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Thunderbolts Files: The Punisher

Daniel Way and our therapist decide if Frank Castle will be fit to serve!



Thunderbolts #3 preview art by Steve Dillon

By Tim Stevens

As requested, I have prepared readiness reports on those currently under consideration for the THUNDERBOLTS initiative per the orders of General Ross. Colonel Daniel Way and I performed the following evaluation of Captain Frank Castle, aka the Punisher.

Tactical Assessment by Way


The Punisher is an emotional dead zone, unable to be shaken in any way by any form of fear. Combined with his extraordinary aptitude with brutality and his mastery of guerilla warfare, this makes Punisher the perfect soldier—in times of war, at least.”


“Similarly to Red Hulk, Punisher is susceptible to being unaware of everything but what he hates. If you’re not his enemy, you’re not on his radar.”

Psychological Evaluation by Tim Stevens

There may have been a time when Castle was the perfect soldier, but it is this writer’s assessment that that time passed long ago. Castle is loyal only to himself and his “mission”—a title to excuse murder by any other name—and as such is a wildly unpredictable operative. While all reports indicate he is highly skilled with guns and blades, and in hand-to-hand combat, there are no indications he even has the slightest idea, or motivation, to use these talents in the context of a team. It is impossible to predict how long it would take Castle to decide on his own whims over orders, but rest assured, that time will come and he will show no allegiance to anyone in his way.

The Punisher

His lack of emotionality is also a liability, despite Colonel Way’s assessments to the contrary. People without emotions are often severely repressing them, which could lead to explosions of anger, sadness, and so on at key moments, endangering the lives of the rest of the team. Others might indeed lack the ability to process their emotions or the emotions of others. This is a significant deficit, meaning Punisher is either a ticking time bomb of repressed feelings or his lack of understanding is greatly undermining his abilities as a tactician.

Finally, Castle’s entire career as a “vigilante hero” is one built on ignoring or mocking the laws of this land, the very principles the Thunderbolts should be fighting to preserve. For this reason alone, I would urge those assembling this team to find someone else for this slot.

Overall, Castle is psychologically unreliable, selfish, and with a moral code of killing anyone he judges to be a criminal damn due process or the rule of law. He is a serial killer in a skull shirt with an unusual class of victims.

The evaluations continue tomorrow and you can order issues of THUNDERBOLTS now!

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