Jigsaw (Marvel Comics)

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Jigsaw
Jigsaw1.jpg
Jigsaw on the cover of Punisher War Journal Vol. 2, #18 (June 2008)
Art by Ariel Olivetti
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance The Amazing Spider-Man #162 (November 1976)
Created by Len Wein
Ross Andru
In-story information
Full name Billy Russo
Species Human
Place of origin Earth
Team affiliations Maggia
Hood's Crime Syndicate
Partnerships Rev
Stuart Clarke
Notable aliases The Beaut, The Heavy
Abilities Experienced street fighter
Exceptional strategist and tactician
Highly charismatic criminal organizer
Wears a special exoskeleton

Jigsaw is a fictional character, a supervillain, and archenemy of the Marvel Comics antihero the Punisher.[1] He was created by Len Wein and Ross Andru, and first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #162 (November 1976)

Publication history[edit]

Jigsaw debuted in The Amazing Spider-Man #162-163, returning in The Amazing Spider-Man #188, and The Punisher #1 and #4-5. Jigsaw then allied with the Rev in The Punisher Vol. 2, #35-40, and Gregario in #55-56. Following a cameo appearance in The Punisher War Journal #61, Jigsaw's origin was detailed in Issues #3-4 of the prequel limited series The Punisher: Year One, and he furthered bedeviled the Punisher in Punisher Vol. 3, #2-4 and #9-10.

Proceeding an encounter with the eponymous character in Daredevil Vol. 2, #62-64, Jigsaw appeared in The New Avengers #1-3, #35, #46, #50, #57, and The New Avengers Annual #2; concurrent to his appearances in that title, Jigsaw also starred in Punisher War Journal Vol. 2, #18-20 and #22-23. He was then featured, and killed off, in the five-issue miniseries Punisher: In the Blood.

Jigsaw received profiles in The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #6, The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Master Edition #10, Marvel Encyclopedia #4 and #5, The New Avengers Most Wanted Files #1, and Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z #6.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Billy Russo was kicked out by his abusive father at the age of ten,[2] and went on to become a hitman for New York's criminal underworld, where his good looks garnered him the nickname "the Beaut".[3] He also married a woman named Susan, and would beat both her and their son, Henry, once forcing Henry to drown his pet cat's kittens by threatening to shoot Susan.[2] After the botched gangland execution that inadvertently led to the Castle family being massacred, Russo is hired by Frank Costa to assassinate all those connected to the Castles. Russo kills all of his targets but Frank Castle, who survives the bomb that Russo had planted in Castle's home.[4] Hours later, Castle (now the Punisher) tracks Russo down to a Maggia nightclub. The Punisher guns down all of Russo's associates, and uses him to send a message to organized crime by knocking him through a glass pane, an act that reduces Russo's face to a jigsaw puzzle-like mess of scars.[3]

Taking advantage of his now hideous visage, the formerly handsome gangster adopts the identity of Jigsaw, and attempts to frame the Punisher for murder. However, the plan fails due to the intervention of Spider-Man and Nightcrawler; Spider-Man witnesses one of Jigsaw's murders, and one of his victims is an old friend of Nightcrawler.[5][6] Jigsaw later battled Spider-Man again.[7]

It is revealed in the first Punisher miniseries that Jigsaw was behind a plan to drug the Punisher, causing his enemy to behave erratically and attack any criminals, even for things as minor as littering. Jigsaw also attempts to kill the Punisher in prison. The Punisher confronts and defeats him, and later stops Jigsaw from escaping in a prison riot.[8] Later in the series, Jigsaw is brainwashed by the Trust into serving as a member of a Punisher-style assassination squad. He manages to remember who he is after encountering Castle once again, and attacks the Punisher. He is defeated once more.[9][10]

Jigsaw becomes involved with a demon worshipper, Reverend Samuel Smith, whom Jigsaw refers to as "the Rev". Based on healing demonstrations, the Rev convinces Jigsaw to work for him in exchange for healing his face. Jigsaw follows the man on a home invasion/murder spree, and then kills several cops on the way out; Jigsaw would continue to work for the Rev for some time. When the Rev finally does heal Jigsaw's face, Jigsaw is killed at the hands of the Punisher. He is subsequently resurrected by the Rev and his master, Lucifer (actually Belasco). He battles the Punisher and his face is ruined again when the Punisher pushes him face down into an aloe plant.[11][12][13][14][15][16]

Jigsaw has been a persistent foe of the Punisher's for years. While he still works as an assassin for criminal organizations, his pursuit of the Punisher is relentless, as Jigsaw sees Castle's assassination as an unfinished job. The deranged gangster's vendetta once took a bizarre turn when the Punisher faked his death by appearing to be executed in prison. Furious with rage, Jigsaw briefly became a new Punisher, getting revenge on Castle's apparent killers for denying him the kill he believes to be rightfully his.[17][18][19][20][21]

