It looks like Punisher is going to appear in the next series of Netflix’s Daredevil. I’m hoping to cover that in the next couple of days in my writing for Daily News Service so go check over there for more information. It’s welcome news for several reasons but today I want to quickly cover why Daredevil and Punisher make such a good team. The basic reason is that Daredevil represents the law, whilst Punisher represents vengeance.
Picture Source: http://cdn.wegotthiscovered.com/wp-content/uploads/Punisher7_1.jpg [Accessed 10/06/2015]
Everything about Daredevil screams law and order. The devil represents the idea of hell and that bad men pay in the end according to a higher power. Matt Murdock is a lawyer by day so even in his alter ego he is knee deep in the workings of the justice system. Add in the fact that he is blind and it’s a not too veiled metaphor for the idea of blind justice. These aspects of Daredevils character make him perfectly opposed to Punisher.
Frank Castle, on the other hand, lost his wife and children to the mob. That broke him. The police couldn’t do anything to help and ultimately the justice system failed him. The alias of the Punisher that Frank adopts suggests vengeance instead of justice against the criminal underworld. At the end of the day this means that Punisher feels that Daredevil represents a broken justice system whilst Daredevil knows that Punisher is a wounded man who has lost his faith. Recent stories have reflected this, such as Mark Waid’s ‘Omega Drive’ storyline, with Daredevil trying to ‘save’ the Punisher.
Picture Source: https://i.annihil.us/u/prod/marvel/i/mg/6/70/4f82692dbe420.jpg [Accessed 10/06/2015]
The chemistry between the two characters has always been both interesting and volatile as they have many overlapping enemies and reasons and operate in the same area. Their ideological dynamic presents writers with a very real problem at the heart of the idea of vigilantism; Should someone acting outside of the law still expect others to follow the law, like Daredevil does, and can they be trusted themselves to adhere to the law, unlike Punisher?
Punisher literally sees himself as judge, jury and executioner which can mean that he is constantly breaking the laws that he kills others for breaking. He is a walking contradiction. Daredevil, on the other hand, breaks the law in his work as a vigilante but doesn’t break any other laws, meaning that he has decided that only certain rules don’t apply to him.
In many of the duo’s team ups it’s been noted that they each remind themselves of the contradictions in their work, for instance in Punishers ‘Welcome Home Frank’ storyline. The truth is, there is no answer to the philosophy of vigilantism and when the heroes of comic books decide to fight for good they have to except at point they are going to be breaking the law. The only thing I think we can all agree on is it makes for a bloody good story!