- "If you beat a dog long enough, it goes crazy. Doesn't matter how good it was before. After that happens, the dog that you knew is never coming back. Trust me when I tell you that if Frank doesn't come after my guy today, nobody will be more relieved than me. That's the nature of the lives we chose, I guess. Make tough decisions. Live or die by it."
- ―Billy Russo to Dinah Madani
William "Billy" Russo is a former Special Forces soldier who had become a close friend of Frank Castle. Russo became a part of Cerberus Squad under the leadership of William Rawlins, assisting in the assassinations of high value targets. Upon leaving the army, Russo was funded by Rawlins and became the founder and CEO of Anvil Securities, training soldiers for Rawlins' needs. Learning of Castle's return as the Punisher, Russo was recruited by Rawlins to assassinate his former friend, using Dinah Madani to try and learn of Castle's whereabouts which eventually exposed his involvement in Cerberus. Fearing he would soon be used as a scapegoat and blamed for all the crimes, Russo betrayed Rawlins, allowing Castle to kill him, before Russo had a furious showdown with Castle, that led to Russo's handsome face being damaged beyond repair.
Born onto a meth addict, Billy Russo was abandoned by his own birth mother, Carla Russo, outside of a fire station in Albany, New York. Russo entered into the system and lived throughout various foster homes, before placed in the Ray of Hope group home.
- "I must've been ten, eleven at the time. When a grown man tells you that you're pretty you know nothing good is coming. Let's just say I wasn't interested in the kind of games that he had in mind. So I went after him with the stickball bat. Caught him good a couple times, too. Then he broke my arm. Got pissed off, ripped my rotator cuff in three places."
- ―Billy Russo
During his time at the Ray of Hope home, around the age of ten or eleven, Russo was also a victim of an attempted child molestation when one of the good samaritans had called Russo pretty and had then attempted to attack him. Fearing for his own safety, Russo was still able to defend himself by then striking his attacker with a stickball bat, but not without still being severely injured by the perpetrator who proceeded to break his arm and ripped his rotator cuff in three places.
During his time serving within the United States Marine Corps, Russo soon met and befriended Frank Castle. During one mission, Russo and Castle became trapped in house in Basra and saved each other's lives multiple times. Russo and Castle were recruited along with other elite soldiers for a covert ops team. Their leader, Agent Orange, explained they would helping to end the war, with Major Ray Schoonover explaining that they were all now a part of the newly formed Operation Cerberus, tasked with the capture, interrogation and assassination of high-profile targets.
While relaxing while also reading The Picture of Dorian Gray, Russo listened as Castle was introduced to Gunner Henderson who would be joining his squad. They discussed their teams while Russo noted how Orange had failed to give them a name leading to him getting the nickname of Agent Orange. As Castle expressed his distrust for Orange, Russo quoted a poem telling Castle their mission was the do or die. When Castle noted that he knew it, Russo teased him about having read the poem all by himself, leading to Castle jokingly hitting Russo in the face with a football while also apologizing.
- "Once they get those mortars ranged in, they're gonna pound us into the ground."
"I'm going through that building. Clear a path for an evac."
"You out of your mind?"
"What do you wanna do? You wanna die here? Like a rat in a jar? It's about time I had a fair fight."
- ―Billy Russo and Frank Castle
Russo rejoined Frank Castle back in their quarters just as Castle was opening birthday cards from his family and found his wife had gotten him Bruce Springstein tickets. Castle asked Russo if he had any plans for when he had returned home, to which Russo grinned and said that he did, leading to Castle then teasing Russo on his own reputation as a womaniser. Just as they discussed if Russo should instead find a woman to settle down with, Major Ray Schoonover walked inside and informed the pair that they would be needed for another mission briefing in five minutes time.
They entered their briefing to find Agent Orange was giving them a mission where they would come in on foot without any air support in order to capture a high value target who was believed to be hiding out there. When Schoonover invited Castle to give his opinion on the mission, he questioned why their new target would put themselves in this hard to escape from spot and claimed that this was likely a trap for Cerberus Squad. Schoonover asked Russo for his view to which he claimed to trust Castle, however Orange just ignored their advice and insisted that they still go into the mission regardless.
Just as they predicted, the mission turned out to be an Ambush as Russo and Castle became pinned down by enemy fire in Kandahar. As Russo noted that the enemy's mortars would kill them all if they did not do something, Castle explained that he would charge forward into the building and take out the enemy. Although Russo tried to go with him, Castle insisted that Russo had to stay behind and keep their soldiers safe, including Schoonover who had lost a hand. Russo and the remaining soldiers gave covering fire while Castle charged up the hill and furiously engaged with all the enemy alone.
Frank Castle's Rage
Russo made it back to base with the surviving member of Cerberus Squad once Frank Castle had successfully cleared out the enemy and allowed air support to get them to safety. While Russo sat alone looking at his hands while were covered in Ray Schoonover and other soldier's blood, they were interrupted by the arrival of Agent Orange, who show no regard for the state of all the soldiers in the room and those who were dead and instead asked if they had successfully killed the target as they had been ordered to do.
Upon hearing this, Castle became enraged and before Russo could get to him, he had punched Orange and punctured his eye socket. Russo and the soldiers managed to pull Castle away from Orange before he could do more damage as Russo ordered the other men to stand down while he then stood between Castle and Orange. When Castle demanded to know why Russo was protecting Orange, Russo insisted that he was not but was protecting Castle as he claimed that Orange would never be blamed for the utter disaster of the Ambush in Kandahar or any other failed mission he had authorized.
Russo insisted that Operation Cerberus was a complete lie and even told Castle to get out of the United States Armed Forces if he could, confessing that he was as he had already requested a transfer as soon as possible. Russo claimed that they could not keep doing all these sorts of missions any more as he looked down at Castle, who was bleeding heavily from a gunshot would and was so enraged he could barely look Russo in the eye. Instead of saying anything more, Russo told Castle to look at himself before then walking away from his friend, ignoring Castle as he had called out to him.
Having returned back home for Afghanistan, Russo still continued his friendship with Frank Castle and his family, joining them for trips to Central Park. During one day out, Russo joked with Frank Castle, Jr. that his father had been highly uncreative when choosing his name, going on a long rant about how he had been named after Billy the Kid and how he had been the fastest gun in the West who was betrayed by his friend for money and fame, only for Lisa Castle to question how he knew his name's origin despite being an orphan.
Russo confessed to not knowing but Maria Castle insisted they were all the family he would ever need as the group of friends all shared a laugh. However, when William Rawlins learned Homeland Security agent Dinah Madani had received a tape of the Cerberus Squad as they tortured and killed Ahmad Zubair, Russo learned that Rawlins and Ray Schoonover, who believed Castle to be the source of the leak, had decided to assassinate Castle. Despite being ordered to be involved in the shooting, Russo strongly refused, but did nothing to stop it, resulting in Castle's entire family being slaughtered.
- "There's none better. All my operators and instructors are former Special Forces. A government contract here, on US soil, would be a big deal for us."
"Where are your guys now?"
"Iraq and Afghanistan, mostly. Close protection work. Convoy security, that kind of thing. We do good work."
- ―Billy Russo and Dinah Madani
Using resources given to him by William Rawlins, Russo founded his own private military company named Anvil, recruiting former United States Armed Forces soldiers to become his own private army. While conducting a training session for Homeland Security, Russo personally greeted Sam Stein who was disappointed in his own performance during the simulation as he had come close to shooting a hostage, with Russo promising that the real thing was always messier and Stein had done well regardless.
While Stein left to return all the equipment, Russo then introduced himself to Dinah Madani who questioned if Russo was the man in charge of the operation there, which he confirmed. While he was explaining how Anvil rented different spaces for all of their training exercises to keep things fresh, Russo then suggested that Anvil could make a deal with Homeland Security as a contract would be good business for them, while Madani explained that she had just returned from Afghanistan as Russo explained he had been himself before he had left the Marines, going private to found Anvil.
They were interrupted by Carson Wolf's arrival, who accused Madani of interrogating Russo, which she denied. While Russo invited Wolf to come to Anvil Headquarters to discuss a deal between their own organisations, Wolf cut him off to remind Madani to not get involved in case she was still looking into the Kandahar investigation. Wishing to get to know her better, Russo waited for Wolf to leave and then invited Madani to join him for a drink after they were both finally off duty, noting that once they were off duty she could discuss whatever she wanted with him, which Madani then happily agreed to.
Drink with Dinah Madani
Russo then took Dinah Madani out for a drink at a local bar, as she questioned if this was where he took women out to impress them. They discussed their time in Afghanistan as Madani claimed she had unfinished business there. Madani asked again which unit Russo served with in the Marine Corps, to which Russo questioned if this was why Madani had agreed to join him, at which point Madani revealed she had read his file and knew of Russo's military career.
