to which Hoyle simply suggested that Russo should turn himself over to the New York City Police Department and face justice for what he had done. Russo, however, merely laughed at this concept, removing his mask to reveal his scars and claiming that he had paid enough already through all of his pain and suffering.
Russo then told Hoyle that he was never going back to prison, and promised that if anyone dared come after him then they would die as a result. Russo noted that he had heard how Hoyle had been asking over him and, since as far as Russo was concerned they were still brothers, he was finding this entire situation difficult to get his head around. Getting straight to the point, Russo then directly asked Hoyle exactly how he became disfigured and who was the person who had done it to him, becoming increasingly more enraged as Hoyle refused to answer him as he screamed the question once again at Hoyle.
As Russo continued to beg for an answer about how he gained his facial scars, Hoyle thought for a moment and had finally said that he wished that he could tell him the truth, but still refused to give Russo the answer that he was looking for. Taking a deep breath with tears in his eyes, Russo finally nodded and accepted Hoyle's answer. As the pair watched each other closely, Russo finally held his revolver in the air and claimed that he never had any intention of actually hurting Hoyle in spite of what had happened already, before putting his mask and hood back on, and making his escape from the car park.
Building a Criminal Crew
Having failed to get all of the answers that he had wanted from Curtis Hoyle, Russo went into McFeeney's in order to join Jake Nelson for a drink, finding Nelson was already drinking with several other veterans of the United States Armed Forces who happily greeted Russo as he was introduced to José and all the others, who all had a deep level of respect for Russo, much like Nelson did. Russo then sat down with his fellow armed forces soldiers and got himself a beer, taking a long and satisfying sip as he listened to their conversations.
Before long their conversation was interrupted as Jimbo returned to the pub and begged for their help, as his car was being towed away and he had all of his worldly goods inside it as Jimbo was currently homeless. Without any hesitation, Russo jumped into action with the other men, getting outside and immediately ordering Bobby and José to chase down the tow truck while he, Nelson and Jimbo got in front of it, with Russo putting on his Therapy Mask and readying himself for some long-awaited action while they chased down that tow truck as a military unit, ready to rescue all Jimbo's personal belongings.
Getting in front of the truck with Nelson and Jimbo, they managed to get it to stop as Jimbo stopped in the middle of the road to tie up his shoelaces. Bobby and José then took advantage of this as they had snuck up on the driver before Russo dragged him out of his vehicle. With the driver on the ground, Russo began punching him repeatedly before threatening that if he did not stop fighting back and making noise then he would furiously break him in half. As the driver called him crazy, Russo grabbed Krista Dumont's gun and proceeded to hit him repeatedly in the face until Nelson then dragged him away.
Having dragged the now enraged Russo away from the bleeding and unconscious driver, the crew then lowered Jimbo's car off the truck as he drove them to a safe part of New York City, as Russo advised Jimbo to get out of town, change his license plates and get to Texas to lay low for a while, noting that if Jimbo did not do this immediately then he would undoubtedly be tracked down by the New York City Police Department. Jimbo then thanked all of the members of their crew who had helped him out, making specific notice of Russo who wished him good luck before watching as Jimbo drove away.
With Jimbo gone, Nelson and Bobby expressed their amazement at how easy that had been for them with their Armed Forces training, with Russo complimenting them on how they had performed. Nelson went on to claim they were wasting their time in McFeeney's every night when they could get jobs in protection, only for Bobby to then suggest that they should not work for anyone other than themselves, suggesting a potential bank which they could go out and rob with a small and highly skilled unit. Russo considered this concept and had smiled, excited by the idea of returning to combat with a crew.
Sleeping with Krista Dumont
- "You don't seem that happy yourself, Krista. I've been around here a little bit. Seems to me like you don't have much of a life."
"My emotional state is not your..."
"What are you trying to control here? Is it yourself? Or me? Because that is never gonna happen. It's never gonna happen!"
- ―Billy Russo and Krista Dumont[src]
Returning into Krista Dumont's Apartment, Russo arrived in time to overhear that Dumont was currently being questioned by Detective Sergeant Brett Mahoney about what she knew of Russo, although Dumont did not reveal that he was also in her Apartment. Eventually, Mahoney left their Apartment and Russo greeted Dumont, who then acknowledged that she should have told Mahoney that Russo was there and questioned if Russo would have killed Mahoney.
