PUNISHER #103-104, PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL #79-80, PUNISHER WAR ZONE #41 (1995): Countdown; All three series end

Punisher, believe it or not, was experiencing low sales and Marvel was being horribly mismanaged, so in 1995 all three of his books got the axe. I like that they tied it across all of them, giving a solid conclusion to the books.

The story is pretty good, too. Microchip is now working for a copycat Punisher (real name: Carlos Cruz)–who also calls himself Punisher–and he’s tearing through the underworld. In the void, Kingpin decides to reassert himself as the head honcho.

Kingpin’s assassin, Bullseye, has a run in with the new Punisher.

Bullseye hasn’t been around for a while. Good to see him again. Later, he kills Phalanx and steals his armor, then faces off with Punisher.

The story proceeds and Cruz and Castle are warring against each other.

They end up in Central Park.

Stone Cold is also running around trying to foil Microchip–and he kills Cruz Punisher. Frank Castle, still looking for Cruz, accidentally kills a family.

Yeah, it’s sledgehammer irony. It leads Punisher to consider killing himself. But instead he turns himself in (which is where the Edge event will begin.

This is a really good arc–it wraps up a lot of the themes of Chuck Dixon’s work with the character, and serves as a nice conclusion for the early ’90s Punisher era.

The final panels have another lowlife swearing revenge on Punisher.

Not the best ending. I think ending with Punisher reflecting on the accidental death of a family at his own hands would have been stronger.

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