After his arrest for attacking Matt Murdock's home,[22] Jigsaw is one of many villains to break out of the Raft, a floating prison for supervillains and other high-risk criminals. He breaks Spider-Man's arm in the escape.[23] Once freed, Jigsaw fights and is defeated by Tigra. This humiliating defeat leads to his forming an alliance with the self-proclaimed "super-villain Kingpin" the Hood; together the two join forces to torture Tigra, which Jigsaw records with a video camera.[24] He also takes part in the attack on the Sanctum Sanctorum, where he attempts to snipe Jessica Jones. He is foiled by Spider-Man.[25]

Jigsaw has resumed his vendetta against the Punisher, in the pages of Punisher: War Journal. Now wearing a color-inverted mockup of the Punisher costume, Jigsaw arranges for the brainwashing of a young auxiliary police officer in the NYPD. Exploiting the naive cop's pathological "hero-worship" complex, Jigsaw and his new psychiatrist girlfriend turn the young man into a new version of the Punisher.[26]

After a battle on the Brooklyn Bridge where the Punisher once again spares Jigsaw's life, Jigsaw is taken into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody. While imprisoned he is seemingly shot dead by the man that he and his girlfriend (who was actually undercover S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Lynn Michaels) had brainwashed.[27] Jigsaw survived the attempt on his life, and was transferred to a "reprogramming asylum" by H.A.M.M.E.R.[28] He returns to the Hood's Gang in Secret Invasion to assist in fending off the invading Skrulls, and rejoins again in Dark Reign to help attack the New Avengers.[29][30]

Jigsaw then partners with the similarly disfigured Stuart Clarke. Together, the "Jigsaw Brothers" hire Lady Gorgon to impersonate Maria Castle while they manipulate Henry, the Punisher's ally and Jigsaw's son, into helping them capture and kill the Punisher. After betraying and murdering Clarke, Jigsaw battles the Punisher on top of his own burning headquarters, and is killed when he falls through the roof of the building and into the fire below.[28]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Jigsaw is an athletic man with no superhuman powers. During his time in prison he was able to hone his physical strength to a level comparable to the Punisher. He has extensive experience with street-fighting techniques, and familiarity with a variety of weapons and criminal techniques. He carries various handguns as needed. He has been known to wear a special exo-skeleton in his outfits.

Though lacking any formal military training, Jigsaw is an exceptional strategist and tactician. His unorthodox pattern of operation makes him more difficult for the Punisher to anticipate than the majority of Punisher's enemies. Before Jigsaw was disfigured he was a highly charismatic leader and criminal organizer; after the accident only the latter trait remained.

Other versions[edit]

2099[edit]

Jigsaw 2099, on the cover of The Punisher 2099 #10. Art by Tod Morgan.

Jigsaw 2099, originally known as Multi-Fractor, is a villain in Marvel Comics' Marvel 2099 imprint. He is an enforcer for the Cyber Nostra, the main crime organization of 2099 New York. He was a recurring villain in The Punisher 2099 and was created by Pat Mills and Tony Skinner.[31]

Crossovers[edit]

Jigsaw also appeared in both Batman/Punisher intercompany crossover books. In the first crossover, Jigsaw allies with the Joker and they both fight the Punisher and Batman (Jean Paul Valley).[32] In the sequel, Jigsaw's face is repaired by one of the world's foremost plastic surgeons, extorted by the Joker, who Jigsaw allies with again to take over Gotham. At the end of this crossover, Jigsaw's reconstructed face is destroyed by one of the Punisher's fragmentation grenades, and he is knocked out and left for the police by Batman (Bruce Wayne).[33] Jigsaw and the Punisher's activities in Gotham are later recounted by Azrael, and Nightwing.[34][35]

When the Amalgam Universe came into being as a result of the events of DC vs. Marvel, Jigsaw was merged with Wonder Woman foe Cheetah to form "Pelt-Man"; cursed by an ancient ritual to resemble a big cat, Billy Minerva took his anger over his condition out on beautiful people, mutilating their faces until he was located and subdued by Trevor Castle and Diana Prince.[36][37]

Earth X[edit]

At some point, Jigsaw died, and was sent to the Realm of the Dead. When Captain Marvel destroyed Death and created Paradise, Jigsaw was among the many who came to realize that they were actually deceased. Jigsaw rejected Paradise and remained in the Realm of the Dead, where he and the Jackal took to tormenting the Punisher, who had committed suicide, and was living in blissful ignorance with his equally unaware family. Jigsaw and the Jackal's actions cause the Punisher to remember his death, and drive a wedge between him and his disbelieving loved ones, who only come to accept that they are dead much later. Captain America, who had been sent by Paradise to bring others to it, punishes Jigsaw and the Jackal by banishing them to a desolate region of the Realm of the Dead.[38]

Marvel MAX[edit]

In the "Girls in White Dresses" storyline in Punisher vol. 6, Jigsaw — using the alias "The Heavy" — is shown working for a Mexican drug cartel that the Punisher traveled south of the border to eliminate. Jigsaw develops a plan to demoralize Frank shortly after the 30th anniversary of his family's murder by making him think he shot and killed a little girl. Frank saw through the scheme after performing an impromptu autopsy. During a raid on the cartel's base, Frank and Jigsaw have a fight that results in Jigsaw falling through a broken window and onto a passing freight train.[39]

