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Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Punisher Key Issues Part 4

Part 4 to this Punisher key issues series, and most of these are sleepers. Actually, these are hard speculation comics to be honest. I do not consider many of them long-term investments even if some are affected by movie or TV hype.

If you're just a fan of the character or characters and don't really care about speculating/flipping or the long-term investment prospect of these keys, then this part could be helpful for you. Key issues, yes. Major keys? Questionable.

Top Punisher keys? I wouldn't go that far, but who knows concerning the future.

However, concerning the history of the character, this key issues series continues to do that. 

1st meeting & battle Punisher & Ghost Rider

We're gonna back track here and this key issue is out of cover date order. It should be in Part 3, but this one slipped my mind before I hit the publish button for the previous part.

So, this is the 1st time the Punisher & Ghost Rider meet and it is the Danny Ketch version. Rumors have it that Punisher would cross-over into Agents of SHIELD TV show and possibly link up with Ghost Rider.

Whether this pans out or not, it's kind of a cool idea. Agents of SHIELD's ratings are dropping, and even Ghost Rider's debut in season four didn't garner an impressive turn out.

Adding a character that people want to see and is high on hype like the Punisher just might be a good idea for the show. Actually, adding more super-powered heroes in the mix should be on the agenda for Agents of SHIELD, though Punisher isn't super-powered. 

It's a step in the right direction, and I'm down for it. I actually like the Ghost Rider episodes so far. 

DC TV has already had Flash cross-over into Supergirl, and that was done by two different networks. I think Marvel TV needs to start adding some more character cross-overs between shows, but that may boil down to rights.  

So Punisher and Ghost Rider go at it in this issue, and it's really not the best of match ups. Still a bit entertaining though. 

The Punisher and Ghost Rider would then have their first team up in the next issue of this comic series. Even if this does play out live-action, I don't think this comic will get a huge boost in demand nor will hype last long for it.
Just my opinion, and I could be wrong. Ghost Rider #5 volume 3 has the cover date of September, 1990.

DAREDEVIL #292 & 293
1st meeting of Punisher & Tombstone (#292)
1st Punisher & Tombstone battle (#293)

Hell, I might as well put this one in here since I already put in Tombstone's 1st appearance in this key issues series. So the Punisher and Tombstone meet in this issue, and they obviously have heard of each other before.

Punisher is aiming to kill Tombstone, but Daredevil as usual gets in the way. While trying to escape in the bus, Punisher and Tombstone do finally meet face-to-face and interact.

I believe issue #292 might also be the 1st meeting of Taskmaster and Tombstone, and it could very well be the first meeting between Daredevil & Tombstone as well.

The actual first battle or brawl between Punisher & Tombstone would be seen in issue #293 of the volume one Daredevil series.

Daredevil and Taskmaster go at it as well in issue #293, and I think it might be the first brawl between the two. If that's true then Daredevil & Taskmaster might 1st meet in issue #292.

Anyway, if Tombstone ends up in the Netflix thing, he might cross paths with the Punisher or maybe even Daredevil. 

Punisher did try to take down Tombstone in the Spectacular Spider-Man comics prior to this, but never actually met Tombstone face-to-face before Spidey ruined his plans and battled and captured Tombstone instead. So, maybe one to consider if you're in the mood for some hard speculation.

Daredevil #292 has the cover date of May, 1991. Daredevil #293 has the cover date of April, 1991.

1st issue to comic series
1st appearance of Mickey Fondozzi
1st Andy Calebrese
1st Sal & Julius Carbone

Punisher gains more popularity, and it seems like it's time for another spin-off Punisher title. This is back in 1992 and back when 1st issues were a big deal.

Speculators went to comic shops and bought multiple copies of #1 issues, believing that they would make them rich one day. Well, comic publishers responded by printing more copies.

Onto the key issue goodness or 1st appearance. Mickey Fondozzi is actually another supporting character of the Punisher who actually sticks around for quite a while. Like Microchip, he is an ally of Frank Castle, but he also actually a career criminal with ties to the Brooklyn crime family, the Carbones.

Punisher spares Mickey's life provided that he becomes his informant. Mickey and the Punisher would often cross paths since the character is a degenerate criminal.

Unlike Microchip, the relationship between Mickey and Punisher is more tense, but every street hero needs a snitch or informant. Well, they do help.

