Real Name: Olivier

Identity/Class: Demon (class 2)

Occupation: Ruler of a section of Hell;
    former mob boss,
    former prince of the Archangels.

Group Membership: Hell-Lords (Hellstorm, Lucifer, Marduk Kurios (Satan), Mephisto, Murray, Satannish, Thog, etc.);
Lucifer's Inner Circle (including Beelzeboul, Kazaan, Pazuzu, Xaphan)
    former member of the Costa crime family of the Maggia

Affiliations: Master of the "Stalkers," true master behind the Punisher;
    formerly Louis Childs and his coven (including Miles);
     former ally of Byron Hannigan, Luis Allegre, Kolsky, and Skinner;

    former angel of Heaven

Enemies: Audrey, Esphares, Gadriel, the Grigori (Guardian Angels of Heaven), Hell-Lords (Hellstorm, Mephisto, Satannish, Satan, Lucifer, Murray), Magik (Amanda Sefton/Jimaine Szardos), Mechanic, Nightcrawler (Kurt Wagner), Christine Palmer, Punisher (Frank Castle), Tariel, Seth Walker

Known Relatives: None;
    As a human, Bruno Costa (brother), unnamed mother, unnamed niece, unnamed nephew, Rose (either wife or sister), unnamed sister-in-law

Aliases: Frank "Frankie" Costa

Base of Operations: His section of Hell;
    formerly New York City;
    the Flatiron Building;

First Appearance: (as Frank Costa) Marvel Super-Action#1 (January 1976);
    (as Olivier) Punisher IV#1 (November, 1998)

Powers/Abilities: Olivier is a Class 2 demon (including degenerated gods or angels of Earth), immune to the effects of aging, disease, and conventional injury. He has all the standard arch-demon powers, such as illusion-casting, hellfire blasts, the ability to create portals, and the command of legions of lesser demons. According to Olivier himself, he is one of the most powerful Hell-Lords, which would put him at the power level of Mephisto. This is partly substantiated by the fact that he was "Prince of the Archangels" making him vastly powerful before his fall.

Height: 6' (variable)
Weight: 250 lbs. (variable)
Eyes: Yellow (variable)
Hair: Black (variable)

History: Olivier was an angel in the hosts of heaven, filling the rank of Prince of the Archangels.

(Punisher IV#1 (fb) - BTS) - Olivier sided with Lucifer in Heaven's only war and was cast out of Heaven. He came to rule a section of Hell and due to his ambition, the other Hell-Lords teamed against him and trapped him in the body of a human new-born child. The baby would have been still-born, but Olivier inhabited it, living its life, without his memories of his true nature.

(Punisher IV#2 (fb) - BTS)- As Frank Costa, Olivier was a member of the Costa crime family. Working as a lookout, he shot an escaping rival mobster. The taking of a human life restored his full memory of his true nature and he began to plot his revenge.

(Punisher IV#3 (fb) - BTS)- After remembering his true origin, Olivier planned his revenge for decades before becoming the head of the Costa crime family. Through occult rituals he learned of Frank Castle, then a soldier in the Vietnam War (See Comments), and began to plan to use Castle as his instrument of vengeance.

(Marvel Preview #2 (fb) - BTS, Marvel Super-Action#1 (fb) - BTS)- Olivier ordered the mob execution of crooked banker Forrest Hunt in Central Park, knowing Castle's family would stumble into it and be killed. Bruno Costa, Byron Hannigan, Luis Allegre, Kolsky, and Skinner carried it out. With their deaths, Frank became the Punisher. Due to the ritual aspects of the murder and Frank's adopting of the Skull symbol (Olivier's face) all individuals killed by Frank as the Punisher went to Olivier's hell.

(Marvel Super Action#1 (fb), Punisher IV#4 (fb) - BTS)- The Punisher slew Allegre and Hannigan (war journal entry#7). He had also earlier carried out raids on the central numbers drops of Maggia operations (war journal entry#1). Frank Costa started feeling the heat from the other Maggia bosses, and talked with Bruno Costa at his home. After hugging Bruno's two children and sending them to get cookies from their aunt Rose, Frank talked to Bruno. He warned Bruno that the Maggia heads were perfectly willing to sacrifice him, Skinner, and Kolsky to appease the Punisher. However, Frank Costa told Bruno he would set him and the other surviving hitmen up in their special Florida home, Punta Verde. Frank Costa then went inside to answer a phone call, saying to the person on the other line "One way or the other, this thing is finished".

