Real Name: Rich van Burian
Identity/Class: Human, conventional weapons user
Occupation: Mercenary, Assassin; former Marine
Affiliations: Arranger, Damage, Kingpin, Col. Ray
formerly Frank Castle, Walter Chin, Lee Inoguchi, Al Levin, Dr. William Pope, Barry "Red" Thorne (his troop in Viet Nam)
Enemies: Punisher (Frank Castle), Microchip; Walter Chin, Lee Inoguchi, Al Levin, Dr. William Pope, Barry "Red" Thorne (victims, all deceased)
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations: Mobile throughout USA and Europe
First Appearance: Punisher War Journal #4 (March, 1989)
Powers: None: von Burian is highly
trained in numerous forms of military armed and unarmed combat. He is a talented helicopter pilot, is experienced with numerous
forms of conventional weaponry, and is highly skilled with
computer technology. He is a virtually matchless marksman.
Von Burian is extremely ruthless and is more than willing to kill innocent civilians or former allies to accomplish his goals.
Height: 6' 1" Weight: 210 lbs.
(Punisher War Journal #4 [fb]) - While serving under Castle in the Marines, Rich von Burian took out Vietnamese soldiers pinning down the rest of his troop, allowing them to escape via helicopter. During the flight, he learned that the body bags they were transporting were in fact filled with corpses stuffed with packs of cocaine.
He investigated this and learned that his commanding officer, Col. Ray Schoonover was heading a drug smuggling operation.
Following the war, Burian hired on as an assassin/enforcer for Schoonover.
(Punisher War Journal #4, 5) - As Schoonover's bid for the US
Senate progressed, von Burian began assassinating the members of
his former troop, on the chance that any of them had learned the
secret of the corpses. After
killing off Chin, Inoguchi, Pope, and Thorne, he was tracked by
Frank Castle, the Punisher. He ambushed Castle and nearly killed
him, but the Punisher drove him off with remote-controlled
weaponry in his battle van.
The Punisher forced Schoonover to confess his crimes to the press and then commit suicide (von Burian had blabbed his involvement and told his whole story, just like any good little villain). Von Burian attempted to pick off the Punisher but was stopped by Levin, who had become an agent of the DEA. Von Burian turned the tables on Levin and killed him, but by that time the Punisher was on his trail. Castle succeeded in overpowering von Burian, but as the press arrived, the Sniper took a hostage, whom he used to escape.
(Punisher War Journal #10) - In West Germany, von Burian attempted to steal an Apache anti-tank helicopter from a war games demonstration. Castle and Microchip stopped him, using the weaponry from the war games. Von Burian was badly injured but escaped, crashing over the East German border.
(Punisher War Journal #21) - Von Burian was recruited by the Arranger to assist in a plot against Castle.
(Pun: Damaging Evidence #1-3) - Castle stopped a
Kingpin operation in Mexico. He caused the Sniper's helicopter to
crash, but the Sniper forced him to flee under heavy fire.
The Kingpin assigned von Burian to tail Damage and make sure he stayed with the Kingpin's plan. Von Burian was frustrated with this role but dared to not cross the Kingpin. When Wolverine started to investigate Damage, the Sniper dropped him with some heavy tranquilizers to keep him out of the conflict. Wolverine recovered prematurely but was seemingly killed in battle with Damage, who was similarly incapacitated.
Von Burian took this as his cue to go after Castle himself. He ambushed Castle at a funeral for some innocent people who had been caught in the crossfire of his recent efforts. When Castle got the better of him again, he took a hostage. This time the Punisher managed to separate von Burian from his hostage, stabbed him in the chest, and threw him into an open grave, where he apparently died.
Comments: Created by Carl Potts and Jim Lee.
The Sniper, like the Punisher, has ties to the
Viet Nam War/Conflict, which are becoming progressively less
realistic due to Marvel's sliding time scale. Thus references to the
Viet Nam War should be considered topical, and replaced with
another conflict in Asia from a more modern time period. Omar Karindu
suggests that a better substitute would be Sin Cong, a made-up
Similarly, references to the Berlin Wall should be considered topical.
See the Hitman entry for more info on other wartime comrades of the Punisher who returned to aid or bedevil him later on.
No known connections to:
Sniper, the Captain America foe, who also wears a beret, @ Tales of Suspense I#96
Profile updated/edited by Kyle Sims
Last updated: 05/04/04
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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