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40 Greatest Punisher Stories: #30-26

by  in Comic News Comment

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 #30-26! Enjoy!

30. “Suicide Run” (Punisher #85-88, Punisher War Journal #61-64 and Punisher War Zone #23-25)

The concept of “Suicide Run” was conspicuously adapted from the mega-hit Death of Superman and Reign of the Supermen storylines. In the first part of the story, the Punisher is seemingly killed taking down a bunch of bad guys, and in the aftermath of his seeming death, a whole bunch of “replacement” Punishers pop up, including some joke ones (including an out of shape couch potato) and some more serious ones (a female cop, a masked guy calling himself Payback and a black British vigilante calling himself Outlaw – Outlaw has recently been brought back as part of Marvel’s Contest of Champions title).

Here are a couple of them together…





Like the Reign of the Supermen, the basic idea seemed to be to introduce new characters into the titles. The whole thing was written by Chuck Dixon, Steven Grant and Larry Hama and drawn mostly by Gary Kwapisz, Hugh Haynes and John Buscema.

29. “War Zone” (Punisher War Zone #1-6)

In an odd bit of timing, Marvel released this series soon after the most recent Punisher film came out, which was called Punisher War Zone. It was a reunion of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, as they returned to the (surviving) characters and storytelling approach of their classic “Welcome Back, Frank.”





So lots and lots of dark humor. But fun characters and dark humor can make for a fun read. As far as nostalgic returns to classic storylines go, Ennis and Dillon do really well with their material here.

28. “Spider-Man: Threat or Menace?” (Amazing Spider-Man Annual #15)

The then-creative team on Daredevil, Frank Miller and Klaus Janson, teamed up with Amazing Spider-Man writer Denny O’Neil for this classic annual about Doctor Octopus trying to poison New York City, while the Punisher stalks him and Spider-Man tries to deal with both of them. The story is best known for its stunning use of newspaper front pages to move the story forward…





There’s an especially good bit where J. Jonah Jameson has to go back to his traditional “Spider-Man: Threat or Menace?” headline when he realizes he can’t tell the truth about how Doctor Octopus nearly poisoned all of the ink that the Daily Bugle uses.

You can tell Miller and Janson had a blast with the climactic fight at the Bugle printing plant. Such great art. As are all of the fight scenes in the issue (even if the Punisher probably does too well against Spider-Man in his initial fight with him – sounds like a future Wrong Side!).

Go to the next page for #27-26!

27. “Kingpin” (Punisher Max #1-5)

As i mentioned yesterday, Jason Aaron and Steve Dillon’s take on the Punisher in their sequel to Garth Ennis’ run was to add slightly more traditional characters to the story. In their initial arc, they spend the whole storyline establishing the Kingpin of Crime, as he ends up being the Punisher’s main enemy for the rest of this series.

The basic plan is that a bunch of the crime bosses decide to create a fictional “Kingpin of Crime,” an over-the-top expression of a crime figure, to draw the Punisher’s attention. One of the crime bosses’ bodyguard, Wilson Fisk, volunteers. But, of course, this is all part of Fisk’s plan to make that fiction a reality…





Aaron does a wonderful job with both Fisk and Castle’s characterizations throughout the story, as they go on a collision course with each other.

26. “Enter the War Zone” (Punisher War Zone #1-5)

This is the finale of Greg Rucka’s run on Punisher (art by Carmine Di Giandomenico). He finished his initial stint with the Punisher successfully taking down the Exchange, but in such a violent manner that he now has the Avengers on his tail, as Spider-Man convinces the rest of the team to get involved.





The rest of the series sees the Punisher try to stay one step ahead of the Avengers until it all comes to a glorious conclusion.