Punta Verde was an old Spanish fortress once used by Andrew Jackson. The Punisher arrived with his aid the Mechanic, an explosives expert (war journal entry#10). They saw a launch filled with whores and alchoholic beverages set out for Punta Verde. Spying a nearby oil rig, the Mechanic and Punisher hatched a plan. The Punisher snuck into Punta Verde using scuba gear as a prearranged explosion of the oil rig created a distraction. The flaming oil drifted on the current so that it began to surround Punta Verde, forcing everyone to evacuate. Skinner (who suffered from pyrophobia due to his almost having died in a tenement fire as a child) fled for the boats, but was killed by the Punisher. The Punisher next slew Kolsky, and then went for Bruno Costa. He found him already dead, thanks to an icepick to the base of his skull, delivered by an unseen assailant long gone. Someone had stayed behind long enough to kill Bruno Costa.

The Maggia had wanted either the Punisher or Bruno Costa dead, so through Frank Costa they snuck an assasin into Punta Verde. Set to act once it seemed the Punisher would win, the assasin killed Bruno. At some point after the incident at Punta Verde, the Punisher went after Frank Costa, only to find him dead by an ice-pick, too. The Punisher discovered that Frank Costa had been seen with a whore named Audrey just before his death, and remembering the party girls at Punta Verde, the Punisher deduced that Audrey must have been one of them. (The Punisher later killed Audrey, said incident recorded in war journal entry#374.)

Unknown to either Audrey or the Punisher, after Audrey killed Frank Costa, Olivier returned to his hell in his true form, welcomed by those already slain by the Punisher. He allowed Audrey to kill him, as he didn't want to wait for natural causes, and if he had killed himself, the other Hell-Lords would have sensed his presence.

(Punisher IV#4 (fb) - BTS)- Olivier, feeling he had enough souls for the task of conquering the nether-realms, allowed Castle to fall into despair over his actions as the Punisher. Olivier had his lesser demons drive Castle to suicide, shooting himself. Castle was then raised from the dead by his failed Guardian Angel, Gadriel.

(Punisher IV#1)- Olivier and his Stalkers attacked the angels Esphares and Tariel at the de-sanctified Church of St. Tarcissus, absorbing the formers divine essence and sending his minions after the latter.

(Punisher IV#2)- Olivier directed his Stalkers after the angels of the Grigori, and his demons after the other Hell-Lords' realms from his base at Manhattan's Flatiron's building. He absorbed the angel Hafaza's energy, and ordered an attack on Daimon Hellstorm. After the attack failed, due to the intervention of the Punisher and the angel Gadriel, a surprised Olivier punished the messengers who reported the loss, and planned his next move.

(Punisher IV#3)- Olivier supervised his demons' assault on the other Hell-Lords' realms, of which they succeeded in conquering several (including the realm of Satannish). He directed his Stalkers to attack a meeting of the Punisher, Gadriel, and the Grigori. The Stalkers, led by a re-created Bruno Costa, decimated the angels, taking Castle and Gadriel captive alive. Bruno remembered Castle (who didn't remember him) and claimed that all of the Stalkers had died at the Punisher's hands.

Later, Olivier confronted the immobilized Punisher and Gadriel and revealed to Castle that he was Frank Costa and that he was responsible for Frank's family being killed in Central Park.

(Punisher IV#4)- Olivier related his origins and his responsibility for the Punisher's creation to Gadriel and Castle, who were still restrained. Olivier then attempted to drive a wedge between the angel and Castle by revealing Gadriel's negligence in Castle's family's deaths and in Frank's own suicide. Enraged, Castle broke free from Olivier's restraints and attacked the Hell-Lord. Olivier's Stalkers, led by Bruno Costa, entered and fought Castle while Gadriel battled Olivier himself. The clashing of Heaven's (the Punisher) and Hell's (Bruno Costa) weapons unleashed a rift through which the tendrils of the other Hell-realms reached in. The Punisher shot Olivier into their reach and the arch-demon was promptly torn apart. Gadriel then sacrificed himself to deal the rift, gaining Castle's forgiveness.

