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 results of what you chose as the 40 Greatest Punisher Stories!
40. “Ministry of Death” (Punisher Vol.2 #4-5)
The original creative team on the Punisher’s first ongoing series was Mike Baron and Klaus Janson. Their initial storyline was a cool one involving the drug war, complete with a classic cover for the first issue with Punisher pointing a bazooka at some bad guys.
After a breather issue, Baron and Janson’s second storyline introduced Microchip as the Punisher’s aide and also introduced us to the Rev, a religious madman who has a healing touch. He saves the Punisher’s life (who is undercover in the Rev’s cult to try to get a woman in the cult to come back to her husband with her kid, who she’s brought with her) and the Punisher has a hard time reconciling it all, the fact that he DID save his life, ya know?
Janson’s art really served the Punisher well.
39. “The Rachel Alves Saga” (Punisher Vol.9 #1-16)
This one is weird, since the votes for this story were almost all for the first volume, which is fair enough, but then I thought, “Eh, it IS true that the first volume was very much just setting up the longer arc,” so since it didn’t matter to the voting, I’m just going to lump the whole volume in together, even though part of the story will show up on the countdown tomorrow.
Anyhow, Greg Rucka was the only constant on the creative team of this series (Marco Checchetto was the initial artist) which introduced us to Rachel Cole Alves, whose husband and all of his and her family were murdered on their wedding day (she had just gotten back from serving overseas as a Marine Sergeant). She managed to survive and then decided to take down the villainous organization known as The Exchange and she ends up working together with the Punisher…
38. “River of Blood” (Punisher War Zone #31-36)
In this classic six-part story by Chuck Dixon and the legendary Joe Kubert, the Punisher gets involved in taking on the Russian mob and is aided in his battle by a Russian vigilante. They almost take down the bad guys in New York…
but then Punisher must take his particular brand of vengeance to Russia. Kubert was such an awesome artist. And Dixon knew how to give him some awesome stuff to draw.
37. “The Final Days” (Punisher #53-59)
In this long storyline, pretty much the end of Mike Baron’s run on the book, the Kingpin has a new operative who comes up with a plan to take the Punisher down, which involves sending him to prison. The Punisher manages to escape, but now his face is badly damaged. He goes on the run and tries to find his old safe house and when he finds crooks have already broken in…well…
This is the story that infamously ended with the Punisher getting plastic surgery to look like a black man. Besides the ending, this story was quite good. Hugh Haynes and Jimmy Palmiotti did the artwork.
36. “The Devil Inside and Out” (Daredevil #82-87)
In this classic Daredevil story by Ed Brubaker, Michael Lark and Stefano Gaudiano, Daredevil, the Punisher and all of Daredevil’s foes are all put into the same prison after the end of Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev’s Daredevil run finished with Matt Murdock in jail.
The idea is that the corrupt government guys want Matt to be killed in prison, hence transfers of all of his enemies. Shockingly enough, a riot occurs and Matt has to ask, “Do I want to escape here with the Kingpin and Bullseye?”
What an awesome ending.