Spider-Man/Punisher: Family Plot #1

Background

While patrolling around the city one night, Spidey swings into the middle of an attempted gang hit on Don Geraci, the leader of the Geraci crime family.

Spider-man leaps into the middle of the fray, but only succeeds in chasing off the hit squad and enraging the Geraci family. In fact, he got them mad enough to order a hit on the web-slinger himself! After a family vote, the privilege falls to the newest voting member of the Geraci family, Frank Castle - the PUNISHER!

This presents the Punisher with two problem - how can he please his new "family" without taking out one of New York's most powerful protectors, and, how does Frank chase down the people who tried to kill Don Geraci in the first place?

Story 'The Fall'

The real antagonist of the story is Steve Marlowe, a two-bit hood whose ex-wife, Kathy Somers, just happens to work at The Daily Grind. Ben asks Steve why he's carrying a gun in a coffee shop. The fact that Kathy's old flame is packing heat around their young son, little Stevie, enrages Kathy and she chews him out in front of everyone. Marlowe even takes a swing at our friendly neighborhood java jock. As Marlowe leaves, Ben thinks he recognises the punk.

Later in the story, Marlowe and pals report to their boss, the nefarious super-villan TOMBSTONE! Ol' pig-nose is on the rampage again, attempting to take over as New York's new crime-boss, and he does not particularly like failure. After zapping the stuffing out of one of his accomplices with an electro-sphere,, he gives Marlowe and the others one more chance to prove themselves by taking out New York's police chief.

Spider-man follows Marlowe, dressed in a policeman's uniform, and just as Marlowe enters the cop-shop, the Punisher gets Spidey's attention by peeling off a few caps in his direction. While the two super-types are bickering, gun-shots are heard. Spidey knocks Castle out with his spider-stinger and captures Marlowe. After a little bit of intimidation, Marlowe spills his guts, confessing that he not only shot the chief, but tried to hit Don Geraci as well.

Just when Marlowe is about to roll over (in the clover) the Punisher breaks it up with guns-a-blazing. Marlowe runs while the Spidey and the Punisher go at it some more, each one of them wanting to bag the creep.

Marlowe high-tails it back to Tombstone's hide-out and tells his boss of his success, but Tombstone find the spider-tracer stuck to the back of his jacket. Spider-man shows up just in time to save the worthless life of Marlowe, and fight with Tombstone. Punisher comes in on Spidey's heels, but his agenda is very different. When Castle tries to take out Marlowe for the Geraci hit, Spider-man webs his pistol up. Just as the two heroes are close to defeating Tombstone, Marlowe grabs a bomb and creates enough of a diversion to let him and his boss escape. Spider-man and Punisher have just enough time to book out a window before the explosion.

General Comments

Entertaining I guess, but rather formulaic. I don't know why the Punisher is part of a gangster crime family, but that doesn't help his hero image much. Steve Marlowe is that loveable-hateable guy, but is rather predictable. Still, the art is good.

Overall Rating

Let's go for a slightly above-average three and a half webs, and move on to part two.