Jigsaw's role in the arc was regarded as generic and anticlimactic, and his inclusion in the MAX imprint criticized as obtrusive and gratuitous, by Jesse Schedeen of IGN, who felt that the character was "planted in this story mainly to appeal to fans of the recent movie".[40][41]

Marvel Noir[edit]

Jigsaw is Al Capone's top assassin in Punisher Noir. He, Barracuda, and the Russian are hired to kill Frank Castelione, a grocer who had defied mob boss Dutch Schultz.[42] Years later, Frank's son, the Punisher, tries to ambush Jigsaw, but is shot unconscious, and has his skull-face mask removed. Jigsaw takes the Punisher to his lair, and tortures him by carving a skull into the Punisher's chest. After Jigsaw mentions who helped him and Barracuda murder Frank, the Punisher escapes his bonds, and kills Jigsaw by garroting.[43]

In other media[edit]

Dominic West as Jigsaw in the 2008 film Punisher: War Zone.

Film[edit]

  • Jigsaw was present in early drafts of the 2004 Punisher film,[44] and was going to be included in the unproduced sequel The Punisher 2.[45]
  • Dominic West portrayed Jigsaw in the 2008 film Punisher: War Zone. which changed the character's real name to Billy "The Beaut" Russotti. Russotti is introduced attending a mob dinner, which the Punisher attacks. Russotti escapes the ensuing massacre, but is pursued to his recycling plant, where he falls into a glass crusher, and is mangled when the Punisher turns the machine on. Billy survives, but his plastic surgeon is unable to restore his mutilated visage, stating that Russotti's facial muscles, tendons, skin, and bone structure were damaged beyond repair. After killing the surgeon, Russotti rechristens himself "Jigsaw". He then breaks his brother, James "Loony Bin Jim" Russotti, out of an asylum, to assist him in getting revenge on the Punisher. In the final battle at the Brad Street Hotel, Jigsaw is impaled and thrown into a fire by the Punisher.[46]

Toys[edit]

  • In 2006, Jigsaw was one of the figures in the second wave of the Marvel Legends "Face-Off" series. He was paired with the Punisher and came in two versions, one with a business suit and one with a Punisher costume. The two-pack was released in December 2006.[47]
  • In 2008, a minimates boxset was announced that is based on the Punisher: War Zone film. The boxset features civilian Frank Castle (the Punisher), Jigsaw, and Loony Bin Jim, Jigsaw's mental, cannibalistic killer brother. The toys also come with mini weapons. They are sculpted and designed by Art Asylum and feature 14 points of articulation as well as accessories from the film.[citation needed]
  • In 2009, Hasbro released a Jigsaw figure in its Mighty Muggs toy line, which came with a silver pistol.

Video games[edit]

  • Jigsaw is the final boss of the Game Boy port of the 1990 Punisher video game.[48]
  • In the 1993 Punisher video game, Jigsaw is a sub-boss in the game's sixth and final stage, where he is fought inside of a moving elevator within the Kingpin's hideout, and is armed with an M16 rifle.[49]
  • A character based on Jigsaw appears in the 2005 Punisher video game, voiced by Darryl Kurylo. Here, Jigsaw is John Saint, the son of Howard Saint (the primary antagonist of the 2004 film, and the man responsible for the death of Frank Castle's family). The explosion at the end of the film did not kill him, but instead launched him through a window, and disfigured his face. Under the name Jigsaw, he takes up his father's old business, and vows revenge on the Punisher. He is also the lieutenant of a Yakuza-offshoot called the Eternal Sun, and is the final boss of the game, using stolen Stark Armor to attack the Punisher on Ryker's Island. Upon being defeated, Jigsaw is thrown out of a helicopter by the Punisher.[50]
  • Jigsaw is a playable character in the PlayStation Network downloadable game The Punisher: No Mercy, released in 2009.[51]

References[edit]

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  4. ^ Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning (w), Dan Eaglesham (p), Scott Koblish (i), Justin Gabrie and Colin Jorgensen (col), Jim Novak, Bill Oakley, and Susan Crespi (let), Don Daley (ed). "Book Three" The Punisher: Year One #3 (February 1995), United States: Marvel Comics
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  31. ^ Pat Mills and Tony Skinner (w), Tom Morgan (p), Jimmy Palmiotti (i), Laughlin and Roussos (col), Ken Lopez (let), Joey Cavalieri (ed). "Jigsaw 2099" The Punisher 2099 #10 (November 1993), United States: Marvel Comics
  32. ^ Dennis O'Neil (w), Barry Kitson and James Pascoe (p), Barry Kitson and James Pascoe (i), Matt Hollingsworth (col), Ken Bruzenak (let), Archie Goodwin (ed). "Lake of Fire" Batman/Punisher #1 (June 1994), United States: DC Comics
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  35. ^ Chuck Dixon (w), Patrick Zircher (p), José Marzan, Jr. (i), Patricia Mulvihill (col), John Costanza (let), Bob Schreck and Joseph Illidge (ed). "The Stalkers" Nightwing v2, #44 (June 2000), United States: DC Comics
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External links[edit]