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Marvel's Punisher is enjoying something of a resurgence right now. The latest version of the Punisher was introduced in Daredevil Season 2, played by Jon Bernthal, and was a resounding success — so much so that Marvel and Netflix wasted no time in working on a solo series!
With all this hype, Jon Bernthal is doing the rounds. According to Screen Geek, at New York Comic Con he made a controversial statement; while handling a series of quick-fire questions, he was asked who'd win in a fight: Batman or Punisher? His response:
What are the odds?
Let's Take A Look at the Punisher
A decorated combat veteran, Frank Castle is one of the best-trained soldiers around. In the comics at least, he received training from the Airborne School, the US Navy SEALs, and the Australian Special Air Service Regiment. Believing in honing himself as a weapon, the Punisher is skilled in a wide range of martial arts: we've seen evidence of Nash Ryu Jujutsu, Ninjutsu, Shorin-ryu Karate, Hwa Rang Do, and Chin Na.
Jon Bernthal's Punisher is just starting out, so his skills won't yet be as notable as the comic book version's. Still, one element is definitely there; the Punisher is a brutal, hardcore soldier who can make the most of any weapon. He doesn't hold back, he doesn't stop, and he doesn't care how much he gets hurt in order to achieve his objective. If the Punisher is after you, you're dead.
But What About Batman?
Batman's abilities are a matter of legend. In his comics, Batman has routinely taken on DC's greatest powerhouses, from Superman to Wonder Woman. He's one of the smartest tacticians around, and that's led to the common fan-belief that, should Batman have sufficient prep time, he can beat anybody. We saw that theory tested to the limit in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, when Ben Affleck's Dark Knight came within a hair's breadth of killing Superman.
Where the Punisher is a soldier, Batman is a warrior. He honed his combat skills by traveling the world, and has been described as a master of over 127 different types of martial arts. He rarely uses guns, but that doesn't mean he's unarmed — Batman has dedicated the incredible wealth of Bruce Wayne to building up an impressive arsenal of customized tools. His batsuit is composed of Kevlar and Nomex, resistant to all but the heaviest gunfire, and his utility belt is famous for having pretty much anything you can imagine inside it.
So Who Would Win?
For the sake of leveling the playing field, let's assume that there's no prep time. In this scenario, Batman's batsuit would protect him from most of the Punisher's ordnance, and his combat skills simply outweigh the Punisher's. Both men have a tremendous tolerance to pain, so the battle wouldn't be a quick one, but I simply can't see the Punisher walking away victorious from this one.
In truth, though, the Punisher is unlikely to be committed to this fight; I suspect his only goal would be to escape, so as to continue his one-man war on crime. It's possible that, given the right tools to hand, the Punisher could shake Batman off his tail long enough to get out of Gotham. Even then, though, if he chose to remain in Gotham, Batman would track him down in the end.
Let me prove the point: the Punisher has always struggled to deal with agile, skilled warriors. The comics have seen him matched by Daredevil countless times, and we got a sense of how that fight would play out in Daredevil Season 2. In contrast, when Batman's gone against the most heavily-armed soldiers and mercenaries, he's always emerged victorious. He's successfully taken down both Deathstroke and Deadshot — granted, with difficulty, but he's always won through. I see nothing that would give Punisher an advantage in this fight.
Regretfully, I have to say that I think Jon Bernthal's wrong about this one. While I tend to view Batman's reputation as a tad exaggerated — some fans seem to imply he could overthrow the world's government given a day's prep time — this is one fight he'd easily win. I'm giving this one to Batman.