Real Name:Max

Identity/Class:Terrestrial canine (Rottweiler)

Occupation:guard dog

Affiliations: Punisher (Castle, owner);
unnamed previous owner

Enemies:Bigg, Billy (former trainer), Darrel + Louis, Li'l, George Wong

Known Relatives:none

Aliases: none

Base of Operations:Queens, New York
formerly Brooklyn, New York

First Appearance: Punisher II#54 (early November, 1991)

Powers/Abilities: Max is an exceptionally strong and savage fighter. His jaws are strong enough to break bones or crush throats. He has the normal canine enhanced olfactory senses and night vision. He was trained to attack anyone (except Castle) who enters Castle's safehouse. He is also trained not to bark so that others, as that would give away the element of surprise

He trusts no one except Frank Castle. At the same time, Frank shares an exceptional bond with Max, stronger on some levels even than Microchip or any of his other friends.

When Castle is away from him, sometimes for months at a time, Max is fed by an automated system, and uses a five thousand gallon sandbox.

Height: 28" at the shoulder Weight: 150 lbs.

(Punisher War Zone#37 (fb)) - Max was bought as a puppy on the streets of Bronx, put into a dark room, and trained as an attack dog. After three months, he was sold to a new owner, and kept as a watch dog at Empire Check Cashing. One day a gang of punks--Darrel, Louis, and others--killed his master while robbing the place. Max chased the punks back to their place, and then across several buildings. He had taken down all but two of them, when an old roof collapsed underneath him, leaving him trapped and injured. The Punisher, who had also been pursuing the criminals, killed one of them, and then knocked Darrel down by Max, who finished him off.
Having earned Castle's respect, Max was taken back to his place and stitched up. As he had gone to the maximum to get those guys, Castle named him "Max."

(Punisher Armory#7) - To quote the Punisher: "Max started off our relationship by tooth-testing my arm and leg. Luckily, we'd both had our shots. After we became more friendly, he still tried to get me; which makes me think he acquired a taste for me. You never quite knew where his rough-housing ended and his lethal attack began. ....Micro had a theory that I got him all these chew toys 'cause I liked him; Naaah, I was just hoping to tire his jaws before he got to me.
  This is the safe house that I let him have; he'd been pretty badly handled by the jerks who had him before I lucked out and got him, so I thought he might like some turf of his own. It's another commerical conversion with a nice-sized parking lot outside. So that he could go on patrol, I put in one of those electronic dog doors that only responds to his dog-collar. It won't let other dogs or cats in."

(Punisher II#54) - After one of Frank and Microchip's bases was destroyed, he returned to the safe house containing Max. After some brief affection, Castle took his assault vehicle and headed out.

(Punisher II#57) - When Frank was critically injured and on the run, Microchip sought him out at Max's house. Without his equipment, however, Micro could not crack Frank's code and get into the house. However, one of the Kingpin's agents, George Wong, watched him try, and then used his own equipment to break in. Max attacked George, badly injuring his arm, but George wounded him with his butterfly knife, and then shot him three times. Frank returned to the house a short time later and found Max badly wounded. Making the judgment that he couldn't get Max to the vet's in time, Frank performed emergency surgery and saved him.
Nonetheless, Frank vowed to make George and the Kingpin pay for this attack.

(Punisher War Journal#59) - Max greeted Castle when he brought Lynn Michaels to his safe house. However, as Castle had entered, he was watched by a gang led by two men, Bigg and Li'l. After Castle and Michaels left, the gang invaded the safehouse. Most were killed by explosive boobytraps left by the Punisher, and one other guy was killed by an electrified lightswitch. The last few guys were mauled by Max, who tackled the last one through the window. Bigg was most impressed by how tough Max was, and hit him in the back of the head with a baseball bat, knocking him out. Bigg took Max with him, attending to feed him and train him right.
Castle's response upon finding this out: "They took my dog. I can't make them dead enough."

(Punisher War Journal#60) - Castle tracked down Bigg, and learned that he had been unable to train him and had given him over to a guy in Jersey. In Jersey, Billy trained Max as a fighting dog. Max exceeded all of Billy's possible expectations, though he was forced to use a taser to subdue Max to put him back in his kennel. Castle, meanwhile, tracked down the top dog fighting organizations in Jersey until he found Max. As the Rottweiler slew his opponent, he heard his true master's whistle. Castle came into the arena shooting, taking out all of the dog fighters who fired back. Billy fell into the fight pit, and Max finished him off.
Castle then jumped into the arena, and Max ran up and reunited with his master.

Comments: Created by Mike Baron and Hugh Haynes.

In Punisher II#57, as the story was originally told, Frank thought Max was too badly wounded and put him out of his misery with a knife. Due to fan out-pouring, it was ret-conned that Frank did not perform euthanasia on Max, but rather performed emergency surgery on him and saved his life. This was revealed in the letter page of PWJ#62.
Thanks to Per Degaton for pointing this out:

Actually, one of the letters pages during the Suicide Run storyline stated that Castle did not kill Max the Rottweiler in that Punisher II#57 story. Rather, Castle performed some emergency surgery (he not just that kind of VET) that somehow saved Max.

Don't let dogs lick your face. Those who don't eat poop (and there are very few of them) lick their butts and genitals. While you may be jealous, you don't want that nasty stuff on you.
And remember what they eat and lick if someone ever tells you that they are able to clean their own wounds. Pure B.S.

Castle said that he had obtained Max from a lab in Connecticut initially, but in PWZ#37, it took place in Brooklyn.

The booby traps and Max's not growling or barking were additions in PWJ#59, they were not in effect to help Max in Punisher II#57. It may have been a different safehouse, as there did not appear to be stairs in the one in Pun57.
Actually, Max didn't really look too much like a Rottie in Pun54+57, either, but that may have just been artistic interpretation.
On the cover of PWZ#37, he was looking like a Rottie again. However, inside the story Punisher War Zone#37, he was more like a large Pit Bull mix--or, more likely due to his size, an American Bull Dog (like the dog from Little Rascals)--not to be confused with the English Bulldog (like the one from the Kibbles 'n Bits commercial).

The info from Punisher Armory#7 was provided by Per Degaton.

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Other appearances:
Punisher II#57 (December, 1991) - Mike Baron (writer), Hugh Haynes (pencils), Jim Palmiotti (inks), Don Daley (editor)
Punisher Armory#7 (September, 1993)
Punisher War Journal#59-60 (October-November, 1993) - Chuck Dixon (writer), Gary Kwapisz (artist), Don Daley (editor)
Punisher War Zone#37 (March, 1995) - Chuck Dixon (writer), Mark Texeira (artist), Don Daley (editor)

Last updated: 05/03/04

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