(Nightcrawler III#1-3 - BTS, 4) - Olivier joined Pazuzu and other demons of Lucifer's court in a failed bid to access Earth with the help of Louis Childs and his coven. Stopped by Nightcrawler, Seth Walker & Magik he was left trapped in a statue that Magik stashed away in her castle in Otherplace/limbo.

(Journey Into Mystery I#627 (fb)) - Olivier attended the Devil's Advocacy to talk about the Serpent (Cul)'s actions on Earth.

Comments: Frank Costa created by Archie Goodwin and Tony DeZuniga. Olivier created by Christopher Golden, Tom Sniegoski, Bernie Wrightson and Joe Quesada.

    Most people hated the new direction that the 1st Marvel Knights series took the Punisher into, but I actually liked it. It made the Punisher more than a one-dimensional character and attempted to redeem him, an idea which I feel had great merit. The subsequent Ennis series were also good, but I can't help but feel that we are going to get "more of the same," rather than unique stories offered by the altered status-quo.
    --While I definitely prefer my Punisher Ennis-style, the Marvel Knights series was definitely an interesting read. I liked it--kind of along the "nice to visit, but wouldn't wanna live" there type-deal--Snood.

    Mephisto and Satannish have been seen, and I'm assuming that the Satan mentioned by Olivier is either Marduk Kurios or his son, Daimon Hellstorm, being called the father's name. Lucifer, the presumed Biblical Satan, has not been seen in Marvel comics, though he has definitely been referenced in both the fall from Heaven and in driving the N'Garai from Earth in the past. The arch-demon Murray has never been depicted and the name is most likely a joke. (Although, since an arch-demon is named Olivier, it is possible.) Olivier never claims to be Satan, saying he fell with the devil from Heaven.

    Olivier's name is NOT Oliver, like Oliver Twist, since it has an "i" before the "e" and is pronounced "oh-LIV-ee-ay," like Sir Laurence Olivier.

    Technically, Olivier could be considered to be Behind-The-Scenes (BTS )for every Punisher appearance from Amazing Spider-Man #129 (February, 1973) to Ka-Zar IV#16 (August, 1998).

    According to a Punisher promo-poster from a Wizard magazine, Frank killed 1288 people as the Punisher prior to the 1st Ennis series. I don't know how accurate this is, but it seems a little small for Olivier to get such an advantage over the other Hell-Lords from it, considering how many souls must be "damned" each day. Perhaps because these souls were guaranteed for him, Olivier was able to use his energies elsewhere (not corrupting mortals), thus giving him such power. Frank had killed 665 people at Punisher II#4, but it isn't known how many were prior to his becoming the Punisher. (How many people he killed in the Vietnam War.) There's probably quite a few killings that Frank committed as the Punisher off-panel.

    Since the Punisher skull-symbol is Olivier's face, the individuals killed by Frank as the Punisher belong to him. It isn't clarified whether just those Frank killed as the Punisher belong to Olivier, or whether any individuals slain by a Punisher (Lynn Michaels or any of the Punisher imposters from "Suicide Run," and the "Circle of Blood" mini-series) are sent to Olivier's hell. I would think that since the initial ritual involved Frank's family, only those killed subsequently by Frank are souls belonging to Olivier.

Here's an alternate origin on the "skull": Monkey

    Now that Frank has rejected Heaven, Olivier could be getting new souls for his realm, as all individuals killed by the Punisher go to Olivier's hell. Or not, depending on whether Frank's death broke the deal.

    The portal that swallows Olivier at the end of the series strongly resemble the Sa'arpools, (complete with tentacles) seen in Marvel Team Up I#79 and Giant-Size Dracula #2, but it obviously isn't. I just chalk it up to demons of various classes relying on the same motifs.

    Olivier isn't dead, as Dr. Strange tells Hellstorm that "Olivier won't be threatening you and yours for a while." I'd personally like to see him return for a rematch with the Son of Satan.

