Henry Russo had a traumatic childhood in the presence of his abusive, violent alcoholic father. A petty criminal who used to come and go as he pleased and never seemed to care that he had a family.
His mother was also driven to alcoholism, living in fear of what the father of her child would do next One day, after having litter of housecats, Henry's father threatened to kill his mother if Henry wouldn't drown the cats in the sink, which he did. Billy Russo wanted to teach his son through traumatisms and bad memories.
Not surprisingly, as an adult, he lived the straight edge lifestyle. Anything to make sure he never turned into Billy Russo aka Jigsaw!
After the events of Secret Invasion, the world made an immediate, and unlikely, hero of former Green Goblin Norman Osborn. Knowing Osborn's true nature and knowing of his bloodlust for power and revenge, The Punisher made an attempt to assassinate Osborn, which was thwarted by Osborn's personal security, Sentry, Bob Reynolds. After a daring escape, Punisher was gravely wounded and only with the help of a mysterious voice via his communications equipment, he got to safety before passing out.
Waking up, his bones reset and his wounds stitched up, Punisher finally came face to face with the man that saved him, young computer hacker and technical wizard Henry Russo, a budding enemy of the corrupt Osborn and H.A.M.M.E.R's new police state.
Henry was created by then Punisher writer Rick Remender and artist Jerome Opena as a brave new breed of Punisher ally, following in the footsteps of Microchip and the short-lived Stuart Clarke. The only difference this time, was that Frank didn't know this was the illegitimate son of his arch nemesis Jigsaw. Another huge difference was that unlike any other of Frank's previous permanent allies, Henry had a mouth on him and wasn't afraid to stand up to the Punisher when he was at his antisocial worst. This made for an unstable but more successful dynamic in the fight against supercrime!
Main Story Arcs
Following Frank's recovery after his almost impossible escape from superhero Sentry, Frank was at large and an enemy of the state. Naturally, Henry followed suit when Microchip returned, working for The Hood, who was in turn working to kill Punisher for Osborn while he was busy appealing to the masses as the hero of a brave new world.
Together they set out to destroy Osborn's clandestine criminal operations and succeeded but with Microchip and the Hood working together, not only did they have experience on their side, they also had H.A.M.M.E.R... and black magic. While Frank tore through the criminal underground, making a mockery out of Osborn's elite squads, Microchip was educating the Hood in how to bring down New York's most wanted man.
New Ways To Live
Taking a break from Dark Reign and appearing in Anti-Venom's story arc, Punisher and Eddie Brock come to blows over a drugs bust involving a drug addict girl Eddie is trying to rescue. Because of their in-fighting over Punisher's cold-blooded views, the girl is kidnapped and taken south of the border to a drug cartel's compound.
Taking Henry along in the battle van, he proves to be a positive divide for Punisher and Anti-Venon... except when Punisher nearly succeeds in slitting Eddie's throat. Pointing out that they may need Eddie to succeed in the mission, and that killing him would be wrong, Punisher still has his mind set on killing him once they're finished.
After the battle, Punisher is watching Eddie, having rescued his girl, through the scope of a sniper rifle as Henry looks on. Henry thinks that when he doesn't shoot Eddie that he's had the right change of heart. It turns out that he just ran out of bullets.
Back to the consequences of Dark Reign, Frank is faced with a team of resurrected supervillains tasked with bringing his war to an end. After defeating a brainwashed Spider-man, things escalate and his is soon to believe that now the Avengers are after him. But after a sly show of genius strategy, Punisher discovers that it's all just a trick set up by a resurrected Mirage, who Frank uses to trick the others and get away.
After failing to stop Frank and Henry's destruction of their operations and Osborn's, Hood and Microchip pull one more trick out of the bag, offering Frank to bring back his deceased family in return for his simply walking away.
In order to do this, all he has to do is sacrifice disgraced ex-SHIELD agent GW Bridge. Frank refuses and instead, wanting his own family back so desperately, Microchip takes the gun and pulls the trigger himself, bringing all the dead back that The Hood has prepared in his vault. After burning them all back to death again and killing nearly every villain in the room, The Hood then tells Frank that Henry is a bastard son of Jigsaw. Using one unexpected bargaining chip for his safe passage, Punisher, utterly defeated, finds Henry and fires him, sending him off to fend for himself!
