maxfilmBarely started, and I already missed a character: in the first episode of the new season of Daredevil there’s still another new face…well, not exactly a “face”: in Bang, a vicious dog guards the renunion of the Kitchen Irish gang, and he ends up being the only survivor, taken in by the same man who killed his former masters, Frank Castle. The dog happens to have a name, Max, and just like in the show, in the comics he’s one of the few friends who manage to stay by Frank’s side for a while without taking a bullet (from his enemies or even from him). He appears in the first four episodes, and he’s even used as leverage by Finn Cooley to convince Frank to tell him where his money is. Believe it or not, the dog as a story in the comics as well. Let’s see together.

Life for the Rottweiler who would have become known as Max didn’t start easily: he was sold as a puppy in a shop in Bronx, and his new owner put him in a dark room, without allowing him to see the light, training him with cruelty and brutality to become an attack dog. Three months later, when the dog was already big and strong, another man bought him, and used him as a guard dog at the Empire Check Cashing. Even this new owner didn’t last long, however, as a band of crooks broke into the place, robbed him and killed him; the dog, faithful to a flaw, pursued the robbers, running after them for entire blocks, and even on rooftops, mauling most of them leaving but two, Darrel and Louis. When he cornered the two crooks on a rooftop, however, the old roof crumbled under the dog’s weight, and he fell to the underlying floor, wounded and trapped by the debris. Louis was about to kill the animal, but he got shot first by The Punisher, who was on the criminals’ pursuit as well, and who had watched the scene maxcomics1from afar. The vigilante proceeded to knock Darrel down, and the man fell right beside the Rottweiler, who finished him off. The Punisher took an immediate sympathy for the dog, and took him in, stitching him up and nursing him back to health. He called him Max, since he had gone “to the maximum” to catch his owner’s killers. Of course, it took time for Castle to earn Max’s trust, as the dog kept attacking him on sight, putting his durability to the test with his powerful jaws. Frank, however, didn’t give up on him, and fought to make the dog trust him, even with simple things like buying him chewing toys (mostly aimed to tire him enough so that it wouldn’t hurt that much when he bit him). Eventually, the two hard fighters created a bond of mutual affection and respect, and despite Max tried to go to Frank’s throat from time to time, they became the best of friends.

The Punisher trained Max as a guard dog for one of his safe houses: he taught him not to bark, so that he didn’t lose the surprise effect, and left him an automatic food dispenser that could feed him even during his long periods of absence (as well as a massive sand box). Max was trained to attack anybody entering the safe house but Frank, and he did with diligence. Once, when Frank was injured, Microchip tried to enter the safe house, but was unable to crack the shelter’s code, and renounced; one of The Kingpin‘s men, George Wong, saw him from afar, and imitated him, managing to break into the safe house. Max however was inside, and attacked the intruder with the usual ferocity, nearly ripping one of his arms off. Wong saved himself by stabbing the dog, and then shot him three times, living him dying on the floor. Castle came back just in time, and realising there was no time to bring Max to maxcomics2the vet hospital, he performed emergency surgery on him, saving the animal’s life. This strenghtened the bond between the two, but their odyssey wasn’t over yet: another gang, led by Bigg and Li’l, managed to break into the safe house, and while most of the crooks got killed either by The Punisher’s traps or by Max, Bigg himself managed to knock out the dog, impressed by his strength and brutality, and wanting to train him “right” he took him away. Bigg, however, soon found out he wasn’t able to even get near Max without being torn to pieces, so he sold him to Billy, a friend of him who ran a clandestine dog fight ring in Jersey. Billy was more than satisfied with Max, who was able to slain any opponent without the slightest difficulty, but the dog was so savage he needed to be tased down anytime a fight was over. Problem was that The Punisher was looking for his dog, and he had tracked him down to Jersey: in the ensuing fight, Billy fell into the ring, and Max made short work of him. Upon hearing his true master’s whistle, Max happily came back to The Punisher, ready to finally come back home.

Max the Rottweiler is a violent and fierce dog, trained since he was a puppy to slain his opponent without even the advice of a bark or a growl; he’s however extremely loyal and faithful to his master, who happens to be The Punisher, possibly the only human just as fierce as he is. Even for a Rottweiler, Max is extremely strong, fast and agile, and with his jaws he can easily break human bones (even if he mostly aims to throats). Determined, well-trained and absolutely lethal, Max can very well be the canine version of The Punisher…


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