Russo questioned if Madani had come to Anvil for training or to ask him about his service record, which she confirmed. Once he insisted he would not be throwing his friends under the bus, Russo invited Madani to ask him the questions. Madani immediately asked Russo about Frank Castle and seemed surprised when Russo informed her that he and Castle had been close friends while serving together. Russo told the story of when he and Castle fought together in Basra, which he claimed to be the best night of his life, before expressing his regret that Castle had been killed, noting that he missed him.
While Madani noted that Castle had killed a lot of people before his own death, Russo then claimed that the people he had killed were all criminals and drug dealers just like Finn Cooley and Dutton. Madani questioned if Castle had become dirty while serving and even asked if he had gotten involved with smuggling heroin, which Russo simply laughed at, although Russo claimed that Castle's one way of staying clean was his family which were taken away from him. Changing the subject, Russo flirted with Mandani, asking if she was single before Madani's pager went off and she was forced to leave early.
Mourning Frank Castle
Russo went to visit Curtis Hoyle before his meeting with soldiers of the United States Armed Forces who were now suffering with PTSD. Hoyle mocked Russo, claiming that he moved too quietly and needed to wear a bell like a cat before they shook hands and had a cup of coffee. Russo gave Hoyle a cheque to fund the meetings, with Hoyle continuing to tease Russo before they discussed how everything was going with all of the recent meetings with veterans.
Hoyle invited Russo to stay so the men could see a soldier who had come back and had a successful second life with Anvil. Russo still however claimed that if he stayed he would feel guilty that he had gotten out of the war-zone before suffering PTSD, while Hoyle noted that there was nothing selfish about him funding the meetings with his own money. They then discussed how Anvil was doing as Hoyle noted how pleased he was that Russo had become the success he had always planned to become, before Russo again offered Hoyle a position within Anvil, which Hoyle politely refused to accept.
Russo then asked if they would still be meeting that night to pay their respects to Frank Castle's grave, which Hoyle confirmed they would be as Russo helped him to get back up. As he was leaving, Russo turned around and recommended that Hoyle should come and work for him, jokingly promising that he would look after him, however Hoyle noted that despite losing his leg during a battle, he had gotten out of the military in time as well and did not wish to go back to that life of combat, which Russo accepted as his answer and noted that this made them the lucky ones before Russo then walked away.
Arriving at Castle's grave later that night, Russo and Hoyle wished their late friend a happy birthday while they drank together. Russo expressed his regret that Castle had not come to them in the wake of the Massacre at Central Park so they could have avenged the deaths of Maria Castle and the children together, although Hoyle insisted that Castle did not want any help with killing everyone involved in his family's deaths. When Hoyle had quoted Castle regarding Kandahar, Russo questioned when Castle had made these comments before they continued drinking and remembering their lost friend.
- "We didn't want our lives to just be gray. We wanted them to mean something. We wanted to be a part of something bigger than ourselves! And here at Anvil, if you are recruited you will find that something. A new brotherhood to call your own. Something to fight for. To live for even."
- ―Billy Russo
While at the Anvil Headquarters, Russo personally welcomed all the new recruits who were looking to join Anvil private military company. Giving a speech to the recruits, Russo explained in detail how to be trained for the United States Armed Forces, the government had already invested thousands of dollars into each and every one of them, and therefore they were all investments who should be doing the best they could with what had now been provided to them.
Questioning how much money each of them were currently earning, Russo argued that the problem was not that they were unworthy of the investment, but that they all simply needing to get the work that they were suited for, noting Anvil would give them the opportunity to fight for a living, which he knew was the reason they had signed up to be soldiers in the first place. Russo promised all the men looking to join up with Anvil the chance to find not just a living wage suitable for them, but something to fight and live for, while also giving them a new brotherhood of soldiers who they could stand with.
Russo had all of the recruits begin training, so he could examine their physical and mental state and judge if they were worthy candidates for joining Anvil's forces. While making his way all around the room, Russo noticed Lewis Wilson, who was training on the pull up bar with another recruit. Knowing that Wilson had come to him having spoken to Curtis Hoyle, Russo was impressed by Wilson's determination as he pushed the other recruit to continue training before Russo then continued making his way around the room to look at the progress of the other possible recruits as they continued their training.
Rejecting Lewis Wilson
- "Lewis, if you need work, I promise you I will find you something to do around here."
"Are you gonna give me a job mopping floors? Emptying trash? Is that making good on the investment my country made in me? You're just another liar in command."
"Okay. Okay, we're done. You need to leave. Now."
- ―Billy Russo and Lewis Wilson
Entering his office, Russo spoke with Curtis Hoyle who had arrived to talk about the current mental state of Russo's possible new recruit for the team, Lewis Wilson, who had also been attending Hoyle's therapy sessions. Fearing that Wilson was not mentally stable, Hoyle recommended that Wilson not be selected for Anvil, noting that Wilson was living inside a hole he had dug within his back garden and had almost shot his own father by mistake due to his PTSD.
Although Russo argued that Wilson could just need to get back into the action since leaving Afghanistan and Anvil could provide this for him, Hoyle insisted that Wilson was a ticking time bomb and then made the point that Wilson was not the sort of soldier who would be able to protect any of his fellow men, noting that he would not want Wilson protecting him during a combat situation. Although Russo had questioned how Wilson would react when he was cut from Anvil, Hoyle reassured him that he would take take of Wilson afterwards, which Russo accepted, trusting Hoyle's judgement on this.
Finding Wilson talking with some of the other Anvil recruits about his missions while he was in Mosul, Russo then called over Wilson for a private talk in which Russo asked him about the foxhole he had dug in his back garden. Clearly unnerved that Russo knew of this, Wilson then tried to claim that it was just a project he had undertaken and insisted that it was nothing to be alarmed about, however Russo then noted that all his fellow United States Armed Forces recruits may not think the same as they all needed to trust in Wilson's mental stability while they were going on missions. Russo then told Wilson he would not be recruited, leading to Wilson blaming Hoyle for the rejection.
Wilson was clearly mortified by the rejection, claiming that Hoyle had first told him not to even try and be recruited into Anvil and had now sabotaged his chances as Russo tried to get Wilson to calm down as he began to raise his voice. While Russo defended Hoyle by claiming he was one of the finest men he had served with, he offered Wilson other work, however Wilson responded by insulting him for offering nothing but cleaning jobs and accused him of lying, so Russo then demanded that he leave Anvil Headquarters, much to Wilson's great disappointment as Russo had Wilson escorted back outside.
Dinah Madani Hook Up
- "Sometimes I think the only way to get by in this world is to step off it for a while, you know? And if it helps, I also had a shitty day."
"So, what are we gonna do about that?"
"I'm open to suggestions."
- ―Billy Russo and Dinah Madani
Russo invited Dinah Madani to join him for a second drink, which they shared at a fancier restaurant than the last time. Madani then explained that they were drinking as she had had a difficult day at Homeland Security involving some hard decisions which she did not know if they were right or not, with Russo giving her advice and noting that he had also had a bad day. Turning the conversation more flirtatious, Madani suggested that they should do something about their days, to which Russo said he was open to suggestions.
Choosing to forget about their drinks and distract themselves from their bad days, the pair headed back to the Madani Residence where Russo and Madani immediately began kissing and removing their clothes, at which point Russo then noticed several harsh bruises on Madani's body caused by a recent car wreak. While Russo tried to stop due to concern over Madani's wellbeing, Madani just refused to discuss it and insisted that they continue. Ripping open Russo's own shirt, Madani took him to the bed where she got on top of him and the pair engaged in passionate sex throughout the night.
Russo and Madani had sex again the next day, and in the morning as Russo was finding his clothes he discovered some of Madani's work which detailed her investigation into Cerberus Squad. Russo then demanded to know what Madani was still not telling him, which she refused to answer before Russo questioned why Madani was still determined to insult Frank Castle's memory. Russo then noted that Madani was now clearly withholding information. Russo noted that the police had never found Castle's body after the Destruction of the Blacksmith's Ship which Russo had always wondered about.
Frank Castle's Return
Learning of Castle's Survival
- "Our friend. Our dead friend. You seen him recently?"
"I'm gonna need some help with this, Billy. What do you mean? Have I been back to the cemetery? Am I seeing ghosts or having flashbacks? What are we talking about?"
"Frank's alive, man. Sorry, I had to find out if you knew."
- ―Billy Russo and Curtis Hoyle
Suspecting that Frank Castle was alive, Russo became sending out a radio call to him using the code-name Raven, but getting no answer. Russo was later contacted by Dinah Madani and asked to meet her on the outskirts of New York City. Pulling up beside her, Russo suggested that she had invited him there for an apology due to all the secrets she had been keeping from him before waiting until she told him what she needed. Madani asked Russo once again about Castle before she then informed him that Castle was indeed alive.
