Punisher: War Zone may get it right. We’ll see. I discarded my collection of War Zone issues (I had two copies of Volume I Issue 1) about four years ago. It was a way cool series in the late eighties – early nineties. Especially the Wolverine crossover that was set in Africa. Those were what first got me really into Jim Lee as an illustrator. That, and Uncanny X-Men #248. Whoo-weee. That was some mighty pencilling.
But, I digress.
The Punisher is Marvel’s answer to Batman, if for no other reason than he is a comic book hero of the urban-superpowerless-metalegal vigilante who’s family was killed by criminals and has lots of cool gadgets. He is unique to the Marvel Universe for other reasons. He is generally considered by the mainstream heroes to be a criminal. He was originally introduced as a foe for Spider-Man to thwart. The cover of that issue depicts an Oswald-esque Punisher on a rooftop taking aim through the scope of a sniper rifle. In fact, he doesn’t really fit any of the criteria of a super-hero. He’s basically a criminally insane sociopath who’s super power is his passive-aggressive grief.
The Punisher character is more like a cinematic action hero who has been ported over to the comic book medium. No wonder it’s so hard to get the character and his story back into movie form. They’re already on loan from the film industry. He’s a Martin Riggs / John Matrix / Parker Barnes . But waaaayyyyy out there.
This isn’t the hero who ties up the bad guys and calls the cops to tell them where they are. When The Punisher bests the mob boss, he doesn’t cuff him and call the cops; he ties him up in sausage links and feeds him to his own guard dogs.