Punisher tagged posts

The Punisher Summer Special (1994) 4

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Summer officially ended when the clock tolled at midnight.

Saying goodbye is the final installment of the The Punisher Summer Special. The perennial series ran four years, 1990 to 1994, before Marvel began to feel the industry falter and titles became casualties.

While the book suffered from various writers and artists, issue four made for a worthy swansong.

Don Lomax, a Viet Nam veteran, took a sabbatical from Apple’s Viet Nam Journal to pen the first story, Soiled Legacy. Alberto Saichann gave the story life through his pencils.

Frank Castle, aka Punisher, stumbles upon a poaching ring. Teaming with an African official, the two travel back to the dark continent for justice.

Killing An Afternoon is a welcome Chuck Dixon romp with some dark humor and justice. Frank gives the dentist’s office a worse reputation.

There are still warm days ahead, but the inevitable is coming. Hope the summer was good. It’s a long wait ’till the next one.

Punisher Summer Special (1994) 4

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The Punisher Summer Special (1993) 3

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The Punisher Summer Special (1993) 3

The Punisher Summer Special (1993) 3

Marvel Comics Group was riding high in 1993. The comic book boom was near its apex and publishers could push almost any title on the stands.

That meant a lot of dreck was hoisted on the public, including the third installment of the Punisher’s fun-in-the-sun series.

Pat Mills does not reprise Rough Cut in ’93. He and Tony Skinner do have an interesting concept in Dead Man Coming Through, but fail to deliver.

Faster, Faster! is a better entry. Chuck Dixon holds his head up high during this high-speed chase. Fuel by Phil Felix.

Finally, Idyll is Steven Grant’s textless flirt with danger. Only the Punisher swims away from this one.

Other than Dixon’s entry, the book is better suited as a fan than a read.

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The Punisher Summer Special (1992) 2

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Another Punisher Summer Special to keep everyone feeling cool.

Only three stories this time around. The first is by Pat Mills who brings back a baddie from the first special.

Rough Cut is a better sequel than Bombs “R” Us was a story. The Colonel has survived and is now making snuff films. At least Mike McKone makes it look polished.

Chuck Dixon takes a turn behind the typewriter for the final two tales.

High Risk is a short, page turner that’s entertaining as it is whimsical.

Dixon doesn’t fare as well with The Local. John Hinklenton’s art doesn’t help. The commuter theme was better played and portrayed by Liam Neeson.

Okay, time to go back to the heat.

The Punisher Summer Special (1992) 2

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The Punisher Summer Special (1991) 1

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As the summer blooms, the tans deepen and the grass grows, take a break and enjoy someone else sweltering in the heat.

The Punisher stars in this 48-page attack on peace. Pat Mills and Tony Skinner pen ‘Bombs “R” Us’ while Val Mayerik turns his talents to fleshing out the visuals.

An old acquaintance becomes the Punisher’s agenda. Lots of weaponry jargon as buyers look for the latest in killing modes.

‘Cross Purposes’ is a smart Peter David thriller with more Hitchcock tension than bloodshed. Mark Texeira and Michael Bair take care of the art chores.

Dan Slott does a credible job on a near dialog-free tale in ‘Independence Day.’ Art by Mike Harris who helps the good guys win this time.

Terrorists take on the thinly veiled, happiest place on Earth in Will Murray’s dark ‘Wish Granted.’ Much like a lighter-hearted The Mouse Who Roared, the tale looks at America from outside the box.

Art by Rodney Ramos.

Enjoy the equinoxes and solstices as the days run the longest, the nights the shortest and the temperatures the hottest.

The Punisher Summer Special (1991) 1

 

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Marvel Zombies (Halloween Special)

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Kudos to the team who mated Night of the Living Dead with Rankin and Bass stop motion “Animagic.”

Marvel Zombies began as a five-issue limited series cover dated December 2005. Robert “Walking Dead” Kirkman wrote the series while Sean Phillips added the viscera visuals. Arthur Suydam provided covers.

The mini proved popular enough it has spawned a continuing franchise appearing as further short series and one-shots.

 

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Punisher Holiday Special (1993) 1

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Steven Grant and Eric Fein take the Punisher down two very, un-Merry Christmas trails.

“Red Christmas” is the quest to bring Little Tony Caruso what he wants for Christmas. What he wants is the Punisher’s head in return for the death of his father.

Pleasant Valley Mall becomes the battleground.

Punisher Holiday Special (1993) 1

Punisher Holiday Special (1993) 1

It’s interesting to turn the clock back. Look at the backdrop with the drapings of 1993. At this writing, that was about 25 years ago. A time when compact discs still housed our music. Cordless telephones were high tech. Malls were still in vogue.

