40 Greatest Punisher Stories: #25-16

by  in Comic News Comment
40 Greatest Punisher Stories: #25-16

In honor of the Punisher debuting on Daredevil’s Netflix series next week, we’re counting down your picks for the forty greatest Punisher stories.

You all voted, now here are the latest results of what you chose as the 40 Greatest Punisher Stories!

Here’s #25-16! Enjoy!

25. “Dark Reign” Punisher Vol.8 #1-10, Dark Reign: The List – The Punisher #1

Matt Fraction had started the approach of having the Punisher attack supervillains in the series that led into this one, Punisher War Journal (the theory was to have two Punisher series, one by Garth Ennis in its own grounded universe and one by Fraction set clearly in the Marvel Universe) but Rick Remender took that idea and kicked it up a whole other notch in this series.

It was based on the basic idea of the Punisher deciding that it was his duty to kill Norman Osborn. But as we see right from the start (art by the great Jerome Opena)…

Punisher was very much out of his depth here. Norman Osborn gave his evil cohort, the Hood, the assignment of taking the Punisher down and things got WEIRD, as the Hood brought a bunch of villains who were killed by the Scourge back to kill the Punisher, aided by a resurrected Microchip. Along the way, the Punisher got a new assistant, whose father was a familiar foe to the Punisher. When the Hood got the Punisher’s dead family involved? Well, things got even WEIRDER. The whole thing led to Norman Osborn sending a bunch of troops and Wolverine (Daken) to kill Punisher…which they then do.

24. “The Creep and the Bully” (Punisher Vol.2 #10/Daredevil #257)

This was a crossover by Mike Baron and Ann Nocenti. This is one of those stories where we see it from both character’s perspectives (as Daredevil tries to stop the Punisher from killing some psychopath who has been poisoning people). The first look at the fight came from Punisher #10, where While Portacio and Scott Williams do a good enough job…

but Daredevil #257 is a whole other level, from Nocenti’s decision to have the fight narrated by the psychopath to John Romita Jr. and Al Williamson’s brilliant artwork…

23. “Death Sentence” (Marvel Preview #2)

Gerry Conway and Tony DeZuniga introduce for the first time the Punisher’s origin in his black and white tale from Marvel’s magazine line…

Go to the next page for #22-19!

22. “Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe” (Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe #1)

Garth Ennis took on the Punisher for the fist time with this one-shot, drawn by Dougie Braithwaite, where the Punisher’s family is killed in Central Park not by mobsters but by, well, superheroes…

Oh man, that “And Cyclops and Jubilee” line gets me every time. So the rest of the story is the Punisher just coming up with creative ways to kill all of the superhumans on Earth. Ennis clearly had a blast with this story.

21. “Means and Ends” (Punisher vs. Daredevil #1-6)

Daredevil vs. Punisher: Means and Ends was a very good mini-series by David Lapham (who wrote and drew the book) that has the Punisher and Daredevil fight a bunch of times, but that works more as a backdrop against the commentary on how violence can ruin people’s lives, as a young man slowly descends into some bad territory…

Man, this was a DARK story.

20. “The Tyger” (Punisher: The Tyger #1)

This stunning one-shot by Garth Ennis and the late, great John Severin goes back to Frank Castle’s childhood in the early 1960s to see the background of the man who would become the Punisher. It’s all so beautifully paced and drawn – it’s really a hell of a masterclass in comic book storytelling by two of the all-time greats.

19. “Franken-Castle” (Punisher Vol.8 #11-21)

After the Punisher was killed in the aforementioned Dark Reigh story, Remender (and artist Tony Moore) blew everyone’s minds by having Man-Thing collect his remains and then Dr. Michael Morbius and the Legion of Monsters revive the Punisher as a monster like the one Frankenstein created (the Legion included mainly Morbius, Werewolf by Night, Manphibian, Man-Thing and The Living Mummy)…

The next issue, the Living Mummy (N’Kantu) explains why they need his help. They’re being hunted down by some psycho. So Punisher stops the bad guy and then sort of joins up with this team of monsters (using the Bloodstone). Eventually, his original human body returns, but for a while there, this book was over the top crazy awesomeness.

Go to the next page for #18-16!

18. “The African Saga” Punisher War Journal #6-7

Young Jim Lee did finishes and inks over writer Carl Potts’ layouts on this classic two-parter which sees the Punisher and Wolverine both hunting animal poachers in Africa. When the Punisher is attacked by a gorilla, he has to defend himself, which leads to Wolverine thinking that the Punisher is a poacher and hilarity ensues…

As you might imagine, anyone at Marvel seeing this story would have said, “Holy crap, we need to get this Lee guy on an X-Men book pronto.”

17. “Long, Cold Dark” The Punisher Vol.6 #50-54

This arc sees Garth Ennis begin to wrap things up on his famous run, as Barracuda is sent after the Punisher and the evil Barracuda discovers something that not even the Punisher knows – the Punisher has a child! And now the Punisher has to do everything he can to protect this child from that twisted Barracuda. Is he successful? Well…

Man, Goran Parlov, the artist on this arc, really drew the heck out of Barracuda.

16. “Man of Stone” The Punisher Vol.6 #37-42

One of the striking aspects of Garth Ennis’ run was just how SERIALIZED the whole thing was. Characters from one arc would show up in later ones for their revenge on or to work with the Punisher. This arc was about one of the earlier villains of the series teaming up with a new character, who wanted revenge due to the events of that said earlier arc, “Mother Russia.”

Garth Ennis is a master at coming up with amazing villains, and the Russian general who is the “Man of Stone” in this arc, the man hunting down the Punisher, is no exception…

Damn! You know it will take some dirty fighting to get out of THIS one!