Madani explained to Russo that she needed to arrest Castle and noted that if anybody could help her find it, it would be Russo, but Russo questioned why he would even consider doing this. Madani explained that she believed Castle was investigating the same case of Kandahar that she was, alerting Russo that Operation Cerberus' secrets were in danger. Madani told Russo that the people who were also hunting Castle had left him for dead and would kill him if they did not get to him first. Russo promised to do what he could before thanking Madani for trusting him with this information.
Seeking to learn more, Russo then went to visit Curtis Hoyle and had immediately asked if he had seen Castle recently. Upon hearing the questioned, Hoyle appeared to be confused, asking if Russo had meant if he had visited the grave or seen ghosts. Believing that Hoyle did not know the truth, Russo then informed him of Castle's survival, which Hoyle just struggled to believe. Russo explained that he had learned from Homeland Security that Castle was now hurt and asked Hoyle if he had any idea on how to find him, noting that he could help get Castle out of the country and safe to make things right.
Reunion with Castle
- "So what? You're just gonna take them all on yourself? How's that going for you so far? Why don't you just let Homeland do it, man? Madani, she she wants them just as bad as you do. Hey. You really think this is what Maria would've wanted for you? We didn't have a choice back then. Now we do."
- ―Billy Russo to Frank Castle
Finally Russo's calls were answered and Frank Castle agreed to meet with him. Coming to the outskirts of New York City, Russo and Castle were reunited as Russo offered his condolences for the deaths of Castle's family. As they sat down for a beer together Russo questioned why Castle had not reached out to him, noting that Dinah Madani was aware of Castle's survival. Russo then told Castle about Anvil, with Castle teasing him over Russo's love for wearing fancy suits as well as cars and Russo's sexual relationship with Madani.
Castle told Russo what he knew of Operation Cerberus and their illegal actions in Kandahar, noting that he was now aware that Agent Orange, Major Ray Schoonover and Colonel Morty Bennett were selling heroin and using the profits to fund their illegal assassination missions, mentioning that Gunner Henderson had been killed when he had tried to blow the whistle on the entire operation. Seeking to end Castle's search for those responsible for Cerberus, Russo then offered him the chance to go work for Anvil overseas, noting that although Castle's family were gone they were still brothers.
With the offer to take a new job with Anvil overseas still on the table, Castle left to think it over and decide what would be the best move for him, however Russo began planning for his friend's assassination, fearing that Castle could expose Cerberus Squad and ruin everything he had been building since leaving the United States Armed Forces. Russo gathered together a large team of his best Anvil agents, who were all ready to fire upon Castle when he arrived, but after several hours of waiting, Castle had still not arrived. Irritated, Russo put his gun away and joined William Rawlins in their car, informing him that Castle was not coming, much to Rawlins' annoyance.
Lying to Madani
- "If he's alive, he knows I'm looking for him and he'll reach out. But we're a small community, and so far, nothing. I wish I had better news for you, but according to my sources... Frank Castle is dead."
"If he's alive, after everything he's done, why not just go public?"
- ―Billy Russo to Dinah Madani
Russo returned into the Homeland Security Headquarters, where he smiled at Sam Stein as he then walked into Dinah Madani's office. Handing her a coffee, Russo went to kiss Madani only to be rejected as she was on duty. Russo briefly flirted with Madani before she noted how tired he looked and asked what information he had on Frank Castle. Russo however lied and claimed he had found nothing on Castle and had not been able to confirm he was alive.
Russo then claimed that he had also reached out to members of the United States Armed Forces who had served with Castle and had still failed to come up with any kind of information about Castle's current condition. Russo questioned why Madani had claimed Castle was hurt and she told him about the firefight in which a badly wounded Castle was the only survivor. Russo asked why Madani had not gone public with all this if she knew of Castle's survival, with Madani only noting that she had already told Russo more than she should have because she thought that he could help her find Castle.
Madani confirmed that she still did not know who was involved with the firefight that killed Gunner Henderson but she claimed she did not know, noting that without Castle she had no leads. Continuing to lie to Madani, Russo promised that if Castle was alive he would find him and bring him to her, hinting his aim was to end their professional relationship so that they could continue their new sexual relationship. Teasing Madani, Russo lied again and claimed nobody was listening to their conversation before leaving the building as Stein then went to ask about what Russo had wanted to know from Madani.
Updating William Rawlins
Russo went to meet with William Rawlins where they discussed how much the Country House Rawlins was staying in would cost before Rawlins questioned if Russo had been to see Dinah Madani which he noted Rawlins had already known he had and that he was indeed still sleeping with her. Rawlins gave Russo a glass of whiskey before Rawlins told Russo that they did not have to worry about Madani anymore now that Gunner Henderson had just been assassinated by Rawlins' men.
Assuring Rawlins that they would get to Frank Castle before Madani could, Russo promised that he knew Castle better than anyone else before Rawlins noted that Russo had made a mistake in not killing Castle when he had the chance. When Russo questioned the tactics of such a plan, Rawlins recommended using a sniper to kill Castle, leading to Russo mocking Rawlins by claiming that he used to find torturing people sexually arousing while a part of Cerberus Squad. Russo also noted that he had seen fear in Rawlins' eyes when Castle had attacked him in Kandahar before Russo had saved him.
Rawlins however warned that while he was grateful for Russo saving his life, he knew Russo was only protecting the man who would build his career, noting that if Castle exposed Operation Cerberus then Russo's life and career at Anvil would fall apart. Getting up, Russo then asked what they now planned to do about Morty Bennett, to which Rawlins claimed that they could not warn him Punisher was coming as he would run or talk so they would instead save his life and then take him under their protection where they would intend to kill him afterwards when Castle had finally been killed.
- "What a shitshow. Get your asses up!"
"What the hell are you doing here?"
"Saving your life, Morty. So why don't you put your pants on and then you're gonna say exactly what I tell you to say."
- ―Billy Russo and Morty Bennett
In a top secret operation which not even Morty Bennett was aware of, Russo and his team of Anvil soldiers waited outside Fort Bryon until they got the signal from the woman Bennett was with that Frank Castle had arrived in the building, at which point Russo informed all of his men and they rushed the building to attempt to assassinate their target, wearing masks and armed with military grade weapons to kill Castle.
As it turned out however, Punisher was still ready for their sudden ambush as he filled the entire room with smoke making it impossible for Russo and his team to clearly make out their target. Armed with lasers on their rifles, Russo and his team scanned the room for either Castle or Bennett, only to discover that Castle was using his training within the United States Armed Forces as well as the smoke to his own advantage to take out Russo's men one by one. Seeing through Castle's plan, Russo turned off his own laser pointer to try and find an advantage while the rest of his men were slowly taken out.
Tracking a laser pointer which he believed Castle had taken over, Russo waited until it was still and fired upon it, only to discover that Castle had in fact left it on the desk in order to trick Russo. As Russo scanned the room to find his target, Castle had managed to get the drop on Russo however and they both shot and mildly wounded each other. When Castle told Russo, who he did not recognise due to the mask, to stay down, Russo ignored him and chased after him as Castle jumped through the window and ran to safety on foot, with Russo continuing to fire after him despite just missing his shots.
With Castle now on the run from the military in the base, Russo then addressed his men, who were wounded from their encounters with the Punisher as he had managed to sneak up on and take advantage of all of them under the shadow of the smoke he had used. Russo then found Bennett, who was still wearing the ball gag Castle had left him with, who then questioned what Russo himself was doing there. Noting that Bennett was still partially undress from his time with the woman, Russo ordered Bennett to follow him and do exactly as he had instructed him to do, which Bennett agreed to do.
- "It's not about what you said."
"Look, there's no need. I'm leaving anyway. Tomorrow, I'll be gone."
"Yeah. You know, since we're being honest I never much cared for you either, Morty."
- ―Billy Russo and Morty Bennett
Russo brought Morty Bennett away from danger and he listened to Bennett yell at William Rawlins as he then furiously blamed him for allowing the Punisher to ambush and almost kill him. Bennett told Russo and Rawlins that he had told Fort Bryon that it had been a training exercise before then questioning what would be done next, to which Rawlins promised to get him out of the country with a new identity to ensure that the Punisher would not be able to find him, before Russo then ordered Bennett to leave his phone behind.
As Rawlins instructed, Russo took Bennett to a secure location in a cheap motel where they knew they would be safe from Frank Castle. Russo listened as Bennett complained about every aspect of the room before noting that Bennett had never liked him, while Bennett claimed that he had always seen the United States Marine Corps as filled with pretentious people like Russo. As Bennett explored the room, Russo allowed him to uncover the corpse of the Mistress he had been spending his night with, revealing their plan to then create a convincing murder scene for Bennett and his lover.
Bennett desperately pleaded with Russo, attempting to argue that he would soon be out of the United States Armed Forces and that what he had said before really did not matter, however Russo ignored everything Bennett had said and proceeded to use his secret wrist blade to then fatally stab Bennett in the gut before taking the gun out of his hands. As the dying Bennett crawled across the floor, Russo watched as he bled the death while he ripped out the phone cable and told Bennett as he died on the floor that he had never liked him either before then calling Rawlins to confirm Bennett's death.
