PUNISHER #97-102 (1994-1995)

All of Punisher’s comics are about to be cancelled. Sales are low. But don’t week for Frank. He’s got a future as both a movie and television star.

Anyhow, these issues lead directly to the final story that runs across all three monthlies.

We start with a very visible shoot-out on a subway car followed by carnage as Punisher returns to New York City and blows a bunch of shit up. Microchip went into hiding when Punisher disappeared (believed to be dead) during the last several months, so he’s just creating chaos to let Micro–and the criminals–know he’s back.

Meanwhile, a guy in a leather jacket with a haircut like Punisher’s saves a pudgy nerd in glasses, named Linus, from being mugged.

That’s Carlos Cruz. And “Linus,” of course, is Micro.

Micro turns Cruz into a new Punisher–one easier for Micro to control. He sends Cruz out to kill a female crime boss–Rosalie Carbone–who he believes Frank Castle will also be targeting.

And then he lets Punisher know that he’s betrayed him.

Cruz teams up with Phalanx and continues after the mob boss.

The stage is almost set for the big finale. The only remaining piece to put on the board is Bullseye.

Yes, he’s back–and he’s working for Carbone.

Next: Punisher gets cancelled. Too bad. These issues were the best this book has been in a while.

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