Detective Martin Soap was never loved by his alcoholic mother and after a nurse dropped Soap on his head after she gave birth to him his mother gave him up for adoption abandoning Soap when he was a child. He grew up in an orphanage where he was treated cruelly by the other children and the adults alike. When couples would come looking for children to adopt they would laugh at Soap along with the other children viewing him as to pathetic. When Soap was ten years old he ran away from the orphanage he was staying out and was picked up by a drunken police officer who only pulled over to vomit and saw Soap by coincidence. The detective then gave Soap a ride back to the orphanage. After meeting a police officer whom was kind to him (albeit an alcoholic one) he decided he would like to be a police officer. During his education he met a high school bully who also wanted to be a police officer; a boy whom he stated had a talent for exploiting weakness. This finally convinced him to pursue this career path, because he dreaded the thought that all police officers would be like this boy.
Detective Martin Soap was created by Garth Ennis during Welcome Back Frank. Garth Ennis used Detective Martin Soap as comic relief throughout his Punisher Marvel Knights run.
Detective Martin Soap was originally shown as a luckless incompetent cop in the NYPD. He was assigned to catch the Punisher because the NYPD knew that Soap was too big of a loser to ever accomplish the task. When Detective Martin Soap first meets the Punisher they made with Soap giving the Punisher information and Soap getting information. The information Soap received from Frank Castle got him promoted to chief of police. Later on Martin Soap was black mailed by the Mayor's office and demoted back to his original rank and reassigned to the Punisher task force.
Martin Soap thoroughly depressed about being a loser again decides to kill himself in his car. Just as Detective Martin Soap is about to pull the trigger and end his wretched existence the Punisher tells him don't do it. The Punisher asks Soap to feed him information on targets which Martin ends up agreeing to do. Soap ends up hating himself though for agreeing to aid the Punisher in killing over 500 people and becomes a severe alcoholic. Constantly being evens more depressed then usual and having very strange sexual encounters. Finally, Soap was going to kill himself again but was stopped by the bar owner Kevin. Soap then decides to do his job and go after the Punisher and take him down.
Major Story Arcs
Welcome Back Frank
After Soap joined the force, the NYPD was being pressured by Ma Gnucci to do something about the Punisher. Detective Martin Soap was assigned to head the "Punisher Task Force" because his boss thought he wouldn't be able to do anything anyways. Martin was seen as a loser within the department, and the "Task Force" consisted solely of himself and behavioral psychologist Bud Plugg, who committed suicide shortly after Detective Soap referred to his initial report on the Punisher as "psychobabble".
He soon partnered with Lt. Molly Von Richthofen, who was herself an outsider due to her refusal to sleep with the Police Commissioner. Eventually they caught the Punisher by pure luck, but decided to let him go when Castle gave them pictures of the mayor and police commissioner they could use to blackmail them.
Soap ended up being Police Commissioner himself after blackmailing them. He soon lost his position when he was blackmailed himself with pictures of him with a prostitute.
Soap contemplated suicide but the Punisher appeared, stating "Don't do it Soap, you've got so much to live for." He then told Soap that he wanted him to help him by conducting surveillance on the criminals for him and providing him with the information so that he could go and kill them. Soap was unsure but Castle told him to think about the offer and then left.
After this Soap turned to the bottle and began to frequent Lucky's Bar where it is revealed that the barman Kevin ruthlessly belittles, berates and bullies him whenever he sees him for no reason other than to amuse himself. This abuse occurs frequently throughout the series becoming increasingly venomous and sadistic.
Another source of misfortune for Soap stems from a series of ridiculous and unfortunate sexual liasons he winds up having in his drunken state.
Around this time Soap accepted Frank Castle's surveillance offer and reluctantly helped him,
Eventually Soap's misfortune, his alcoholism and Kevin's constant mocking reached boiling point and Soap put a gun in his mouth in the men's toilets in Lucky's Bar. Kevin found him ready to kill himself and told him not to, when Soap asked if Kevin didn't want him to kill himself Kevin coldly responded that he wanted him to do it at home so he wouldn't have to clean up the blood.
At this point Soap's luck changed.
He took the gun from his own head and asked Kevin "What did you say?"
Kevin responded with "Oh, are yeh deaf now as well as pathetic? I said go home an' kill yerself"
Soap took his revolver and pressed it to Kevin's temple; Kevin's tone soon changed.
Soap told Kevin what he thought of his constant ridicule whilst all Kevin was able to do was cry his eyes out and fill his pants. Kevin begged for his life pointing out that Soap was a cop. Soap replied "Yes. So I am", before letting Kevin drop back against the wall. Finally Kevin managed to choke out "Where're yeh goin' Soap?"
"I'm going to do my job" said Soap, now full of intent and purpose. He swore off the drink and vowed to return to the Punisher Taskforce... which still consisted only of himself.
After grabbing Inskipp the snitch and breaking his nose, thus punctuating how he had come out of his shell and decided to be more forceful, Soap finally tracked down the Punisher.
After shooting the Punisher, but not killing him due to his body armor, Soap lost his confidence once more believing that he may be a loser all his life. All this changed however when the Punisher echoed his earlier sentiment that "when things aren't getting any better, just go". Through his tears Soap's eyes glimmered with hope.
Martin Soap took the Punsher's advice and "just went"; he ended up being one of the most successful porn stars in the world due to the fact that, as the Punisher stated it, "possessing an asset which had not previously occurred to him". (i.e. he was particularly well-endowed)
In the Noir universe Detective Martin Soap is completely different then the 616 version of the character. Instead of being a bumbling fool Soap is very good detective that takes his job seriously and is not treated horribly by the rest of the NYPD. His main mission is to bring down notorious gangster Dutch Schultz. During his time trying to bring down Dutch Schultz Soap also ends up on discovering Dutch's men brutally killed believing that it’s the work of one man and not another crime syndicate which only Detective Martin Soap believes and his fellow officers do not. Soap is proven correct latter on when the Punisher frames the Russian for his crimes as a way to get the police off his back. Soap doesn't buy the story but after finding Dutch Schultz murdered doesn't care anymore and goes along with the lie of the Russian being the Punisher since he is glad Dutch Schultz is dead.
Punisher WarZone (2008 Movie)
Detective Martin Soap is played by Dash Mihok in the third Punisher film. In the film he is assigned to the Punisher Task Force as its only member. He is shown to be incompetent police officer repeatedly throughout the film and is assigned to it for publicity reasons since the police department doesn't want to catch Frank Castle. In the film it is also revealed that Soap helps the Punisher just like in the comics.
Punisher (2005 video game)
In the 2005 Punisher video game soap appears as one of the detectives that interrogates the Punisher through the the story. It is eventually revealed the Soap works with the Punisher and he is the one that frees him at the end.