- "You had a choice. Me, I never did. You saw to that. And yet here I am. You know, all those years in those group homes gives you a lot of time to think. And now I'm returning the favor. Maybe you did me a solid, you know? I mean, the way I see it, you want weak kids, give 'em everything. But if you want 'em strong, treat 'em hard."
- ―Billy Russo to Carla Russo
As always, Russo underwent his morning routine of skincare and styling his hair in front of a mirror to ensure that he looked his best. He then put on another of his expensive suits and cleaned his shoes before admiring himself in the mirror as he prepared to begin his day. Russo travelled to the nursing home where his mother Carla Russo was still being treated, doing his weekly visit to her, getting an update from Katie on his mother's condition as Katie informed her that this was still the same as usual.
Russo spoke to his mother, noting that she had been given a therapy lamp as she wanted and that the nurses had been cleaning her teeth for her. Russo proceeded to tell his mother about the tough week he had been having, noting that since Frank Castle had returned to New York City he knew that just smiling would not be enough to deal with Castle, as Castle intended to destroy Anvil and everything Russo had built since he had first joined with Operation Cerberus. Russo noted to his mother who was still not responding to what he said and that she was the one person who he could still be truly honest with.
When Russo tried to give his mother some water, she accidentally spilt it down herself which annoyed Russo. Standing over his terrified mother, Russo questioned if she would have done anything different if she could have raised him up again, reminding her of how her drug usage had led to him being put into foster homes as a child. Russo concluded that her abuse may have made Russo a stronger man in the end. Russo ripped the duvet off his mother before giving her her injection as she moaned in fear, telling her that he would have given anything for her love before Russo walked out the building.
Discussing Battle Scars
- "That is what a real battle scar looks like. AK-47, through and through. What about this guy? Appendix, right?"
"Knifed by an angry lover."
"You are so full of shit. Do you know that?"
"All those battle scars, and not one on this pretty face."
- ―Billy Russo and Dinah Madani
Russo returned into the Madani Residence where Russo and Dinah Madani had sex in her shower. Once finished, Russo lay naked with only a towel in Madani's bed while watching her put on clothes ready to return to work at Homeland Security. As she looked at his body, Madani questioned where some of Russo's bruices came from, with Russo lying about the recent shootout which caused it and claiming that they had come from a paintball during his training.
Changing the subject, Russo pointed to one of his real scars which he explained he gained while in the United States Armed Forces and was shot with an AK-47. Russo asked Madani about her own scars to which she claimed one was from an angry lover who stabbed her, which Russo did not believe. Madani teased Russo by noted that he had so many scars and yet none on his attractive face before asking about two large scars on his shoulder, making up a story about how Russo's parachute had once failed to open and he then fell through a tree which resulted in the scars as they laughed together.
Russo calmly told Madani of how due to his mother's meth addiction he had been forced to grow up within the Ray of Hope group home where he had almost been sexually assaulted at the age of either ten or eleven, before Russo had tried to defend himself which resulted in Russo's attacker seriously damaging his shoulder, resulting in all of the scars. Madani confessed that she did not know about this part of Russo's life as it had not been in his personal file when she had been researching him, resulting in Russo teasing her over the middle class guilt she was feeling for having a good childhood unlike him.
Russo however noted that he still believed that regardless of all the trauma he had once suffered and the lack of knowledge about his exact birthplace, he still felt lucky for being born in the United States of America. Madani thanked Russo for feeling that he could trust her with these facts about his life, as Russo teased her over the fact that if they continued having real personal conversations then she may have to admit to liking him. As Madani finished putting on the rest of her clothes, she asked about Russo's mother as Russo told her that he still had no happy ending to his own personal life story.
Hunting Frank Castle
Meeting with William Rawlins
- "We go after him again, I can't use anybody on my payroll. I lost nine of my guys going after Henderson in those woods. I'mma need outside operators, and they will not be cheap."
"Guess everything comes down to money, doesn't it?"
"Easy to say for a guy who never worried about money."
- ―Billy Russo and William Rawlins
On the outskirts of New York City, Russo stood alone as he awaited the arrival of William Rawlins. When Rawlins finally arrived, Russo listened as he ranted about how the United States of America used to be built on industries like coal, iron and steel whereas it was now run by markets and bankers who they were beholden to. Rawlins noted that it was time for them to go after Frank Castle, despite Russo warning that they would get in the way of a Homeland Security investigation which would be a risk to them being discovered.
Rawlins insisted that they had to kill Castle before he was arrested and confessed everything that happened with Operation Cerberus, so Russo agreed provided that they did not use anyone from Anvil's payroll, as he deemed it too risky and he had now lost too many of his own men already when they had gone after Gunner Henderson. When Russo insisted on finding outside operators who would not be cheap Rawlins moaned about how it always came down to money, to which Russo noted that Rawlins had never even had to worry about money once in his life, which Rawlins merely scoffed at.
As Russo questioned if Rawlins still thought he was better than him, Rawlins insulted him by claiming that Russo's pride was a weakness. Rawlins gave Russo the authorisation to get his soldiers and wait for him to give him all the tactical plans from Homeland Security so that they could then allow the mission to go ahead. Rawlins then insulted Russo once again by questioning if he was now concerned about going against Dinah Madani, which Russo then denied as he stood over Rawlins and insisted that there was still nobody he was afraid of going against before Rawlins then walked away from him.
- "An op. Blacked out. Search and destroy. Total deniability. Right here in the city. And I'll be leading it myself."
"How does that help us with State?"
"It doesn't. But the big fat checks you'll be getting will help get you to a country with no extradition."
- ―Billy Russo and Tom Weems
With William Rawlins permission, Russo gathered together his team his outside operators for the mission, meeting them just outside New York City where they would not be bothered by anyone who could possibly be spying on them. As they arrived at the location, Spencer Geiger jokingly questioned if they were not welcome at Anvil Headquarters anymore to which Russo noted that it was best they not be seen together as last time they worked together he blamed them for shooting the wrong people in front of all the wrong people.
As the group complained about being unable to get work since the last time when they had shot Iraqi civilians, Tom Weems questioned what could do for them, to which Russo promised to get them a job which would be to hunt down and assassinate Frank Castle which would be top secret and completely deniable for them. When Weems questioned how that helped them with the people seeking to take them down, Russo promised them cheques of fifty thousand dollars in exchange for their work, which they all agreed to as Geiger noted that clearly somebody really needed Castle to be killed.
- "Drop it! You what, don't, I'd love the excuse! Hands behind your head! On your knees. Get on your knees! Move an inch, asshole, and I will gladly shoot you in the goddamn face."
"Who's pretty now?"
- ―Sam Stein and Billy Russo
With the intel gathered by William Rawlins, Russo's team waited in their van and prepared themselves for a firefight, with Russo packing extra knives along with his various guns. Russo observed his team and, once they were all ready to go, covered his face with a mask to protect his own identity as they all quietly stormed the Abandoned Warehouse and awaited Frank Castle's arrival so they could finally take him out once and for all, making their way up the stairs with their guns drawn and ready to immediately fire upon Castle.
As Russo and his team made their way into a large hallway however, they were then suddenly surrounded by Homeland Security who ordered them to drop their weapons and surrender. Russo ignored the order and fired upon one of the agents, which killed him instantly, resulting in a violent firefight breaking out. Russo's own team quickly found themselves outgunned and outmatched as the agents came at them from all sides, killing Jim Pruitt and Mike Bashille in the chaos. As Russo struggled to see a way out, he pushed Spencer Geiger into the line of fire as he then made a sudden run for freedom.
Russo charged down the stairs followed by Tom Weems, who was then wounded by a shot to his legs, causing him to fall to the floor. As Weems begged for help, Russo ignored his cries and instead fired a single shot into Weems' skull, killing him instantly to ensure Weems could not give Homeland his name if he had been captured. As he fired several more warning shots behind him, Russo then made his own desperate run for freedom while he still could, followed closely by Dinah Madani as Russo made it back outside. As another agent almost saw him, Russo managed to kill him with a single bullet.
Before Russo could get away however, Sam Stein appeared and held Russo at gunpoint, ordering him to drop his weapon and get down onto his knees. Russo did as instructed and allowed Stein, who was now confident that Russo was defenceless to get close to him. Once Stein removed Russo's main knife, he then removed Russo's face mask and briefly paused in surprise at seeing who was to blame. But Russo used his brief pause to his own advantage by using his hidden wrist blade to stab Stein multiple times into the throat before leaving him to bleed out as Russo proceeded to make his escape.
Caring for Madani
- "Do you know that I've been to seventeen funerals? Friends, guys that I served with. You think I don't know what this feeling is like?"
"Were any of them your fault?"
"If I wanted to go that way. Sure. Maybe if I'd shot this guy, or stopped that guy. Been there a second sooner, stayed a second later. So maybe."
