Tag Archives: Klaus Janson

Six Weeks of Punishment: Deadly Knights



Hello, Legions of the Unspoken!

I sure hope you enjoyed the first installment in our Six Weeks of Punishment leading up to Daredevil Season 2!  Emily and I had a ton of fun doing the podcast, and speaking of a ton of fun, the 90’s were saturated in the form of fun that only arrives in the form of an inter-company crossover!

Speaking of crossovers, you’re well aware that we’re heading quickly toward the Daredevil crossover with Punisher, but let’s also keep in mind that we are rapidly approaching the Batman/Superman movie as well!  We have’t seen this many crossovers since…well…the 90’s!

There were possibly too many crossovers at the time, but you couldn’t convince me so then, and you’d still have difficulty convincing me so now.  While there were some real stinkers and some cash grab crossovers, I was still entranced by the idea of characters meeting that rarely met.  I wanted to see the outcomes of these fights!  I wanted the supporting characters to interact. There’s something magical about these stories to me, and sadly, the first Batman/Punisher crossover, Lake of Fire, just didn’t capture that for me.  I’m not a big Denny O’Neil guy, and he wrote that one in a way that sort of embodied what naysayers say about crossovers.  The book did look good, and redemption was possible because Punisher/Batman:  Deadly Knights would emerge next.

Deadly Knights washed the bad taste of Lake of Fire out of my mouth with the ferocity of a fire hose.  Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the creative team of Chuck Dixon, John Romita, Jr., and Klaus Janson did what i feel is still the best Punisher story of all time, and Chuck Dixon certainly knew his way around the Batfamily as well, with long runs in that area of comics, including his excellent treatment of both Nightwing and Robin (Tim Drake).

Dixon knows how to craft an action story.  I probably read more of his stuff in the 90’s than anyone else’s.  Every month, I could expect MULTIPLE solid action tales from his pen alone than some writers could do in a year.  JRJR and Janson also certainly make his tale come to light.  They waste no time. From the moment the cover is opened, we see Punisher raining fire upon the savage mooks of Gotham City in his quest to find Jigsaw.

Punisher & Batman - Deadly Knights #446 - Page 5
People from NYC  in comic books talk about Gotham City the way people in real life talk about NYC.  (I kid, I kid!)

The place is surrounded by Gotham’s finest, but Commissioner Gordon doesn’t think any of this apocalyptic gunfire is worth risking any of Gotham’s finest over.  He’s probably right, as you can tell from the picture above, Punisher and these goons are in a gunfight, and as much as I love Punisher, he’s definitely not worth risking any cop lives over.

Gordon is the most hands-on police commissioner in history.  He’s at every firefight.  How does he get any paperwork done?

After Punisher manages to plant a few rounds in some paint vats, he blows up the place BECAUSE PUNISHER.  He moves in to question the surviving mook (being the last guy to survive a firefight with the Punisher is like winning a lottery where the prize is being slow-cooked in a vat of creamed corn like on that one Halloween episode of Roseanne.  What did you really get?) when everyone’s favorite flying rodent-styled-vigilante arrives on the scene, as he is wont to do when people are shooting paint vats in Gotham City.

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Not gonna lie-Commissioner Gordon has a rather Cavalier attitude about his public responsibility.  If anyone is alive in there, shouldn’t public servants try and save them, even if they are criminals?  Also, note the capitalization of Cavalier; that’s a Batman joke for both of you who’ll get it.

Of course, Punisher has his own ideas, despite Batman’s presence.  What’s especially interesting about this crossover is that the last time Frank Castle met Batman, it wasn’t really Batman (Bruce Wayne).  It was Jean-Paul Valley, better known as Azrael, also known as THE CLAWED TANK WHO WOULD BE BATMAN.

No matter what he may say or think about Batman, I bet Punisher could get behind claws that fire rockets.

