James Pierce (Punisher/Hitman)

Ok, let’s try to proceed in chronological order from now on (as usual, we’ll alternate the character from Iron Fist with the ones from other shows as we go on, if need be). To find somebody from the comics we didn’t see together already we have to jump to episode 4, Eight Diagram Dragon Palm, where we are introduced to Colleen Wing‘s hobby: cage fights. Not happy of her first adversary, Colleen asks for a two-on-one match, and she gets a bonus in Jimmy Pierce, a menacing fighter portrayed by stuntman and MMA world champion Jay Hieron. Despite this single appearance in the show, Jimmy Pearce is actually a relevant character in the comics, who for a time even went by the name Punisher, after the original was presumed dead. Let’s see together.

Born and raised in New York City, Jimmy Pierce was the son of Jack Pierce and Midge Cullen, the latter being a member of the infamous Cullen crime family, the Irish gang known as the Black Cullens. When Jimmy was a kid, growing up with his younger sister Lori, Midge’s brother, Tommy “Peach” Cullen, would often come to his house, trying to convince Jack to work for him, but the man always refused. When Jimmy was little more than a teenager, Jack suddenly died: alone with the Cullen family, the young man preferred to leave in order to stay away from Peach’s criminal activities, so he joined the US Army, wanting to follow his Navy S.E.A.L. father’s footsteps, and entered the Special Forces. Incredibly skilled, Jimmy also used his military training to make himself a name in sports, and became a champion boxer. Everything he had achieved, however, vanished the moment he was called back home: the scourge that had been decimating the Black Cullens, the vigilante known as The Punisher, had been apparently killed, and Peach Cullen wanted Jimmy to become the new Punisher, pretending to be the original working for him. Of course, Jimmy refused Peach’s offers, just as his father did before him, but eventually his uncle took his mother hostage, thus forcing Jimmy to comply. Dressed with the same costume as The Punisher, but with a mask to hide the fact he was not the original guy, Jimmy targeted rival organizations for his uncle, convincing people that The Punisher was now working for the Black Cullens. Despite accepting to work for Peach, however, Jimmy refused to ever kill anybody, and managed to do so until he was ultimately forced to. Unfortunately, in fact, there were many people who wanted to take up the same mantle, and one of them was Dean Swayvrick aka Yuppunisher, a rich guy who had transformed the entire vigilante thing into a personal business: by taking down a drug racket, Jimmy had unwillingly ruined Dean’s show, and the man wanted to make him pay for it. When Jimmy was sent to LaastekistPennsylvania, to investigate on some sightings of the real Punisher, Swayvrick was just on his trails.

In Pennsylvania, Jimmy found other two Punisher wannabes, Lynn Michaels and Edward “Payback” Dyson, but he easily got rid of them, since he was accompanied by members of the Black Cullens (who didn’t have many problems in killing people)…until Dean Swayvrick and his army showed up, starting a true battle. Held at gunpoint, with nobody left to help him, Jimmy managed to take Dean’s gun and to use it on him, killing him…and he froze, shocked by what he had done. Just when he was on his knees, staring at the corpse of the man he had killed, Special Agent Blackwell from the anti-Punisher elite squad VIGIL shot him in the back, leaving him for dead. Jimmy actually survived, and managed to find shelter in his sister Lori’s apartment, where a friend of hers patched him up. Here, he was tracked down and attacked by Dave and Duke, two Cullens who had been spying on him and had correctly deduced that he wanted to quit. Albeit wounded, Jimmy managed to knock the two assailants out, and used one of them to locate the Black Cullens’ meeting place to free his mother…unfortunately, Midge wasn’t a hostage, but a willing accomplice, and she captured him. Lori, who had been following him, managed to break him free, and told him that their father had actually been killed by Peach and Midge, and that she wanted to get revenge. Not wanting to have anything to do with more bloodshed, Jimmy left…and on his way back he met the real Punisher, alive and kicking, who gave him a ride. In the meanwhile, Lori had been located and tied up, and Midge and Peach decided it was better to get rid of the other young Cullen before he turned against them: they sent some men to ambush the truck he was on…thus attracting the attention of the worst adversary possible. The Punisher didn’t take this kind of attacks lightly and, after disposing of the goons, he turned on the Black Cullens, ready to war. Wanting to save his sister as well, Jimmy followed him as the Hitman, and they teamed up to take down the family…at one condition: not to kill anybody, otherwise The Punisher would have come after him as well…

Jimmy Pierce is a good and honorable man, trying to escape a legacy that is pressed on him like a destiny. As the Hitman (previously the Punisher), Jimmy is an extremely skilled athlete and hand-to-hand combatant, a nearly infallible marksman (even if he doesn’t kill, usually) and an unbeatable boxer; he wears a light kevlar armor, and disposes of a large number of guns, albeit he usually goes for his favorite Colt M1911 pistols. Not exactly a peaceful man, Pierce is nevertheless an unwilling soldier dragged into a war that doesn’t belong to him, and who desperately tries to find a way out from a family heritage that looks more and more like a blood curse.

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