Why Barracuda May Be the Punisher's Deadliest Foe
Prep for 'The Punisher vs. Barracuda' #1 with a look at the duo's long and dangerous past!
Barracuda is breaking out of prison, and he’s on a collision course with the notorious anti-hero. In many ways, Barracuda may be one of the Punisher’s deadliest foes. And yet Castle has never crossed paths with Barracuda before... At least not in the Prime Universe.
THE PUNISHER VS. BARRACUDA #1 will be the first ever in-continuity appearance of Barracuda. Previously, Barracuda was a recurring threat in Garth Ennis’ landmark run on PUNISHER MAX (2004); that alone should demonstrate how formidable Barracuda is. The Punisher doesn’t have a large rogue’s gallery of villains because he’s not in the habit of letting them live. However, Barracuda has taken Castle’s measure more than once, and he keeps coming back for more.
Barracuda’s real name has yet to be revealed, but FURY MAX (2012) #10-12 shed some light on his past. Like Castle, Barracuda served in the U.S. military and was trained to kill in numerous ways. Barracuda’s skills as a sniper are particularly astonishing because he only has one good eye. He’s also an excellent fighter, but Barracuda’s greatest physical asset is his strength.
Additionally, Barracuda is ruthless and intelligent. He lulled Fury into a false sense of security by pretending to be on his side during a mission in Nicaragua. In reality, Barracuda was among the U.S. soldiers committing war crimes and other illegal business. Although Barracuda gave Fury the fight of his life, that wasn’t enough to overcome the veteran. But that battle helped shape Barracuda into an even more effective killer.
Castle and Barracuda didn’t meet until PUNISHER MAX (2004) #31-36. At that time, Barracuda was hired by a corrupt CEO named Harry Ebbing to take out Castle...and he very nearly did! Despite losing his right eye and four fingers on his right hand, Barracuda was still incredibly impressive. He even overpowered Castle through sheer muscle alone. Despite Barracuda’s failure to kill Castle, he pulled off something even more stunning; Barracuda managed to survive a shotgun blast to the chest and a subsequent swim with nearby sharks.
Barracuda not only lived through that ordeal, he landed his own spinoff series. PUNISHER PRESENTS: BARRACUDA MAX (2007) put him in the spotlight. In that story, Barracuda was hired to help a mob boss’s son kill a dictator named Leopoldo Luna. Unlike his father, Big Chris, Oswald lacked a killer instinct and he suffered from hemophilia. Despite betraying both Big Chris and Luna, Barracuda actually seemed to like Oswald. Barracuda also nearly took over two rival drug operations.
Unfortunately for Barracuda, “nearly” was the operative word. Oswald sided with Barracuda over his father, and he pulled the trigger on Big Chris himself. But Barracuda accidentally killed Oswald with a friendly pat on the back—because he forgot about his hemophilia.
Barracuda returned for a rematch with Castle in PUNISHER MAX (2004) #50-54. This time, Barracuda made it personal when he kidnapped a baby named Sarah. She was the daughter of Castle and Kathryn O'Brien, a rogue CIA operative who had previously aided the Punisher. Barracuda held Sarah’s life over Castle’s head and once again gave Frank an epic beating. Regardless, Castle eventually turned the tables on Barracuda and finally managed to take him out. But trust us, it took a lot to bring down the mighty Barracuda!
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