One of the first things Castle figures out here is that this Batman isn’t the same as the Batman he already fought with and beside.  For all of the stuff we love about Punisher, I feel like his detective skills are one of the things that we don’t discuss enough.  It takes him maybe 14 seconds to figure out what it took Gordon weeks to figure out; it’s also something I do not believe Superman ever figured out. (I’m possibly wrong about this.  Correct me in the comments if so!)

Punisher manages to question the lone surviving mook, but Batman shows up, Punisher figures out who he is, and Batman proceeds to engage Frank in a fistfight.  Normally it’d be a huge mistake to take on a gun-wielding Punisher with just your fists, but this is Batman.

Punisher & Batman - Deadly Knights #446 - Page 11
Almost is underlined so you know just how almost Batman feels.

The mook Punisher was trying to question gets away and makes his way back to his boss, Jigsaw.  Jigsaw came to Gotham City in the last Batman/Punisher crossover, as he wants to move on the mobs here to get away from the heat of NYC.  It seems like he would have opened up shop somewhere not famous for having the world’s most prominent vigilante in it.  Maybe somewhere like Dos Rios, Texas?

Wait, this guy is in Dos Rios.  There’s no safe place for a crime lord, Jigsaw.

The mook promised Jigsaw that he said nothing about him to Punisher, but Jigsaw’s partner, The Joker, doesn’t believe him and shoots him.  Or maybe Joker did believe him and shot him anyway.  There’s no telling, y’all.  IT’S THE JOKER.

Punisher & Batman - Deadly Knights #446 - Page 15
We get it, Joker. We get it.

Of course, everything isn’t Joker’s-lips rosy between these two.  Jigsaw is mad about not having made more headway into the Gotham City gang scene, and he lets Joker know this in a very diplomatic fashion.  He tears the place apart.  Of course, Joker is an insane and evil clown, so he isn’t impressed and reiterates to Jigsaw that Joker’s plan is the best. Once they get in, Jigsaw will be entrenched.  Also, as a bonus, Joker has gotten Jigsaw’s face fixed.  I’d wonder why Joker doesn’t get his own face fixed, but then I’d be wondering about The Joker, and I am quite sure that doing so for too long will just render one mad.

One of my favorite aspects of this book is how both Batman and Punisher find the other one to be crazy.  They each claim that they are the proper response to the criminal element and that the other is nuts.  It’s like watching Ed Gein and Jeffery Dahmer call each other cannibals.  You listen because it’s interesting while knowing that the pot is calling the kettle black, or in this case Bat.  Of course, in their worlds, the other is the one that is off his rocker.  Punisher doesn’t get it when it comes to Batman because he isn’t a wanton murderer, while Batman doesn’t get Punisher because Punisher IS a wanton murderer.  If this wasn’t about wanton murder, I reckon they could agree to disagree, but that seems like too an intense a topic to let drop easily.

Batman can’t let Jigsaw’s presence in Gotham City drop easily.  Of course, neither can Punisher, who’s brought Microchip with him to help gather information.  Both Microchip and Batman are asking and answering the most important question in this scenario…

Punisher & Batman - Deadly Knights #446 - Page 17
Yeah, Micro, Batman’s the crazy one.
Punisher & Batman - Deadly Knights #446 - Page 18
Gang Wars that play it a little closer to the vest are ok, though.

Of course, the information that one can glean from a computer is limited, or at least it was in 1994, what with having to use an AOL floppy disc to get going.  Think about that; despite how impressive that Batcomputer looks above, it was still using dial-up.  You hearing the modem noise?  GOOD.

Since one can only learn so much, both Punisher and Batman take to the streets in their own ways to get more intelligence.  Of course, with Batman, this means we get to see the awesome and infamous MATCHES MALONE.

Punisher & Batman - Deadly Knights #446 - Page 22
Does Batman always drive with his pinkie or is that just something he does to throw folks off from thinking he is Matches Malone?