- ―Billy Russo and Dinah Madani
Russo left Dinah Madani to find the dead agent and the dying Sam Stein as he made his escape, knowing that even if Stein survived long enough to be found by her, he would be unable to tell her Russo's deception due to chocking on his own blood. Russo then returned to the scene of the crime to pick up the traumatised Madani as he took her back into the Madani Residence where he put her in the bath and softly cleaned all Stein's blood off her face, with Madani unaware that Russo was responsible.
Russo returned the next day and soon questioned why Madani was not out dealing with all of the Bombings of New York City, to which Madani claimed that Homeland Security did not want her out there before kissing Russo and trying to remove his clothes. Russo argued that sex would not make all of the pain go away, much to Madani's annoyance. Russo explained how he had been to seventeen funerals for friends and other men he had served with in the United States Armed Forces, to which Madani questioned if any of the deaths were his fault, with Russo noting that maybe that was the case.
Russo then questioned if Stein himself had been to blame for his own death, noting that Stein had managed to get stabbed while he was still holding a gun to his killer. All of this still did not stir up Madani, despite Russo arguing that she needed to get back out there and seek out the terrorist who was attacking New York City, with Russo even suggesting that if she could not do this then she should then consider retiring from active duty with Homeland Security, however Madani noted that her career was likely finished regardless of wether she got out of bed or not due to all of her previous actions.
Madani then confessed to Russo that the Ambush in the Abandoned Warehouse had been her attempt to kill the men hunting Frank Castle which had resulted in the deaths of several agents including Stein which she was directly responsible for. Russo argued that Madani had just been trying to do the right thing, although she insisted that nobody would care about her intentions but only the results of her actions. Russo noted that the people judging her had not been there and so did not understand, to which Madani noted that neither was he before walking away, as Russo considered his next move.
Anvil Protection Job
In the wake of the terrorist's threats, Russo and Anvil were hired by Senator Stan Ori as private security. Russo introduced himself to Ori who questioned Russo's own views on the terrorist, to which Russo explained that he would be more than happy to kill him in the blink of an eye in the wake of the Bombings of New York City. Ori questioned if such violence only caused more violence, to which Russo noted that he made his professional living out of violence, recommending that Ori view Anvil's presence as life insurance.
Ori noted that he was a key spokesman in the anti-gun debate which would make him hiring armed guards problematic, to which Russo questioned if his personal principles were worth dying for. Impressed by Russo's sales pitch, Ori agreed to hire him and Anvil while Russo promised to begin work right away, leaving Isaac Lange to stand guard over Ori while Russo collected more agents. When Russo had joked about killing the terrorist in the most humane way possible, Ori laughed before shaking Russo's hand and welcoming on board as Russo left Lange there while he got some more agents.
With all of his men in place, Russo spoke with Senator Ori about the upcoming interview with the New York Bulletin, with Ori insisting on doing the interview downstairs in public while Russo insisted that this would be a mistake. While Ori claimed that hiding in his hotel room from the terrorist would send out the wrong message to the public, Russo claimed he was less concerned with Ori's image than he was over keeping Ori from being assassinated. Getting a call, Russo then quietly excused himself as he then stepped outside of the room and answered the call to find Frank Castle on the other line.
Castle noted just how business with Anvil must be good due to their newest high value target, although Russo noted that according the the News Reports this was all down to Castle himself. Russo once again noted that his offer to get Castle out of New York City was still on the table if he wanted it to avoid being arrested. Castle noted that Lewis Wilson was already on his way to assassinate Ori to keep him from making his speech, explaining that Wilson had told him directly. Castle suggested getting Ori safe while Castle could ambush and kill Wilson, telling Russo keep all of the Anvil agents out of his way.
As Castle hung up the call, Russo met Karen Page as she arrived to interview Ori for the Bulletin, immediately noting that he was aware that Page carried a gun with her, promising she could get the gun back once the interview was over. They discussed the irony of an anti-gun Senator choosing the military contractor as his new private security, to which Russo jokingly claimed Anvil was the best choice out there. When Page questioned where Russo studied to gain such good marketing skills, he answered Afghanistan before welcoming her into Ori's hotel suite in order to begin the interview.
While making his way throughout the hotel with a small team, Russo encountered Agent Dinah Madani who had been waiting for him, with Russo noting that he thought it was great to see her back at work in the wake of the recent incidents involving her. Russo noted that he could not really talk due to still protecting Stan Ori, to which Madani claimed she was there to talk about some of Anvil's agents, handing him the files of Tom Weems and the others on that team, with Madani noting that they had killed her agents and had also previously worked for Anvil.
Russo insisted that he did not have a personal connection to these men, claiming that although they had indeed previously worked for him several years ago, but they had also likely worked freelance for other organisations, claiming that Anvil had a strict policy on not to rehire men who had ever worked for criminal organisations. Russo questioned what Madani and Homeland Security had been involved involved with to cross paths with these men before questioning if he had become a suspect in Sam Stein's death, with Madani noting that the fifth man on the team had escaped without being identified.
Russo promised Madani that he was look into the case to find the fifth suspect, before then suggesting that he come into the Madani Residence later that night to then discuss it further, although Madani rejected this. Changing the subject, Madani noted that if the New York Bulletin was to be believed, then Russo was protecting Ori from both Lewis Wilson and Frank Castle, questioning if Russo was willing to kill his friend to which Russo claimed that if he had to he would. As they discussed Castle, Russo was suddenly alerted by an alarm and realized one of his agents was not answering his radio.
While Wilson was causing chaos and Ori was being taken to safety, Russo eventually caught up with Madani and Castle in the hotel's stairway, with Russo attempting to kill Castle by shooting him in the head, missing his shot and wounding Castle. As Castle fell down the stairs, Madani aimed her gun at Russo who attempted to find his shot to finish off his target. As Madani demanded to know why he had fired, Russo claimed he thought that Castle was aiming for her and he was therefore just trying to protect her. Madani demanded that Russo lower his gun, but he refused and continued aiming.
Madani insisted that she was a federal agent ordering him to lower his weapon, but still Russo refused, before comparing his actions to war and claiming that the only crime in war would be to lose. Madani noted that she had realized that Russo had indeed killed Stein during the Ambush in the Abandoned Warehouse, as Russo then aimed his gun at Madani. Before Russo could execute Castle and Madani, he was suddenly found by the New York City Police Department who took Russo and Madani into custody while Castle was able to get away and later assisted in killing Wilson during the chaos.
Questioned by Brett Mahoney
- "I just lost four guys, and you're implying what? Negligence?"
"Wouldn't be the first time an outfit like yours got paid for a job it wasn't qualified to handle."
"'Cause you guys NYPD, you're blameless, right? I mean, you guys never get shit wrong. You ever serve, Sergeant?"
- ―Billy Russo and Brett Mahoney
During the wake of the recent Attack on Stan Ori, Russo had soon sat down beside Detective Sergeant Brett Mahoney of the New York City Police Department to give his statement based on the incident. Mahoney began by asking Russo directly about Lewis Wilson and how Wilson had been offered a job at Anvil, with Russo noting the interview itself had been a favour for Curtis Hoyle and Wilson had soon been rejected for as to Wilson's poor mental health.
Discussing how Wilson had been able to breach all Anvil's security, Mahoney explained that Wilson had killed Isaac Lange and taken his uniform, noting that this had made breaching their security so easy. Seeing that Mahoney was questioning his team's skills, Russo noting that Stan Ori was still alive thanks to the work of Anvil, pointing out that four Anvil agents had just been killed and so they should not be accused of negligence now. Russo then turned the questions back on Mahoney, comparing the United States Armed Forces with the Police Department to insist they completed the mission.
Mahoney noted that the was a big coincidence involved with his case due to Russo almost recruiting Wilson and having served alongside Frank Castle who was now believed to have been working alongside Wilson to try to assassinate Ori. Tired of the questioning, Russo then insisted that either Mahoney arrest him or he would walk away. As Russo attempted to walk away, Mahoney demanded to know when had been the last time he had spoken with Castle, to which Russo claimed he had not spoken to him in two years, also claiming he had believed Castle was dead before then before walking away.
- "Here's what I think's happened. You're pissed Frank Castle got away, and you're looking to blame me, so you sent your guys to come down to pick me up. But now now you're realizing that maybe that wasn't such a smart move. Now, if this was official, you wouldn't be sitting there alone."
- ―Billy Russo to Dinah Madani
In the wake of the Attack on Stan Ori, Russo decided to give a public statement on WHiH World News as he claimed that he had believed his friend Frank Castle had been dead but declared that the man Castle had become was a monster. On behalf of Anvil, Russo promised that his priority would be finding Castle, who was still on the run after Lewis Wilson's death, and vowed that Anvil would contribute in anyway they could, questioning what had happened to Castle.
