Comics : Spider-Man vs. The Punisher

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This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

This story is a retelling of the Punisher's first appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #129. The Jackal has appeared on the scene and convinced the Punisher that Spider-Man is a cold-blooded murderer. Spidey, you better watch out, because now The Punisher has come gunning for YOU!

In Detail...

Spider-Man vs. The Punisher
Jul 2000 : SM Title
Editor:  Ralph Macchio, Ruben Diaz
Writer:  Joseph Harris
Pencils:  Michael Lopez
Inker:  Jason Minor
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Review

The story of Spider-Man's first meeting with the Punisher is retold, this time primarily through the thoughts of Spider-Man, the Punisher and the Jackal. The Jackal has followed the Punisher as he goes about his brutal war on "the guilty" and convinced him that Spider-Man murdered Gwen Stacy. The Punisher proceeds to hunt Spider-Man, attempting to kill him for his "crimes". After being gassed with nerve toxin, Spider-Man literally flees for his life to the top of the Empire State Building.

A news helicopter is circling close around the fight, as Spider-Man attempts to avoid the Punisher's bullets. A bullet flies wild and destroys the helicopter's rotor, causing it to plummet earthwards engulfed in flames. Spider-Man manages to catch the helicopter and lower it safely to the observation deck of the building, saving the lives of the reporters inside.

The Punisher, realising that Spider-Man is a genuine hero who protects the lives of the innocent, departs with a warning that Spider-Man better not get in his way. We are left with the brooding Jackal planning the demise of Spider-Man any way he can, even if he has to make his OWN Spidey to do it!

In General...

This story fits into Marvel's current focus on the period in Spider-Man's history where the deaths of first Captain Stacy and then Gwen Stacy occur. I'm not sure why Marvel is focusing on this period right now, but I hope it's not as an introduction to returning the clone of Gwen Stacy or something!

If you've read the original, then there may not seem much point in reading this new rehash, but the story really is told from a different viewpoint this time around. Michael Lopez draws a dynamic Spider-Man, complete with shiny reflective eyes on the mask, and there's a real feeling of drama as the fight is taken to the skies of Manhattan. Punisher fans will want to add this "first appearance retcon" to their list too.

Overall Rating...

I'm not a big fan of 1-shot comics in general. I disagree with Marvel's decision to cancel "Webspinners: Tales Of Spider-Man" and replace it with these 1-shot issues, in what seems to be a cheap ploy to cause the fanboys to cough up for a succession of Number 1 comics. However, the comic retells a story from a defining part of Spider-Man's past, so I can forgive a little of this. Judged purely for what this comic is, a dynamic showdown between Spider-Man and the Punisher, I have given it 3 webs.