Dumont told Russo that she was now a criminal by lying to the New York City Police Department about protecting him, noting that she knew better than to do this. Russo had then questioned if Dumont thought that he might hurt her, to which she noted that he lacked impulse control, although Russo acknowledged that while he did, Dumont did not and therefore should be able to control her decision making better. Russo questioned if Dumont had believed that their situation could ever work out positively, noting that all the therapy in the world could not make anything right for either of them.
As Dumont simply claimed that Russo knew nothing about her, he confessed to having gone through all her personal belongings and noted that from what he had found she did not seem to have much of a life outside of her work. Although Dumont tried to argue against this, Russo then questioned what it was that Dumont was trying to control, asking if it was his life which he claimed was never going to happen, while Dumont tried to calm him down. Russo questioned Dumont over who KM was, admitting he read his file and demanding to know if KM was another patient who Dumont tried to control.
Losing control of his temper, Russo questioned if Dumont had failed to help KM, as much as she had failed to help him and others until Dumont responded by slapping him across the face. In a fit of rage, Russo then grabbed ahold of Dumont's face as he then aggressively pushed her down against the wall, pinning her down while Dumont desperately attempted to free herself by using a paper cutter to stab Russo in the hand, although Russo barely reacted to pain. As the pair stared at each other, in pain and with both fear and rage in their eyes, Russo took a chance and kissed Dumont, who kissed him back.
Fueled by a deep lust for one another, Russo and Dumont went into her bedroom where they removed their own clothes and engaged in passionate sex with each other. As their sex continued, it became clear that both partners were sexually aroused by the combination of pain and pleasure, as Dumont bit into Russo's shoulder while he had found several scars over her body which he put pressure on, causing her to moan in delighted agony, with Dumont asking him to continue while Russo removed all Dumont's clothes and found another deep scar on her back which he pressed down on until they finished.
With their passionate sex complete, Russo and Dumont had then laid back in her bed together and attempted to catch their breath back. As she lay her head onto his chest, Dumont asked Russo if she hurt him, to which Russo joked that that had clearly been the point, while Dumont noted that if somebody lived with pain for so long, they then started to miss it once it was gone until they found a connection with pain and pleasure. With Dumont's permission, Russo asked how she got her scars as she claimed she fell at the age of nine, claiming that it had been an accident as Russo decided not to ask more.
Walking Away from Dumont
Once he got changed back into his clothes, Russo then found Krista Dumont as she was attempting to open the curtains to her windows and look out into New York City, something that was clearly causing her some emotional distress. Seeing him, Dumont asked where he was going, as Russo took a brief moment to consider his answer before telling Dumont how he had slept well the night before, without any more nightmares involving the Skull Imagery which had haunted him, allowing him to finally sleep without any terror for once.
Hearing this, Dumont noted that this was good news as it was proof that they were making progress, to which Russo noted that he was feeling clear but claimed that this was not due to the therapy he had been having, but because of Dumont herself and the relationship that they were building. Russo then also claimed that a large part of his recovery was due to his newest band of brothers that he had made with Jake Nelson back at McFeeney's, although Dumont insisted that while he may feel safe out there, he still was not, to which Russo had still claimed that he did not care whether or not he stayed safe.
Russo theorized that the only reason why he had been scared was that he was trapped in a room at Sacred Saints Hospital with no clear way to regaining his freedom. Attempting to make himself clear, Russo noted how he had lost everything from his money, power and his own company with Anvil but still found it frustrating to not know how he had lost it all or even what it felt like to have it all. Russo then thanked Dumont for everything she did and noted that he should no longer stay at her Apartment, much to Dumont's frustration since she refused to be used and went to get her revolver from her drawer.
As she released the gun was missing, Russo showed Dumont that he had taken it in order to go out and threaten Curtis Hoyle, while noting how Dinah Madani pointed her weapon at him and he had shot her in the head. As Russo claimed that he was merely attempting to protect her, Dumont insisted that she would not be the reason that Russo died. Hearing this, Russo just answered by promising not to be the reason why Dumont ruined her life by continuing to try and protect him from the New York City Police Department, ignoring her pleads for him to stay while he turned around and simply walked out.