Frank Castle’s cell phone looks about 10 years ahead of its time, so perhaps the Batputer from earlier at least has DSL.  Matches is driving around a gangster, Jimmy Navarone.  Jimmy just happens to be the next target of Jigsaw and Joker in their bid to move up the Gotham Mob Ladder. (That should be either the name of a story of some sort of awesome Batman accessory.)

 A key point above is Frank asking Microchip to nose around in Navarone’s computer business, which it leads us to some Hackers-style…well…er…um…hacking between Robin (Tim Drake) and Microchip.  This is a neat little bit here, and it’s so cool to see Batman’s supporting cast in this crossover.  It’d have been much easier to just have Punisher and Batman punch each other in the shadows of the Bat-Signal, which has somehow been changed into a skull for most of the comic, but instead, by getting to see Batman’s supporting cast, even if it’s just seeing Alfred being delightfully snooty for just a second, Dixon has deftly given anyone who picked this up that didn’t already follow Batman a sense of Batman’s world that may entice them into pickling up another issue.  We also see all of Punisher’s supporting cast, which really just  means Microchip, once again, BECAUSE PUNISHER.

I suppose Jigsaw could sort of count, as he’s been around Punisher for quite some time.  I honestly think he has the superpower of being the only guy throughout all of history and time that Punisher is unable to kill.

Back to the story, Navarone is living it up at the clubs, and Punisher has grown tired of waiting.  He walks by Matches, but he doesn’t make him.  Also, let the hack-duel begin!

Punisher & Batman - Deadly Knights #446 - Page 23
I don’t know if what Robin is saying is really computer talk or not, and I don’t care.  That sounds cool as hell!

Despite seemingly having an open invitation to the depraved (I’m basing this on the crazy look that duck is giving us in the lower right panel), The Toy Box actually is very selective in regard to its clientele, as Frank Castle learns very quickly upon entering the establishment.

Punisher & Batman - Deadly Knights #446 - Page 24

Punisher has a scar but Jigsaw doesn’t.  Nice.

Yep, that’s Jigsaw, and he is looking good!  Jigsaw just can’t resist messing with Frank Castle before he offs him, and I just had to show you the best possibly glimpse at Jigsaw’s new face as he does it.

As you see above as well, Batman is on his way to The Toy Box, where you just know that this “conversation” between Jigsaw and Frank Castle isn’t going especially well.  Of course, we can’t forget that the reason that Jigsaw and Joker are even there is because they are chasing Navarone in order to remove him from the Gotham City Mob power structure.  First, though, let’s get Punisher some guns.

Punisher & Batman - Deadly Knights #446 - Page 26
Somehow Joker peering between the piano and its cover is one of the creepiest Joker panels I have ever seen.

While all this is going on, the Hack-Joust between Microchip and Robin comes to a close, and you see just why he’s the Boy Wonder!

Punisher & Batman - Deadly Knights #446 - Page 27
If your name is Microchip, you’ve sort of got to win your computer battles; it’s all you have got.

Robin seems to think that Batman is missing all of the action, which is sort of like thinking that someone on a boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean could miss all the water.  Dude, the action is all around him.  Batman being Batman, he jumps right in, with Bat-Bombs flying.

Batman doesn’t recognize Jigsaw based purely on his voice, but he does recognize someone else’s voice despite the cacophony that must be reverberating in this building, what with all the gunfire, explosions, Bat-Bombs, and ninja kicking going on.

Punisher & Batman - Deadly Knights #446 - Page 29
Wouldn’t it be more mysterious if he left his logo off of everything?  On the other hand, I’m totally in for the Bat-Bomb Batman action figure variant.

The world catches fire as Punisher and Batman join forces to get out of this maelstrom, although neither of them seem to be especially happy about it.  Of course, how happy is Punisher supposed to be?  It’s barely 18 seconds into this fight and he has already gotten shot.

Punisher & Batman - Deadly Knights #446 - Page 30
Only The Punisher would call Batman a Boy Scout.

