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After witnessing his family's brutal execution style murder and being severely wounded himself,

Frank Castle was presented with a choice; die and meet his family in the afterlife or physically heal and

enact his vengeance on those responsible. When Frank leveled his weapon, brought his sights to bear and

pulled the trigger, ending the life of his enemy, Frank Castle died and the Punisher was born. Throughout

the history of comic books we have seen heroes, super heroes, and even anti-heroes, but where does the

Punisher truly belong? Is the Punisher really a super hero? What does it take to be classified as a true

super hero? If the Punisher does not fit into the mold of a super hero, then how exactly do we classify him

and why?

Let me begin by clarifying what it is that makes a super hero, super. The first and most obvious

requirement, for me, is the presence of some super power. The Flash possesses super speed; Superman

has the ability to fly, x-ray vision, invulnerability to man-made weapons, and super breath cold enough to

stop a volcano. Spiderman has heightened agility, he can shoot spider webs from his wrist, and he has a

sixth sense referred to as his "spidey-sense". Wolverine has an adamantium infused skeletal system, he

has the ability to produce adamantium claws at the drop of a dime, and he has advanced healing abilities.

The Green Lantern has the ability to produce anything his mind can imagine, instantaneously, and

Cyclops can shoot an extremely powerful laser beam from his eyes. Any one of these abilities would, in

my opinion, make a hero super, the Punisher, however, possesses no such abilities. Sure, the Punisher can

fly; in an aircraft. He could go extremely fast, even super-fast; on his motorcycle. The punisher's strength

could be matched by any person with dedication and a gym membership, and the closest he gets to being

invulnerable to man-made weapons is the Kevlar suit he wears when fighting crime.

The second requirement is how these super heroes use their powers, or what I call a strong moral

code. Super heroes neither wield lethal weapons nor do they participate in the act of taking human life.

Sure, Superman could easily freeze his enemy with his breath and Spiderman could just as easily

suffocate his enemy with one of his webs, and the Green Lantern would consider it child's play to conjure

up a machine gun in order to eliminate his enemy. What sets these characters apart is the choice they

make, repeatedly, not to do these things, but rather to immobilize their enemy and allow for the

authorities to apprehend them. There is a fundamental, underlying belief that human life is not only worth

saving, but also worth preserving. Adversely, the Punisher regularly employs torture, extortion, threats of

violence, and even murder in order to annihilate his enemy rather than risk having to face them again in

the future.

Finally, a super hero must obtain his powers in some extraordinary manner, through some

normally outlandish set of circumstances. Superman was born on the planet Krypton, was shuttled off to

Earth when his planet was dying, and coincidentally the Earth's yellow sun greatly magnifies his natural

abilities. Peter Parker was a geeky kid fixated with math and science and photography until he was bitten

by a radioactive spider. This spider bite transferred with it, the spider's abilities magnified to be basically

proportionate to a human sized spider, thus the creation of Spiderman. Wolverine was a part of a


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