Training for the Robbery
- "We got two cars. One here, Todd. One here, Mike. Jake, Bobby and I, we come out, split up between the two cars. We take off, we meet up again at the rendezvous point. What's here?"
"Me and José. Backup."
"That's right. Anything comes down on us, you two clear it out of our way. You good? Well alright then, let's get some sleep."
- ―Billy Russo and Geno[src]
In order to prepare them all for the robbery of the ReadyQuick Check Cashing, Russo arranged for them all to reenact the robbery beforehand while in their hideout, all simply going through the motions in order to anticipate any potential scenarios which could disrupt their plan. During one run through, Mike was able to escape the room, much to their frustration as Geno began complaining about having to still do the rehearsals, although Russo insisted that they needed to know everybody's roles in the robbery.
The crew were all interrupted by the arrival of Bobby who confirmed that everything was looking good from his end as the schedules had not changed at their bank. Noticing that Bobby was still wearing his uniform, Russo had then expressed his annoyance since it would be considered a serious risk for him to be seen wearing it and coming to their hideout, although Bobby insisted that he had already taken a bit enough risk with just offering the job to them. Russo then arranged another rehearsal for the crew to prepare for the robbery, giving them new positions to complete the run through, which Bobby complained about despite Jake Nelson repeating Russo's previous advice.
As the crew did yet another rehearsal, things appeared to be going smoothly until Bobby attempted to steal Russo's weapon away from him, as Russo had immediately reacted by striking Bobby in the face. While everyone had reacted in complete surprise at this action, Russo commented that Bobby had been smart by making this move as it kept them on their toes in case anything went wrong, noting that somebody could try and be a hero and stop the robbery. Russo then offered Bobby his hand, which he refused and claimed that Russo hit like a member of the Marine Corps, which Russo was proud of.
While the crew prepared to get some sleep for the night, Russo told them to go over the plan one more time before they enacted it in the morning. Drawing lines on the ground, Russo explained how Todd and Mike would drive the cars allowing him to enter with Bobby and Nelson. Confirming that Geno knew that he and José would also be acting as backup, Russo became satisfied and told everyone to get some sleep. However, as Nelson complained of cold and requested to sleep at his own Apartment, Russo refused as he claimed it would be better for them all to stick together ahead of the robbery.
On the morning of the robbery, Russo and the others had discovered that Jake Nelson had disappeared during that night and had not yet returned back into their Hideout. Eventually, the crew became tired of waiting for Nelson to return and Russo was forced into changing the plan for their job, recruiting Mike to take up Nelson's place as they headed out to begin their robbery. While they drove away from their hideout, Russo was unaware that Frank Castle and Curtis Hoyle had arrived in the Hideout, having just been searching for him.
Having donned his Therapy Mask in order to disguise himself, Jigsaw charged inside the ReadyQuick Check Cashing and then immediately assaulted the security guard by striking him on the head with his gun. With Bobby and Mike acting as his backup, Jigsaw demanded that all the customers and staff put their hands up and not move, leaving Mike to tie up their hands while Jigsaw turned his attention to those behind the counter, ordering the staff members to all move out of the way and pointing to Lillian, before calmly demanding that she press whatever button she needed to in order to then open the door.
To Jigsaw's surprise however, Lillian had remained defiant despite a gun being pointed at her and refused to open the door, claiming that it was on the timer and could not be opened. Jigsaw soon became angered at Lillian's refusal, insisting that she was lying to him and threatening to kill her if she continued to refuse his instructions as he banged his gun on the protective glass. However, Lillian told Jigsaw about how her father fought in World War II before building the bank up from nothing, telling him that she would not allow it to be robbed by any thugs like them out of her great respect for her late father.
Jigsaw eventually became tired of Lillian's continued defiance and then made the decision to threatened everybody inside the bank by pulling out a live grenade which he had stolen from the United States Armed Forces, as this resulted in Anton Reed begging Lillian to now reconsider her decision, although she refused despite Reed noting that everything was insured. Looking her in the eye, Jigsaw claimed that Lillian was becoming erratic in her behavior, as Bobby agreed that she was crazy before Jigsaw promised that after he counted to three he would drop the grenade in with Lillian and kill them all.
