Tag Archives: the punisher

Would you say that the punisher is more realistic than batman

Yes, but only in a relatively. Both characters, and most other unpowered superheros, aren’t realistic, because they vastly overestimate how resilient people are. Mark Millar’s Kickass attempts to subvert this.

For the amount of abuse Frank Castle takes on a regular basis, he wouldn’t be able to recover, much less continue hunting down criminals. He’s slightly more realistic in the sense that his day to day activities wouldn’t (usually) be wrecking his body the way Batman’s hopping rooftop to rooftop, and constant hand to hand combat would.

At the same time, recovering from a bullet or even a bad beating will take months, and this is something that both The Punisher and Batman shrug off, as the plot demands.

Anyone attempting to do what Batman does would end up as a subject of a Police taskforce in fairly short order. In contrast, Castle would probably provoke a federal investigation, due to his use of explosives. Neither of these create situations where they’d be able to keep up their crusades for years, much less decades.

So, yes, The Punisher is slightly more realistic than Batman, but not by much. If you want a more realistic comic, then you’re probably going to need to get out of the superhero genre, or look for the comics that specifically address the disparity between someone with minor powers and someone who is, literally, a superhero.

Some quick suggestions on the subject:

Alias by Brian Michael Bendis: this is the original Jessica Jones comic. It’s a good street level view of a character with minor superpowers interacting with normal people.

Powers also by Brian Michael Bendis: This is a series about cops who investigate superpowered crimes and criminals. It’s also very good, and has gotten it’s own adaptation. Still, the comic is worth reading.

If you need more Bendis writing cops, there’s always his run on Sam and Twitch. For reference, it was a Spawn spin off series.

If you’re willing to ditch superheros entirely, then Greg Rucka’s Queen and Country is absolutely worth reading.


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Ignoring the issue of firearms, how effective a crime-fighting duo do you think Batman and Robin would actually make (where Robin is a kid)?

Unless you’re talking about actual superheroes with real superpowers, not very. Firearms aren’t actually the sticking point, ironically.

If you’ve ever played games with well developed stealth systems, you should have some basic ideas for how a sufficiently trained individual can neutralize armed opponents. Actually, while we’re talking about it, the Arkham games do a pretty good job of this when we’re talking about a Batman style superhero.

We’ve talked about how children can’t go toe to toe with adults before, and again, unless your Robin stand-in is more in the 16-20 range, or has actual superpowers, they’re just not going to be able to take on adults in hand to hand, no matter how good their training is.

The real problem is, this isn’t sustainable behavior. Mark Millar’s Kickass does a pretty good job of showing what will happen when a character like that screws up in a fight. At least the comic does, I still haven’t gotten around to the film.

But, of all things, the Ben Affleck Daredevil film pays lip service to the consequences for an (effectively) unpowered character doing this without screwing up and getting mauled. If you haven’t seen it, there are a couple shots early on in the film showing that he is downing massive cocktails of painkillers on a daily basis just to remain functional.

Here’s the thing, even if your character fights effectively, they’re going to physically deteriorate at a phenomenal rate. This is why boxers and other professional fighters have careers that only last at most a decade. Martial artists who don’t participate in competition last longer, but people who are engaged in real world combat, are looking at a couple years before their bodies are complete wrecks. This isn’t a skill issue, this is just that they’re pushing their body past the breaking point every night, and it quickly catches up with them.

For powered characters, who have faster healing or increased resistance to damage this is obviously, less of an issue. Also characters like the Punisher or The Shadow that rely more on weapons to dispose of criminals will be mostly unaffected by this. (Though, now that I think about it, The Shadow probably does have increase healing from his training, so that example just undermined itself.)

Looking at Garth Ennis’ Welcome Back Frank isn’t a bad place to look at someone balancing comic book sensibilities with the consequences of failure for The Punisher, and characters like him.