Frank Costa (left) and Olivier (right) in The Punisher Vol. 4, #2 (December 1998)
Art by Bernie Wrightson
|First appearance||Frank Costa:
Marvel Super Action Vol. 1, #1 (January 1976)
The Punisher Vol. 4, #1 (November 1998)
|Created by||Frank Costa:
Thomas E. Sniegoski
|Place of origin||Heaven|
Lucifer's Inner Circle
|Notable aliases||Frank Costa|
Immunity to age, disease, and injuries
Illusion creation and manipulation
Ability to command lesser demons
Olivier is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character is usually depicted as an enemy of the antihero the Punisher. He was created by Bernie Wrightson, Christopher Golden, and Thomas E. Sniegoski, and first appeared in The Punisher Vol. 4, #1 (November 1998). The character was a reimagining of an earlier one named Frank Costa, who was created by Tony DeZuniga and Archie Goodwin, and who debuted in Marvel Super Action Vol. 1, #1 (January 1976).
Frank Costa debuted in Marvel Super Action Vol. 1, #1 as the head of the organized crime family responsible for the deaths of the loved ones of Frank Castle, the Punisher. The character was killed off-panel in that story, with his only appearance outside of it being in Issue #3 of the prequel miniseries The Punisher: Year One.
The Punisher Vol. 4 revealed Frank Costa was in fact the human form of Olivier, a Hell-lord who was once Prince of the Archangels. Olivier was present in all four issues of The Punisher Vol. 4, and went on to make cameo appearances in Nightcrawler Vol. 3, #1-3 and Journey into Mystery Vol. 1, #627.
Olivier received profiles in Marvel Encyclopedia #5, All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #8, Marvel Zombies: The Book of Angels, Demons & Various Monstrosities #1 and Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z #8.
Fictional character history
At some unspecified point in the past, there was a war in Heaven against God, in which the demon Olivier sided with Lucifer and was cast out of paradise. Olivier eventually came to rule a portion of Hell but the other lords of Hell grew resentful of his ambition and they forced him into the body of a stillborn human infant. Olivier's spirit returned life to the infant, although he lost all memory of his life as a Hell-lord.
Olivier grew up as a human named Frank Costa, in the Costa crime family, an arm of the Maggia. He became a petty criminal, and one night, while working as a lookout he shot and killed a mobster from a rival family. This act of taking a human life completely restored Frank Costa's memory of his life as Olivier, and he started plotting his revenge on the other Lords of Hell that had placed him in that body.
For decades, Olivier, still in his identity as Frank Costa, worked to become the head of the Costa crime family. He used occultism and magic rituals to discover the existence of Frank Castle, an American soldier in the Vietnam War. Olivier decided to use Castle as his instrument for revenge. When Castle returned to the United States, Olivier ordered his assassins to murder a mob banker in Central Park, knowing that Castle's wife and children would be caught in the crossfire and killed; what appeared to be a random act of violence was in fact deliberately planned. Their murders were the motivations for Castle to become the Punisher, whose victims would be forced into becoming undead servants of Olivier.
The Punisher then set about killing the assassins who had murdered his family, one of whom was Bruno Costa, the brother of Olivier's host body and alter ego, Frank Costa. Castle later discovered Frank Costa dead of an icepick wound to the head, ostensibly administered by a prostitute named Audrey whom the Punisher later killed. Unbeknownst to the Punisher, Audrey killing Frank Costa released the soul of Olivier, which returned to his realm of Hell in its true form. Olivier claimed he had allowed Audrey to kill him, as he hadn't wanted to wait to die of natural causes to return to Hell, and could not have committed suicide, as that would have alerted the other Hell-lords to his return.
Olivier felt that through the Punisher he had gathered enough souls to launch an attack on the rest of Hell, and he caused Frank Castle to despair over the lives he had taken as the Punisher. Castle was driven to suicide by Olivier's demonic servants, and he shot himself. Castle was then immediately resurrected by Gadriel, the guardian angel who had failed in Castle's defense. From his base in New York's Flatiron Building, Olivier sent his minions against Heaven's angels and the dominions of the other Lords of Hell, including Daimon Hellstrom, but was thwarted in his assassination attempt on Hellstrom by the Punisher and Gadriel. Olivier revealed to the Punisher that he was responsible for the deaths of the Punisher's family. The Punisher fought a reanimated Bruno Costa and the contact of the weapons of Heaven (the Punisher) and Hell (Bruno Costa) caused a dimensional portal to open through which the tentacles of Hell began to reach. The Punisher shot Olivier into the tentacles' embrace, and they immediately tore Olivier to pieces. The portal was sealed by Gadriel sacrificing his life.