A verison based off the character already has made it to live-action and was played by Eddie Jemison in the 2004 Punisher film. The name was changed in the film to Mickey Duka. 

Mickey was created by Chuck Dixon and John Romita Jr.

Sal is the brother of Julius Carbone, head of the Carbone Crime Family. He would become known as Thorn and had less than a dozen appearances in Marvel Comics. His neice Rosalie Carbone would be a somewhat prominent foe of the Punisher and would spend a considerable amount of money and resources to hunt Frank Castle down after he killed her father and inherited the "family".

Punisher infiltrates the Carbone Family undercover by the name of Johnny Tower. March, 1992 is the cover date for Punisher War Zone #1

1st appearance of Rosalie Carbone 

Speaking of Rosalie Carbone, she makes her 1st appearance in this comic but it's only in 6 panels on two pages. However, Rosalie is the daughter of Julius Carbone and develops a crush on Johnny Tower.

That is until she learns he is really the Punisher, and Frank Castle is responsible for the murder of her father. It doesn't happen in this issue, but it does happen early in the comic series.

Rosalie Carbone is one of the more memorable of Punisher villains from a crime family, and she does pop up quite frequently and a lot more than most in the early Punisher titles during this era. I'm not really gonna fuss all that much about if this is full appearance or not since her appearances in the next few issues are also pretty short.

The character does show up more fully in issue #6, which has Punisher kill Julius Carbone right in front of her. Rosalie would also be responsible for the Punisher and Bullseye meeting and duking it out as well later in the Punisher comics

She would appear in the regular Punisher series and Punisher War Journal as well. Punisher War Zone #2 has the cover date of April, 1992.

1st appearance of Lynn Michaels

Lynn Michaels is another supporting Punisher character to know of. Once an NYPD officer, she left due to the corruption inside the department. 

She would be an on-and-off-again love interest for Frank Castle, but realizes that she doesn't really mean that much to him. In later comics, she joins S.H.I.E.L.D. and would also become Lady Punisher prior to that. She officially takes up the mantle of Punisher when Frank Castle is assumed to be dead in the Punisher War Journal volume 1 comic series.

Lynn Michaels is a recurring supporting character and ally for the Punisher War Zone and later Punisher War Journal and the regular Punisher volume 1 titled series. Would be a mighty shame if this character isn't used for the Punisher Netflix series.

Not to say that she should turn into Lady Punisher or anything, but we all know that the police have to have some play when it comes to apprehending or helping Frank Castle in the Netflix show. Lynn Michaels is a detective and ally for the Punisher so why not?

However, recent casting pretty much has a few characters not from the actual comics and are made up for the show. Looks like these made up characters for the show are part of the CIA. 

Even Sarah Lieberman played by Jaime Ray Newman is made up. In the comics, Micro had a fiance named Jan O'Reilly in college who bore his son Microchip Jr. or Louis Frohike without his knowledge.

So far in terms of actual characters from the comics, the show looks to be heading in a different direction at least for season one of the Punisher. 

The Punisher War Zone #7 has the cover date of September, 1992.

1st appearance of Edward Dyson
1st Cameo of Payback
Origin of Payback

The character of Edward Dyson fully shows up in this issue. His origin is told by the Punisher himself in flashback.

Edward Dyson was a rookie cop who first encountered in the Punisher after he gunned down a major felon who had killed a family of four in a drug hit gone wrong. Frank convinces Edward to take credit for his actions, and Edward is rewarded for this decision.

He is decorated and moves up in the ranks of the NYPD. As he moved up, he got deeper.

Eddie finds out that certain cops in his squad are dirty and taking money from the mob. Although very reluctant, the Punisher convinces him to turn them into Internal Affairs.

Retribution against his family is obvious, and Edward blames the Punisher. Swearing revenge on him, Edward becomes Payback with the iconic skull on his chest inside a circle with a slash running through it.

Payback would eventually become a vigilante when the Punisher helps him track down the man responsible for killing his family. This character would later befriend Lynn Michaels and help her as Payback when she becomes Lady Punisher.

Payback is only seen on the very last page in this comic. His 1st full appearance is most likely in the next issue. The Punisher War Journal #48 has the cover date of November, 1992.

1st full appearance of Payback

Well, when it comes to the 1st full appearance of Payback, there is no brawl between him and the Punisher. Payback pretty much sets the Punisher up and stalks him for most of the story in this issue.

