The ground for the manifestation of a super hero is the failure of society. The presence of an unprecedented challenge that leaves the institutions of society stunned and paralyzed.
We need superheroes more than ever in the world. We may need Batman, an uncompromising ideal that prevails even in the face of the most abysmal antagonists. But Batman couldn’t be farther from reality. However, a real (real in the sense of the possibility of his existence) superhero is The Punisher. The Punisher stands to his name, he knows no limits when he’s out there to get his vengeance: murder, coercion, torture and even mass killings. He will abide to no law, the laws are nothing but a tool applied by the most powerful to protect themselves. The laws have failed him many times and it’s failing everybody else.
But the greatest thing in The Punisher, that’s highlighted in few of his finest comic books; is that he seeks no assistance from anyone, not because he’s a badass (he is). But just because he observes his situation objectively, he cannot be more morally compromised, his soul is sold to the devil way more than he could bargain to buy it back. The best thing about The Punisher that he’s not just aware of his morality, and the fact that’s he’s been condemned more than celebrated; the best thing about him is that he’s indifferent to it. He bears the weight of the world, and of all the moral compasses out there on his shoulder, it’s like saying in no words. “Let me be all your evil wishes. Let be your nemesis. Let me kill and torture whoever that hurt you while you renounce me, for you must remain untouched by darkness. For your morality mustn’t be compromised, I’m beyond saving, I can take it all.”
For in a world of good and evil, he’s the alter-evil. He’s everything to evil that evil is to good. He’s that hazy line standing between the two facets of the world, often neglected and wrongly categorized. And while he’s indifferent about his condemnation, about the moral games and speculations he’s the subject of, he’s never more sensitive when it comes to evil.
One of The Punisher’s finest moments, is when he’s often offered assistance, he refuses bluntly as always. But not for the fear of the person offering assistance to be killed, kidnapped or hurt in anyways. For the biggest loss, the threshold to an inevitable abyss lies in the opposite, if the person offering assistance does the killing, or the kidnapping or the hurt.
The fear of opening a whole sucking up the light and inviting darkness, for The Punisher punishes not only the wrong doer, but himself, opening his chest and embracing a darkness that could suffice the whole humanity and atones by keeping the gap wide between good and evil. Atones by being an alter-evil.