In the midst of all the fighting, Punisher gets Batman some breathing room by, you know, blowing folks away.  This distracts Punisher enough to enable Jigsaw to sneak up on our beloved vigilante, but it also costs Jigsaw dearly…

Punisher & Batman - Deadly Knights #446 - Page 33
Yep, horseshoes and buckshot grenades.  Just like they say, close counts there.

I think there are three moments in this book that everyone was waiting for, and we’re about to hit all three of then in rapid order.  The first one happens right now, as the shit has hit the fan, there are mooks everywhere, and the only thing that can save the day is Batman and Punisher, side-by-side, taking out or taking down every Gotham mobster in sight.

Of course, what fun would this be if our two vigilantes didn’t toss a barb or two at one another, and how could this guy be Batman if he didn’t tell Castle to leave town when his immediate killing is over.

Punisher & Batman - Deadly Knights #446 - Page 34
Um, that’s why he has Robin, Frank.

The fight breaks down, and Batman winds up taking on Jigsaw while Punisher chases down The Joker.  The Batman vs. Jigsaw fight is as uninteresting as it sounds like, and I don’t find this to be the fault of the creators.  The fracas looks and sounds as good as it could, but at the end of the day, it’s Batman vs. Jigsaw.  Even with Jigsaw’s facial road map, I am sure that dealing with Two-Face the second of every month has Batman finely attuned to the nuances of dealing with those afflicted with severe facial scarring.  He shows it by making short work of Jigsaw.

What’s much more interesting is Frank Castle vs. The Joker.  Of all of Batman’s opponents, The Joker is the one that you routinely hear come up in the constant “should Batman kill?” debates.  There’s a very strong argument that he is a deadly force that should be eradicated.  To Batman, the stronger argument is that he is a person and so he’s entitled not to be murdered.  This is sort of what makes Batman Batman at his core.  Despite his brutality, there’s a core of decency that enables Batman to provide even The Joker with respect for him as a human being.

Punisher, of course, is bereft of all of that, and thinks the best thing he could do for The Joker is put a bullet right in his brain.

Punisher & Batman - Deadly Knights #446 - Page 41
I am pretty sure the joke is that they’re both nuts.
Punisher & Batman - Deadly Knights #446 - Page 42

Castle was this close to killing The Joker, but Batman stepped in to stop him.  Of course, Punisher isn’t going to take that lying down, which leads to our final of the big three moments, which is Punisher hitting Batman with a punch; you gotta buy the book to see that one!

As much as I love The Punisher, I’d be the first to admit that Batman could take him in hand-to-hand combat.  I think it’d be a little harder than most folks that I know, but that may be because of my love of the character.  I honestly wish we had seen a bit more of the two of them fighting in this book, but the story moves along well without it.  I don’t miss it as I read it, but afterwards, I notice it in reflection.

In the last of their encounter, Batman takes Punisher down again, saying that while Punisher may have been entitled to one punch, it’s just going to be the one.  Batman takes advantage of one last opportunity to call Frank Castle crazy.  So he responds by calling Batman crazy.

I’m not sure who wins the scowl-off here.  Both competitors are quite impressive.

The books ends with Punisher leaving Gotham City and heading back to a New York City that he knows and understands, which is the only ending the book really could have had.

All in all, this was a quite satisfying read.  Some of it moves a bit fast for my tastes, but there was a lot to squeeze in here, especially when considering that there’d be no opportunity for a follow-up issue.  Fans of both Batman and Punisher will be happy, and a fan just looking for an event would get those three big moments.

I have to give credit to Richard Starking and Comicraft for the lettering job as well.  The captions for Punisher and Batman really stand out and add a level of depth to this story.  I love it when I get to see creators take advantage of the little things that only comic books can do to add depth to a story.

That’s it for Round 2 of your Six Weeks of Punishment, Legions! Thanks for coming to Gotham City with Frank and I! Be here this weekend when Emily Scott shows us how Punishment will work in the future world of Marvel 2099!!!!