Russo then made a trip to the Homeland Security Headquarters upon being summoned to give a statement on the recent events, being accompanied by two armed guards. Russo arrived in the main room where agent Dinah Madani thanked him for coming, to which Russo joked that he had made his living from being around whenever the government called. Russo sat down for his interview, which Madani recorded as she presented him with pictures from the Ambush in the Abandoned Warehouse, including images of the men killed at their shootout, to which Russo questioned why he was there.
Madani presented Russo with an image of Sam Stein's corpse and accused him of being a murderer who was soon going to pay. Russo however claimed that he had only been at that location to collect Madani before saying on camera that he had brought her back to the Madani Residence and noting that they had previously engaged in a sexual relationship within that residence. Madani then questioned if Russo and Castle had engaged in illegal actions while stationed they had both been stationed in Kandahar, to which Russo noted that his own file showed no record of him being stationed in Kandahar.
Madani then turned off the camera before giving Russo the offer to give her everything on Operation Cerberus and his own dealings with William Rawlins, with the mention of Rawlins' name causing Russo to look up. While Madani issued him with threats, Russo claimed that Madani was merely haunted by the deaths of both Stein and Ahmad Zubair and was looking for someone to target, to which Madani then noted that she was looking for Castle who in turn was now aiming to kill Russo for his betrayal if Madani was not able to capture him first, causing Russo to then reconsider her offer for safety.
Using the CIA's surveillance equipment, William Rawlins was able to discover that Frank Castle had just recently been in contact with the family of the believed to be deceased David Lieberman when Zach Lieberman called a hotline in order to give up information on Castle's current whereabouts. Russo had agent Jack go into the Lieberman Residence where they proceeded to kidnap both Zach and Sarah Lieberman. Russo then had the pair tied up in an empty warehouse in the hope that Castle would seek them out, allowing Russo to assassinate him.
While looking at the utterly terrified Liebermans, Russo questioned if Rawlins had known that David Lieberman was alive, to which Rawlins noted that Carson Wolf had assured him that he had been murdered. Russo claimed that the entire situation was currently getting out of hand since he had killed Homeland Security agents and that Rawlins' name was somehow now known by Dinah Madani. Rawlins noted that he had gotten Marion James involved in the operation, meaning if they were caught then the CIA would come out looking bad, which James did not want to happen, meaning they were protected.
Russo however noted that none of them were safe now that Castle knew that he was involved, with Rawlins recommending that as they would all be in danger as long as he was alive, they go into Micro's Hideout where Castle had been tracked to using Sarah Lieberman's phone and finally assassinate him. Russo however had refused to go himself, refusing to expose himself any more than he already had, instead sending in his Anvil agents. Russo suggested that Rawlins go in person, which he refused to do as he did not wish to get his hands dirty with their situation, which did not surprise Russo.
- "You know the saying about having a dog and barking yourself?"
"Someday, sometime, this is gonna come down to you and me. Just know that, Bill."
"No, it isn't. You're a wanted man, Franky Boy. They'll catch up to you eventually. Just like the last time."
- ―Billy Russo and Frank Castle
While Russo watched over Sarah and Zach Lieberman, he sent a squad of well armed Anvil agents to Micro's Hideout in an attempt to find and kill Frank Castle once and for all. Shortly after they arrived, Russo was called by Jack who informed him that there seemed to be nobody at the Hideout anymore, but they had found footage of Cerberus Squad while they were torturing and killing Ahmad Zubair as well as a mysterious count down on the computer. When Russo learned that Castle's phone was still there, he realized that this was his trap and ordered them to get out.
Russo's conversation with Jack was cut short as the Punisher then caused an explosion as he ambushed the entire team. Having waited several minutes, Russo's phone rang again only for the Punisher to be on the other side accusing Russo of not having the balls to face him in person and sending in his men to do his dirty work. Punisher vowed that sooner or later they would face off in which one would kill the other, which Russo denied as Castle was a wanted man and would likely be captured or killed by Homeland Security before they could ever face off against each other one final time.
Castle warned that if anything happened to either of the Liebermans, then Micro would release everything on Operation Cerberus, so they agreed to have an exchange for Micro and Punisher in exchange for the Liebermans, which Castle agreed to as he told Russo to contact him was everything was arranged before hanging up. Russo then travelled to Micro's Hideout where he discovered all of the corpses the Punisher had left in his wake, alongside the footage of William Rawlins torturing Zubair and the countdown cloak, causing Russo to then curse as he considered what his next actions would be.
- "Oh, man. You are a trip. You know that? You really think that, huh? You still think that you get to kill us? That you get to win? You don't get to win, Frank. It's over. You have one choice left, and that's how to die. That's all I can give you, man."
- ―Billy Russo to Frank Castle
Russo arranged the trade of Punisher and Micro in exchange for the Sarah and Zach Lieberman. Russo took position with his sniper rifle as he watched the exchange go underway, with both the Liebermans under threat of being burned alive if anything went wrong. However suddenly Homeland Security agents arrived on the scene, causing chaos as the Punisher was captured while Micro was seemingly killed during the crossfire. Russo cursed for Micro's death before shooting out Homeland Security's tires and making his own escape.
Taking Frank Castle back to Micro's Hideout, Russo awoke him as Castle noted that the Hideout was looking better since it was now covered in the blood of Anvil agents. Russo noted that while he was in Cerberus Squad he had never considered what it would be like to be in his victim's place, which Castle was now in. Russo questioned why Homeland Security had turned up, with Castle denying that he had any knowledge, questioning if David Lieberman had called them, noting that he did not want to see Russo and William Rawlins under arrest, but he instead wanted to see both of them dead.
Russo however merely laughed at all Castle's threats, claiming that Castle stood no chance of ever winning and would not be able to kill him or Rawlins, just telling him that the last choice Castle would be allowed to make would be how he would die. Russo noted that the Liebermans were safe as Castle demanded to know where Micro was, to which Russo explained that Micro was dead and so Castle had to turn off the footage of Ahmad Zubair's death. Castle asked Russo if the Massacre at Central Park was unavoidable, questioning if Russo had killed Maria Castle and their children himself.
Sitting down, Russo told Castle he had not been at Central Park, also noting that if he was then he would not have missed the chance to kill Castle himself, claiming that he had told Ray Schoonover that he wanted no part in their deaths. As Castle cried upon learning his own friend had been aware that all his family would be slaughtered, Russo told him to look him in the eye while Russo insisted that he had never wanted any of this to happen. Russo offered Castle an easy or hard death, while he called Russo's bluff, telling Russo to kill him himself, knowing he could not until the countdown had stopped.
Frank Castle's Torture
- "They're all dead because of you. I get it. That's a a heavy, heavy burden. It's time to put it down. You're a revenant. Walking the earth, completely unaware that you're already dead. I hate seeing you like this. It's sad. Give it up, Frank. Give it up, and I'll make it clean and fast. Go out like a soldier."
- ―Billy Russo to Frank Castle
Russo continued mocking Frank Castle, even when Castle accused him of purely being obsessed with his own self image. Russo claimed that this were about who he saw when he looked in the mirror, telling Castle when he knew when he looked in the mirror Castle only saw some who lost his wife and his two children and would soon lose his life, to which Castle claimed that Russo had lost his honor every since he had accepted money to commit treason.
Russo noted that they had both witnessed breaking while in these situations and demanded the passcode, just as William Rawlins then entered the room, promising that things would get considerably more painful if he did not comply. Castle questioned if Russo really trusted Rawlins, asking if Morty Bennett had also trusted him before he had been murdered, but Rawlins explained that he and Russo had mutual interests. Russo then watched on as Rawlins put on his heavy leather gloves and then began striking Castle across the face multiple times, eventually causing Castle to lose some teeth and spit out blood.
Several hours into the torture, Russo had begun cleaning up Castle's blood from his face as he began to question who and what Castle was protecting, as everyone he cared about was now dead, including Gunner Henderson and Micro, and they were all dead because of Castle's actions. Russo then suggested that Castle give up and allow Russo to give him a clean death, until finally Castle claimed that he was ready to die, begging Russo to be the one to kill him cleanly and not Rawlins, as he knew Rawlins would prefer to continue torturing him until his heart gave out through all of the agonising pain.
Russo agreed to Castle's wish to kill him as Castle confessed that the way to turn off the countdown was using a retinal scanner which was on Micro's desk and a passcode which he knew. Russo had his Anvil agents drag Castle's chair up onto the computer, ordering the hacker to move aside so Castle could enter the passcode which his finger prints and use the retinal scanner to end the countdown. Both Russo and Rawlins watched while Castle entered the code and used the retinal scan, finally stopping the footage of Cerberus Squad while they tortured and killed Ahmad Zubair, much to their relief.
However, just as Rawlins began mocking Castle and claiming that he was disappointed in him, Castle drew a blade hidden under his chair and plunged it into Rawlins' chest before anybody could react fast enough to stop him. Russo desperately attempted to pull Rawlins away but Castle was still able to drag him over and bit into Rawlins' neck, causing the CIA agent to scream out in agony. As they wrestled on the floor, Russo then struck Castle with the butt of his gun, finally freeing Rawlins from his grip as Rawlins proceeded to kick Castle in the head out of anger and knocked him unconscious.
