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Friday, November 11, 2016

The Punisher Key Issues Part 2

Alright, here's where this Punisher key issues series will start branching off and looking a bit different from the "Top" Punisher key issues series as I've dug a whole lot deeper into the character. There will be some sleepers in this part, and some just aren't all that known currently.

Whether they're significant enough to snag, I leave that up to you. If you missed the previous part just click the link to go back.

PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3 | PART 4 | PART 5 | PART 6 | PART 7

1st full appearance of Hitman

Although a very minor Spidey and Punisher villain, the character of the Hitman is connected to Frank Castle's past. I don't think it's revealed in this issue here just yet, but it would be.

The Hitman is Burt Kenyon, but in this issue, he is an assassin-for-hire. Punisher isn't in this comic, but the Hitman would eventually become the Maggia's answer to Frank Castle.

When you try to tackle the Punisher, most don't last long and neither does this character. Hitman is shown in issue #4 in a cameo, and is revealed in that issue. He shows up in shadow in one panel and there's two more that just has his hand. At the end of issue #4, he shows up fully in a full page and is revealed, but in this issue, Hitman is in it throughout most of the story. 

Once again, not the biggest of 1st appearances for either Spidey or the Punisher, but the character is connected to Frank Castle as we shall soon see. Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #5 has the cover date of April, 1977.

Death of Hitman
1st Frank Castle Vietnam story

When it comes to Frank Castle's Vietnam past, this comic does reference it a bit. It would be referenced and shown a lot in later comics.

I think this is one of the first stories to ever touch upon the subject, and the Hitman ends up being a Vietnam vet who is connected to Frank Castle. When I say this is the 1st Punisher Vietnam war story, I don't mean the whole comic is a story about Castle in Vietnam.

The story only has a flashback of Frank in Vietnam, and he is telling Spider-Man how he knows the Hitman. Whether the entire comic or just two pages, it's the first time us readers actually get a glimpse of Frank's military service.

It's not just in text, but his past connection with Burt Kenyon is illustrated. Ironic that Burt actually saved Castle's life back in Vietnam.

So Frank Castle owes Kenyon a life in this issue, and Castle must choose whether he'll take down the Hitman in the end. Definitely a sleeper comic, and while this comic does give us the first glimpse of Castle's past in Vietnam, I'm not sure how significant other fans will see it as.

As for my personal opinion, I think it is since many later stories will revolve around his military service and it is a big part of the character. 

Once again, I'll let you decide. December, 1977 is the cover date for The Amazing Spider-Man #175.

2nd appearance of Jigsaw
1st Jigsaw cover

I highly doubt this comic has taken off since Jigsaw's 1st appearance is mildly hot even though Billy Russo has been cast for the Punisher Netflix series. However, it is the 2nd appearance of one of Frank Castle's more well-known villains.

Even though Jigsaw's first two appearances were in Amazing Spider-Man, the villain has become more associated with the Punisher than Spidey. It's also a Punisher villain that recurs often, meaning he doesn't whack after only four to twelve issues. 

No Punisher in this issue, though, and Jigsaw just goes up against Spider-Man. His third appearance just might be in Punisher #1 1986 limited series. Amazing Spider-Man #188 has the cover date of January, 1979.

1st meeting of Punisher & Captain America
1st Punisher & Captain America fight

Like most heroes in the Marvel Universe, Captain America is another iconic superhero who is often at odds with Punisher's brand of justice. The Sentinel of Liberty has often shown his distrust and disdain for Punisher's flagrant disregard for criminals rights and due process of law.

Although the two haven't had as many meetings or confrontations like the Punisher has had with Daredevil, the extremist vigilante did meet Captain America before The Man Without Fear and it's played out in this issue here.

Of course, the two have their first battle, but truthfully it's more like a skirmish. I think the battle is more of words and ideals than action-packed combat.

Alright, let's talk a bit about the Direct Market copy up at top. Notice that the UPC has a printed slash through it?

That also marks the copy as a Direct Market Edition. Some have this printed slash through it, and some have an image or type with no UPC during the very early 80s.

The slash through the UPC would end up being phased out pretty quickly. There's also the 12 Pence copies that looks like a Newsstand but the UPC has a slash through it.

Captain America #241 has the cove date of January, 1980.

1st meeting of Punisher & Daredevil
1st Punisher & Daredevil battle

Netflix is making good use of Marvel's street-level heroes. Well, at least, in the Daredevil TV series. Have yet to see Luke Cage or Iron Fist. 

We already got to witness the Daredevil and Punisher match up live-action this year and quite a few fans liked it including me. Didn't much care for the long conversation between Daredevil and Punisher while the Man Without Fear was chained up on the roof top, but that scene was taken from the 2000 Punisher #3 comic book written by Garth Ennis.

However, the first published meeting between the two is right here in Daredevil #183, and it is a classic but pretty brief battle brought to you by Frank Miller and Roger McKenzie.

Punisher ends this duel by shooting the Man Without Fear in the gut with a tranquilizer, and this is how the two vigilantes meet. First battle between the two, and it would not be the last for sure. 

