Giant-Size Spider-Man #4
Issue(s): Giant-Size Spider-Man #4
...Spider-Man is almost shot, but the Punisher puts a bullet through Spidey's would-be killer's head. Spider-Man doesn't seem too shocked by the murder (He calls the Punisher his guardian angel)...
...and he follows the Punisher home.
The Punisher tells Spider-Man that people are being kidnapped and brought to a country in South America so that a new type of poison gas can be tested on them. He shows Spider-Man a movie of people dying from the gas, and Spidey freaks out and the Punisher hits him with a tranquilizer dart.
After Spidey wakes up, they go after a man named Moses Magnum.
They raid his building, and Spider-Man is captured. Magnum escapes.
And then... what the--? Apparently my reprint only prints the first half. Of course, there's still room for a Peter Porker the Spectacular Spider-Ham! Oh well.
Update: Ok, here's the second half. Only 8 more pages and then more filler? We couldn't have just put this all into one issue?!
Anyway, Spidey is dropped off at a prison camp in a jungle in an undisclosed location.
Magnum unmasks him...
...but it turns out that Spidey and the Punisher had a plan worked out, so Peter's face is disguised with plastic moldings. Luckily Peter has brought along whatever hair product he uses to restore that classic Parker look.
The Punisher then shows up and he and Spidey go to war against Magnum's forces.
Magnum is seemingly killed when the Punisher deliberately shoots a barrel of the dissolving gas that he was holding.
Nice way to demonstrate the fact that Punisher is a lethal killer. Note also that Spidey again at least tries to look the other way.
We learn about Magnum that he was a boy in Ethiopia when Mussolini invaded, and he became so fascinated with weapons that he joined Mussolini against his own people.
He also appears to be super-strong.
I was surprised by the violence in this issue. The Punisher's shot through the kidnapper's head was on-panel and you can see the bullet wound, and the scene with the kidnappers and Magnum dying from the gas was fairly graphic as well. The Giant-Size books were approved by Comic Code Authority, for what it's worth.
Fan reaction to this issue, as published next issue, is extremely positive, with everyone demanding that the Punisher be given his own series. The response is is that he'll be getting a solo story in the upcoming Marvel Preview #2.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: The Marvel Chronology Project places this between ASM #142-143.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Marvel Tales #212, Marvel Tales #213
FOOM#7(9/74) announced the Silver Surfer appearing in the never-published Giant-Size Spider-Man #7.
The Comics Code had a wonky stance toward violence in 1973-5. For example, in DC's Weird War Tales readers clearly saw a guy holding another guy's decapitated head, and another guy getting his arm blown off.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | February 10, 2013 6:30 PM
When Magnum returns in Power Man Annual 1, we learn that the scenes of Magnum dissolving were just the Punisher's imagination and Magnum survived with a protective suit.
Posted by: Michael | May 5, 2013 12:56 PM
Wow, that is a terrible cheat.
Posted by: Jay Patrick | May 8, 2013 8:18 PM
Andru's Punisher is unequaled!
Posted by: Jack | July 21, 2013 7:34 PM
Mussolini invaded Abyssinia in 1935, so according to the Punisher, Magnum was born in 1920. This story was published in '75, so a fifty-five-year-old Magnum was giving Spider-Man a hard time in hand-to-hand combat. Magnum must already have had some superhuman power by this point.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | August 29, 2014 1:34 AM
Moses Magnum is one of my favorite comic book names.
Posted by: A.Lloyd | October 1, 2014 1:03 PM
Gerry Conway stated in Comics Interview #75 that he came up with the War Journal entries because he didn't think the Punisher was the kind of character that should have thought balloons.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | March 28, 2015 12:17 PM
Magnum's survival is telegraphed here, though: the panels showing his "death" have the rounded corners of a flashback or imagination sequence rather than the square borders of regular panels, and Conway takes care to show that the Punisher didn't actually *see* Magnum's death because he was too busy getting clear of the gas-filled room.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | November 23, 2015 6:43 AM
That head shot by the Punisher in this issue marks the first time the Punisher clearly kills someone in an issue. Right there this book has historical significance cred.
Posted by: Josh | October 6, 2016 10:30 PM
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