- The Punisher’s bloodthirsty nature is evident in his chilling quotes and battle cries, like when he screamed, “Spider-Man deserves to die!”
- The Punisher’s duality is revealed when he admits to finding release and pleasure in killing, despite claiming to be apathetic.
- The Punisher’s unhinged and violent nature is demonstrated when he immediately jumps to violence, even towards someone who saves his life, like Batman.
The Punisher is widely regarded as perhaps the deadliest person in Marvel Comics, though his aptitude for murder isn’t the only thing he’s famous for, as he’s proven himself to be fairly deranged in other ways that are arguably just as obvious. In other words, it’s no secret that the Punisher can be pretty unhinged, despite having a razor-sharp focus and an unwavering moral code. If his actions didn’t make that abundantly clear, the stuff he says (or writes in his War Journals) is a dead giveaway.
From answering his victims’ cries for mercy with the most chilling responses imaginable, to the inner monologue found only in his War Journals, to even battle cries filled with murderous intent, these are 10 of the most truly unhinged Punisher quotes in Marvel Comics canon.
Garth Ennis wrote The Punisher from Vol 5 into Vol 7, with the first 12 issues of Vol 5 being perhaps the most memorable. Here’s the 10 best moments!
10 “Spider-Man deserves to die!”
The Amazing Spider-Man #129 by Gerry Conway and Ross Andru
The Punisher’s Marvel Comics debut was certainly one to remember, as he wasn’t just tasked with punishing anyone – the Punisher was on a mission to kill Spider-Man (and he let the world know it, too). While standing on a rooftop with the Jackal (who put Castle on Spider-Man’s trail), the Punisher was shooting plaster statues of Spider-Man (for some reason) and screamed the first battle cry of murderous intent he ever screamed in Marvel canon, “Spider-Man deserves to die!”.
The whole moment was undeniably unhinged, especially given that the Punisher was so hellbent on killing not only someone he didn’t know even deserved it, but Spider-Man of all people. The Punisher wasted no time in exhibiting his bloodthirsty nature, and this quote captures that deranged energy perfectly.
9 “First round put him down. The rest were to let off a little steam.”
Marvel Universe vs The Punisher #1 by Jonathan Maberry and Goran Parlov
The Punisher so often denies finding any enjoyment in the ‘work’ he does. Frank claims that he simply does what he does, no cause for celebration or enjoyment, he’s simply a necessary force of nature that eliminates those he thinks deserve to die. And then, he’ll say something like this, and it completely uproots his plea of apathy. In the context of this statement, the Punisher is describing how he killed Daredevil after the Man Without Fear turned into a zombie, just as he did to so many other Marvel heroes who became infected (including Deadpool, who he’s killed more than thirty times at this point).
However, even when taken out of context, this quote is still a perfect indicator of the Punisher’s duality. It proves that the Punisher does find a release upon killing his targets, which is something that fans have long known about the character – even if he won’t outwardly admit it himself.
8 “Are we friends – or do we have to start hurting one another?”
Batman/Punisher: Lake of Fire #1 by Denny O’Neil and Barry Kitson
Even when someone saves his life, the Punisher is still ready to fly off the handle. In this crossover with Batman (technically Azrael wearing the ultra-hardcore armored Batman suit after filling in for Bruce following Knightfall), the Punisher is rescued by The Dark Knight after finding himself inside a burning building. When they get somewhere safe, the Punisher asks if this stranger is looking for a fight, immediately jumping to violence.
Crossovers are always a lot of fun, because they allow characters from different properties to explore the other’s world while also getting to know each other on a personal level. And, in this case, the Punisher didn’t waste any time letting Batman know exactly the kind of guy he really is, with this one sentence alone.
7 “Sometimes I actually feel sorry for them. Then I shoot the feeling until it goes away.”
Deadpool vs The Punisher #1 by Fred Van Lente and Pere Pérez
This quote seemingly explores another side of the Punisher that many didn’t even know existed in the first place: empathy. Sure, he claims to be apathetic, but empathetic? Never. The Punisher will kill anyone who he deems deserving of his wrath. Age, race, sex, occupation, truly do not matter to him, the Punisher will kill someone without thinking twice afterward. But this comment proves that there is an empathetic piece of him that he still needs to ‘shoot away’ every time he pulls the trigger on a victim, and that is incredibly telling.
But, beyond this rare look into the Punisher’s psyche, this is simply an absolutely insane thing to say, especially when considering he’s not being figurative or dramatic. He’s literally shooting someone to death, and allowing himself to numb out any remorse that may come with killing them.
6 “To pay a visit to the Parents Music Council. Hiring a contract killer. Serious crime.”