Betraying William Rawlins
- "You've lost your mind. I was out of Afghanistan clean. None of this would be happening if you hadn't gone after him. You pulled me back into the mud."
"I pulled you out of the mud, gutter rat! Billy, don't get confused. Men like me make the plans. Men like you shed the blood."
- ―Billy Russo and William Rawlins
Russo monitored the hacker as she deleted all of Micro's files he had left on the computer, while she commented on how they would have never gotten past all of his security. When the hacker noted that she would like to meet Micro, Russo told her he was dead and threatened to kill her if she ever revealed anything she had seen to the public. Russo then began watching as William Rawlins continued torturing Frank Castle, horrified at how deranged Rawlins was.
Interrupting the torture, Russo told Rawlins that Castle had had enough and they should leave the Hideout once everything had been wiped from the computers. When Russo noted that he would be killing Castle himself, Rawlins refused, noting that Castle had taken things from him and therefore would not be allowed to die easily, claiming that he did not care about the promise he had made to him. Having heard Rawlins' words, Russo began questioning if he had lost his position within the CIA, asking Rawlins directly what Castle had taken from him, which Rawlins still refused to answer.
Tired on the unneeded pain being caused, Russo dragged Rawlins away from Castle and demanded that he stop, only for Rawlins to furiously claim that Russo still served his needs and should not be involved. Russo claimed he had gotten out of Afghanistan without being mentally damaged and because of Rawlins, he was now being dragged into the mud, with Rawlins claiming that he had pulled him out of the mud. Rawlins then went on to claim that Russo had dirtied himself by killing Homeland Security agents, noting it was because of Rawlins and his CIA influence that Russo had gotten this far.
Disgusted, Russo claimed that he should have allowed Castle to kill Rawlins while back in Kandahar as Rawlins laughed in his face at the threat. Wishing to disrupt Rawlins' plans, Russo went behind Castle and placed his gun to the back of his head, with Rawlins ordering him to stop under the threat of then being handed over to Homeland Security. Desperate to be the one to kill Castle, Rawlins drew his gun and aimed it at Russo, noting that Castle owed him an eye. Seeing that Rawlins had become a serious threat to him due to his mental stability, Russo quietly cut Castle's ties and walked away.
As the hacker informed Russo that she was done and was sent off with her money, Russo watched as Rawlins injected Castle with a burst of adrenaline to ensure he experienced all the pain. Russo kept his distance as he saw Rawlins' attempt to cut out Castle's eye being blocked when Castle broke himself out of his bounds and knocked Rawlins to the floor. Russo calmly took Rawlins' gun away and just watched closely as Castle proceeded to furiously throw Rawlins to the floor, stabbing him repeatedly before beating him senseless and finishing his revenge by plunging his thumbs into Rawlins' eyes.
Russo smiled as Castle fell off Rawlins' bloodied corpse, struggling to breath, with Russo commenting on how he always liked watching Castle killing somebody. As Russo made his way to the dying Castle, he questioned what he had meant as Castle claimed that he wished he could live long enough to see the look on Russo's face when he realized he was done and would now lose everything. Just as Castle noted he would use Rawlins' own gun to kill Castle, he heard Dinah Madani's Homeland team bursting inside, as Russo was shot in the shoulder and forced to escape before he could kill Castle.
- "I've had better days."
"Yeah. I've seen you on the news. "Armed and dangerous." They have no idea, huh?"
- ―Billy Russo and Curtis Hoyle
Having escaped from inside Micro's Hideout just before he could be captured by any of Dinah Madani's agents and eventually managed to make it back to Anvil Headquarters. Russo focused on pulling out the bullet from his arm before pouring whiskey on the wound to clean it, despite this causing him considerable pain. Having patched up the wound, Russo then collected his weapons and cash and prepared to go on the run, only to then overhear some incoming agents who had managed to find his location and had come to capture and bring Russo to justice.
Using his knowledge of the building's layout to his advantage, Russo managed to kill the two agents who had come inside his own office almost immediately, before taking their radios and making his way towards the exit. As the Homeland Security agents spoke to each other on the radio during their search for their target, Russo used this to learn their positions within the building's hallways in order to get ahead and quietly execute them all with his silenced pistol, with his training in the United States Armed Forces allowing him to kill them with perfect accuracy before they could even see him coming.
Once Russo had eventually killed all of the Homeland Security agents who he could find within the building, he made his way outside and calmly set off a bomb within the Anvil Headquarters. Without looking back, Russo kept walking as Anvil, the company he had built from the ground up, was completely destroyed in a fireball. Knowing that he had become a high value target for Homeland Security, and that he had lost everything William Rawlins and he had been building for years, Russo set about finding Frank Castle so that he could execute his revenge against his former friend for ruining his life.
Seeking information, Russo went into Curtis Hoyle's Apartment and awaited his awakening, taking his hidden pistol from underneath the adjacent pillow. Once Curtis Hoyle awoke, Russo revealed himself as Hoyle noted that he had seen reports on the news about Russo being armed and dangerous. Russo questioned if it was Lewis Wilson who had given Hoyle all of the bruises on his face which he confirmed, as Russo noted he would have killed Wilson before he had even gotten a chance, before allowing Hoyle put his false leg on.
Russo questioned how long Hoyle knew Frank Castle was still alive, which he did not answer and instead tried to convince Russo that he needed help. Russo mocked this idea of going to Hoyle's therapy sessions and, when Hoyle questioned if he had really ever turned his life around since leaving the United States Armed Forces, Russo then admitted he did not. Hoyle then got to his feet and asked if he was allowed to make coffee, which Russo told him he could do as Hoyle explained that he had kept Castle's secrets because he was asked to, noting that Castle only ever wanted to protect Russo.
Russo went on to suggest that Castle was in fact the one to blame for everything that had gone wrong before feeling the need to defend the actions of Operation Cerberus by noting the drugs would have gotten out of Afghanistan anyway so he and Ray Schoonover might as well have made the deals. As Hoyle opened all the curtains, he noted that Russo and Castle were very alike, except Castle would never betray a brother, but Russo noted that he was there to force Hoyle to betray Castle, threatening to shoot him in his good leg until he revealed the truth, asking once again where Castle was.
Hoyle offered Russo the coffee, taking a drink out of his own to show it was not poisoned. However, just as Russo went to take the coffee, he realized that he had been convinced to step into the center of the room with the windows now fully exposed. Sensing the trap, Russo dived to the floor just as the Punisher fired a shot from his sniper rifle, barely missing Russo. Furious, Russo dived for cover and shot Hoyle in the shoulder as he hid himself, with Russo continuing to fire at him. As the shooting stopped, Russo held a knife up to the window which Castle fired at, confirming that he was still aiming for him.
As Russo complained that he was taking these betrayals personally, Hoyle's phone then began to ring so Russo allowed him to answer it. Hoyle then told Russo that Castle wanted to speak to him and threw him the phone, as Russo noted that they knew each other so well that they were able to predict each other's attacks. Castle ordered Russo to let Hoyle go to ensure nobody else got hurt but Russo still refused, telling Castle that he intended to hurt everybody Castle ever cared about in order to get to him, threatening to allow Hoyle to bled out, but Castle threatened to call Homeland Security if he did.
Russo only agreed to leave Hoyle alone, if Castle agreed to empty the rifle, as Russo listened to ensure this happened. Getting onto his feet, Russo made eye contact with Castle and suggested that they meet that night for a final showdown to end their hunt, telling Castle to meet him by the Central Park Carousel, knowing that returning to the sight of the Massacre at Central Park would likely put Castle off balance emotionally and give Russo the advantage. With this agreed upon, Russo gave Castle a military salute and walking out of Hoyle's apartment in order to get ready for the final showdown.
- "Attachments are a weakness, Frank. I never had anybody."
"You had us, Bill."
"The Punisher? What a crock of shit."
- ―Billy Russo and Punisher
Knowing that the Punisher would be getting close, Russo turned on the Carousel as Carl and Hayley cried out in pain and fear as they spun around and around. Russo then called Castle on the phone, ensuring that he could see the pair suffering before noting that two more children would soon die because him, reminding Castle of the deaths of Frank Castle, Jr. and Lisa Castle at that same spot during the Massacre at Central Park. However to Russo's surprise, Castle used the tactic of firing grenades into the air, forcing Russo to have to take cover from all the large fireballs that were erupting.
Despite being distracting by the explosions, Russo caught sight of the Punisher charging towards him and began firing upon him. The two former friends continued firing upon each other, with Russo managing to shoot Castle in the leg while they both took cover and reloaded. Taking advantage of the fact that Castle needed to pause to bandage his leg, Russo charged across the park and ran just beside the Carousel to find cover. The pair both waited for a clear shot before they both got onboard the Carousel, using the horses as cover as they attempted to find the fatal shot to kill the other.