They would finally meet face-to-face at the very last page of this comic., but they don't face off. For some odd reason, issue #50 completely skipped this story line, and it picks back up with issue #51.

So, continuing the story in issue #51, Payback and Punisher are looking for Steve Venture. He is the man responsible for killing Payback's family.

Punisher does not know who Payback is until he is given his gun back at the end of issue #51. It's the same gun that the Punisher gave used in clipping the guy who murdered a family of four, the same gun that Edward Dyson was given to take credit for permanently stopping the murderer.

After the three main Punisher titles of The Punisher, Punisher War Zone, and this titled series are cancelled, Payback doesn't really show up much. He does appear in the first Civil War story line but in one of the spin-off titles.

I don't think he pops up in any of the other main Punisher volumes after, but not absolutely sure on that. December, 1992 is the cover date for Punisher War Journal #49.

PUNISHER 2099 #1
1st appearance of Jake Gallows
1st appearance of Kron Stone

I am not going to cover the Punisher 2099 series in this key issue series. I might as well place it in a whole another series belonging itself.

This is the first appearance of Jake Gallows and him as the Punisher in the year 2099. I remember this comic, got it, and read it back in the day.

I never became a fan of this comic series nor the whole 2099 imprint. I did think it was an interesting idea to shake things up. First appearance of this character I'll feature in here, but that's about all.

This series is about the key issues concerning Frank Castle mainly.

The 2099 comic titles were obviously not part of Earth-616 or mainstream continuity, and the 2099 world is considered to happen on Earth-928. Kron Stone is the madman responsible for the murder of Gallow's family and he actually becomes Venom in this reality.

In issue #2 of this series, Gallows tosses Kron Stone into a sewer after a brawl and it's assumed that the character is dead. He debuts as the 2099 Venom in Spider-Man 2099 #35 and that issue also reveals the character's origin.

There are Newsstand copies of this comic with a UPC code, and I'm pretty sure that the distribution was pretty low. Punisher 2099 #1 has the cover date of February, 1993.

Origin of Microchip
1st appearance Jan O'Reilly
Death of Microchip Jr.

In truth, the character of Microchip did seemingly pop out of nowhere. I mean, the Punisher was around for a decade before his wiz computer hacker and tech engineer suddenly became the guy who made Punisher's battle van and weapons.

Even when Micro did arrive on the scene in the late 80s, his sudden arrival wasn't really told in depth. So, his origin and connection to Frank Castle is finally addressed in this 2 issue limited series.

This series also reveals more of Frank Castle's origin as well, as the two stories are being told side by side. For instance, Micro is in college when Frank is in boot camp, and then Micro is hacking into College computers while Frank is fighting the Viet-Cong.

This issue shows their first meeting and how they met. Micro drops out of college and is drafted. The two wind up in the same recruiting office as shown below.

Micro doesn't cut it and doesn't wind up serving in the marines. Frank is actually a dick to him.

Micro goes back to hacking and electronically robbing banks, but mob-run banks. When they find out, he goes in hiding and learns how to give himself false identities and all the identification to go with it, something that will be useful to the Punisher later.

He ends up doing criminal operations here and there, and by this time, Frank Castle's family has been murdered and he becomes the Punisher. The vigilante would end up tracking Micro down and the partnership would be formed.

Microchip Jr. dies in issue #2. As mentioned before, Jan O'Reilly is the love interest of Microchip who ended up giving birth to their son Louis Frohike. Micro would learn about his son long after his birth.
Punisher: Origin of Microchip #1 & #2 have the cover dates of July and August, 1993. 

1st appearance of Carlos Cruz 

The character of Carlos Cruz was depicted in the Punisher War Zone flick and played by Carlos Gonzalez-vio as a reformed gang member. In the comics, he befriends Microchip when the Punisher goes seemingly out of control that even Microchip thinks his friend Frank has gone to far.

So Micro recruits Carlos to become a new Punisher. Unlike his live-action counterpart, Carlos Cruz was a former soldier and police officer instead of a gang member. He dies in The Punisher War Zone #41 and was killed by Stone Cold.  

Punisher #79 volume 2 has the the cover date of June, 1993.