Eminem/Punisher #1 by Fred Van Lente and Salvador Larroca
When the Punisher saved Eminem’s life from a hired assassin, he quickly learned who it was that hired said assassin: the Parents Music Council. This is a made-up group for the comic, but it’s based on a group that’s very real: the Parents Music Resource Center. This is a committee whose job it is to increase parental control over the access children have to music that is explicit, including songs that heavily reference drugs, sex, or violence. Eminem is the poster child for making music about drugs, sex, and violence (even addressing ‘kids’ directly, asking them if they ‘like violence’ on at least one occasion).
In the hyper-violent reality of Marvel Comics, it makes sense that a version of the PMRC would have enough of Eminem and hire someone to silence him permanently – for the sake of the children, of course. However, that doesn’t sit well with the Punisher, and the comic ends with Castle going to ‘silence’ every member of the Parents Music Council for this crime. The whole thing is just so amazingly absurd, and this quote illustrates that beautifully.
5 “‘Cause somebody had to be first.”
Punisher Kills The Marvel Universe #1 by Garth Ennis and Doug Braithwaite
This was the answer the Punisher had for Spider-Man after the Friendly Neighborhood Hero asked pleadingly why Castle was trying to kill him. Technically, the Punisher first answered Spidey with a shotgun blast to the face, and then he said this quote – yet somehow the words were more unhinged than the gunshot. The Punisher is on a mission to kill the entire Marvel Universe, as this event is set in a universe where superheroes were responsible for accidentally killing his family in the park, not mobsters – and he’s holding them all accountable.
This quote isn’t just a verbal signature on Spider-Man’s figurative death warrant, it’s also a declaration of what can only be described as genocide. The Punisher is effectively saying that he will not stop until every person with superpowers is dead by his hand, and the only reason Spider-Man was killed at that moment was, “cause somebody had to be first”.
4 “God’s gonna sit this one out.”
The Punisher: Official Movie Adaptation #2 by Peter Milligan and Pat Olliffe
While technically first uttered in the 2004 live-action film, Marvel Comics immortalized this quote in the pages of the official adaptation, which is a good thing, because it’s one of the most unhinged things any version of the Punisher has ever said. This scene took place right after Frank Castle recovered from getting shot multiple times and left for dead, and it was also after the deaths of literally every member of his family. The man who nursed him back to health tells Castle to ‘go with God’, to which Frank replies, “God’s gonna sit this one out”.
This is one of those lines that’s just trying so hard to be badass that it flips back around to campy. But more than that, this is yet another example of the Punisher making a deranged declaration of his murderous intent, and this time, not even God can stop him.
The Punisher Vol. 4 #4 by Tom Sniegoski, Christopher Golden, and Bernie Wrightson
Speaking of God, the Punisher was once a servant of heaven who was imbued with angelic powers, wielding specialty pistols that killed people with… the Holy Spirit? Honestly, this storyline wasn’t great, but it did give life to this single-word quote that seems innocuous, but in context, is absolutely unhinged. When the Punisher is pointing his angel-guns at some criminals he’s cornered, he tells them to “pray” before unloading on them in a blaze of righteous fury (literally).
The Punisher was trying really hard to rebrand in this storyline, which is why he was telling his victims to pray before he shot them dead in the street with guns heaven gave him. Truth be told, this entire arc was unhinged, and this quote simply made that fact blatantly obvious.
2 “I caught a glimpse of heaven once. The angels showed me. The idea was I’d kill for them. Clean up their mistakes on Earth. Eventually redeem myself. Tried it. Didn’t like it. Told them where to stick it.”
The Punisher Vol. 5 #1 by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon
Interestingly enough, Marvel Comics seemingly disliked the ‘angel-Punisher’ angle as much as readers did, as the publisher was more than happy with Garth Ennis utterly obliterating it with a few short sentences. This quote not only undid the entirety of the previous arc in probably the most unceremonious way possible, but it also revealed that the Punisher quite literally told heaven to go to hell.
There he was, with undeniable proof that there is an afterlife, and the chance for his eternal soul to live in peace forever, and the Punisher goes back to living in poverty and murdering street-level criminals, and in doing so, assuredly dooming himself to an eternity in hell upon his inevitable death – absolutely unhinged.
1 “And now. Every night. I go out and make the world sane.”
The Punisher Vol. 7 #1 by Garth Ennis and Lewis LaRosa
Out of every quote ever uttered by the Punisher, this one is perhaps the most alarming, as it gives the best glimpse yet of his truly broken mental state. The Punisher absolutely believes that stalking, torturing, and murdering criminals is ‘making the world sane’, and that it’s up to him – and him alone – to do it. While this is an obvious aspect to his character that’s been around since he believed Spider-Man deserved to die, it’s chilling to see him phrase it like this.
The Punisher’s true mission is to ‘make the world sane’, presumably in the same way he’s ‘sane’, and he’s going to do it through mayhem and carnage, with no one to answer to but his own level of ‘sanity’. The Punisher is wholeheartedly committed to what he does, and no other quote truly captures the disturbing reality of his life quite like this one, which is why this is one of the 10 most unhinged Punisher quotes in Marvel Comics history.
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