10 Best Easter Eggs From Season 1 Of The Punisher

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Season 1 of Marvel’s latest Netflix series, The Punisher, blasted its way to the streaming platform this past Friday, and it’s every bit as bloody and bullet-filled as fans expected. However, it’s also jam-packed with clever nods and references to the comics, past Marvel/Netflix series, and more.

Here are the 10 best Easter eggs from Season 1 of The Punisher:

  1. The Dogs Of Hell

    As the series begins, we see Frank tying up some loose ends in the form of the Dogs of Hell – the motorcycle gang that he and Matt Murdock encountered in Daredevil Season 2. The gang was mentioned by name in Season 1 of Iron Fist, as well, but their first appearance was in Season 1 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., with several of the Dogs falling under the spell of the Asgardian sorceress Lorelei. In any case, Frank makes quick work of two members of the gang, knocking them off their bikes and brutally running them over for good measure. 

  2. Chaos Under The Streets

    The last time we saw any of our Marvel/Netflix heroes, they were battling the Hand deep beneath the streets of New York in The Defenders. True, Frank may not have been present for the fight, but the show does drop a hint that those events are still fresh in the minds of New Yorkers. Early on when we run into Karen Page at the New York Bulletin, underneath the arm of her editor is a recent copy of the publication. The headline reads “Chaos Under The Streets,” which is a clear callback to the climax of Season1 of The Defenders.

  3. Rumble In The Jungle

    Lewis was a character whose sole purpose was to show the dangers of unchecked PTSD. However, prior to his full descent, Lewis’ father makes countless attempts to help his son overcome the horrors he experienced overseas, including a scene in which the two watch a VHS copy of the classic “Rumble in the Jungle” boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. This is noteworthy because the fight took place in 1974, which is the same year that the Punisher made his debut in the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man #129.

  4. Moby Dick

    While working construction under an assumed identity, Frank spends his nights sitting in his tiny studio apartment, reading books to pass the time. One such book is Herman Melville’s 1851 classic Moby Dick, which tells the story of Captain Ahab, who’s driven mad in his quest to seek vengeance on the white whale that took his leg. If you think about it, the parallels between Frank and Ahab are actually quite uncanny, as both are obsessed with achieving unattainable goals (for Frank, it’s returning to some sense of normalcy), yet both secretly enjoy the hunt.

  5. Castiglione

    That “assumed identity” we mentioned in the last entry? It’s Pete Castiglione, which – for fans of The Punisher comics – likely rings a bell. As was the case with countless immigrants seeking U.S. citizenship in the early 20th century, Frank’s family, who hail from Sicily, changed their surname upon arriving at Ellis Island. They chose the name “Castle,” but prior to that, they were known as the Castigliones, making Frank’s in-show alias a fun nod to the character’s comic book roots.

  6. Welcome Back, Frank

    As the series premiere comes to a close, we hear Micro say “Welcome back, Frank” after catching him on surveillance. Of course, longtime readers will immediately recognize this as a reference to the acclaimed 12-issue series Welcome Back, Frank by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon. Published under the now-defunct Marvel Knights imprint, Welcome Back, Frank helped bring the character back into popular demand, and the tone and the amount of violence clearly played role in the direction of the Netflix series.

  7. Gnucci Crime Family

    Among other things, the aforementioned Welcome Back, Frank is memorable for pitting Frank against the Gnucci Crime Family, who – funnily enough – play a minor role in this series. In the premiere, we see a group of construction workers attempt to rake in some extra cash by holding up an illegal high-stakes poker game. The robbery is successful, if not sloppy, but before it’s over, we hear one of the gangsters mention the Gnucci surname, confirming that the money belongs to the Gnucci Crime Family. In fact, in Welcome Back, Frank, Frank actually takes the Gnucci’s money and gives it to his neighbors, much like he does for Donny after he saves him from the cement mixer.

  8. Curtis Hoyle

    As an unstable, ruthless killer, Frank doesn’t have very many friends. Among those that he does have, though, is Curtis Hoyle, who served in the Marines with Frank and runs a veteran’s support group. Curtis exists in the comics, as well, though the conditions of his and Frank’s relationship is much different in the source material. After being discharged, Curtis joins the villainous Rockhouse Operation and is tasked with paying a visit to a man named Bill Messina, who killed one of the group’s operatives. However, upon meeting Messina, Curtis realizes that it’s actually Frank in disguise. Curtis tries to kill Frank, but Frank manages to board his helicopter and throw Curtis out, sending him falling to his death.

  9. Agent Orange

    William Rawlins, who used to go by the alias Agent Orange, is one of the primary antagonists in The Punisher, and for good reason – much like in the Netflix series, Rawlins’ comic book counterpart is a corrupt CIA officer and one of Frank’s enemies. As for Agent Orange, though, her comic book counterpart is a member of a division of telepathic S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, which begs the questions: Why does the show’s version of Rawlins use the alias Agent Orange? Well, Agent Orange is also the name of a tactical-use herbicide that the U.S. military employed as part of their herbicidal warfare program Operation Ranch Hand during the Vietnam War. Coincidentally, the comic book version of Frank is a veteran of the Vietnam War, so it seems as though Rawlins’ alias is a reference to Frank’s military history. 

  10. The Birth Of Jigsaw

    For Frank, the revelation that his best friend Billy Russo had betrayed him was heartbreaking. For fans of The Punisher comics, it was expected, because Billy Russo is the alter-ego of Frank’s archenemy Jigsaw. Before he was Jigsaw, Billy was nicknamed “the Beaut” due to his good looks, but after being thrown head-first through a pane of glass, he was left horribly disfigured with facial scars that were reminiscent of a jigsaw puzzle. The circumstances are slightly different in the Netflix series, as we see Frank use a shattered mirror on a carousel like a cheese grater against Billy’s face, turning the “pretty boy” into a bloody mess and setting the stage for a full-fledged Jigsaw if and when Season 2 comes around.