    The Vietnam War is not actually named as the conflict Frank fought in in this story, (avoiding topicality) but it is known from other sources that it is so, so that is how I described it.
Viet Nam "War" in the Marvel Universe

Frank Costa

    Marvel Super-Action#1 gives a little more info on Olivier's life as Frank Costa. As noted under history, he had a niece and a nephew. It is unclear whether the woman named Rose mentioned (and briefly seen) was either his wife or his sister; either way, she would be Bruno's children's aunt. Bruno's wife was described as an alchoholic who had gone through a few asylums.

    Marvel Super Action#1 was one of only two black-and-white magazine adventures of the Punisher published in the 1970's, the other being Marvel Preview#2 (1975). (Marvel Preview#2 also has an exclusive interview with Don Pendleton-author of the Executioner paperback adventure series, which influenced the Punisher.) Marvel Preview#2 featured a very brief flashback to the origin of the Punisher, and only showed the hitmen who killed his family, and of them only named Bruno. It was Marvel Super-Action#1 that established the Costa last name and provided names for the other killers. (By the way, the Punisher's real name of Frank Castle was not revealed until the first issue of the 1985 Punisher mini-series-published ten years after Amazing Spider-Man I#129!)

A slight contradiction occurs when comparing Marvel Super-Action#1 and the fourth Punisher series' account of Frank Costa's death; in the latter, the Punisher killed off the members of the Costa crime family, including Bruno, before arriving at Frank Costa/Olivier. As seen under history above, the Punisher killed neither Costa brother in the earlier account. I can understand how the mistake came about, because Marvel Super-Action#1 has, to my knowledge, only been reprinted twice; the first time in Classic Punisher, a one-shot from December 1989, and in color in Strip#15-20, a British oversized magazine. (Other Punisher origin problems have popped up over the years, such as the name of his daughter. The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Master Edition lists it as Lisa, but The Punisher Anniversary Magazine, published in 1993, lists her name as Christie on page 42.)

The death of Bruno Costa, Skinner, Kolsky, etc. is actually told as a flashback related by the Punisher (to Audrey before he kills her) in Marvel Super-Action#1. The presence of the Mechanic in this story sets this flashback chronologically before the Punisher's first published appearance in Amazing Spider-Man I#129, since the Mechanic was killed by the Jackal in that Spider-Man story, which is why many readers of this entry may not have heard of him before. In any event, since the Punisher is only up to war journal entry#10, it occurred very early in his career. When he kills Audrey, he is up to war journal entry#374. This may interest those of you who wish to track chronology based on war journal entry numbers.

I was reading about the demon Olivier and suddenly realized "Punisher: Born" makes more sense than ever now.

  Frank learned that his family was going to die at the end, cause of the voice and the skull letting him know. But in "Born", we never knew what the voice was exactly. But in the Marvel Knights series, I believe, we learn WHO the voice talking to him in "Born" is, and why he was seeing the vision of the skull, and why he survived the final battle.

  Olivier knew that Castle and all the Marines at Firebase Valley Forge were going to die, which is why he intervened to save him, but to tempt him with an everlasting war. Olivier probably also put it Frank's mind that he wasn't just killing, he was punishing. And of course Olivier did that to get as many souls as possible in his hell.
--Steven Shaw

The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition's entry for the Punisher identified the Costas as members of the Maggia. Olivier's OHotMU 2006#8 entry revealed his involvement as one of the demons in Nightcrawler III#1-4.

See Hector Montoya's entry for another spin on the Punisher's origin. The Punisher: Year One limited series also added a little more info.

Profile by Nick Hill, the Squid

Edited/Updated by Kyle Sims & Markus Raymond

Clarifications: Olivier should not be confused with:

Punisher IV#1-4 (November, 1998 - February, 1999) - Christopher Golden & Tom Sniegoski (writer), Berni Wrightson (pencils), Jimmy Palmiotti (inks), Joe Quesada (editor)
Nightcrawler III#1-4 (November, 2004 - February, 2005) - Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (writer), Darick Robertson (penciler), Wayne Faucher (inker), Mike Marts (editor)
Journey Into Mystery I#627 (November, 2011) - Kieron Gillen (writer), Richard Elson (art), Ralph Macchio (senior editor)

Last updated: 08/16/12

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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