Knowing that Castle would be emotionally off balance owing to the location they were fighting in, Russo called out to him, claiming that they needed this kind of violence in their lives to feel whole and that this was all they were good for since leaving the United States Armed Forces. Russo claimed that neither of them were good people before they both caught a glimpse of each other and began shooting again and using the fake horses to maintain cover. During the next moment of quiet, Russo then questioned who would mourn them all once they were dead and claimed that they were in fact the same.
As they had spotted each other again, Russo fired towards Castle and managed to shoot him in the stomach, with Castle being saved by his Bulletproof Vest. However one of Castle's bullets managed to bounce of a steel pole and imbedded itself within Russo's cheek as he screamed out in both pain and anger and the thought of now being permanently scarred on his face. Spitting out the bullet, Russo decided enough was enough, stopping the Carousel and furiously threatening to kill Hayley and Carl if Castle did not show himself, as Russo then ordered the terrified kids to beg for their lives.
Punisher did as Russo instructed and came around the corner, telling Russo to let the kids go. Russo however demanded that he instead throw away both his gun and his knife, as he told Castle that all his attachments were a weakness and shot Castle in the chest, claiming that he never had anybody. While Castle struggled to stand, Russo shot him again, ignoring Castle's claims that Russo had a family with the Castles. However before Russo to execute Castle, Dinah Madani suddenly appeared and Russo managed to spin around and shot her directly in the head before she could stop and arrest him.
Losing his Face
- "Kill me. Do it! "
"I'm not gonna let you die today."
"Dying's easy. You're gonna learn about pain!"
- ―Billy Russo and Punisher
The pair began furiously throwing one another to the ground, as the Punisher hit Russo in the face and refused to allow him to get back up. Eventually Russo was able to dodge one of the Punisher's blows, causing him to punch the ground as Russo managed to get up and continued the fight. Seeking to gain an advantage, Russo was able to draw his knife and began furiously slashing at the Punisher, cutting at his Bulletproof Vest while attempting to cut a vital artery. However the enraged Punisher still continued hitting Russo and had eventually managed to take the knife, putting Russo back on the defence.
Punisher managed to pin Russo against one of the mirror, cracking it, as he attempted to plunge Russo's own knife into his eye socket. Using on his strength to keep him at bay, Russo then smiled at the Punisher as he used his hidden wrist blade to stab straight through Punisher's arm, causing him intense agony. Throwing the Punisher away from him, Russo retook his own knife and then began attacking him with both blades, cutting into his arms several times before the Punisher was able to land a hard kick against Russo and attempted to then regain the upper hand against his former friend.
Before long their clash ended as Russo had plunged the blade into the Punisher's shoulder and threw him against the mirror, cracking it even further and causing some large broken shards to fall onto the floor. Getting right into the Punisher's face, Russo told him to look at himself before he called him pathetic. Russo then pulled the blade out of Punisher's shoulder and attempted to plunge it into his throat to finish him off, however he failed to see the Punisher had collected a large piece of the broken mirror which he then stabbed straight into Russo's stomach, causing blood to pour out of Russo's wound.
Pulling the piece of broken mirror out of his gut, Russo desperately attempted to defend himself but was in too much agony, allowing Punisher to beat him mercilessly and punch him straight into another mirror, cracking it. Unable to defend himself, Russo was grabbed by the Punisher and, to his utter horror, was dragged face first across the broken mirror, ripping the side of his face apart as he screamed in agony. Enraged by the damage caused to his face, Russo attempted to attack the Punisher only to once again to smashed face first into another mirror as Russo fell to the ground, unable to move.
Punisher forced Russo to look into his reflection in the broken mirror, as Russo saw all of the damage done to his once handsome face. Horrified, Russo begged Frank Castle to kill him as he held the shard of mirror to Russo's throat. However to Russo's horror, Punisher then dropped the shard and claimed that he would not be killing him now, telling him that dying would be too easy for him as he proceeded to kick Russo face first into the broken mirror. Promising that Russo would now learn about pain and about loss, Punisher then grabbed Russo's hair and smashed him face first into the mirror.
While Russo's face was torn to shreds by being repeatedly smashed into the cracked mirror, Punisher got down to his level and explained how every morning he would look for his wife and his two children before realizing that they were all gone forever. Punisher told him that he wanted Russo to feel the same pain as he looked at his mangled face in the mirror each morning and remembered what he lost and that he would remember Punisher doing it to him. Punisher smashed Russo's face directly into the mirror one last time, causing permanent and horrific scarring to him as Russo finally lost consciousness.
Russo then soon arrested as the New York City Police Department arrived on the scene and took him straight to the hospital, along with Madani who miraculously survived Russo's gunshot. Under the close watch of Marion James and Rafael Hernandez, Russo was then put into surgery and underwent eleven hours of work, seemingly saving his life. However Russo went into a coma due to all of the trauma he had sustained from the fight, with the doctors unsure if he would ever regain consciousness again or if he would regain any higher level of brain function or any memory of his past life what so ever.
- "Guys like us, Frank, we need this! It's all we're good for. Just a couple of assholes who thought we could have the good things in life. But we are not good people, Frank. We never were!"
- ―Billy Russo to Punisher
Billy Russo is an arrogant, confident and intelligent man. Whilst in Afghanistan he befriended Frank Castle but later betrayed him to William Rawlins. He was nicknamed ‘the Beaut’ due to his own good looks meaning he is confident in his sexual prowess with women.
However, despite using her to get Frank after learning that his "friend" was alive, Billy seemed to have genuine feelings for Dinah Madani. For the first time with anyone else, he shared the story of his shitty childhood with the agent and refused to take advantage of her when she wanted to have sex while being clearly emotionally unstable.
While claiming that attachment was a weakness, Billy paid the hospital bill for his sick mother despite the fact that she was a junkie who abandonned him when he was a child. Also, while knowing what Rawlins was planning to do to Frank after learning that someone stole recordings of his shady actions during the war, Billy couldn't bring himself to be involved in the murder of the Castles, though he did nothing to prevent the murders either.
- Master Combatant: Billy Russo is a highly skilled and lethal combatant, with him holding his own in a prolonged fight against the Punisher, and managing to grievously wound the latter, before getting defeated.
- Master Marksman: Russo was trained to utilize firearms during his service in Afghanistan; returning home, he brought his training alongside him. Russo even states to Castle that he wouldn't have missed the bullet that wounded Frank at the Massacre at Central Park if he was there.
- Businessman: After returning to the United States, Russo established Anvil; though he hired veterans to take on security and other protection services, it served as a facade to monitor operations outside the country as well as eliminate former members of the Cerberus Squad.
- Hidden Blade: Russo carries a hidden wrist blade in his gear. Often alternating between left-hand and right-hand carry, he utilized this blade in many different confrontations, including one attack and killing of Sam Stein.
- Kimber Warrior: Russo's sidearm, notably using it during his final encounter with Frank Castle at Duel at the Central Park Carousel.
- Heckler & Koch HK416: Russo and his squad mates were issued the Heckler & Koch in Afghanistan, notably during Operation Cerberus.
- Barrett M107: Billy Russo wielded the sniper rifle during the exchange of the Lieberman family and Frank Castle. Russo used it when firing multiple shots at Homeland Security agents.
- Bulletproof Vest: Russo owns and utilizes a bulletproof vest that provides protection during his many encounters with Frank Castle and Dinah Madani.
|Appearances for Billy Russo|
In chronological order:
- In the comics, Billy Russo was a criminal that, after a rundown with Punisher, had his formerly handsome face damaged. The injuries he sustained and the resultant scars made him gain the nickname Jigsaw, as his face bared resemblance to a jigsaw puzzle.
Behind the Scenes
- Billy Russo in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the second live-action incarnation of the character, following an incarnation portrayed by Dominic West.
- When Ben Barnes was cast, the character was listed as Bobby Saint so as to avoid any reveals. The name comes from the 2004 film adaptation of The Punisher starring Thomas Jane. Bobby, and his twin brother John, were the sons of the film's villain Howard Saint played by John Travolta.
- In the video game adapted from the movie, John Saint becomes Jigsaw.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 The Punisher: 1.08: Cold Steel
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 The Punisher: 1.02: Two Dead Men
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 The Punisher: 1.03: Kandahar
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 The Punisher: 1.13: Memento Mori
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 The Punisher: 1.04: Resupply
- ↑ The Punisher: 1.05: Gunner
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 The Punisher: 1.06: The Judas Goat
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 The Punisher: 1.07: Crosshairs
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 The Punisher: 1.09: Front Toward Enemy
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 The Punisher: 1.10: Virtue of the Vicious
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 The Punisher: 1.11: Danger Close
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 The Punisher: 1.12: Home
- ↑ https://twitter.com/benbarnes/status/940693873516564483