Who Is Billy Russo? 'The Punisher' Character Is The Most Complex New Addition
Frank Castle, the man behind The Punisher, is a family man who has mostly been ripped away from his family. That's what made him into the super-anti-hero he meet in Daredevil Season 2, the loss of his wife and kids. But Frank also has a second family, his Marine corp brothers, the ones who served with him, and were on the Agent Orange lead Black Ops team. Men like Curtis Hoyle, Edward Drogin, Gunner Henderson and Billy Russo. That last one is the most interesting. Who is Billy Russo? And what is it about him that he is the one the show focuses on outside of Frank? Warning: This post contains spoilers for The Punisher Season 1.
No really... this post contains Really. Big. Spoilers. If you haven't made it to the end of the series, I highly recommend turning back now. In the show, Billy Russo is first introduced to us as one of Castle's ex marine buddies, who now runs a private military contractor called Anvil. He was someone who served with Castle both during the regular war, and during the Black Ops mission under Agent Orange. When Agent Madani is first trying to track down Castle, thinking he's her main criminal, both for the Ahmad Zubair tape in Kandahar and in the death of her boss Wolf, Russo is right there telling her that Castle is dead and she's barking up the wrong tree completely.
After he realizes Madani might be sleeping with him to get more info on Castle, he again pushes back, and then in fact starts searching for Castle over the radio waves, in what seems to be a desperate attempt to find Castle first, and get him out of the country to safety.
Now let's talk about who Billy Russo really is.
Russo isn't just a character from The Punisher. He actually first turned up in 1976, in an issue of The Amazing Spider-man. (The Punisher did appear in that issue as well, but he was a supporting cross over character, as was Nightcrawler from The X-Men.) In that series, he's not a marine at all, nor does he have any sort of military training. (In fact, that's a major plot point about him.) He's just a small time gangster, under the name of "Billy the Beaut."
He is the one who was ordered to hush up the murder of the Castle family in the Massacre at Central Park, and take out Frank Castle as well. Instead, Castle pushes him through a huge plate glass window, completely disfiguring his face into a cross cross of scars, and turning Russo into a super villain.
You may have heard of him. He goes by the name of Jigsaw.
Yes, everyone, that is the big twist at the end of The Punisher: It's not Frank Castle's story at all. This first season of The Punisher is actually the origin story for one of Marvel's biggest super villains, Jigsaw.
Once he was introduced, Jigsaw did a stint in The Punisher comics, before moving on up to the Daredevil comics, after Wilson Fisk was put down for good. While he always goes back to his vendetta against The Punisher eventually, he's gone up against Black Widow, Jessica Jones, Danielle Cage (not Luke), Tigra, Spider-Man, The X-Men, The New Avengers and even the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
As you can see, the crossover possibilities for this character are endless. Not only could he show up in other Netflix Marvel Series or the MCU, with the right deals, he could go to 20th Century FOX, either their movies, or their TV shows, or in an MCU/Sony joint, or even ABC's Marvel Television.
For now though, we'll just assume he's The Punisher's new Big Bad until Netflix say otherwise. But I smell a crossover for The Defenders Season 2, don't you?