Lynn Michaels in Punisher costume

While many think that Frank Castle is dead, Lynn Michaels suits up in body armor made of Kevlar bearing the Punisher's iconic skull. She finally leaves the police department and becomes a vigilante in Castle's war on crime.

I'm not quite sure if she actually becomes Lady Punisher in this issue. There is an issue where she officially becomes the Punisher for a brief period of time and claims that she is The Punisher in issue #74.

However, the cover to issue #75 does state that she is the new Punisher, so whatever. Take your pick when it comes to that.  

Frank Castle would come back by issue #78 of the Punisher War Journal comic series anyway, so Lady Punisher is pretty much done after that issue. 

In this issue, Payback helps Lynn Michaels beat on some baddies. The pair would be a lethal duo up until Frank comes back.

Lynn Michaels would still be a supporting character in the Punisher War Journal volume 2 series as well. The Punisher War Journal #62 has the cover date of January, 1994.  

1st Punisher crossover with DC Comics
1st meeting of Punisher & Batman

I'm not quite sure if this is the 1st Punisher inter-company crossover. He did appear in Spawn #10 or a likeness of the character appeared in that issue.

He does appear as himself in this one-shot, and it is the 1st Punisher Marvel/DC cross-over the character makes. Punisher does meet Batman for the first time in this comic but it is Jean Paul Valley and not Bruce Wayne.

Obviously this comic isn't considered part of canon for either Marvel or DC, but in issue #509 of the Batman titled series when Jean-Paul was growing more and more insane, he does mention Jigsaw. Guess they played with the idea of the character's madness later concerning this story presented here. 

Pretty cool. Joker and Jigsaw are both in this comic, and the two do meet. They don't really team up though. The replacement Batman and Punisher do have a scrap near the end of the comic.

June, 1994 is the cover date for Batman and Punisher: Lake of Fire.

1st meeting of Punisher & Batman (Bruce Wayne)
1st meeting of Punisher & Joker

I went Bat-crazy back in the day when Batman and Spawn crossed over in 1994 in the Spawn/Batman comic with art by Todd McFarlane. The same year I remember this comic also came out and I went even more Bat-shit-crazy.

Punisher and Batman in the same comic? I was sold immediately after looking at the cover, and I fully expected Batman to at least get shot in the arm or leg or something.

The story to Batman and Punisher: Lake of Fire is somewhat continued from this story. Punisher goes back to Gotham City.

This Batman is Bruce Wayne and not no Jean-Paul Valley. Obviously not canon or mainstream continuity but it was referenced in canon in Nightwing Vol 2 #44, in which Nightwing mentions that Jimmy Naverone was "axed by some out of town psycho vigilante. The Pulverizer, the Penetrator? I forget".

So no replacement Batman. This is the original and real Batman, and Frank Castle and him do go at it. The Joker is working with Jigsaw in the comics and supposedly helping Jiggy take over the mobs in Gotham City. Well, at least, that's what he promised Jigsaw.

Cool thing about this comic is that Batman battles Jigsaw and Punisher goes after Joker. No messing with the Punisher like you can with Bats, Joker.

He doesn't care if you're mentally ill and can't help yourself. Punisher actually scares the Joker when the clown realizes Punisher really means to kill him without even thinking twice.

Batman steps in to save the Joker and tells him to run. Batman allows Punisher to hit him, but when Frank goes in for another shot, Batman catches his fist and reminds him of only one shot.

The end of this comic makes Punisher look like a putz, so I didn't care for it much back in the day. The whole morality sparring match that usually plays out between Daredevil and Punisher (1st seen and used by Frank Miller) was just with Batman and Punisher this time.

Punisher not even catching Bats with a single bullet? Alrighty then, but didn't quite buy it.

Aside from that a pretty entertaining story and a fan-favorite. October, 1994 is the cover date for Punisher and Batman: Deadly Knights.

In-depth origin of the Punisher
Origin of Jigsaw

As mentioned earlier in this part 2 to the Maggia Crime Family keys, this limited series has the in-depth origin of the Punisher, and of course, the Costa Family is a prominent criminal organization in this series. Detective John Laviano shows up again in this series. He is first seen in Marvel Super Action #1 and is the one who tells the Punisher (before he becomes the Punisher) in that comic issue that he cannot touch Bruno and his men.

His role is virtually the same, but Detective Laviano shows up a bit more in this series. At least, he is in the first two issues of the Year One limited series.

