Amazing Spider-Man #174-175
Issue(s): Amazing Spider-Man #174, Amazing Spider-Man #175
Spider-Man deludes himself into thinking that the Punisher is using "mercy bullets" to take out the Hitman's goons.
We learn that the Hitman and the Punisher were in the same squadron in Viet Nam, but the Hitman never refers to Punisher as "Frank Castle". The Hitman is "Burt Kenyon".
Spider-Man's arm is injured during the fight, and the Punisher is faced with either saving Spidey (who is holding JJ) or his squadron mate. He chooses Spider-Man.
Meanwhile, Liz, rattled by a recent attack by her uncle the Molten Man, leaves Harry, and Harry goes crazy again. Harry's psychologist attacks Harry and becomes the next Green Goblin (it's left ambiguous over who wins the fight, but it will turn out to be the doctor).
Not a lot of depth to Spider-Man stories of this era. Add that to the fact that they added a third Spider-Man title to the line (Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man, counting Marvel Team-Up as the second), and it really looks like they were lucky to not to suffer from some serious brand dilution.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Spider-Man returns home from his fight with the Molten man at the start of this arc. And in issue #176, he's shown returning with J. Jonah Jameson from the encounter with the Punisher and the Hitman here. So Spidey's appearance here continues directly from the previous arc and continues directly in the next arc. Spider-Man's shoulder, injured in the previous arc, is still injured here.
Continuity Implant? N
Reprinted In: Marvel Tales #216, Marvel Tales #217
Inbound References (3): show
Flash Thompson, Glory Grant, Green Goblin (Bart Hamilton), Harry Osborn, Hitman, J. Jonah Jameson, Joe 'Robbie' Robertson, Mamie Muggins, Marla Madison Jameson, Punisher, Spider-Man
The mercy bullets were from editorial decree; the Punisher's earlier lethal shootings weren't that popular in the 1970s.
Some time after this Punisher appearance, Roger Stern & John Byrne created a joke "Spider Super Stories" cover showing the Punisher blowing away Easy Reader.
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