Frank Castle, better known as The Punisher, is one of the most tragic antiheroes in the Marvel universe. His story has been adapted into three films, numerous crossover appearances, and one Netflix original series. His origin story begins after he returns home from war as a military veteran.
In an unfortunate coincidence, when he takes his family to Central Park for a picnic, they get caught in the middle of a gang war between several criminal organizations. His wife Maria and two children, Frank Jr. and Lisa, are gunned down in the crossfire, and he gets shot in the head, but miraculously survives.
After he fails to get justice for his family from the system, he sets on a path of vengeance and destruction to annihilate the people behind his family’s death. As time passes, he creates plenty of adversaries and villains. This list will detail the 15 strongest villains he has faced since becoming The Punisher. Beware, this article may contain spoilers on the comics, films, and TV series.
15. The U.S Army
Yes, in objectivity, The U.S. Army has been a collective villain in Frank Castle’s life. Having served in the military and done their bidding time after time, he later comes to realize that the military was morally corrupt when he was involved in Operation Cerberus which was headed by William Rawlins, a man who later came to be Frank’s mortal enemy.
In many later events, Frank clashes with the US military as they try to eliminate him to prevent him from exposing the skeletons in their closets, such as their involvement in the drug trade and their secret super-soldier program.
Maginty is an unhinged criminal who is constantly under the influence of drugs, which makes him extremely hostile. He is the leader of the Urban Freeflow gang, one of the four gangs that were after the 10 million dollars Nesbitt left stashed after his death. Frank deceives all the four gangs into a meeting, only for them to realize a little too late that it was a trap.
Maginty loses most of his gang and barely escapes with his life. The four gangs then decide to work together to get the money and track it to a briefcase on a boat. When they open it, they discover they have been hoodwinked by Nesbitt as they find a bomb that explodes, killing them all.
13. Stu Clarke
Stu Clarke is a former ally of Frank Castle who admired him and his war on crime. He created super-powered weapons for him and provided technical aid whenever he needed it. However, when he discovers that Franks was accidentally responsible for the death of Tati, his girlfriend, he vows to kill him and when he confronts him, the battle ends with Stu being severely scarred.
12. William Rawlins
Also known as “Agent Orange”, Rawlins is the man responsible for Operation Cerberus. He is initially introduced as the Director of Covert Operations for the CIA. After an operation gone wrong in Kandahar, Frank punches him in the eye, permanently blinding him.
Rawlins often operated behind the scenes with several organizations that Frank went up against and was a very manipulative person. He committed treason and sold U.S. secrets to Russians in a bid to gain favor with them. However, he eventually met his end at the hands of The Punisher in an airport bathroom.
Hitman’s real name is Burt Kenyon, a Vietnam veteran who served with Frank in the same company. Burt rescued Frank by slaughtering several rival soldiers and carrying Frank to safety after he was injured in an ambush. After the war, Burt is employed by a criminal cartel named Maggia to be their Punisher. After he joins Maggia, Burt assumes the epithet Hitman.
When he is hired by a terrorist organization to kill Jonah Jameson for articles written by him about the organization, he gets into contact with Frank who shoots him, and eventually, he plummets to his death.
10. Finn Cooley
Finn Cooley is a feared, prominent Kitchen Irish mobster who comes to New York City searching for the Punisher to recover the money Frank steals from him and take vengeance for his son who is murdered by Frank. After an altercation with Daredevil renders him vulnerable, Frank is ambushed, captured, and tortured by Finn. Ultimately, Frank frees himself and kills Finn.
Carl Burbank, also known by the epithet Bushwacker, was initially a catholic priest but renounced his vows following the demise of his parishioners as casualties of the drug trade. He joined the CIA and became a government operative after being equipped with a bionic arm.
He is a constant nuisance to The Punisher, often luring him using hostages with the intention to kill him, but his plans are often foiled, especially by The Daredevil.
Just a handful of people have managed to beat The Punisher. One of them is Daken, Wolverine’s illegitimate mutant son, who possesses superhuman capabilities inherited from him.
Norman Osborn hires Daken to kill The Punisher after he fails to do so himself. Frank and Daken engage in combat, and Daken dominates the fight and butchers Frank. Frank is later revived and the two fight again in Tokyo, wreaking havoc before Wolverine steps in and stops them.
7. Nicky Cavella
Nicky was born into the family of a respected mafia member. He is contacted by the mob to try and control the damage caused by The Punisher, but it results in the death of multiple members of the mafia. Nicky later attempts to kill the Punisher, by desecrating the graves of Frank’s family to lure him out. Franck tracks down Nicky and takes him out into the woods and shoots him in the abdomen, leaving him to painfully bleed out.
6. The Russian
A monster who seems impervious to pain, The Russian is hired by the crime lord Ma Gnucci to slaughter Frank Castle for 10 million dollars. After he engages The Punisher, he dominates the fight for a while, but the tables are turned on him in a stroke of luck and Frank decapitates him.
5. Ma Gnucci
Ma Gnucci is the head honcho of the Gnucci Crime Family, a syndicate that possesses a lot of power in New York. Frank went on a crusade to eliminate her entire family, starting from the bottom. Ma became furious and hired multiple assassins, one of them being The Russian, but none were successful in killing Frank.
After Frank defeats The Russian, he went to Ma’s home and lit it on fire, which resulted in her immolation.
Benjamin Pointdexter is a former FBI agent who took on the nickname Bullseye due to his extraordinary marksman ability that allows him to use almost any object as a lethal projectile. A long-time foe of the Daredevil, Bullseye has clashed several times with Frank as he became obsessed with trying to replicate Frank’s life for his own. He was hired by several criminal organizations, including The Kingpin.
3. The Kingpin
Wilson Fisk, better known as The Kingpin, is a force of nature. He is Daredevil’s archenemy, and his dominion over crime in Hell’s Kitchen makes him a formidable opponent. Fisk has fought Frank on multiple occasions and has nearly beat him to death with just his bare hands.
Despite this, he helped Frank escape from prison to get justice for his family’s murder, with the aim of being able to rid himself of his rivals through Frank’s path of vengeance.
A former Green Beret, Barracuda is an extremely durable gangster hired by Harry Ebbing, the owner of a corporation Frank was investigating, to assassinate The Punisher. He engages Frank and loses an eye and some of his fingers, but wins the fight and almost kills Frank. In most of his battles against The Punisher, he often comes out on top, making him one of Frank’s most problematic opponents.
Billy Russo is the man behind the creation of The Punisher and his mortal archenemy. He is hired by Frank Costa to cover up the deaths caused by the gang executions that led to the deaths of Frank’s family by killing all people related to them. Billy kills all of his targets except for Frank Castle.
Later Frank, now the vigilante Punisher, tracks Billy down, slaughters all of his men, but leaves him alive to send a statement to organized crime after bashing him through a glass window, turning his face into a scarred jigsaw-like appearance.