What If... the Punisher's Family Hadn't Been Killed?

Christmas holds an important place in the What If? canon thanks to It's a Wonderful Life, so what better on Christmas Day than a What If story about... the Punisher's murdered family?! Happy holidays!

What If vol.2 #10 (February 1990)
Based on: Marvel Preview #2
The true history: After returning from Vietnam, former marine Frank Castle has a picnic with his family in Central Park, where his wife and two children are caught and killed in gangland crossfire. This tragedy inspires him to become the Punisher, scourge of the underworld.
Turning point: What if the weather turned bad on that sunny picnic afternoon?
Story type: Momentary difference
Watcher's mood: Empty inside
Altered history: When clouds unexpectedly move in to ruin the Castle family picnic, they leave and thus avoid the crossfire of the gang war that would have killed all but one of them. Frank Castle, looking for a place to put his military experience to work, takes a job as a New York City cop, one that is sympathetic to costumed vigilantes, but who is himself by the book. So when he finds out just how many cops are on the take, it's a bit of a shocker.
Struggling with the issue, he reports to his precinct captain, fellow former Marine Carmody. Carmody asks him to silently collect evidence on this matter, but what Frank doesn't know is that Carmody's a crooked cop too. At home, Frank's two kids continue to grow up, and his little boy becomes a big fan of superheroes. He even dresses up as one (his own invention) at Halloween.
One night, Frank is visited by both extremely good and extremely bad luck. The bad: Crooked cops are sent by Carmody to riddle Frank's home with bullets and torch it.
The good: He was in the bathroom at the time, and a similarly-shaped friend from the Marines was sleeping over unexpectedly, leaving the evil boys in blue to think Castle was dead. He isn't, and starting with Carmody himself at Frank's own funeral, he starts gunning down crooked cops.
And so it goes, cleaning up the streets first of corruption, and then of crime (presumably), eventually taking his boy's costume idea, and becoming the Punisher. A couple scars more on his face, but the only one that counts is the one on his heart. Man, destiny can be a bitch.
Books canceled as a result: None. The Punisher did not get a series immediately after his first appearance, so he need not have lost a single issue.
These things happen: Never. Not even in this What If? Frank's family must die.

Next week: What if the Fantastic Four All Had the Same Power?
My guess: Three of them retire to create science/have babies/cry, leaving Johnny as the Fantastic One.



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