Spectacular Spider-Man #143
Issue(s): Spectacular Spider-Man #143
The Punisher is actually a servant of the Kingpin, thanks to the work of the Persuader, who himself is working for the Kingpin's Arranger under duress.
A security guard recognizes Punisher at the Dallas airport, but the Persuader convinces the guard to let them go. However, a reporter notices the scene.
And actually the Arranger is really working all of this himself. The Kingpin is too obsessed with Daredevil to be bothered.
It's a nice acknowledgement of what's going on in Daredevil at the moment, even if the Kingpin is uncharacteristically idiotic. Maybe Typhoid Mary's pheromones or whatever is having an effect? That might also explain why he seemed to take an interest in the High Evolutionary's actions in Amazing Spider-Man annual #22 but isn't following up.
So it's the Arranger who has sent the Punisher and the Persuader to kill a pair of local crimelords called the Lobo brothers. Their accomplishment is uniting the Hispanic gangs of South Texas (i assume Hispanic only, since they call themselves Los Hermanons de la Luna).
It's not too hard to Persuade the Punisher to disrupt the Lobo brother's drug operations.
Peter Parker eventually finds out about it when the reporter's story makes it to television (and he leaves poor MJ alone in a bar to go to the airport, something she grudgingly accepts).
He uses his Webs book tour as his excuse for getting to Texas, and has to actually do some book tour stuff while he's down there.
But he eventually gets out to look for the Punisher, and finds him about to kill the Lobo brothers.
While Spider-Man is trying to stop the Punisher, we find out why these guys are called the Lobo (wolf) brothers. Hairy dudes (i mean, at least compared to what we normally see in comics and movies; this is actually what a lot of us guys look like, ladies. Except not as cut.).
The fight with the Punisher doesn't go well...
...but it does allow the Lobos to escape. But when it comes to actually killing Spider-Man, the Punisher is able to resist the Persuader (who i have to keep reminding my self is not the Lightmaster).
Killing the Persuader, though, that's easy.
And in an illustration of the the problem with the Punisher as a guy with his own book, Spider-Man is left just lamely protesting the killing instead of actually trying to apprehend him.
It's also a surprisingly quick end to the Persuader after several issues of build-up. All just to be used as a device to get the Punisher to briefly fight Spider-Man.
In the lettercol this issue, Jim Salicrup talks about how they are getting a lot of positive feedback from readers, including from people who thought that "Gerry Conway was the worst writer in comics" and had equally negative opinions about Sal Buscema, but are liking this run. And i mostly agree (although my opinion of Sal was never so negative and improves dramatically with his mid-80s work). Salicrup then tells us that the upcoming Spectacular Spider-Man annual "features the return of the very character that ruined Gerry's reputation in the first place": the Gwen Stacy clone. I never realized that was the source of Conway's bad reputation (i thought it was his bad 70s writing generally), and if so it seems unfair since the Gwen clone was due to editorial edicts from Stan Lee. In any event, we've actually been seeing the character in this series as a run up to the annual:
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: At the beginning of this issue, Spider-Man has been checking the Punisher's boat on and off for "a week", but the Punisher never showed (since he'd been brainwashed by the Persuader).
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (8): show
Punisher 12-13 can't take place between Spectacular Spider-Man 142-143- unless we assume the Persuader let the Punisher go.
Posted by: Michael | August 1, 2014 6:24 PM
I'm disgusted that Spidey allowed the Punisher to shoot an unarmed man. I hate that there are special rules for anti-heroes who have their own books.
Posted by: kveto from prague | August 4, 2014 3:12 PM
How nice of Lobo #1 that he translates his gratuitous Spanish. Otherwise his brother might not have understood him!
Posted by: Berend | August 8, 2014 9:56 AM
The scene with Peter doing the book signing was obviously written as a jab at fans at conventions. This is the time period where Marvel was getting a little cocky about biting the hands that fed them. John Byrne's SHE-HULK had some of that crap as well. And of course, there was Marvel's MAD MAGAZINE knockoff, WHAT THE...?, which also took the time to skewer the pathetic geeks who actually bought these comics.
Posted by: JP | June 5, 2015 5:38 AM
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