The Front Line is Everywhere- Punisher: War Zone #1

Welcome to another installment of The Unspoken Decade!  I hope you enjoyed Angel’s work here last week, and if you didn’t, I reckon you might ought not tell me, what with me being her brother and all!

Over at Longbox Graveyard, I recently penned an article on one of the Punisher’s appearances in the 1970’s in Marvel Preview #2.  I am unsure when it will be published, but as I was writing it, I started thinking about how I needed to get to Punisher sooner rather than later in my own corner of the blogosphere here at The Unspoken Decade.

Punisher has been my favorite comic book character since I was in 4th grade, and he is arguably my favorite character in anything ever, regardless of medium.  I recall the first time I stumbled upon Punisher was a Saturday morning after spending the night at my friend Carse Peel’s place.  Carse was and most likely is as strange as his name suggests.  He was a cool guy, but he also showed me my first porno, talked about sex all the time, showed me his dick constantly, and he told me his mom gave him hickies.  He had an NES and lots of games, though, so I basically had to be his pal then; I would have been violating 4th grade Omerta otherwise.  (We will hear more about a different sort of Omerta later, where the stakes are higher than just Holly Phillips not returning my “Will You Go Out With Me?  Check One of the Boxes.” note.)So I tolerated the weirdest 4th grader not in a Village of the Damned movie because otherwise I would have been bereft of late nights watching USA Up All Night and playing Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out.

He also had a big stack of comic books, and while I would not dive headfirst into the superhero swimming pool for a few years as of yet, I was already familiar with many superheroes  from cartoons like Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends, Super Friends, Incredible Hulk, the 1966 Batman show, and many more places of origin.  Hell, I had even bought a comic book or two!  I had never seen this guy in the skull though, and while I was tempted to just dismiss this as one of Carse’s weird books, I instead made the greatest decision I could, which was to open up the book at the risk of it being full of perversion.  Instead, I found the violent glory of Frank Castle, The Punisher.

I asked Carse about him, and he told me he was an Australian hero who killed bad guys because his family had been killed.  So, despite Punisher being my favorite character, I went around for about two years believing that Australia had provided me with Punisher.   I think this misinterpretation came from the fact that the Dolph Lundgren Punisher movie was filmed in Australia, or maybe Carse was just pulling one over on me; where is a great detective like Dakota North to find this out when I need her?

I will tell you some other Carse stories later sometime if you are good, but for now, we have to get to our first gimmick cover of The Unspoken Decade…PUNISHER: WAR ZONE #1!!!

243 The Punisher War Zone #1 - Page 1

(Frank Castle would not be the only 90’s character to sport the gun, trenchcoat, and pouches combo, but no one else did so with this sort of panache.)

                John Romita Jr. would be responsible for at least 80% of the panache shown here, with much of the rest filled up by the fact that having a laser sight on an Uzi is amazing.  The cover is Die-Cut, in many ways the least offensive of the gimmick covers that saturated the early 90’s, and it sometimes made covers better.  In this instance, I am in that club.  Just take a gander at the wraparound and inside cover!


243 The Punisher War Zone #1 - Page 2

(I like to pretend that the story here is that Punisher is actually shooting those guys with a giant gun as they stand in awe of the longest teeth in the history of The Punisher skull.)

Being somewhat of a gun nut, I appreciate the realism on the cover where Punisher is holding the two Uzis.  If you look, you can see the fold-up stocks on the guns.  Attention to detail like this has made not just John Romita, Jr. one of my favorite artists of all time, but it has also made Chuck Dixon one of my favorite writers ever.  He’s one of the more underrated writers in the business, and he certainly was one of the more underrated writers of the 90’s.  I don’t think he ever wrote a masterpiece other than the first arc in Punisher:  War Zone, but he did a great job on many titles dealing with street level heroes, such as Batman, Robin, and Nightwing.  He somehow had an ability to make these turf wars, seedy warehouses, and mob families seem so real one could almost smell the gun grease.  He was also able to maintain a rather lofty workload; it seems at almost any given point he was writing at least four monthly titles in the 90’s.