Bruno Costa and Frank Costa return in their roles as well since this is a prequel story to the Punisher's origin. They are seen in issue #3.

What is interesting to this series is that issue #3 & #4 tells of the origin of Jigsaw and explains his role in the Punisher's origin. If you're looking for sleeper key issues, those two are definitely sleepers.

Issue #4 sees the Punisher shoving Billy Russo's face through the glass window, the act that would eventually spawn the character of Jigsaw. Funny thing is - The Punisher doesn't even remember him in his first appearance as Jigsaw in Amazing Spider-Man #162.

Speaking of Amazing Spider-Man #162, it's still a 1st appearance key issue that's over-looked and under-valued in my opinion. But back to the series in question.

If the events after the origin is played out in the Netflix Punisher series, that story may take heavily from the Punisher Year One comic series. Despite that, this comic still has seen virtually no heat. Jigsaw is connected to the murder of Punisher's family, and how he becomes one of his deadliest foes is shown in this issue.

Punisher Year One ran from December, 1994 to March, 1995.

1st appearance of Stone Cold

A Punisher foe and former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent turned assassin, Derek Smalls doesn't have many appearances in comics. He is the one responsible for killing Carlos Cruz and Micro.

While less than a dozen appearances in comics over-all, Stone Cold appeared in the main Punisher title as well as this one and Punisher War Zone. He would die in issue #80 of this titled series.

The Punisher War Journal #76 has the cover date of March, 1995.   

Death of Microchip

The Countdown story line is one of the last story arcs for the first 3 on-going Punisher series during the 80s and 90s. It would run and conclude with the last issues of the Punisher 1987 series, Punisher War Journal, and the Punisher War Zone titles.

This story line would have Microship and Punisher at odds and eventually have a falling out. Microchip believes Castle has gone over the edge and no longer believes in his methods.

In the Countdown story, Microchip even recruits a replacement Punisher by the name of Carlos Cruz. Carlos first appears in The Punisher #97 volume 2 and I think that issue is where Micro starts to question Frank.

Their final confrontation takes place in this issue, and Microchip apparently dies. Not at the hands of the Punisher though even if they do have a fight or skirmish.

I often wonder if this drama is considered for the creatives over at Marvel and Netflix. Microchip has been the closest confidant of Frank Castle in comics for sure, and betrayal is always good drama.

Bullseye is in this comic, but him and the Punisher still fail to meet face to face. The Punisher War Journal #79 is the 2nd to last issue of the series and has the cover date of June, 1995.

As usual, it looks like the Punisher Netflix show is deviating from the comics. We already know that Billy Russo in the show is Frank's war buddy which is very different from the actual comics.

Also much of the cast that's been so far revealed with the exception of Microchip, Rawlins and Chris Hoyle are made up and not from the actual comics. Speculation concerning these Punisher keys is a hard gamble.

No telling who they will end up using, and even so, will their 1st appearances even be worth speculating on even for the short-term? 

Punisher's character in these early comic series always dealt with some kind of organized crime or drug dealers/smugglers abroad or in the U.S. Even when Garth Ennis began his fan-favorite run on the character, Frank dealt with some type of organized crime or crime family.

It would be strange for me if the Netflix show deviated from this, but so far, it looks like they are as casting so far hints at very little actual characters from the comics being used. Still early I suppose.

Part 5 is ready, so see ya there. Happy hunting!


  1. Yeah! Lynn Michaels! Remember her. "Lady Punisher" :-) That really is a name to spread fear. Anyone know where she first took on the dress of ole Frank?

    Max Rebo

    1. I think issue #62 of Punisher War Journal is where she first rocks the Punisher gear.

  2. Hey yo,

    great list my Mayhemman. Gotta ad a few favourites here:

    - Punisher kills the Marvel U
    - First appearance of Barracuda
    - Rare last issues from the long runnin
    Punisher (first ongoing) and War Journal

    So long, you know, I always fall for rare editions and Variant covers. Latest investment was the Astonishing Ant-Man 10 Variant Cover. I don' t think you can actually call it an in investment but hey, it' s nice looking, so what the heck. You can' t buy a Piderman 129 every day, can you?


    1. Definitely can't buy an ASM #129 everyday for sure no matter how much I'd like to. I think I'll wait for a downswing when it comes to doing that. I put those in as they are on the radar for most collectors.