Daredevil and Punisher battles have become fan-favorites, and they would only get a lot better in time. June, 1982 is the cover date for Daredevil #183.

2nd meeting of Punisher & Daredevil
2nd Punisher & Daredevil battle

This is the 2nd time the Punisher and Daredevil meet and battle. Some fans out there claim that this battle is a classic, but I kinda question that.

Not really much of a battle in this issue to be honest, and I'm only putting it on here because it's the 2nd meeting and bout between the two. I don't think there's actually any physical contact between the two except for a very brief skirmish in the beginning of the comic.

Punisher takes off, but they soon meet up again later in this issue.

Like I said, not really a full-blown battle. Punisher fired a few shots at Daredevil, and Daredevil evades them. Then they get to this yabbering standstill before ole DD tricks the Punisher and shoots him.

It is pretty cool that Daredevil straight-up shoots Punisher, and that's a great scene. I'm not sure if Punisher got away or Daredevil takes him in like he says he's going to do. Story doesn't say anything about the Punisher after this scene, so I'm assuming he got away when Daredevil was trying to convince Billy not to shoot Hogman.

Anywho, this story was also written and penciled by none other than Frank Miller, and the cover is definitely a bad ass one for sure. Daredevil #184 has the cover date of July, 1982.

1st appearance of Kingpin

Once again, I feel it's strange to feature a villain before the actual 1st appearance of a character discussed in a key issues series, so Amazing Spider-Man #50 and the 1st appearance of King Pin goes here. Although the Kingpin of Crime did not scrap or become much of a target for the Punisher in their early appearances, Wilson Fisk would start to become a villain for the Punisher more during the mid-eighties and in later comics.

We all know by now that Kingpin is a major villain in the Daredevil Netflix series, and the two even had a face-to-face in season 2. This face-to-face in comics would not happen for quite a little while.

So, definitely a Punisher villain worth noting, but for sanity's sake, I'm sticking this key issue close to the issue where the Punisher and Kingpin have their first published meeting. 

Alright by you? A bit about Wilson Fisk or the Kingpin, shall we?

So the Kingpin is one of the villains throughout Marvel Comics that has vied for total control of crime in New York City. At certain times, he has achieved this, and at certain times, he has fought other Marvel mafia groups like the Maggia to regain it.

Although rotund and appearing fat, the Kingpin's mass is actually muscle and he is strong. He has no super powers, but he is strong and durable enough to go toe-to-toe with the likes of Captain America, Daredevil, our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, and even handed the Punisher his ass to him.

On top of the whole durability thing, the Kingpin usually wears Kevlar armor under his suit and has a cane that he can use to either beats the crap outta people with or shoot with a powerful laser-type-beam from it. When Frank Miller took over the character in the Daredevil comics, the gadgets went away and Fisk definitely became more of a mafioso type of comic villain.

He is extremely intelligent and often employs the use of mercenaries and assassins like Bullseye and Elektra. No matter Daredevil, Spider-Man or the Punisher, this character is a great villain for all three.

Most definitely a must-have key issue for fans of any three of those heroes. Amazing Spider-Man #50 has the cover date of July, 1967.

1st meeting between Punisher & Kingpin
1st Punisher & Kingpin battle

Alright, and here it is. This is the issue where the Punisher and the Kingpin of Crime actually meet for the first time in publication. 

Yep, it's right here in Spectacular Spider-Man #82, and it's a bit odd that it took a while since Kingpin did migrate over into the Daredevil comic series as a villain under the helm of Frank Miller. As we already know, Miller also used the Punisher during his run as well.

However, Kingpin and Punisher don't ever meet in the Daredevil comics under Frank Miller's pen. Actually, writer Bill Mantlo is the one who brought these two together for the 1st time. Here's how their 1st meeting looks:

Of course, this introduction turns into a fight between the two.

What? Punisher hiding behind a woman in a tussle an using her as leverage against an enemy? I dunno about that, and not really the Punisher I remember growing up on.

However, it seems that he pissed of the Kingpin plenty and here's the end result of that tussle.

Kingpin floors Punisher and doesn't even kill him. According to Cloak, Punisher wasn't even worthy of killing. Wow!
The Punisher and Kingpin already met on Daredevil season 2, but they didn't go at it. Besides the Punisher and Kingpin's first meeting, the two also battle for the 1st time as well in the pages of this comic book.

So pretty interesting find here, and definitely still under the radar for now or currently. Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #82 has the cover date of September, 1983.

Some comics I've never mentioned or talked about on this site before, and some that aren't even recognized yet by Overstreet and the third-party grading companies. Will they be in the future? Maybe. I don't really see why not.

So we're ending Part 2 with the 1st meeting & battle between Punisher and Kingpin. The 1st and 2nd meetings between Punisher and Daredevil I've covered before in other key issues series.

Well, Part 3 will dig a bit more into the character, so see ya soon.

PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3 | PART 4 | PART 5 | PART 6 | PART 7

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