Since Lillian still would not open up their door, claiming the grenade would not fit through the slot, Reed then pushed past her and finally unlocked the door despite her protests, allowing Jigsaw, Bobby and Mike to finally get inside. Jigsaw then tied up the remaining hostages until the money was collected. As he prepared to go, Jigsaw thanked everyone, calling Lillian crazy before telling the others to thank Reed for saving their lives. Knowing that Reed was actually an inside man working for them, Jigsaw had then mocked a hostage kidnapping as he demanded that Reed also come with them before leaving.
Return of the Punisher
As Jigsaw and his crew exited ReadyQuick Check Cashing together with Anton Reed acting as their hostage, they attempted to get the stolen money into the escape cars that were waiting for them without causing too much of a scene. Looking out to the streets, Jigsaw then noticed someone wearing Jake Nelson's clothes and mask was now coming towards them, as Jigsaw just assumed this to be Nelson finally turning up to help and called out to him to come over, noting how he was extremely late for their robbery and wanting him to assist with their getaway.
However, to Jigsaw's horror, the man called him out by his name and removed his mask, revealing himself to be Frank Castle. As Jigsaw looked on, Castle revealed his Bulletproof Vest which had the white skull from Jigsaw's nightmares painted on the front. Jigsaw had then stood frozen in horror, ignoring his crew while they called out to him, while he realized that Castle was the one who had disfigured him, all the while with Todd and all the others engaging in a firefight against Castle, resulting in Mike taking a bullet to the head while Jigsaw still remained frozen in place due to his complete shock and horror.
With Geno also getting killed in the shootout, the Punisher was then forced into cover as Phillip began shooting at him with a sniper rifle, allowing José to run over to Jigsaw and pull him into their car so they could make their escape from the situation. As they drove away from the scene as fast as they could, Jigsaw was haunted by a flood of memories coming back to him, as he remembered how he friend had dragged his face across a broken mirror, which caused Jigsaw's permanently disfigured face, as Jigsaw's thoughts soon went from fear and sorrow to the furious desire to finally get his revenge.
Desiring a chance to kill his former friend, Jigsaw furiously demanded that José stop the car while he loaded his new machine gun, despite José insisted that he was crazy for wanting to get out of their car to confront the Punisher. Despite these objections, José had eventually stopped the car and Jigsaw stepped out into the streets, aiming his machine at the roads while he waited for the Punisher to come round the corner. With Phillip having been knocked out by Curtis Hoyle, the Punisher charged around the corner as Jigsaw furiously unloaded his hail of bullets at his car, causing him to crash while Jigsaw fired.
As Jigsaw reloaded his gun, he furiously yelled out to the Punisher, as he also questioned if his friend had really been the person to have disfigured his face and caused him so much suffering as a result. In their standoff, the Punisher attempted to get out of the car, only for Jigsaw to continue shooting at him. With the Punisher taking cover behind the car and with the New York City Police Department now on their way to the scene of the shootout, Jigsaw had again questioned if his friend had really done all this to him, to which the Punisher then loudly confirmed that he had, while showing no remorse for Jigsaw's suffering as a result of his injuries, which had angered Jigsaw.
Seeing the police were on their way, Jigsaw had then witnessed the Punisher get to his feet and try to shoot him, as Jigsaw responded by unleashing a hail of bullets at his former friend, screaming in rage as he fired the gun. As the police got closer, Jigsaw was then forced to turn his gunfire towards them, managing to inadvertently get out of Hoyle's line of sight. As Brett Mahoney and the other police officers began firing back at him in the middle of the New York City streets, Jigsaw refused to relent as his onslaught of gunfire had forced them to take cover as they were outgunned by Jigsaw's firepower.
At the moment Jigsaw took cover behind a car to reload his gun, he noticed that the Punisher was currently attempting to make a break for freedom. Seeing this, Jigsaw turned his attention away from the police force baring down on him and once again began firing on the Punisher, forcing him to dive behind two parked cars as he sought cover. Despite all the bullets being fired at him, however, the Punisher was still able to get to his feet and run to safety, with Mahoney then chasing after him, much to Jigsaw's frustration as he was left to fight off the police's gunfire as they were still trying to bring him down.