That output wasn’t hurting him anywhere here.  I often hear that “no one ever got Punisher before Garth Ennis,” and while I do believe Mr. Ennis is a fine Punisher scribe, to say such a thing is to hurl a hydrogen bomb of an insult at guys like Steven Grant, Mike Baron, and my man, Chuck Dixon.  There are several really good Punisher stories waaaaaay before Ennis crossed the pond and anyone who thinks otherwise is either being self-delusional or they just worship Garth Ennis, and as much as I enjoy some of Ennis’s work, the idea of him being a deity is about as pleasant to me as a rug burn to the face.  If you have read his work, you know why.  If you haven’t, read his Marvel Knights Punisher and his Punisher Max stuff.  It’s really good.

This blog isn’t about how good Ennis is, though, but it is about how good a team Dixon/Romita Jr./Janson is here.  Dixon writes Punisher as the driven psychopath he is, and Romita does a great job having Castle’s body language convey that outlook.  Take a look at Punisher’s eyes as he mows down an informant who has gone nuts and shot a cop.

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(The only thing emptier than Punisher’s eyes is a Sears store at the mall.)

This is the first thing you see when you open the comic book, and already the creative team has established that Punisher is a psychopath with little regard for others…or himself.  Lynn Michaels is the cop that raises her gun against Punisher but doesn’t fire; she becomes an important member of Punisher’s supporting cast and eventually serves as Punisher herself for a bit following the events of Suicide Run, which I am sure I will cover at some point here at The Unspoken Decade.

This arc also explored the relationship between Punisher and his partner, Microchip.  Yes, his name is really Microchip.  My girlfriend did not believe me, so she certainly did not believe me when I told her that Microchip’s son is named Microchip, Jr.  For real, to this moment, she does not believe me.  I understand why not, but come on!  Why would I lie about this?  Anyhow, Microchip is like Punisher’s Alfred in a way, if Alfred was a fat, balding computer genius who didn’t mind that Batman killed folks.   Microchip tries to reason with Punisher about not overdoing it, but this was as effective as kindly asking a rabid skunk to leave you alone while you enjoy a sunny day.

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(I think Punisher bought those Craftsman tools from the same Sears store at the mall I mocked earlier.)

Microchip has been going out a bit, and Punisher is bothered by it.  Since they’re good friends who have been mired in a hellacious war on crime together, Punisher decided to follow Microchip rather than ask him what is going on.  For a fat guy, Microchip is a subway ninja.  All Punisher finds out is that Microchip has been talking to someone.  Since Punisher was all sneaky about finding out where Microchip was going, perhaps he will be sneaky about letting Microchip know he has the information.  OR HE IS THE GODDAMN PUNISHER.

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(Punisher sounds a little like a 7th-grade girl.  “Did you tell him about me?  What did you guys talk about?”)

Microchip leaves, and he does not return for awhile.  The way Punisher interacts with Micro and basically disregards his feelings other than how it works for Punisher is emblematic of what is so great about this character.  He has no feelings for anyone.  He cares not for himself, Microchip, his dead family, or the cops he saved earlier.  He cares only for his war.  All that matters is his war.  I admire that sort of that dedication.  I wish I had a sliver or two of it in my life.

The issue then jumps to what appears to be a generic banana republic, where a scared tyrant is listening to an injured solider tell him how one guy killed 101 of the best men in the tyrant’s army.  As the tyrant expresses incredulity at this, the man kills both of them, lets us know his name is Shotgun, and then vocalizes that his body count is now up to 103.

Jumping back to NYC, Punisher takes out some mooks (man, I love that word) that have decided to engage in an extracurricular hit on a restaurant that doubles as a bank for Triad casinos.  The mooks get in and out, but Punisher is waiting for them with more firepower than he needs.

