The Punisher's Solo Debut
Review Frank Castle’s very first limited series!
Frank Castle had already made a name for himself in the criminal underworld by the time he saw his solo series debut. In the 1986 five part story PUNISHER, street-level and super villains alike knew the inevitable result of seeing that iconic skull: blood.
The series, by writer Steven Grant (with assistance from Jo Duffy in the last issue) and artists Mike Zeck and Mike Vos, started out with The Punisher getting locked up at Ryker’s Island. Frank caught a break, however, when a breakout occurred and he met a new group called the Trust. The Trust, comprised of supposedly concerned citizens, had money and a desire to clean the streets of crime.
The group’s leader, Alaric, arranged Castle’s freedom so that he could continue his personal mission and help the Trust along the way. Frank began working again, though found himself in need of assistance when his Battlevan mysteriously exploded.
At this same time, New York City plunged into an all-out mob war after the apparent death of The Kingpin, Wilson Fisk. Normally, Frank wouldn’t have a problem with a gang versus gang showdown doing his work for him, but too many innocent people got hurt in the crossfire.
The Trust maintained their relationship with Frank throughout the war—and even introduced him to a new romantic partner named Angela. While The Punisher tried working towards a peace agreement between the fighting gangs, a new mob boss named Coriander set up another gang of assassins. After facing off against Coriander and his goon squad, the villain revealed that he actually worked for the Trust! And moments later, Angela appeared and attempted to kill Frank!
In response, The Punisher took his fight to the leader, Alaric. As their final encounter came to a close, with Alaric dead to rights, Frank told the man to alert the journalist Ben Urich of all his dirty dealings. In exchange for Alaric’s confession, Castle spared him his life.
This limited series makes a few references to Frank Castle’s previous stint in Ryker’s, which ended when he went on a drug-fueled rampage. For that story, check out SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #81, #82, and #83. Frank uses Boomerang’s skills to help break him out of prison, then goes off his rocker, attacking every kind of criminal—from actual bad guys to litterers!
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