Maybe the best of the flashbacks was Stan’s Soapbox. Even after several months it’s hard to believe the man who raised so many of us has passed. It’s nice to know he’ll never be completely gone.

No seasonal glad tidings from The Man. No, Stan was at his best when huckstering. He was laying it on with a shovel in this issue. Marvel had conquered the United Kingdom and Stan wanted the Marvel Zombies in the colonies to know they could have a piece – for a nominal fee of course.

Rounding out the book, the body count drops in “Armed Salvation.” The Punisher teaches a little boy family is the more important than any petty grievances.

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Punisher Holiday Special (1993) 3

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Punisher Holiday Special (1993) 3

Punisher Holiday Special (1993) 3

Frank Castle’s third and final holiday special hit comic book shops just in time for the 1994 Christmas season.

“Cold Land” and “X-Mas Stalkings” are buffeted by the “Punisher’s Arsenal” and “Punisher War Journal Equipment” pages. Charles Dixon and Dale Eaglesham relate the first story while Mike Lackey and Phil Gosier bat cleanup.

“Cold Land” takes no prisoners as the Punisher attempts to save a boy from the sins of his father.

“X-Mas Stalkings” shows a more psychological thriller side to the book. Charles Quinn has found a fixation at random. His fetish has led to a fantasy life that ruins everyone else’s. When the confrontation comes, Quinn dies for a misunderstanding he created.

Of the three holiday specials, this is the best. A strong finish to 1990s vigilantism.

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Punisher MAX X-Mas Special 1

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Frank Castle can’t stop the Massacre of Innocents, but does save the life of one in “And on Earth Peace, Good Will Toward Men.” Don Maranzano is the King Herod in this Christmas passion play.

The Castellano family is about to sire another heir to the criminal empire. Maranzano wishes to halt the birth and orders the slaughter of all children in the birth ward. The intended one not yet born, Baby Castellano escapes the carnage.

The story takes an even more Biblical turn when the Punisher hides the parents-to-be at a race track stable. Would be attackers are thwarted once more and the baby is given a chance at a normal life.

The X-MAX title hit comic book shops for the 2008 season.

The Punisher was first introduced in Amazing Spider-Man 129. He was created by Gerry Conway, John Romita, Sr and Ross Andru. The MAX imprint was launched by Marvel in 2001 and aimed at adult readers. That said, Punisher MAX X-Mas Special 1 is not for the faint of heart.

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Marvel Holiday Special 1995 TPB

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Riding high on the speculator market soon to go bust – the company would file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy a year later – Marvel released its 1995 Holiday Special trade paperback.

Flagship character Spider-Man carried the book with three stories beginning with A Spider-Man Christmas Carol. The Web Head saves a hospital ward full of sick children with a little help from Daily Bugle Publisher J. Jonah Jameson.

A Miracle a Few Blocks down from 34th Street showcases the X-Men in the oft reprinted Christmas tale outing Santa as the world’s most powerful mutant.

Spider-Man returns in another seasonal fan favorite, Down and Out in Forest Hills. The story is miss-billed as Star Of the Show that appears later in the book.

Marvel Holiday Special 1995 TPB

Marvel Holiday Special 1995 TPB

Down and Out features Peter and Mary Jane as they are ousted from their condominium on Christmas Eve. Uncle Ben is the Ghost of Christmas Past who provides wisdom in Peter’s decision to return to his roots. The story originally appeared in Amazing Spider-Man 314.

Zounds of Silence is a textless tale featuring Wolverine – of sorts – in an imaginative dream of consumerism during the holidays.

Hopes and Fears sees the return of Spider-Man in a test of faith against Mephisto.

Free Will is lifted from Peter David’s run on The Incredible Hulk. Banner Hulk questions the holidays and choices.

Star of the Show finally appears as a one-page, textless story with the jolly, fat one making a guest appearance.

The Punisher is shoehorned into the book with customary bullets flying and body count in The Spirit of the Season.

Finally, The Big X-Mas Black Out brings Spidey back for an encore appearance as he dukes it out with Electro using Rockefeller Square as a backdrop.

Slap an $8.95 price tag on the title and Marvel made itself and readers a little merrier in ’95.

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Punisher Holiday Special (1993) 2

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The Punisher was a hot commodity in the early 1990s so it was no surprise Marvel used one of its bigger money makers to fill the coffers even more. Taking that same character and putting in a setting as harmonious as Christmas time was a nice dichotomy.

Beyond that, The Punisher Holiday Special is anything but special. The first two stories are unspectacular just putting Frank in a position for blood letting. The third is a three-part act that’s as textless as it is tacktless.

Punisher Holiday Special (1993) 2

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