The genius of introducing Punisher as a foil for Daredevil lies in the duo’s ambiguous moral ground; the difference being that the new troubled antihero on the scene, portrayed masterfully by The Walking Dead‘s Jon Bernthal, has well and truly crossed the line that Daredevil tentatively toes. “You hit them and they get back up. I hit them and they stay down”, he growls at Daredevil, now endearingly nicknamed ‘Red’, as the two compare their philosophies on a rooftop. In fact, the Punisher’s ruthless approach to bad guys (adopted both in his service as a Marine, and in response to personal tragedy) actually makes our titular hero seem kind of ineffective at times. Murdock would rather let the offender go, free to continue a life of crime at the expense of the innocent, than borrow from Punisher’s book and just shoot the guy already. Their differing brands of vigilantism are starkly pitched against one another, with Punisher painting Daredevil’s humanity as a weakness. Of course, it’s the vulnerability afforded by his own deeply buried humanity that Punisher’s most afraid of. It’s seriously compelling stuff.
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