One batch, two batch, penny and dime. Everyone’s favorite vigilante Frank Castle is back to add more notches to his murder tally, including his former BFF Billy Russo, in The Punisher Season 2. Speaking of Billy, he's looking pretty good considering he had his face repeatedly smashed into glass in the Season 1 finale. He has also assumed a new persona as Jigsaw, a masked maniac with a deadly crew at his side and a major vendetta against Frank. But, who is Jigsaw in the comics and how does he compare to the TV counterpart? Both versions of this character cause major mayhem in Frank's life.
Billy "The Beaut" Russo made his first comic appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #161 in 1976, per Comic Vine, as an attractive and charismatic Italian hitman instead of a military veteran. He’s hired by supervillain Frank Costa to assassinate anyone associated with the Castles after a planned execution accidentally leads to Frank’s family being gunned down. Russo kills everyone on his list except Frank, who severely disfigures the hitman’s face after sending him through a nightclub glass window.
Billy takes advantage of his new scars, dubs himself Jigsaw, and becomes a major Punisher antagonist while also crossing paths with Daredevil, Black Widow, and Jessica Jones. Of course, the show took some liberties with this storyline by making Billy and Frank close friends and having the epic showdown take place at the carousel where Frank’s family died, but the result still remained the same with Frank doing damage to Billy’s attractive face to teach him a lesson.
The comic version of Jigsaw looks far worse than his TV counterpart, who was teased in several Punisher social media promos, and die-hard fans weren’t too happy to see his almost perfectly intact and still-quite-attractive face. It makes sense, especially after the brutal beating that Russo took last season and how horribly mutilated comic Jigsaw was after his battle. Fans were expecting a little more.
Actor Ben Barnes responded to the Jigsaw controversy on Twitter and said that fans will have to tune in to fully understand why the show decided to take a different route. The Punisher Season 2 trailer revealed Billy/Jigsaw’s mask, which has some significance to his character arc this season according to a Jigsaw Season 2 snippet where Russo is asked to decorate his mask as a therapy assignment.
So, even though Billy looks fine, it's obvious that he has some serious inner wounds. He seems against the creative task, but he clearly changes his mind later on in the season.
Of course, it’s possible that he will look more like comic Jigsaw after into Frank again because they both appear to be hungry for blood and revenge. Either way, it will be interesting to see the series explore why they chose to keep his facial scarring at a minimum.
How will Jigsaw escape and form his mini army? Can Frank get the job done and kill his former brother? Find out how it all goes down by binging Season 2 on Netflix.