Olivier later resurfaced allied to the demon Pazuzu and several other entities serving on the court of Lucifer that were trying to open a portal to Earth with the help of a coven of witches. They were thwarted by Nightcrawler, Seth Walker, and Magik.
The Egyptian deity Khonshu expressed interest in the Punisher, but was deterred from anointing him by the Punisher's connection to Olivier, remarking that the vigilante "belongs to another" and that he "flies his lord's banner" (the Punisher's skull insignia).
Powers and abilities
As a demon and true fallen angel, Olivier is impervious to age, disease, and injuries that would kill an ordinary mortal. He also has the ability to create and manipulate illusions, shoot blasts of hellfire, and create portals to other dimensions. He also has the authority to command demons of a lesser degree. Olivier claims to be one of the most powerful lords of hell, approximately on the same level as Mephisto.
In other media
- Costa was the initial name of the crime family that massacred the Castle family in the 2004 Punisher film. It was later changed to the Saint.
- The Costa crime family is showcased in Detective Martin Soap's expository slideshow in the 2008 film Punisher: War Zone, with it being insinuated that the entire syndicate was wiped out by the Punisher.
- The Costas are shown gunning down the Castle family in the opening cinematic of the 1990 Punisher game for DOS.
- The Costas, led by Olivier's human brother Bruno, appear in the Punisher arcade game released in 1993. Bruno is killed when he is cornered by the Punisher, and incinerated by a robot sent by the Kingpin.
- Bradley Mengel (2012). Serial Vigilantes of Paperback Fiction: An Encyclopedia from Able Team to Z-Comm. McFarland & Company. p. 217. ISBN 9780786441655. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
- Christopher Golden, Tom Sniegoski (w), Bernie Wrightson (p), Jimmy Palmiotti (i). "Purgatory Part I: The Harvest" Punisher v4, 1 (November 1998), Marvel Comics
- Christopher Golden, Tom Sniegoski (w), Bernie Wrightson (p), Jimmy Palmiotti (i). "Purgatory Part 2: The Mark of Cain" Punisher v4, 2 (December 1998), Marvel Comics
- Christopher Golden, Tom Sniegoski (w), Bernie Wrightson (p), Jimmy Palmiotti (i). "Purgatory Part 3: A Gathering of Angels" Punisher v4, 3 (January 1999), Marvel Comics
- Gerry Conway (w), Tony DeZuniga (p), Tony DeZuniga (i). "Death Sentence" Marvel Preview 2 (1975), Marvel Comics
- Archie Goodwin (w), Tony DeZuniga (p), Rico Rival (i). "Accounts Settled ... Accounts Due" Marvel Super-Action 1 (January 1976), Marvel Comics
- Christopher Golden, Tom Sniegoski (w), Bernie Wrightson (p), Jimmy Palmiotti (i). "Purgatory Part 4: The Hour of Judgment" Punisher v4, 4 (February 1999), Marvel Comics
- Peter Sanderson (2007). The Marvel Comics Guide to New York City. Gallery Books. p. 35. ISBN 1416531416. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
- Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (w), Darick Robertson (p), Wayne Faucher (i). "The Devil Inside, Part One: The Locked Room" Nightcrawler v3, 1-4 (November 2004), Marvel Comics
- Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe 8 (2008), Marvel Comics
- Charlie Huston (w), Mico Suayan (p), Mico Suayan (i), Frank D'Armata (col), VC's Rus Wooton (let), Axel Alonso (ed). "Midnight Sun, Chapter Four: His Lord's Banner" Moon Knight v3, #10 (June 2007), United States: Marvel Comics
- Journey Into Mystery #627
- Richards, Dave (23 March 2004). "Behind the Scenes with Punisher Writer Michael France". comicbookresources.com. Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
- Lexi Alexander (Director) (5 December 2008). Punisher: War Zone (Motion picture). United States: Lions Gate Entertainment.
- Paragon Software (1990). The Punisher. DOS. MicroProse.
- Capcom (22 April 1993). The Punisher. Arcade. Capcom. Level/area: 2.