The List and Franken-Castle
Devastated and exhausted after his battle against The Hood, HAMMER and Osborn, Frank is found and targeted for elimination. Stumbling upon Henry, and not knowing whether to trust him, Frank knocks him out and hides his body before being hunted down and murdered by Daken.
Awakening some time later, after believing he was dead, he discovers that he was in fact dismembered and has been reconstituted as a sort of half-mechanical Frankenstein's Monster by Morbius, the Living Vampire. Called upon to protect the Legion of Monsters, Punisher, now Franken-Castle, agrees for as long as it takes for him to regenerate with the use of the Bloodstone so that he can return to the world of the living and have revenge for his own death.
With the help of Henry who becomes not only his ally again, but also his live-in carer, tending to his rotting wounds, Frank learns more from the kid, about why he lied about who he was and just how similar he's become to Henry's real father.
It is because of this that Frank becomes conflicted with himself for the first time in a long time. He knew he was a monster, but Jigsaw was one kind of monster he could never allow himself to become. Not only that, he is taken aback at how upset Henry was at having seen him die and this makes him see that the boy cares more than Frank can seem to handle.
Taking their war back to the streets, Frank and Henry go looking for key targets of their campaign, resulting finally in Frank's retribution against Daken, even assisted by Wolverine in the end.
Damaged seemingly beyond repair, Franken-Castle disappears into the night!
In the final instalment of Franken-Castle, Henry directs Frank to Monster Island where the Bloodstone will help him to heal undisturbed. From his immense bodily damage, after nearly sacrificing himself to blow up Daken with a grenade, Frank passes out and is seen some months later, back in human form and stronger than ever.
Meanwhile, Henry has been living with Morbius, The Mummy, Jack Russell and other monsters, waiting for Frank to come around so they can retrieve the Bloodstone. After Ilsa Bloodstone arrives to take it back by force, and Frank goes feral from the artifact's effects, he regains his senses, gives it back and returns to New York...
In The Blood
The Punisher's campaign of vengeance has returned more violent and intense than ever before, on his quest to find Microchip. But after a fallout, he fired Henry again, this time permanently. Henry believes, from a birthday present he received - with a touching letter - that his mother needs his help. When he gets there, he finds his father, Jigsaw, and his partner in crime, the hideously disfigured Stuart Clarke.
Their proposition is that they apprehend the Punisher and hand him over to the authorities. Not wanting to believe them, but also lacking any approval from his absent father all his life, Henry believes he can do the right thing.
What he doesn't know is that his father is lying to him, insane with anger and hatred for the fact that the Punisher has used his own son for his own needs.
Playing complex mindgames between Henry and Punisher, the "Jigsaw Brothers" make Frank believe that Henry has switched sides, and also that his resurrected wife didn't die and has also switched sides. This drives Frank crazy and amps up his war on crime, meanwhile the Jigsaw Brothers have imprisoned the now insane Microchip as part of the plan.
After capturing the Punisher and forcing him to watch what he believes to be his wife taking drugs and having a threesome with Jigsaw and Stuart Clarke, Frank breaks free of his chains, slaughters Microchip and escapes. Henry, discovering the complex lies he's fallen for, helps Frank to break out, but is forced to come between a final confrontation with two very unlikely father figures.
Nobody wins, but Jigsaw dies and a badly injured Frank risks his own life to rescue Henry from the now imploding building. He tells Henry to go home and never be seen again, otherwise he'll kill him. Henry is too easily fooled to be as good an ally as he used to be. As Henry disappears into the night, Frank smiles.
Back home, weeks later, Henry has gotten himself a job helping victims of domestic abuse to learn to use computers and his mother has become sober again. He finds the time to thank her for the gifts she sent, to which she reminds him that she couldn't have since she didn't know where he was living. It occurs to Henry that Frank had thought more of Henry than he admitted, and that he did somewhat think of the boy as a son!