243 The Punisher War Zone #1 - Page 19

(Jesus, if Punisher says he used too much firepower, what could he have used? A nuclear submarine?)

Punisher kills all these mooks, but he saves one.  You see, Punisher has a plan to take down the Carbone mob, and all he needs is a scared wise guy to help him infiltrate the family.  Mickey Fondozzi finds himself both the unluckiest and luckiest guy in the Marvel Universe at this point; he has survived a fight with Punisher, but now he must work for Punisher.  That would be like Cthulhu not eating you, but instead he makes you manager of a restaurant where he eats other people.  I mean, it is good to be alive, but no way could one feel secure at all.

Mickey stands his ground as best as one hanging upside down by their feet can, even dropping the Big O on Punisher.

243 The Punisher War Zone #1 - Page 20

(Buttcheeks is too nice of a term for Feds.  I prefer fascist buttcheeks.)

Mickey daring to drop Omerta on Punisher is both brave and ever so funny.  It becomes even funnier when Punisher has apparently gone to genealogy.com and found exactly who Mickey Fondozzi is and what he is all about.

Mickey continues to play tough guy, and so Punisher, in one of the more famous scenes from Punisher lore, decided to make Mickey cooperate the old-fashioned way by asking nicely while using a blowtorch on him.

Or does he?

243 The Punisher War Zone #1 - Page 22

(These mobsters sure talk loosely on the phone.  I have known pot dealers with strict phone code, and yet here they are just openly discussing murder.  Wow.)


The comic then ends with Mickey bringing Castle into the Carbone Family under the alias Johnny Tower.  Punisher does a lot of cool stuff, but his aliases are never cool.  He always uses some variation of his last name.  I have also seen him refer to himself as Charles Fort and Charles Rook.  I guess some idiosyncrasies are allowed to a psychotic vigilante though.

All in all, this is a great comic.  It serves as a great comic in every which way.  It is a great story with great art.  It’s a great #1, and it does a great job introducing any new readers into the dark, cold, and calculating world of Frank Castle, The Punisher.  When folks badmouth the 90’s in general, and 90’s Punisher in particular, as being bland crap designed just to have gimmick covers to sell books, the first arc of Punisher:  War Zone is almost always my first thought to contradict such nonsense.

Of course, this issue holds a special place in my heart, as it hung on the wall of my local comic shop for months when I first got into collecting.  I got heavily into comic books just after Punisher:  War Zone started.  The first issue I picked up was #5.  Since the other Punisher titles were so deep in their numbering, I sort of clung to War Zone as “My Punisher Title” and decided to grab all of them from #1!  All the other issues of Punisher:  War Zone were there on the shelf back to #2 at my LCS, but #1 was sold-out, and the copy they had on the wall was five dollars.  FIVE DOLLARS!  I pined for that book, but could never get it b/c it would have cost me all my weekly comic book cash.  One day I went in and it was gone.  I was so bummed.  I went home and yelled and was incorrigible because there was no way I would now ever get my hands on that comic that had A PRINT RUN IN AT LEAST THE HUNDRED THOUSANDS!

As it turned out, my mom had snagged it for me for my birthday, so thanks Mom!  She didn’t even hold it against me that I threw such a large fit, and she also never knew that I found the comic under the car seat about a week before I was supposed to get it.  Microchip may be a subway ninja, but I promise no one is a present ninja like me.  I almost always figure out what folks are getting me before I get the actual goodies, much to the chagrin of my girlfriend!

I hope you have enjoyed a little Punisher here at The Unspoken Decade…because you are getting more next week!  I will cover Punisher War Zone #2 and the rest of this arc!  We will never, ever be too far away from my favorite mass murderer here at The Unspoken Decade, because hey, he was the decade in many ways!  After that, though, we will hear from Angel again and finally get into some 90’s DC with Justice Society of America!!!  Yes, I love both Punisher and the old WW2 superheroes!  The 90’s were complex, man.  Ask any Smashing Pumpkins fan!  See you back here real soon!!!